Written by Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD ~ above September 17, 2021 — medically reviewed by Kim rose RDN, CDCES, CNSC, LD

Chicken salad is a versatile dish that typically uses chopped or shredded chicken together the main ingredient and comes along with a binder such as mayonnaise, tart cream, yogurt, or a vinegar-based dressing.

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Many people undoubtedly think about it delicious, but since it periodically uses higher-calorie ingredients, you could wonder if chicken salad is great for you.

Absolutely — chicken salad deserve to be healthy. Simply how healthy comes down to the ingredients used, the section eaten, and the other foods items it’s paired through to make a meal.

This post explores how chicken salad can impact your health, the nutritional contents of chicken salad, and some proposal for making a healthier chicken salad.

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What is chicken salad?
The first thing that may come to mind as soon as you hear “chicken salad” is the classic creamy American-style dish the dates ago to the mid-1800s.

This variation of chicken salad frequently uses a standard collection of ingredients like boiled eggs, celery, apples, grapes, and almonds or pecans. This staples are an unified with cooking chicken and typically held in addition to mayonnaise.

Chicken salad deserve to have many different smell profiles and ingredients blended in. It’s frequently served cold and made through cooked chicken, a dressing, and sometimes extra vegetables, nuts, seeds, or fruit because that flavor and also crunch.

For example, chicken salad deserve to be Thai-inspired, combining chopped chicken and cucumber with the spices of peanut, ginger, garlic, chili oil, and also rice vinegar.

A timeless Mexican chicken salad, well-known as ensalada de pollo, offers sour cream and also mayo come bind with each other chicken and also mixed vegetables such together beans, corn, and also potatoes.

You can find chicken salad in ~ delis and also restaurants, buy it premade in ~ the grocery store store, or do your own chicken salad at home.


Chicken salad offers a binder favor mayonnaise, yogurt, or salad dressing to combine cooked chicken with various other fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, and also spices.

Chicken salad nutrition

Chicken salad is packed with lean protein, vitamins, and also minerals, and it can absolutely be component of a healthy meal and also an overall healthy diet.

Just how healthy and balanced is chicken salad? the boils under to the ingredients supplied to make it and also the amount friend eat at one time.

Certain ingredients, choose the kind and amount of mayo used, may significantly increase the calorie and also saturated fat content of chicken salad, i beg your pardon may ultimately make it less nutritious than it could be.

Just one small 1/2-cup (about 4-ounce) serving of chicken salad often includes 400 calorie or more. And also despite having actually “salad” in that is name, it’s frequently served on bread or in a wrap, quite than top top a bed of leafy greens.

Here’s an example of how the nutritional value of chicken salad varies based on its ingredient (1, 2, 3):

Chicken salad made with mayonnaiseChicken salad made with light mayonnaiseChicken salad ~ above a croissantServing sizeCaloriesProtein (grams)Carbs (grams)Total fat (grams)Fiber (grams)Sugar (grams)Saturated fat (grams)Cholesterol (mg)Sodium (mg)CalciumIronPotassium
1/2 cup (113 grams or 4 ounces)1/2 cup (108 grams or 3.8 ounces)1 sandwich (187 grams or 6.6 ounces)
2% the the day-to-day Value (DV)2% the the DV4% of the DV
3% that the DV3% that the DV15% that the DV
5% the the DV5% that the DV6% that the DV

Chicken salad has tendency to it is in is fairly low in carbs, fiber, and sugar and higher in protein, calories, and also fat.

The role of saturated fat in nutrition continues to be somewhat controversial, but many professionals agree that replacing saturated fat in your diet with polyunsaturated fat — favor those discovered in nuts and seeds — could help reduce your threat of heart attack, stroke, and also heart condition (4, 5, 6).

Nevertheless, these are just general approximates of the nutritional value of chicken salad, together the nutrient vary relying on how the made.

Adding ingredient such together fruits, vegetables, nuts, and also seeds or utilizing a lower-calorie binder prefer yogurt might easily adjust these values.


Chicken salad is a great source of skinny protein. Enhancements such together fruits, vegetables, nuts, and also seeds provide even an ext nutritious vitamins and minerals. However, chicken salad frequently contains a fair amount of calories.

Aside from gift so tasty, chicken salad has actually a number of other benefits, such together being reasonably affordable and straightforward to make at home.

Its services don’t avoid there, despite — chicken salad has actually a few noteworthy positive wellness effects.

Chicken salad is high in protein

Protein is just one of the primary nutrients your body demands to build and maintain bone, muscle, cartilage, and an ext (7).

Most adults have to eat 45–65 grams of protein every day, though determinants like age, sex, physical activity, and general wellness status could further rise or decrease those needs (8).

Thus, simply one section of chicken salad could account for virtually one-third of your whole protein demands for the day.

In enhancement to being necessary for bone health and muscle strength, protein:

Chicken salad is nutrient-dense

Chicken salad also contains many valuable micronutrients, such together vitamins and also minerals.

One 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of roasted chicken is a particularly great source that (15):

niacin: 51% the the DVselenium: 36% of the DVphosphorus: 17% of the DV

Therefore, eat chicken salad could assist you meet the everyday recommendations for plenty of nutrients.


Chicken salad is one affordable and nutrient-dense source of lean protein that is basic to do at home.

Chicken salad regularly starts out through a healthy foundation of skinny protein, crunchy vegetables, and nutrient-dense fruits, nuts, and also seeds.

Eating a huge portion of chicken salad at once or including a lot of higher-calorie ingredients might reduce few of the health and wellness benefits the the dish.

May it is in high in calories

Mayonnaise is frequently the liked binder because that chicken salad. Despite it offers a creamy, affluent texture, it may also add a far-reaching number of calories.

Though countless of the nuts and dried fruits added to chicken salad space plenty nutritious — well-off in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals — they likewise tend come be higher in calories than other fruits and also vegetables.

In enhancement to the ingredients in the chicken salad itself, what you offer your chicken salad through will influence the calorie content of the dish.

Serving a chicken salad sandwich top top a buttery croissant or another refined grain product, such as white bread, adds much more calories without a most nutrition. Serving her chicken with nutrient-rich vegetables can be a much better option.

Risk of foodborne illness

Chicken salad recipes often tend to save a few foods in details — cooking chicken, fresh vegetables, and also the dairy- or egg-based binders that organize the salad together — the may cause food poisoning if contaminated v certain types of bacteria (16).

In fact, there have been multiple instances in i m sorry chicken salad in certain has been deemed the culprit in outbreaks the Listeria and Salmonella (17, 18, 19, 20).

Listeria and Salmonella infections from contaminated foodstuffs can cause severe illness, hospitalization, and even death in some situations for high-risk individuals (21, 22).

Thus, it’s necessary to usage caution when preparing, storing, and serving chicken salad.

Ready-to-eat all set salads should constantly be save on computer in the refrigerator at 40°F (4°C) or below and also eaten within 3–4 days of opened (23, 24).

Also, to prevent food poisoning, chicken salad must not it is in kept outside of refrigeration temperatures for much longer than 2 hours, or for much longer than 1 hour if the temperature exterior is 90°F (32°C) or greater — which could be the instance at a picnic or potluck event.


The key downside that chicken salad for health is that high calorie content. Otherwise, the greatest risk of eating chicken salad is the potential to acquire sick through a foodborne condition if the food is not handled and stored properly.

Chicken salad is a food that has both pros and cons once it pertains to weight loss.

Chicken salad might help some civilization lose weight, while it can hinder the procedure for others.

The protein contents of chicken salad may assist keep you feeling full longer. That might likewise assist in regulating your appetite and food cravings — every of which can help with load loss (9, 10, 13, 14).

Some studies have actually even discovered that high protein diets are particularly helpful for losing weight and maintaining load loss irreversible (25, 26, 27).

Still, also though chicken salad is high in protein, one dish alone no super impactful for load loss.

Instead, eat an in its entirety healthy diet the is within your day-to-day calorie needs and also is rich in lean protein, healthy and balanced fats, fiber, and also nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables is best for load loss. In moderation, chicken salad conveniently fits right into a diet favor this.


Chicken salad is most advantageous for load loss when eaten in moderation and linked with a selection of various other nutrient-dense and healthy foods.

Chicken salad deserve to be component of a filling meal that consists of lean protein, fiber, and many vitamins and also minerals.

Here space some proposal for making sure the hopeful health effects of her chicken salad outweigh the downsides.

Keep her protein lean

Chicken and also other varieties of poultry, prefer turkey, are naturally lean, or lower in fat.

Using chicken that has been poached, broiled, baked, grilled, microwaved, or steamed helps save calories lower because these cooking methods commonly do not require much added fat.

On the various other hand, fried, breaded, canned, and processed varieties of chicken often tend to be greater in fat, salt, and calories every serving.

Choose better-for-you dressing ingredients

If you’re trying to find a chicken salad v fewer calories, you may want to avoid binders choose mayonnaise.

Instead, girlfriend could try using Greek yogurt, avocado, cake cream, Dijon mustard, or a vinaigrette dressing.

Though some of these alternatives also contain fat, they have tendency to be reduced in calories and also saturated fat than mayo.

Mix in fruits, veggies, and also more

Veggies, nuts, and seeds no only include flavor, crunch, and color to chicken salad, however they’re additionally a large part the what renders the dish nutritious.

Nuts, seeds, and also fruits do add calories, yet they also carry out extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals that make castle a healthy enhancement when eaten in center portions.

Plus, this is whereby you can get an innovative with your chicken salad recipe.

The normal grapes, celery, apples, and also pecans are a an excellent starting point, however you might likewise want to discover other ingredients prefer fennel, radishes, chickpeas, cucumber, shredded cabbage, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, and also more.

Pair it v a good source of fiber

Chicken salad is often served ~ above bread or crackers.

While they’re definitely tasty vehicles for the dish, breads or crackers make with refined grains don’t include a lot of nutrition to her meal.

Choosing a entirety grain bread that is high in fiber will not just fill you up much faster than crackers or a croissant would, yet it may additionally provide much more vitamins and minerals.

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Alternatively, chicken salad served with lettuce or various other salad greens is lower in calories 보다 chicken salad offered on bread however still high in fiber and micronutrients.


You have the right to make chicken salad healthier by using lean chicken and also a better-for-you dressing, mixing in plenty of fruits and also vegetables, and combining it with high fiber foods items like lettuce or whole grains.