California Chicken Salad Recipe

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This California Chicken Salad Recipe is a great recipe when you need something quick, easy, healthy, and delicious! Made with rotisserie chicken, avocado, and fresh lime juice, this chicken salad is a delicious meal to whip up when you don’t feel like cooking!

California chicken salad in a white bowl with a spoon.

What you’ll love about this recipe:


  • SUPER EASY- comes together in less than 15 minutes!
  • NICE & LIGHT – A lighter take on traditional chicken salad. There is very little mayo in this salad!
  • GREAT FOR GROUPS – The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd! It’s great for casual parties and get-togethers!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious California Chicken Salad:

Ingredients needed to make this California Chicken Salad recipe.

INGREDIENT NOTES

Chicken Breast: I always opt for rotisserie chicken to make things easy, but you can certainly cook your own chicken breasts in a pan , in the air fryer, or in the oven and shred them up!

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CALIFORNIA CHICKEN SALAD: STEP-BY-STEP

Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Shred your chicken, or chop it into small pieces (Pro Tip: Using a stand mixer or hand mixer will get the chicken nice and fine).

Shredded chicken in a stainless steel bowl.

Steps 2 & 3: Add all other salad ingredients.

Gently toss. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Add more lime juice if desired.

Ingredients for California chicken salad in a bowl before being mixed.
Ingredients for California Chicken salad after being mixed.

RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

How to shred your chicken: There are a few ways to get your chicken shredded.

  • Mixer: Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer! It takes about 3-4 minutes on medium speed to get the chicken finely shredded. You can do less time if you want larger pieces.
  • Chopping: Just use a good old-fashioned knife and chop the chicken into small pieces.
  • By Hand: I often like larger pieces of chicken for my chicken salad, so I will just use my hands the chicken breasts apart as I remove it from the whole chicken or cooked chicken breasts.

Make Ahead Tip

If you want to make this chicken salad ahead of time, shred your chicken and combine it with the onion, cilantro, and mayo. Right before you are ready to serve, fold in the avocado and lime juice.

HOW TO STORE

  • Storage: Store leftover chicken salad in an airtight container like this (or similar food container) in the fridge for up to 2 days. After this time, the salad is still safe to eat, however, the avocado will start to turn brown, and moisture from the onion will start to release into the salad. To preserve the taste of the dish, I try to eat leftovers the next day.

    You can also store leftovers in a small bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap (or my favorite bowls with airtight lids!!). Before serving, freshen it up with a little fresh lime juice!

    Note: Chicken salad that has been left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours should not be consumed, according to the FDA. Read more here: How Long Does Chicken Salad Last in the Fridge?
  • Freezing: Although it’s POSSIBLE to freeze this chicken salad, I do not recommend it. You can read all the details about freezing chicken salad in this post: Can You Freeze Chicken Salad? for more details!

ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS

ADDITIONS:

  • Seedless grapes: Grapes are a delicious addition for a bit of sweetness!
  • Bell Peppers/Celery: Crunchy celery or bell peppers are a great addition for color and crunch!
  • Cherry Tomatoes: …or sliced tomatoes if you are making sandwiches!
  • Nuts: Need more crunch + protein? Sliced almonds or pecans are delicious in this salad!

SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Mayo: Greek yogurt or sour cream can be substituted for the mayo.
  • Onion: Any white or yellow onion or even green onions can be used in place of red onion.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why is it called “California Chicken Salad?”

Whole Foods has a delicious Sonoma chicken salad with a poppy seed dressing that is absolutely delish. Some people call that a “California” chicken salad. However, I have dubbed my version “California” because….you guessed it…the AVOCADO!!!!

This salad is heavy on the avocado, light on the mayo, and has lots of bright fresh flavors! As a lifelong Californian, that is how I would characterize “California cuisine!” LOL!

What’s the best way to eat chicken salad?

There are four main ways I love to enjoy chicken salad:

1. Sandwiches: on regular bread, croissants or pita bread!
2. Wraps: Wrap in a flour tortilla, add some crispy lettuce and you have the perfect wrap.
3. With Crackers: There is nothing easier than just putting a stack of crackers out and letting everyone dig in!!
4. With Greens: Pile this avocado chicken salad into lettuce wraps or serve chicken mixture on top of a bed of greens for a fresh and healthy meal.

What can you serve with chicken salad sandwiches?

Sweet potato fries, fruit salad, or a crisp salad are always my go-tos!

PIN THIS POST FOR LATER!

Pinterest Pin for California Chicken Salad with Avocado.

I hope you love this California Chicken Salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Featured image for californai chicken salad with avacado on a crossiant.

California Chicken Salad

This California Chicken Salad Recipe is a great recipe when you need something quick, easy, healthy and delicious! Made with rotisserie chicken, avocado and fresh lime juice, this chicken salad is a delicious meal to whip up when you don't feel like cooking!
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 377 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped See Note 1
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 large avocados, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of two limes (about 4 tablespoons), to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

  • If you are using rotisserie chicken, remove all breast meat. Then shred or chop to your desired size (See Note 1).
  • In a large bowl, add chicken and all salad ingredients.
  • Mix gently until everything is combined. Add more lime juice and freshly ground black pepper, if you like.
  • Serve immediately or chill until you are ready to serve.

Notes

Note 1: If you don’t want to use a rotisserie chicken, 2 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts will work just fine! Cook them in the air fryer on the stovetop, cool chicken completely, then shred. 
How to shred you chicken: There are a few ways to get your chicken shredded.
Mixer: Use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer! It takes about 3-4 minutes on medium speed to get the chicken finely shredded. You can do less time if you want larger pieces.
Chopping: Just use a good old fashioned knife and chop chicken into small pieces.
By Hand: I often like larger pieces of chicken for my chicken salad, so I will just use my hands the chicken breasts apart as I remove it from the whole chicken or cooked chicken breasts.
 
Nutrition facts are only an estimate. Info is based on the Very Well Fit Nutrition Calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcalCarbohydrates: 16.4gProtein: 36.6gFat: 19.7gSaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 735mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 4.3gSugar: 2.7gCalcium: 16mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    YES! I have been looking for this exact recipe recently. My chicken salad craving has been satisfied and I thank you for that!

  2. 5 stars
    Just lovely! We made this last night into a salad by adding lots of lettuce and cherry tomatoes – everyone enjoyed it so much! Today, we will enjoy it again in a form of a sandwich! Thanks for the recipe 🙂