Restaurant Style Chicken Salad

This restaurant style chicken salad is made from dark meat. Packed full of flavor this chicken salad recipe, is perfect for sandwiches.

two dark meat chicken salad sandwiches made on garlic bred

This is a classic chicken salad sandwich recipe that you can find in many restaurants and delis. The chicken salad makes for the best lunches, and this chicken salad will turn your lunch from ordinary to spectacular!

It’s full of flavor and couldn’t be quicker or easier to make. In a very short space of time, you can be enjoying a chicken salad sandwich between thick slices of bread, in a tortilla wrap, or even a lettuce wrap. And, you can always have it for dinner on top of a green salad with some crunchy bread on the side when you don’t feel like cooking.

This salad belongs in the category of traditional chicken salad sandwich recipes. The celery adds some crunch to the savory chicken and mayo, and some tangy sweetness comes from the sweet pickle relish.

two old fashioned chicken salad sandwiches

Optional Ideas:

  • Add some extra crunch with some chopped walnuts or cashews.
  • Swap out the relish and substitute a sweet little hit with some grapes or raisins.
  • Use some dry dill instead of the relish to add some texture and a new flavor.

Of course, homemade mayonnaise puts this salad over the top. But again, a good quality store-bought mayo works perfectly well, too.

One thing to bear in mind, homemade mayo contains raw egg, which could be an issue with the elderly, the very young, or anyone with a compromised immune system. Click here for a recipe for homemade mayo from the New York Times.

  • Note: You can make homemade mayonnaise without eggs. Click here for my copykat recipe for homemade garlic mayonnaise.


I recommend serving soon after the salad is assembled. However, you can prepare the chicken and the dressing up to several days in advance. I do think that this salad becomes even tastier after it has sat in the refrigerator for two or three hours. However, my preference would be to bring the salad back to room temperature before serving.

Can you freeze chicken salad?

Store your chicken salad in an airtight container in your refrigerator – it’s good for three to five days. You can also freeze it for up to one month, but it must be stored in small batches in airtight containers.

Can’t enough of this restaurant style chicken salad? Try these other restaurant-inspired chicken salad recipes.


two old fashioned chicken salad sandwiches

Restaurant Style Chicken Salad

We got too close to this recipe and had to remove the restaurant's name. You can make delicious chicken salad sandwiches with this easy recipe.
4.34 from 3 votes
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 683kcal


  • 2 cups cooked chicken dark meat
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relis
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 slices Texas Toast or Thick Cut Sandwich Bread


  • Boil dark meat until completely cooked. Remove from water and cool meat. You can save the chicken broth, seal and refrigerate no more than a week. After chicken is cool, cut into tiny pieces. Place in a mixing bowl and add all other ingredients and mix well. Butter one side of sandwich bread and grill. Place salad in between grilled bread slices and serve.


If you wanted you could use left over chicken, like rotisserie chicken, while this restaurant used dark meat, you could use chicken breast.  Addtional mixins you could use would be
  • slivered almonds 
  • mandarin oranges 
  • green onions 
  • fresh dill


Calories: 683kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 1003mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 400IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 2.8mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Cindy

    3 stars
    Do you have a recipe for THE (chicken salad sandwich) at Ellen’s Cafe in Spring Texas?
    It’s the best we’ve ever tasted.

    The ingredients look similar to Jason’s Deli but this one from Ellen’s Cafe is top notch in the flavor department.

    We get it on thick white bread although they do have a special multi-grain bread too.
    Thank you for your recipes.

4.34 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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