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Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

This fresh and lemony chicken salad with basil has been a staple lunch in our house all summer long. It's very easy to make anytime you need a quick summer meal idea!

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Basil chicken salad

I can never get enough of fresh basil, and I'm always looking for ways to incorporate it into my cooking.

During these last few months, a local restaurant has been doing curbside deliveries of their famous chicken salads. We tried a few variations, but our favorite was the lemon basil flavor. After ordering it weekly for a long time, I decided to try making it myself.

As always, I went for the simplest route, and managed to re-create our favorite chicken salad using only 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper).


  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (use all white meat or mostly white meat)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoon pecans, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper


Step 1: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the chicken (mayo, chopped basil, pecans, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, salt, and pepper). Mix well.

Step 2: Add the shredded chicken and use two forks to mix the basil mayonnaise dressing into the chicken while separating and shredding the chicken with the forks. Taste and add more lemon juice, if needed.

Step 3: For the best flavor, refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve on a sandwich, in a wrap, on a croissant, or

Tasty add-in ideas

This simple chicken is pretty much perfect as it is, but here are a few tasty additions to chicken salad:

  • Finely diced celery, for crunch
  • Dried cranberries, for sweetness
  • Fresh diced scallions or chives
  • Halved grapes
  • Chickpeas (I love the texture of chickpeas in tuna salad and chicken salad!)
  • Fresh cilantro and lime juice instead of lemon juice

Ingredient tips, shortcuts, and substitutions

  • To save time, I used a rotisserie chicken for this chicken salad recipe (one chicken produced enough white meat).
  • If you don't like nuts or have an allergy, you can omit the nuts or use sunflower seeds for crunch. You could also swap the pecans with almonds, walnuts or roasted pine nuts, depending on what you've got.
  • I used full fat mayonnaise for my version, but you can experiment with subbing in Greek yogurt or low fat mayonnaise for a low fat chicken salad. (On the flip side, if you want to add a little more tang, you can do a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise).

Related recipe: Pretzel Crusted Chicken

How to serve chicken salad

There are so many possibilities for serving this chicken salad. Try any of these:

  • As sandwiches, on bread, in croissants or mini croissants
  • Open faced sandwiches
  • In a wrap
  • In a lettuce wrap
  • Spread on crackers
  • Spread on veggies, such as sliced peppers or cucumber slices
  • On top of a salad

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

Basil adds a delicious twist to classic chicken salad! This lemon basil chicken salad makes the perfect summer lunch, or anytime you need a meal ready in about 5 minutes!
4.56 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Kate


  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken use all white meat or mostly white meat
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pecans finely chopped (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 dash pepper


  • In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the chicken (mayo, basil, pecans, lemon juice, salt, and pepper). Mix well.
  • Add the cooked chicken and use two forks to mix everything together while shredding the chicken further.
  • For the best flavor, refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow flavors to mingle. See notes below for optional add-ins and serving suggestions.


Serving ideas: sandwiches (open faced, croissants), wraps, lettuce wraps, spread on crackers, spread on veggies like pepper slices and cucumber slices, over salad.
Other tasty add-in ideas: fresh diced scallions or chives, dried cranberries, cooked chickpeas, finely diced celery for crunch, halved seedless grapes.
Pecan alternatives: sliced almonds, chopped peanuts, toasted sunflowers (for a nut-free chicken salad).


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 593mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
4.56 from 25 votes (23 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

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Monday 3rd of June 2024

Thank you! Lauryn's chicken salad from Chicken Salad Chick is the only chicken salad I've ever liked! It's so delicious! You did a great job with the recipe and it's a huge hit with friends, too!


Sunday 11th of June 2023

Excellent! Great make at home version of one of my favorite chicken salads!

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