Basic Chicken Salad

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

The trick for any delicious chicken salad is to make sure that the chicken remains moist. To ensure that result, I poach the chicken—the perfect cooking method for foods that may have a tendency to dry out, such as chicken white meat or fish.


  • 2 cans (about 14 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth or 4 cups water plus 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)


    1. Heat the broth or water and salt in a 3-quart saucepan to simmering. Slip the chicken breasts into the simmering liquid. Adjust the heat so the liquid stays at a simmer. Poach the chicken breasts until there is no trace of pink in the thickest part, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon from the liquid to a plate, cover with wax paper, and cool to room temperature.
    2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: If you are using the curry powder, heat the oil in a very small skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 10 seconds. Let cool completely.
    3. Stir together the mayonnaise, onion, celery, and celery seed in a medium bowl until blended. Stir in the curry mixture if using.
    4. Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes; you should have about 3½ cups. Fold the chicken into the dressing. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to 4 hours before serving. If refrigerated, let the salad stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
    5. Arrange the lettuce leaves over 4 serving plates. Spoon the chicken salad over the leaves. Arrange the cherry tomato halves and hard-cooked eggs on either side of the salad and serve.