Yes, I said it. It’s the best ever. In fact, this is the only chicken salad recipe you’ll ever need! It will satisfy every craving with sweet red grapes, tart green apples and crisp celery all mixed together in a creamy tarragon mayonnaise. It’s also light, healthy and naturally gluten free!
As a frequent hostess, I’ve learned that preparation is the key to an enjoyable experience where you can actually talk to your guests and enjoy your own party. I often impart a “no oven” rule when I host. The last thing I want to be doing when my house is full of guests is messing with cook timers and oven mitts.
I put out trays of seasonal vegetables, fruits and cheeses along with cold salads that everyone can help themselves to. By far, the most requested of all the cold salads I serve is this chicken salad with its perfect balance of creamy texture and crunchy veggies.
What’s in this Shredded Chicken Salad recipe
We’re using simple ingredients to create the bright flavors in this gluten-free chicken salad. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Lean, white meat chicken breast. Using rotisserie chicken is a great way to save some prep time. Alternately, you can poach chicken breasts in chicken broth and allow them to cool before shredding.
- Celery. With virtually no caloric content, celery is a healthy way to satisfy a craving for crunch. So load it on!
- Red Grapes. These are usually sweeter than their counterpart, green grapes, and the balance between them and the tart apples in this low carb chicken salad recipe is perfect.
- Granny Smith apples. Sure, you could use sweet apples, but then what would balance out the sweet grapes? Trust me, this combo works.
- Mayonnaise. Because it’s the only real fat in this recipe, I’d recommend using the full fat version. Low fat mayonnaise does not taste the same.
- Fresh lemon juice. This adds a bit of acid to the creamy dressing and gives it an irresistible tang.
- Tarragon vinegar. A flavorful alternative to traditional white wine vinegar, tarragon vinegar pumps up the flavor of the fresh tarragon in this recipe.
- Tarragon. This is the most exotic ingredient on the list, and can still almost always be found at your local grocery store. In the summer, I can just pluck it from my garden. It’s very easy to grow.
- Shallots. The milder version of of a white or red onion, shallots add a mellow tanginess to our tarragon mayo.
What does tarragon taste like?
Tarragon is a fresh herb that falls into the anise family of flavors along with fennel and black licorice. But tarragon is much milder, so don’t be scared off if you’re not an anise fan.
In fact, it’s the tarragon that makes this the ultimate chicken salad recipe. I like to layer the flavors of fresh tarragon with some tarragon vinegar, and even then it’s still not an overpowering flavor. It turns out to be a really a unique taste that plays so well with the tart apples, crunchy celery and sweet grapes.
How to make this Best Ever chicken Salad recipe
First, prep your chicken. If you’re using store-bought rotisserie chicken, your prep time will be even shorter. If you’re starting with raw chicken breast, poach it in plain water or a combination of water and chicken broth for 10-15 minutes. Then, use forks to shred your cooked chicken.
Chop up the apples, grapes and celery. Now, just throw them into the mixing bowl along with the chicken.
The fresh herbs go in last.
How to serve this chicken salad with tarragon, apples and grapes
There’s really no wrong way to enjoy this gluten-free chicken salad recipe! Here are some of my favorite ways to serve it:
- Make a chicken salad salad. Prepare a bed of romaine lettuce and top it with a generous scoop of this easy chicken salad for a super low-carb meal.
- Create pretty lettuce cups. Use the soft leaves of butter lettuce like taco shells and fill them with chicken salad. Eat with your hands!
- Build the best chicken salad sandwiches with whole grain bread or croissants. For a gluten free option, choose your favorite gluten-free bread to make a delicious gluten free chicken salad sandwich.
- Keep it traditional and serve this classic chicken salad in a large serving bowl, garnished with extra fresh herbs. It will keep at room temperature for several hours.
Variations for this Best Ever Chicken Salad Recipe
Looking to change it up a bit? Here are some ways you can customize this delicious chicken salad recipe to make it your own:
- Change up the herbs – swap in some apple cider vinegar for the tarragon vinegar and some fresh dill for the fresh tarragon for a totally different flavor profile
- Create a different texture – instead of shredding the chicken, cut it into bite-sized cubes. Then, add 1 cup of diced green onions for extra crunch.
- Shuffle around the sweet-tart balance. Try using tart green grapes and a sweet apple variety like Red Delicious or Honeycrisp.
How to Store this gluten free chicken salad recipe with apples and grapes
Meal prep devotees, rejoice! You can assemble this salad completely ahead of time, making it a great recipe for a brunch, luncheon or barbecue. It travels well and stores for several days in the fridge. Just keep it in an airtight container and you’re good to go.
When you make this Best Ever Chicken Salad Recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more gluten free salads, try these:
- Easy Black Bean & Corn Salad with Homemade Tortilla Chips
- Seared Tuna Nicoise Salad with Creamy Tarragon Vinaigrette
- Shrimp & Spinach Salad with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
For more chicken recipes, try these:
- Chicken Cutlet Sandwich Recipe (Italian Style)
- Indian Ginger Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Shawarma with Tahini Yogurt Sauce
Best Ever Chicken Salad Recipe
- 8 cups cooked chicken breast shredded
- 3 ribs celery finely chopped
- 1 Granny Smith apple cut into small cubes
- 1 cup red grapes cut in half
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp. tarragon vinegar
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup shallots finely minced
- 1/2 cup fresh tarragon
- 3 tbsp. fresh parsley
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayo, vinegar, lemon juice and shallots. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the chicken, celery, apples and grapes and combine. Fold in the fresh tarragon and parsley.