The Best Chicken Salad

I have some issues, if you all haven’t noticed by now. One you may not know about is my strong aversion to raw chicken. Once I’ve handled it, all fleshy and slimy and pink, I have a really tough time consuming it. One exception to my self imposed rule is my chicken salad. Maybe it’s because I make a really good one, if I do say so myself. Today I’m playing the roll of Food Blogger and sharing it with you. Don’t worry, I’ll be back blogging about the kids tomorrow and leaving this business to the pros…


Here’s what you need:
Chicken Breasts (I used 6, but you can easily adjust to 2 or 4)
Orange Marmalade or Apricot Jam (half a jar)
Raisins (about 3/4 cup)
Almonds or Walnuts (about 1/2 cup)
Mayonnaise (I like it pretty dry, so just add what you want)
Chives, fresh or dried (a few dashes)
Chopped Apples, Grapes and/or Celery (1/3 cup of each)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)


How to make it:

Cover chicken in jam and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool and transfer to food processor along with the jam that hasn’t liquefied.

If you don’t have some sort of processor, finely chop the chicken– that’s the trick.

Transfer chicken into a bowl, adding the remaining ingredients, ending with the mayo.

Stir until well mixed and serve immediately or refrigerate.


I serve over salad with a sweet dressing like poppyseed. Or, throw it on a croissant and pretend you’re picnicking in the south of France. Whichever. It always gets rave reviews, and even I enjoy it. And that’s saying a lot.



About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Kimberly 11 months ago

To save some time, I did this in my food processor in two steps. The first batch was the fruit, celery, and nuts… a few thorough pulses to chop it down to size. I put that in a bowl and mixed in a few spoonfuls of mayo. That makes a good salad by itself! Then I processed the baked chicken separately and mixed it up gently. YUMMY!!

Mira8 4 years ago

Sorry but all that sugar makes this sound like a dessert.

stacey 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m a chicken salad fanatic and this is the best I have ever had.

mia 5 years ago

jill – think I can make this 2 days in advance (i.e. today for party on Saturday?) Any issues?? thanks again!

Jen 6 years ago

Fruit in chicken salad? Not in this house…sorry.

Domesticated Gal 6 years ago

hmm…will have to try, if only to see if the deliciousness outweighs the healthiness.
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Nora 7 years ago

I love your recipe. I’ve never done the chicken with the jelly. I’m gonna try it. I don’t like mayo, so I usually sub in whipped cream cheese and a little ranch dressing (I”m from the South, we put Ranch on everything).

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Cate O’Malley 7 years ago

Such a different recipe, but it totally has my mouth watering now – yum!

cristin 7 years ago

No thanks. I’m sure it is super tasty, but I’m weird about food…Mayo?Forget it.

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Ulla 7 years ago

That looks so great! Love it!
The chicken breast in the salad is so smart:)

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Sophie 7 years ago

MMMMMMM…your chicken salad looks really delicious! yummie!

Jennifer 7 years ago

This really was the best chicken salad I’ve ever had. I made it almost as soon as I read this post. Thanks so much for posting it!

T&T 7 years ago

looks good – without the raisins though – I can’t eat those things – BUT Whole Foods has a might fine chicken salad too!!

Brittany 7 years ago

Hi I saw your post on problogger. I thought I would give you a read. I am still new at the blogging thing.
But I did want you to know I am hosting a giveaway so come check it out.
Also any advice you can profide on my blog would be useful

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Nap Warden 7 years ago

Wow…that looks pretty darn good!

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Life with Kaishon 7 years ago

Oh wow. Yummy! I will definitely pretend I am picnicking in the South of France. I pretend to picnick there often. : ) Or not!

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Jaden 7 years ago

This sounds very different and very yummy! I might have to try this one… and I am not usually a chicken salad lover :)

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scrappysue 7 years ago

ah – yum!!!

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SWIRL GIRL 7 years ago

i am so with you on the whole raw chicken thing.
I still have yet to make a whole bird or or a turkey.
It’s like putting a little body in the oven…
I’m getting better though, I can cook cut up pieces now!

this sounds delicious

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courtney 7 years ago

Now this looks GREAT and I am a huge chicken salad snob! I will for sure be trying this recipe.

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Rhea 7 years ago

I love chicken salad.

I hate handling raw meat of all kinds…but I love eating cooked meat.

The moral of this comment? I need someone to cook for me.

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Liz Jenkins 7 years ago

I am so looking forward to trying this but I am with you on the raw chicken or shredding up any chicken for that matter. I always make my husband shred the chicken (hey, if he wants to eat it . . . ).
But dry? My friends tease me that I think mayo is a food group.
So I’ll make the hubby shred chicken and add gobs of mayo and this recipe will be spot on.
I have used orange marmalade mixed with fresh rosemary as a pork roast glaze and it’s pretty awesome, btw.

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James 7 years ago

Thanks for the recipe. Since we eat chicken about every other night it is always nice to try it a new way.

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Sweet Serendipity 7 years ago

Oh I do love chicken salad. Especially in the summer. It looks so fresh and yummy the way you’ve presented it with the strawberries. I’ll have to try it!
Thanks for sharing.

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Tatiana 7 years ago

So I was just going through my Google Reader and for some reason, I don’t have an update from you since March 9th. I kinda freaked wondering what had happened, so came here, and I am so glad you are still blogging, even if I do have almost two months worth of posts to catch up on 😛

rachel-asouthernfairytale 7 years ago

Yum darlin’!
I love chicken salad!!!!
Great recipe 😉

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vodkamom 7 years ago

that looks incredible! Does it go well with vodka?

Live.Love.Eat 7 years ago

This looks OUTSTANDING girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Scary Mommy 7 years ago

Erin, I’ve made a similar one with tuna, minus the jam and with egg whites too. It’s great.

Allison & KathyB, I have used rotisserie chicken before, but then I have the whole ripping off the bone issue. It’s a toss up. I have issues with chicken, no matter what! (And the shortcuts just plain gross me out. No reason.)

Alison 7 years ago

Okay – I just made an abridged version between yours and mine. The apples and apricot are wonderful!! I didn’t have any almond slices on hand so I will have to incorporate that next time. Otherwise – delicious!

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utenzi 7 years ago

The chicken salad does look good. I’ve never had any problem with raw chicken but I don’t like handling raw beef so I understand what you mean.

Michelle 7 years ago

I love a good recipe!
I can hardly wait to try this one :)
Thanks for sharing

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Cindy Ashworth 7 years ago

I just found your blog and have to say I enjoy. I would like to send you the “Attitude Of Gratitude” Award. It appears that you are deserving and I am grateful I found your blog. I hope you accept. Details can be found at my blog:

Have a great day,

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KathyB! 7 years ago

That looks ridiculously good. I never would have thought of the marmalade. I bet it adds a nice zest.

As for the pink chicken… you could get one of the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and just remove the (cooked!) meat from the bone and process it with some orange zest… But you seem as though you’re getting past the raw stuff enough to make it so you probably should just stick with what you’ve got…

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DrZibbs 7 years ago

That looks mighty tasty.

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Jen, buried with children 7 years ago

that looks awesome. I am so going to make this and soon!

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christy 7 years ago

Um yeah, this looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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Tiffany @ Paging Doctor Mommy 7 years ago

This sounds amazing! I will most certainly have to make this ASAP! Like, seriously, we may be having this for dinner tonight because it looks so darn good!

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Barbara 7 years ago

This looks/sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

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dawn 7 years ago

awww Momma thanks! You rock my world you know that? I was having a shitty day until I came here and you totally put a smile on my face.
But I have one question? Why don’t you think you are a pro? I mean this chicken salad is pretty darn stellar. Not to mention the photos are definitely eye catching.
Love you chicklet…you always rock my world!

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T Rex Mom 7 years ago

Mmm – love chicken salad. I am excited to try a new recipe for one. Thanks for sharing. (especially with fresh chives from my garden – now I have an excuse to use them!)

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Amber 7 years ago

So good!

But I’d leave out the raisins because raisins remind me of flesh for some reason. *Shudders* My kids love them though.

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Shannon 7 years ago

I’m not a huge fan of chicken salad… well, to be honest, it’s the mayo I’m not a fan of. Blech! I can’t stand mayo!

That being said… I love love LOVE the chicken salad sandwich from the River Street Deli! (I know, I’m weird…)

OH EM GEE it is soooo good! It’s served on a HUGE toasted bagel… and they add slices of bacon, cheddar and lettuce.

Srsly… it’s the ONE thing I miss about not working downtown anymore. We ate there at least once a week.

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BB 7 years ago

OMG, I thought I was the only one in the world that doesn’t eat the chicken if I have to handle it raw!…I will cook chicken wings and then can’t eat them! Thank god for KFC and Perdue Short Cuts!
I love chicken salad and I am going to try this..minus the raw chicken.( I am going to use the Perdue Shortcuts Grilled Chicken Breast). I will probably cut down on mayo, I like to be able to taste chicken salad and not mayo….and maybe add a little dry mustard to it….nice recipe

Erin 7 years ago

I don’t like chicken at all. It sounds totally gross and not anywhere as healthy, but I wonder if you could use canned chicken instead?
Maybe use tuna instead? I just hate chicken.

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Loukia 7 years ago

That does look good – thanks! I have a great chicken recipe that involves chicken breasts, a jar of apricot marmalade, Catalina salad dressing and onion soup mix. Mix those together, throw over (raw) chicken, and cook in the oven for and hour.

It is soooo good! And I hate handing raw chicken. With this recipe, all I have to is flip the chicken into a casserole dish (or whatever it’s called – see I SUCK in the kitchen!) and I don’t even have to touch it!

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Christopher (AKA: CaJoh) 7 years ago

Love the strawberries. It adds a nice sweetness to the salad that you may not otherwise get. I tend to make my chicken salad out of caned chicken. I will have to try baking the chicken first like you do — it will probably be more tasty in the end.

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Alison 7 years ago

Jill, I also am a fan of chicken salad and I love mine if I do say so myself. This is the lazy gal’s chicken salad if you ever want a little something different:

Buy a rotisserie chicken at the store – lemon pepper is the best. Pull off the meat you like and chop up into small cubes (you can finely slice it to avoid your chicken gag reflex!)
Add craisins. Just craisins. No other fruit or celery.
Lemon pepper. A dash of lemon juice. Mayo.
Pickle relish. A dash of salt. A heavy dash of minced onions.

I assure you that it is all kinds of delicious. I will make a bowl and scoop it out onto crackers while watching a movie or studying. Love it.
I can’t wait to try yours!!

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Jen 7 years ago

looks great!

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jess 7 years ago

Be warned everyone – Scary Mommy is not over selling this. It is truly addictive.

American in Norway 7 years ago

They don’t have chicken salad over here! Can you believe it? But now you have me wanting it…. Gonna go try it this evening… YUM

Angie 7 years ago

I am a chicken salad snob. This recipe does look good, but my absolute fave recipe used to be served at the Yellow Submarine here. When they closed up shop, I actually cried…hard. And then, the heavens parted, the angels sang and they reopened for lunch only Mon-Fri. Hallelujah! It’s a chicken salad miracle. Amen.

McMommy 7 years ago

This looks SO.DAMN.GOOD!!!!!!!!!

I am a huge lover of chicken salads so I am ALL OVER this recipe. The only thing that scared me was orange marmalade….BUT, if this is the Best Chicken Salad in the World…I will definitely ignore my marmalade bias and try it!


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