Quantity Chicken Salad Recipes

Relatively easy to make and serve, these quantity chicken salad recipes serve a crowd of 20 like a dream.

Here are a few quick tips to prepare the perfect large quantity chicken salad:

  • Use half mayonnaise and half fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt for a fresher taste
  • Also add a touch of chicken broth or poaching liquid for added flavor and moisture
  • Two 4 1/2 pound whole chickens, poached, will yield about 6-7 cups meat.  When cooled, remove meat from bones.  Discard fat and dice chicken meat into small pieces.
  • Use finely minced thyme, sage and/or ground rosemary to taste in the chicken salad
  • You can also use 2 whole rotisserie chickens for a deep-roasted flavorful salad

Poaching Liquid Seasonings
1 onion cut into quarters, 1 carrot cut in half, 2 celery stalks plus tops, handful of fresh parsley leaves plus stems, 2-3 thyme

sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1-2 whole cloves, 6-8 black peppercorns.

Classic Chicken Salad for a Crowd

Approximately 25 1/2 cup servings

We think chicken salad should taste like chicken and have more chicken then any other ingredient.  Use chicken breast and thighs for a tender, moist salad.

3-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3-4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups celery, finely diced
3 cups mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt, paprika and freshly ground black pepper to taste

chicken salad with grapes

Chicken Salad with Grapes

Place chicken pieces in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.  Add water to cover chicken by about one half. Add poaching liquid seasonings. Simmer chicken on low heat, loosely covered, about 30-45 minutes or until breasts are fork tender and no longer pink inside.  Be careful not to overcook.  Breast meat may finish cooking before thigh meat is completely cooked. 

Remove chicken from liquid and allow to cool.  Reserve some of the broth to moisten chicken mixture as needed. 

Shred or dice chicken into fairly small pieces and place in large bowl.  Toss in celery.  In another bowl, blend the mayonnaise, lemon juice, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Mix the dressing and chicken until well blended.  Test for salt. 

Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.  Garnish with black and green olives, chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Optional additions: 2-3 cups halved seedless red grapes, 1-2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese

Easiest Large Quantity Chicken Salad Recipe
Serves 20

Simple and satisfying

9 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken breast 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
4 medium celery ribs, small dice
5-6 green onions, white and green parts, minced
2 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the chicken:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the chicken with oil and season generously with salt.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and roast until breast register 160 degrees, about 40 minutes.  Cool to room temperature and shred meat, discarding skin and bones. 

Mix the chicken and the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.   Add salt and pepper to taste. 


Mediterranean Chicken Salad for 20

Serves 20

A nutritious salad of vegetables and chicken marinated in a simple vinaigrette

1 cup light olive oil    
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh soft herbs such as tarragon, basil, oregano or parsley
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt  or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

3 pounds baby red or white potatoes
2 cups halved white mushrooms
3 cups green beans; cut in half and steamed until tender crisp   
8 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Lettuce leaves, cherry tomatoes and avocado slices for garnish

In bowl whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients.  In a large pot or saucepan cook potatoes in water over medium heat about 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain, peel and slice into 3/4 inch slices.

Place potato slices, mushrooms and beans in separate piles in large shallow dish.  Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette to coat.  Cover and let stand at least 15  minutes.

Heat broiler. Broil chicken breasts 4 to 5 inches from heat source, about 10 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, turning once.

To serve, slice chicken breasts and arrange on platters lined with lettuce with potatoes, mushrooms and beans divided equally.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and avocado slices.  Drizzle more vinaigrette over salad and pass remaining dressing at table.

Chicken Pasta Salad for a Crowd
Serves 20

For this large quantity recipe you can use 2 4-pound whole rotisserie chickens.  Shred meat, discarding skin and bones.

6-8 cups cooked chicken.  
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 small onions finely diced
2 cups cooked pasta; use small pasta like elbow macoroni, orzo or gemeli
2 cups mayonnaise
Salt to taste

Lettuce and seasoned croutons for garnish

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate to allow flavors to set.  Serve on a large platter arranged on red leaf lettuce and top with crunchy croutons

Chinese Chicken Salad
Serves 8

Chinese Chicken Salad and Thai Chicken Salad (below) are welcome and delightfully different chicken salads and are perfect on a summer buffet or cookout. Use rotisserie chicken or pre-packaged chicken breast strips for an even easier salad.  

Shred chicken, slice peppers and prepare lettuce and cabbage, one day ahead. Store in separate containers.

2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (about 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken)
4 cups Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
4 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted***
1/2 cup green onion, sliced diagonally
1 1/2 cups chow mein noodles

***To toast sesame seeds, place in small skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring constantly

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cabbage, lettuce and bell peppers and sesame seeds. Toss well. Cover and refrigerate.  For the dressing: In a small jar with a lid, combine broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar oil and ginger.

Shake well. Pour over the salad and toss gently.

Place Chinese Chicken Salad on a serving platter or on individual plates. Top with green onions and chow mein noodles. Serve at once



Thai Chicken Salad
Serves 4-6

2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into julienne strips
1 fresh Anaheim, banana or poblano pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews, chopped

Combine all ingredients and toss well. Serve with salad greens (optional) and Lime Herb Dressing on the side

Lime Herb Dressing
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoon fish sauce OR soy sauce
2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh herb, such as mint, basil, cilantro or parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in small jar. Shake well before serving

Top of Chicken Salad


Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.