My lemon chicken salad is a light and refreshing pick that brings bright, sunny flavor to meal time. Prepared with chunks of juicy chicken breast, a kiss of lemon zest, fresh vibrant dill, a whisper of red onion, plus cool and creamy Greek yogurt, this tangy lemon chicken salad recipe makes for a healthy lunch when stuffed into soft pita!
An Easy Chicken Salad with a Bright, Lemony Twist
On those occasions when I prepare a roasted chicken and we end up with leftovers, or I purchase a rotisserie chicken from our local market to have on hand to snack on, I like to use this as a tasty opportunity to make a cool, creamy chicken salad to keep stashed in the fridge.
Ah, chicken salad, that wonderfully refreshing and slightly indulgent treat, one that is the perfect option to scoop up with crackers as an afternoon snack, or spoon over salad greens for added protein, or stuff into soft pita as a quick, grab-n-go lunch.
We definitely enjoy a good chicken salad, so I'm often thinking up various flavor twists to create bold, zippy options for us to enjoy, especially in the warm, sunny months.
And seeing as I tend to favor the flavor of lemon, and love to pair it with chicken (natural partners), I came up with my take on a creamy lemon chicken salad that's a little on the lighter, healthier side...
My lemon chicken salad recipe is brimming with creamy Greek yogurt in place of mayo, a drizzle of healthy olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh dill and finely minced red onion, plus a hefty pinch of lemon zest for that bright, lemony note.
The perfect balance of savory and tangy, this is one of our favorite quick and easy chicken salads to whip up when we have some leftover chicken on hand, perfect to enjoy as a snack or light lunch any day of the week!
My Recipe For Lemon Chicken Salad
As I mentioned above, this lemon chicken salad is an ideal option to whip up when you happen to have some leftover chicken on hand.
You can use any portion of the chicken—white or dark meat—but I tend to like the breast meat the best, and will simply cube it up.
And if you don't happen to have any leftover chicken, no worries! You can use a couple of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, and gently poach them in simmering, salted water for a few minutes, just until cooked through and tender.
What I appreciate about this chicken salad recipe is how few ingredients are required to pack a lot of flavor.
It takes only minutes to prep, and what you get is a tasty, good for you snack that's packed with protein, and delicious to enjoy in a myriad of ways.
Here's my lemon chicken salad recipe in 3 simple steps: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I add my cooked and cubed chicken to a bowl with the lemon zest, fresh herbs and the rest of the salad ingredients, then gently fold together until well combined.
- I spoon into a serving dish, cover and chill in the fridge.
- When ready to enjoy, I spoon the lemon chicken salad into pita pockets, enjoy it with crackers, or scoop over hearty greens.
Lemon Chicken Salad
by Ingrid Beer
This healthy lemon chicken salad is kissed with lemon zest, fresh dill, red onion, all combined with a touch of creamy Greek yogurt!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 203 calories per serving (salad only)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
- 2 ½ cups cooked and diced chicken breast (rotisserie is great)
- 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion
- 1 teaspoon, heaping, grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
- ¼ teaspoon, heaping, salt
- Pinch or two black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon, heaping, chopped fresh dill
- Pita bread, crackers or fresh greens to serve with
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add the diced chicken, plus the remainder of the ingredients up to and including the olive oil, to a medium size bowl and gently toss/fold to coat everything.
- Sprinkle in the dill, and fold once more to incorporate. Check the seasoning, and add any additional salt/pepper, if needed.
- Cover the salad and chill until ready to serve. When ready to enjoy, stuff the chicken salad into pita pockets with some greens, or serve with crackers on the side, or even over chopped greens.
Tips & Tidbits for my Lemon Chicken Salad recipe:
- Rotisserie chicken, or use your leftovers from roasting: What makes this chicken salad such an easy pick is that it calls for cooked chicken, which means that if you have any leftovers from your roasted chicken dinner or your rotisserie, you're golden. Simply cube up the breast meat (or both light and dark meat) and add to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
- Plain, full-fat Greek Yogurt in place of mayo: The Greek yogurt offers a bit of rich, thick, creamy texture plus natural tanginess, which goes well with the lemon. Plus, you get the added benefits of probiotics. However, you can use half yogurt and half mayo if you prefer.
- How to serve lemon chicken salad: I love to spoon it into pita pockets with greens, cucumbers and tomato slices as a hearty and healthy sandwich, but it's terrific scooped up with pita or pretzel chips, spooned into romaine leaves, or onto salad greens.
Hungry for more cozy chicken salad recipes? Check out this Chicken Salad Sandwich, this Curried Chicken Salad, this Chicken Salad with Honeycrisp apples, or this BBQ Chicken Salad Wrap!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!
Nice recipes, Ingrid. Thank you.
The Cozy Apron
I love the way this recipe looks! It looks delicious and I love that you added dill to the salad. I really want to make this at home. Looks very refreshing! Can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Billy, hope you give these a try—I do think you'll enjoy!
If i used full fat greek yougurt would I still need the olive oil? Thanks so much!
The Cozy Apron
Hi Kristen, great question! I'd say you'll be fine without it.
While the recipe doesn't call for much olive oil anyway (it simply rounds out the flavor a bit), you can totally leave it out, especially since you're using the full fat Greek yogurt.
Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Ingrid, I was so excited to find this recipe. I was at a women’s conference years ago and they served chicken salad. It was the best chicken salad I’d ever had so I asked for the brand or label (knowing it wasn’t homemade for that many people). It was Sandridge lemon dill chicken salad and I could never find it anywhere. I tried your recipe and it was delicious!!! I’ll definitely keep making it. Thank you for sharing it.
The Cozy Apron
Oh, that's so wonderful, Lori! I love when that happens.
There have been times that I've enjoyed a dish at a restaurant or some cafe, and then feel the need to recreate it in my own kitchen to be able to enjoy it whenever I'd like—it's a huge part of why I love to cook and recipe develop, lol!
Anyway, thanks so much for taking some time to share this with me, and I hope you enjoy this healthy little salad for a long time to come.
Happy cooking to you, Lori!
Hi Ms. Beer,
I really wanted to try this recipe, but didn't have enough leftover chicken. So I used about 1 cup chicken and pasta as a substitute for the rest. I had to add a little more seasoning, but then it tasted delicious. My family loved it too and I'll make sure to have enough chicken on hand for when I prepare it again.
Thank you for sharing.
The Cozy Apron
Hi Vera, truly appreciate your comment! 🙂
Glad to read you were so very creative with your ingredients for this salad. The adjustments you made sound terrific—great way to improvise!
Happy cooking to you, and again, thanks for sharing your experience!