This homemade chicken salad with grapes, pecans, and celery, tossed in a tangy mayo and sour cream dressing, rivals any store-bought version. Trust me, your guests will beg for seconds (and the recipe!). Ditch the pricey deli counter and discover how simple it is to whip up your own delicious chicken salad at home.

We’re sharing all of our tips so you can make the best chicken salad you’ve ever tasted. From our special homemade creamy dressing to the secret way we make the pecans stand out, you’ll find this recipe delivers everything you need.

Chicken salad with grapes, pecans, and herbs served in a lettuce wrap, accompanied by golden-brown crackers.

Do you remember those dainty chicken salad sandwiches that used to be de rigueur at every gathering? Bridal shower – ✅ Birthday party – ✅ Funeral – ✅ there was always a big glass platter stacked high with the little square sandwiches, always white bread with the crusts cut off.

I loved those sandwiches!

My chicken salad is a little more chunky and wouldn’t work well as a dainty sandwich filler. However, it’s great as a snack or quick lunch for a hungry husband and keeps for several days in the refrigerator. It’s also perfect as a bridal shower salad with little tart shells.

Why you’ll love this chicken salad with grapes and pecans

TASTE – There are so many elements to this chicken salad that bring the flavor, from the tangy sour cream-based dressing to the sweet pop of the grapes and crunch of the celery — it all comes together to make this great-tasting salad.

MAKE-AHEAD – I’m not gonna lie. There’s a good bit of work involved in making this chicken salad. You’re toasting pecans and chopping grapes, celery, and a few other things. But you can cheat a little by using a rotisserie chicken, and once you get everything chopped up, that’s all there is to it. Then you just stir it together and it keeps for days in the refrigerator.

ADAPTABLE — You can easily change up this recipe to suit your tastes. Don’t care for pecans? Swap them out for toasted walnuts or slivered almonds. Add some apples or blueberries instead of grapes. We like the balance of sweet and savory that we get from having some type of nut and a fruit, but it doesn’t matter too much what combination you use.  

I hope you’ll try this ultimate chicken salad. I think you’ll love it, and I bet you’ll make it again and again!

A bowl of creamy chicken salad garnished with parsley, served with lemon wedges and a gold spoon, on a white and green striped cloth.

What you’ll need to make chicken salad with grapes and pecans

Ingredients for chicken salad with grapes and pecans laid out on a marble surface, including shredded chicken, grapes, celery, nuts, and condiments.

Chicken rotisserie chicken works great

Grapes – red or green is fine

Pecans buy in bulk and keep in the freezer!

Celery crunchy and fresh

Lemon Juice fresh is best

Parsley  fresh parsley you can use all week

Sour Cream  adds a little tang

Dijon mustard – for a little zippiness

Mayonnaise I use Duke’s (is there any other kind?)

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5 from 4 votes

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans

A flavorful, chunky chicken salad fit for company or simple lunches.
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 cups
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  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups chopped chicken
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 ¼ cups quartered seedless grapes
  • cup chopped roasted pecans* see notes for instructions


  • Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Add chicken, celery, grapes, and pecans.
  • Stir until well blended.


How to toast pecans

You can toast the pecans whole and then chop, or go ahead and chop first. I’ve done it both ways, and I prefer to toast them whole. 
While stovetop or oven methods work equally well, I usually toast nuts in the oven so I can do other things while they’re cooking. Preheat the oven to 350 F and place the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake the pecans 7-10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until they start to turn brown and you smell the roasting aroma. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. You can freeze any leftovers or toss a little salt on them and set them out for snacking.

Tips for Making the Best Chicken Salad:

Use a rotisserie chicken for the best flavor and to make it super easy!
Be sure your ingredients are fresh: lemon, parsley, celery. 
Duke’s Mayo has the best flavor IMO.


Serving: 6cups, Calories: 631kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Sodium: 313mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Calories: 631
Keyword: chicken pecan salad, chicken salad with grapes, chicken salad with grapes and pecans
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!
A chicken salad sandwich with lettuce on a croissant, garnished with pecans and grapes, served on a white plate.

How to make chicken salad with grapes

Step 1. Cook and cool the chicken. I start with a whole rotisserie chicken, a whole roasted chicken that I’ve cooked, or even three or four roasted chicken breasts — basically, whatever I have on hand. Let it sit out for a few minutes to cool down so you can pull it off the bones.

Step 2. Make the dressing. In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Step 3. Start chopping! Chopping the chicken for the chicken salad is really a matter of personal preference. I chop it pretty small, but many restaurant chicken salads are chunkier. I like the celery chopped very fine and the grapes quartered.

Step 4. Combine ingredients. Toss the chopped chicken into the bowl with the dressing and add celery, grapes, and pecans.

A glass bowl containing a salad with layers of shredded chicken, diced celery, red grapes, and topped with pecans on a marble surface.

Step 4. Mix it up. Stir it all together, and you’re done. You’ll have enough chicken salad to make lunches for several days.

A bowl of chicken salad with celery and pecans, served with crackers and lemon wedges, on a marble surface.

Tips and questions

Can you freeze chicken salad?

Technically, yes, you can. It’s not going to hurt you or make anyone sick. But the quality will suffer, and you probably won’t like the result.

Mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well, nor does raw celery and onion. A better plan is to freeze the chicken separately and then thaw and add the other ingredients when you’re ready to serve the chicken salad.

What type of mayonnaise should you use?

Is this a serious question? Duke’s Mayonnaise is the only mayonnaise allowed in my house.

How do you store chicken salad with grapes and pecans?

Your chicken salad will keep for several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

What to serve with chicken salad

This depends on how you’re serving the chicken salad. If you’re making sandwiches, then all you need are potato chips and pickles.

If you’re serving the chicken salad with grapes and pecans as part of a larger spread of foods, say for brunch, then I would include several other things like a quiche, classic pear salad, and some crudites with green goddess dip.

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Update Notes: This post was originally published April 11, 2011, and on May 12, 2024, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

Lucy standing behind a counter with a cheese board and glass of wine.

About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This chicken salad is SO GOOD! I love the texture and the perfect combination of flavors in the dressing. My husband, who isn’t normally a fan of chicken salad, devoured it.

  2. 5 stars
    I love adding grapes to my tuna, chicken and tofu salads…purple grapes look so beautiful in these dishes and I am so happy to see you’ve added them to this recipe. Love it!

  3. 5 stars
    I love adding grapes to my tuna, chicken and tofu salads…purple grapes look so beautiful in these dishes and I am so happy to see you’ve added them to this recipe. Love it!

  4. I could change the name from UDC to Lambda and the experience would be the same…chicken salad finger sandwiches & lemon pound cake! There’s nothing like growing up Southern 🙂