How to Make Chicken Salad—No Mayo Required

Creamy and packed with fresh flavors, this healthy chicken salad no mayo recipe cuts back on calories and fat, but not on flavor.

Chicken salad is a great anytime meal. It’s made with convenient ingredients, is satisfying and versatile, and is of course, flavorful. But creamy chicken salads can also be laden with unnecessary fat and calories thanks to one particular ingredient—mayo. Mayonnaise is a key ingredient in most chicken salads, and for good reason—it’s delicious! But with a few swaps you can easily replicate its function in chicken salad without the unwanted extra calories.

This chicken salad no mayo recipe utilizes regular nonfat plain yogurt, but for an added boost of protein, you can also use Greek yogurt. For a summery option, check out this yogurt-based chicken salad made with cantaloupe. Or check out our Buffalo Chicken Salad for creamy salad anytime.

Now, let’s whip up a healthy chicken salad recipe.

How to Make a Creamy Chicken Salad—No Mayo Needed

This recipe serves eight, but keeps in the refrigerator for five days—hello, work lunches!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ cup thinly sliced celery
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

1. Make the dressing.

To make this chicken salad recipe, start by whisking together the sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, oil, Dijon, zest, salt, black pepper, and cayenne to a large bowl and combine.

2. Shred the chicken.

Utilize leftover cooked chicken, or stop by the store on your way home and grab a rotisserie chicken, to cut down on prep time for this recipe. Use two forks to shred the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces, then toss into the bowl with the dressing.

3. Get chopping.

With any chicken salad, there’s a bit of chopping involved. Luckily for no mayo recipe, we kept the knife work to a minimum. Thinly slice two ribs of celery and roughly chop scallions and parsley, add all three to bowl with dressing and chicken.

4. Personalize it.

Here’s where you can make this recipe your own. To keep it classic, we added raisins and sliced almonds, but you can use whatever dried or fresh fruit you prefer as well as whatever nuts you have on hand.

5. Serve it up!

Serve this creamy, no-mayo chicken salad between toasted slices of sandwich bread, on a croissant, in a wrap or spooned into lettuce cups.

Chicken Salad Variations

  • To make this healthy chicken salad dairy-free, mash up a medium avocado to use in place of the yogurt.
  • To add more protein, use Greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt and throw in some canned chickpeas.
  • To add a little more crunch, swap the raisins out for diced apples or even grapes.
  • For an Indian twist, add a teaspoon of curry powder to the dressing, or whip up our curried chicken salad.
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Lauren Grant
The veggie- and cheese-obsessed lady behind the food blog Zestful Kitchen, Lauren Grant is a trained Culinary Scientist and Journalist. She is a blogger, writer, recipe developer, and self-taught photographer.