The Best Chicken Salad You’ve Never Tried– from the Fine Southern Ladies of East Carolina

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I’ve always had a fondness for the South. University days in Nashville. A sweltering summer waiting tables in Atlanta. Boyfriends from each of the Carolinas. And of course, a love of Southern food. But the Southern food I love can’t be found in a restaurant or in the pages of a cookbook. It’s the kind that’s never written down, passed down from one generation to the next.

sotuthern grandma makes best chicken salad ever

The Finest Southern Ladies Teach this Yankee to Cook

On holiday visits to Eastern Carolina, I was blown away by the dedication of the Southern women to taking care of the home and hearth. Grandma Henrietta, at a hundred years old, still dressed in an elegant skirt ensemble every single day.

She wore shorts only one day of her life, to the beach, and sorely regretted it ever since (“I felt naked,” she recalled). While her husband was still alive, she prepared him two hearty meals a day, always with a fresh batch of biscuits made from scratch.

Grandma Henrietta pampered us during our stays, preparing elaborate breakfasts laid out on a lazy susan that we spun around to reach for fresh local sausages, fluffy eggs and banana slices. One day I insisted on taking over breakfast duties.

Grandma Henrietta pretended not to be watching as I cracked the eggs into the pan. Finally she could hold her tongue no more, “Sugar, you’re going to scorch those eggs.” This was how I received my first lesson in Southern cooking. Without a word, Grandma Henrietta guided my hand and stirred the curds deftly, gently scraping and lifting. My eggs have been perfect ever since.

Grandma Henrietta taking a rare moment to relax over the holidays:

I have tried to pepper these fine Southern ladies with cooking questions and requests for recipes. A typical conversation would go like this:

“But how much mustard?”

“Oh just a little”

“Like a tablespoon?”

“No that’s too much.”

I eventually figured out that the only way to learn their secrets was to stand alongside them in the kitchen, sharing stories while keeping an eagle eye on their cooking techniques. Cooking was never about an exact measurement– it was a mindful process– guided by intuition, by taste, by touch.

Chicken Salad, East Carolina Style

Which brings me to the chicken salad. Chicken salad, at least in East Carolina homes, is a staple. There is usually a batch in the fridge, and even at dinner gatherings there might be a bowl of chicken salad on the buffet, sitting somewhere between the baked ham and cheese platter. This chicken salad was unlike any I’d ever tried before. Free of fancy adornments (no grapes, nuts or even onions) and finely chopped to meld into a kind of pâté, it was more of an all-purpose spread than a sandwich filling. We pulled it out of the fridge for a snack and spread it on Ritz crackers, with a glass of Cheerwine.

Determined to replicate this addictive dish back home, I cornered one of my favorite Southern belles, Aunt Connie, for tips. I was thrilled when Aunt Connie rattled off an exact ingredient list– poached chicken (breasts only); Dijon mustard; celery; salad cubes and of course only Duke’s mayonnaise.

Duke’s Mayonnaise– A Southern Souvenir to Stock up on

dukes mayonnaise best chicken salad ever southern

I was already a Duke’s convert– Duke’s mayonnaise is different from most mayonnaise in that it has no sugar. It has a fresh, clean taste and is the only mayonnaise many Southerners use. For some crazy reason, Duke’s is only available in the South.  The limited availability of Duke’s has helped fuel its cult-like status among certain foodie non-Southerners– like me. Whenever I head down South, I make sure to stock up on a few jars. Still, I always run out of Dukes and end up needing to restock online.

The Recipe: Aunt Connie’s Best Chicken Salad, East Carolina Style

Armed with actual ingredients, I was able to get a few more essential tips to the success of this chicken salad. Always peel the celery. Don’t add extra ingredients– especially not onions. Finely cut the chicken into teeny tiny pieces. I asked Aunt Connie how she was able to slice the chicken into such tiny slivers.

“Oh I use scissors” she replied. I looked at the pile of breasts.

Doesn’t that take a long time?

“No, just about an hour.”

Ok so this may be the most labor-intensive chicken salad I’ve ever made, but I promise the results are worth it.

best chicken salad ever poached serving suggestion southern hosting

I learned my hostessing skills from the fine Southern ladies of Eastern Carolina.

chicken salad with ritz crackers

Ritz crackers are a perfect accompaniment to this chicken salad. For an equally unhealthy, gluten-free option, they are also delicious served atop potato chips.

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Aunt Connie’s Best Chicken Salad Ever, East Carolina Style

1 pound chicken, breasts only (I usually double the recipe)
1-3 celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped (amount depends on how crunchy you like your salad)
1 spoonful dijon mustard (or more, to taste)
1 spoonful or more Sweet Pickle Cubes,* finely chopped (to taste)
1 spoonful or more Dill Pickle Cubes,* finely chopped (to taste)
Several tablespoons Duke’s mayonnaise

*If you absolutely cannot find salad cubes, you may substitute relish

  1. Poach chicken breasts, do not overcook.
  2. Meanwhile peel and finely chop celery
    3.  Remove chicken and let cool.
    4.  Trim chicken into teeny tiny slivers with scissors. This is best done in while watching a movie or similar. If you get carpal tunnel like symptoms (especially if you’re cutting up 2 or more pounds) take a break, then continue.
  3. Place cut up chicken in bowl. Add celery. Add one spoonful Dijon mustard to start (at the end you can adjust and add more). Add a minimum one spoonful each of sweet and dill salad cubes (I add more sweet than dill, and several spoonfuls).
  4. Scoop out mayonnaise, starting with a couple of tablespoons, mix well. Keep adding mayo until mixed well. Adjust mustard and salad cubes as needed.
  5. Place in fridge for several hours to allow flavors to marry.
  6. Serve with crackers, or on sandwich (white toast preferred, with tomato).

You can also order Duke’s online here.

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best chicken salad ever southern style ritz crackers

Best chicken salad ever served in the traditional Southern way– on Ritz crackers.

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100 Responses to The Best Chicken Salad You’ve Never Tried– from the Fine Southern Ladies of East Carolina

  1. Ray Laskowitz 09/28/2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Hi. You’re talking to southern Brooklynites here…. 🙂 In New Orleans it’s easy to find. But, normally down here we use Blue Plate. In NY, not so much. But just across the bridge or tunnel, in NJ, you can find Dukes at any Family Dollar Store. Musical Miss says you still don’t have it quite right. You need a little heat. But, she thinks you need heat in everything so…:)

    • Kristin Francis 09/28/2014 at 6:36 pm #

      I’ll have to check it out– it’s not in their official distribution channels, maybe they get overruns? Haha I haven’t tried adding heat to chicken salad but I definitely add some heat to my pimento cheese spread!

  2. Amal Kapen 09/28/2014 at 3:36 pm #

    This looks delish! A must try!

    • Kristin Francis 09/28/2014 at 6:35 pm #

      So happy you stopped by– you taught me how to make my first chicken! : )

      • Andy 11/07/2015 at 1:04 pm #

        This sounds delish. Have you thought about using a cuisanart to chop the chicken very tiny by pulsing it?

  3. Lost Roses 09/28/2014 at 5:47 pm #

    cYou can peel celery ? I had no idea! Looks delicious but I have to agree on the time-consuming part. Love Grandma. Henrietta ‘s take on wearing shorts!

    • Kristin Francis 09/28/2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Yes, it’s much less stringy! I always do it now that I’ve learned this tip.

  4. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey 10/04/2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Oh yum! This looks so wonderful. We don’t have very nice mayo here in Croatia, so I’ll try this whenI am in Australia over Xmas.

    • Danielle 03/27/2022 at 9:53 pm #

      Just make your own, eggs and oil. Super easy a d tastes way better!

      • Kristin Francis 07/03/2022 at 1:04 pm #

        I’ve done it before and you are right it is way better!

  5. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer 10/07/2014 at 1:24 pm #

    That sounds amazing! I love southern-style cooking and grew up on it (my grandparents were all born in the South). One important thing I learned from them is not to make exact measurements. I rarely measure things these days (unless a recipe specifically calls for it) – I just put in an amount that looks good 😀

  6. Ken Davis 10/09/2014 at 7:48 pm #

    My grandmother ran her chicken through one of those old-fashioned metal meat grinders that clamps to your counter – used a coarse blade but it was the perfect consistency. And this has to be the same recipe that she used. Making it this weekend! Thanks for posting!

    • Kristin Francis 10/09/2014 at 10:09 pm #

      I love this idea, I’m going to try it! I just don’t have the discipline to sit with those scissors for an hour, lol. Thanks so much!

      • debbcoughlin59 09/28/2015 at 4:07 pm #

        My Grandma and mom made it in the meat grinder, too. Now, I just use the food processor for the pickles (homemade, of course!) and the celery and the chicken. People look at it kinda funny when they first see it, but when they taste-ooh la la

      • Kristin Francis 10/10/2015 at 11:15 am #

        I am definitely inspired to make my own pickles now! Thanks so much for sharing! : )

  7. Robert Schrader 10/21/2014 at 7:05 am #

    I have to be honest about something: Mayonnaise is probably my least-favorite thing in the entire world. Like, to the extent that there is probably no amount of money I would accept in exchange for eating a teaspoon of it. With this being said, I can excuse mayonnaise if it is well-mixed into something and that certainly seems to be the case with this chicken salad. In fact, I decided to come to your site before eating, and the picture of it literally drew me in.

    P.S. I can’t believe that lady is 100 and still cooking.

    • Kristin Francis 10/21/2014 at 9:06 am #

      Haha actually mayo standing alone or even spread on a sandwich also makes me ill. Somehow if it’s a small amount and mixed properly into something (and free of the nasty stuff they put in bigger brands), it’s totally different. Sadly, Grandma Henrietta passed at 102 but dressed up every single day, cleaned and cooked in her own home, up until her last day.

  8. Natalie 03/14/2015 at 9:57 pm #

    I was born and raised in South Carolina (and still live in Charleston), and chicken salad is a staple at every baby shower, holiday feast, and bridal shower! Everyone had a family recipe, but in my family, we add chopped pecans and finely diced boiled eggs, and stay far away from the mustard and celery. Add lots of salt and pepper, put it on croissants, and it’s crazy good. And yes, around here, it’s Duke’s on everything or no mayo at all! 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 03/14/2015 at 10:04 pm #

      Natalie, that sounds like a delicious version! I’ve used chopped eggs before and who doesn’t love pecans- I’ll try that next time for a change. I need to get back to Charleston, haven’t been in years– maybe I should go for a quick weekend. What do you recommend for souvenirs?

      • Natalie 03/16/2015 at 8:39 am #

        You should definitely head back this way, Kristin! Charleston’s changed so much in the last few years–lots of new restaurants and revitalization! My favorite thing to give to visitors is a sweetgrass basket: they’re made by hand by locals based on a Gullah tradition that dates to the antebellum period. They’re gorgeous!

  9. Cheryl 04/14/2015 at 2:20 pm #

    I live in Seattle, Washington. I just found that you can order Duke’s from Amazon! I will definitely try this recipe using the real deal. Thanks.

    • Kristin Francis 04/14/2015 at 2:30 pm #

      Thanks Cheryl, I’ll add a link!

    • Rebecca Lamb 04/28/2016 at 11:56 pm #

      I have small jars of Dukes mayo at my localHost Tree.

  10. Danna Johnson 04/26/2015 at 12:24 am #

    My husband prefers his chicken and tuna salad with pickle relish with jalapeño. Not to hot just adds a little bite to it. Actually this first time I had it in my tuna I was trying to figure out what the unique yet different taste was. Finally figured it out. Took a minute. Subtle but scrumptious

    • Kristin Francis 04/26/2015 at 12:30 pm #

      Danna– that sounds like a great variation– I love a little heat too. I’ll have to give this one a try for a change! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Susan Thompson 05/19/2015 at 5:11 pm #

    My mother was from eastern NC and she made her chicken salad exactly the same way, but without the mustard. One way to ensure that it has the smooth consistency is to mix it while the chicken is still room temperature. If the chicken is cooked and refrigerated before cutting and mixing itwith the other ingredients, it will not blend well. There is nothing like Dukes mayo. Go to their website to read about the history of the product.

    • Kristin Francis 05/20/2015 at 1:57 pm #

      Susan, thanks so much for writing in! Thanks for the tip about room temperature– I never thought about that and considering how long it takes me to cut up the chicken have thought about taking a break before finishing and popping it in the fridge.

  12. Anonymous 05/24/2015 at 9:01 am #

    I use a Kitchen Aid standing mixer with the batter bar to shred 6 breasts at a time. Works great.

    • Kristin Francis 05/24/2015 at 8:42 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to test this out!

  13. Joetta 06/04/2015 at 9:48 am #

    Wow, great story. Thanks for sharing

  14. denise 06/08/2015 at 9:07 am #

    This is a must try! I enjoy all the family recipes that are passed down. I make a German potato salad at every family gathering and our grandma is always with us in spirit. She passed 3 years ago at the young age of 106 1/2. Thanks!

  15. gloria carter 06/14/2015 at 2:22 pm #

    denise, would you please share your German Potato Salad recipe? Thank you so much! Gloria

  16. Laurie 06/19/2015 at 1:04 pm #

    Sweet. Memories of my Mawmaw and her soft but non-doughy biscuits. She added chopped boil eggs to her chicken salad and homemade dill pickles, not bread and butter. Always Dukes. Always Cheerwine. From NC but lived in NOVA and further north. Had to educate them about Dukes and that Cheerwine and Dr. Pepper/Cherry Coke no where near the same.

  17. Laurie 06/19/2015 at 1:26 pm #

    Correction. Not homemade dill pickles but homemade sweet pickles for Mawmaw’s chicken salad. She used the chicken broth and made “pastry” known to Yankees as dumplings.

    • Kristin Francis 06/20/2015 at 11:17 am #

      Laurie– loved reading about your mawmaw’s cooking! I’ll have to try that variation with homemade pickles (I make my own). I’ve also heard about using chopped eggs. But never heard of the term “pastry”– that’s new one! thanks for sharing. : )

  18. Meredith 08/15/2015 at 1:14 pm #

    I have a confession: the first time I saw this post, it brought tears to my eyes. Both the photo and the receipe reminded me so much of my dear “Gram” from Kinston, NC. Gram put pecans in her chicken salad and served it with green grapes.
    I’ve just made this receipe for the second time and it taste like a little bit of home, right here in Germany! Thanks for sharing!

    • Kristin Francis 08/16/2015 at 1:24 pm #

      Aww Meredith thanks so much for sharing! I’m so glad you were able to relate. I don’t often write very personal posts like this. The “Gram” here is also from the Kinston area! That sounds like a delicious variation. : )

  19. MissMila 08/22/2015 at 3:05 am #

    Doesn’t seem that labor intensive… Just use a food processor to chop the chicken… Six pulses. I also use mayo with olive oil, no mustard or pickles or celery… But I add crasins and walnuts and onion and everyone raves about my chicken salad. Also salt… And my secret ingredient 😉

  20. Elaine 08/25/2015 at 7:55 am #

    I live in Eastern North Carolina, and you’re right, chicken salad has always been a staple. But you just can’t beat a recipe using homemade sweet pickles. My mother would use the salad cubes when homemade sweet pickles were impossible to come by but she never liked the flavor as well. Also, mom always liked to add a little dark meat to her chicken salad. She believed it gave it a better texture and flavor. I do love the fact that Aunt Connie uses scissors to cut up a chicken. The women in my family have always done this and as a kid I did think it a little weird. But now I realize how truly genius it is. If you really want some phenomenal chicken salad though, I suggest putting in the labor of making some homemade sweet pickles. You’ll never regret it.

    • Elaine 08/25/2015 at 8:04 am #

      Oh, also she used plain yellow mustard instead of Dijon, but very little and sometimes the diced boiled eggs. Her chicken salad was always just a tad to the sweet side. Yummers.

    • Kristin Francis 08/25/2015 at 2:35 pm #

      Yum how does she make the sweet pickles? I would definitely give it a try!

  21. malindams 09/06/2015 at 9:34 pm #

    When you say “East Carolina” where are you talking about? “Eastern” North Carolina or “Eastern” South Carolina? The only thing we call East Carolina is the University in Greenville, NC. There are all kinds of “Eastern” North Carolina dishes, i.e. Bar-B-Que…but no one in North Carolina calls anything “East Carolina”. That being said, love the recipe!

    P.S. I live in Raleigh, NC but I am from Eastern NC, Goldsboro.

    • Jane 03/20/2016 at 6:09 pm #

      Bravo! This is a wonderfully done recipe, and as a native of NC, I can confirm that that you’ve really hit the nail on the head. However, I must agree that referring to “East Carolina” is both ambiguous and mildly off-putting. While NC and SC have many similar foods, there are just as many differences. I imagine it would be like someone saying that there’s really no meaningful difference between foods in New York and New Jersey.

      • Kristin Francis 03/21/2016 at 9:47 am #

        Hi Jane, thanks for your comments! I was under the impression that this style was more of a coastal thing for either Carolina– but I’m not even sure where I got that from haha. Would you say it’s definitely a NC and the entire state or that region of NC?

  22. judy 09/27/2015 at 11:39 am #

    Chicken salad is a tradition in our family also. Our family is from Florence county, SC. It was served at church women’s circle meetings held at member’s homes. They would clean the house all week and the day of the meeting would make the salad using a hen they would fatten over time in the cage. The salad was served over lettuce along with ritz crackers, and a spiced apple ring. There might have been fresh green peas from the garden,on the side. I was a young girl at this time.
    We make the salad often now, but we like to share it because it is so good. I put When the ladies made it they added a finely diced peeled apple to the salad. I grew up eating it with apple and I add it to mine. I don’t use the sweet pickles or relish, or onion because the apple gives a faint taste of sweet. You mentioned cutting up the chicken taking so long. If the chicken is tender and not refrigerator cold you can chop it into pieces, and wear a pair of disposable gloves, put pieces of chopped chicken in you hand and roll the chicken back and forth in your palm it will separate and become fine in pieces. We also like the Dukes. When I boil the chicken, I add a couple chopped celery stalks and about a half onion to the water. It gives the chicken such good flavor. Our families before us didn’t measure much, and added a little of this and that, and added extra salt and pepper after repeatedly tasting. They were some of the best Southern food cooks I’ve ever known. Most everything cooked was from scratch. Oh how I love that memory.

    • Kristin Francis 10/10/2015 at 11:18 am #

      Judy, thanks so much for sharing your story! I never heard of a spiced apple ring but will google it– I am intrigued! And the apple sounds like a perfect addition to the salad for a change. Thanks for the rolling chicken tip– I’ll give it a try next time. : )

  23. Benita Davis 09/28/2015 at 9:15 pm #

    This is very similar to the chicken salad I make in my restaurant! 🙂 I sell so much I buy Dukes by the case ( 4 – 1 gallon jars) I know how to save you lots of TIME 🙂 !! I use a food processor. I cut the celery with scissors then run thru processor . I also run my chicken thru the processor. Chicken, celery, duke’s and my spice blend are the only ingredients.

    • Kristin Francis 10/10/2015 at 11:14 am #

      Benita– sounds fabulous! Would love to check out your restaurant if I’m in the area sometime– what is it called?

  24. Kerry 10/27/2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Found this on Pintrest, so my response is not timely. You can buy Duke’s at Fresh Market, a small grocery chain based in North Carolina. Also, what brand of salad cubes do you use? Finally, I have never heard of peeling celery, and I was raised in the South!! What do you mean by that term?

    • Kristin Francis 10/28/2015 at 7:21 pm #

      Hi Kerry,
      No worries, lots of new readers are finding this via Pinterest lately, I still check comments! : )
      I use Mt. Olive salad cubes (photo in the slide show). I just use a vegetable peeler to peel the celery stalks (I do the same with asparagus, it really works well). I’ll have to check out Fresh Market next time I pass through!

  25. Ann Baird 11/01/2015 at 9:14 pm #

    I did not know Dukes wasn’t available everywhere. It’s sure a staple of good southern recipes.

  26. Lisa Moore 01/18/2016 at 6:08 pm #

    I just tried this and it is delicious! I followed the recipe more or less exactly – peeled the celery, scissor cut the chicken – no salad cubes in MD so I substituted pickle relish and chopped hot dill pickles, even managed to find Duke’s mayonnaise in the local grocery store (low fat version). I made a ton and DH informs me he is “meh” on chicken salad. Oh well, more for me! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Kristin Francis 01/20/2016 at 8:02 am #

      It might have been the low-fat version which is ENTIRELY different than regular Dukes! The regular version is very clean tasting– the low fat has a lot more additives etc. Yum hot dill sounds delicious!

      • Lisa Moore 02/09/2016 at 12:10 pm #

        Husband ended up tasting the chicken salad and LOVING it – ate the rest of it on crackers and I made a few sandwiches. Just sent the recipe to my parents, who love chicken salad. This is a must make again – I will try the full fat version sometime but ….calories!

      • Kristin Francis 02/18/2016 at 9:12 pm #

        oh good!! So glad to hear! Time for me to make another batch! : )

      • Lisa Moore 10/12/2016 at 9:31 am #

        Just wanted to come back and say this is my go to recipe for chicken salad, I am addicted. I did get the full fat Duke’s and found the salad cubes at the local Giant. I pulse the chicken in a food processor rather than cut it up and it turns out amazing. As a matter of fact, I now throw tuna in a food processor before I make tuna salad, you need less mayo that way. Thank you again for this awesome recipe!

      • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:52 pm #

        Aww so happy to hear! Great idea on tuna salad too I’ll try it!

  27. Jacky F 01/26/2016 at 4:29 pm #

    Came across your receipe and wanted to try it but never heard of Dukes Mayo. Not available in MA where I live and Amazon (which I love by the way) was kind of pricey for something I may or may not like (I’m a Hellmans girl). But… Great deal…Found it online @ for only $3.48 for a large 32oz jar…. AND FREE SHIPPING. Ordered it Saturday and arrived today. Thought I’d share that bit of info and will post how it came out when Done with it. Cooking up my chicken right now.

    • Kristin Francis 02/18/2016 at 9:17 pm #

      Ah good to know!

      • Tamara L. Merritt 03/08/2016 at 11:06 am #

        Sam’s has Duke’s. Used to buy by the gallon, now we can by 2 1/2-gallons. We can buy at the store, but I am sure that it could be ordered and shipped.

        The good Southern refrigerator has chicken salad, pimento cheese, several varieties of sweet pickles, all of which are homemade.

        In my neck of the woods, a good Southern cook always has a homemade pound cake on the table.

  28. Marielle Williams 03/07/2016 at 5:42 pm #

    You can get Duke’s mayo and bothsweet and dill pickle cubes at I’ve ordered from them several times. Excellent source.

  29. Britney 03/08/2016 at 8:37 pm #

    Ahh my Jacksonville, NC boyfriend taught me how to make this and ham salad– def a whole new world of flavor for me! So delicious. Funny you mentioned Cheerwine. He stocks up every time we visit his parents.

  30. Becky 03/17/2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Just to make sure I’m on the same page, when you mention “spoon”,a re you talking serving spoon or soup spoon? I’m guessing serving spoon, but I want to make sure.

  31. Shauna 04/26/2016 at 3:39 pm #

    I just made this today — delicious! I overcooked some chicken breasts last night and NEEDED to make some chicken salad. I only had frozen celery, Dole Sweet Pickle Relish (no. other. kind. will. do), and Hellman’s mayo — sorry, Grandma, I live in the middle of nowhere in the Rockies and have to make do — and used a Cuisinart to pulse it all together. It was wonderful! It has the perfect, essential taste of Chicken Salad — not goopy with mayo, not too crunchy with 1800 add-ins, not too sweet. My MaMaw would totally approve!

  32. Shauna 04/27/2016 at 2:30 pm #

    I said Dole Sweet Pickle Relish — I misspoke. It’s DEL MONTE Sweet Pickle Relish — it’s the only one that doesn’t have an “off” kind of dill pickle-y flavor. I’m wondering if your cubes would be a good substitute when I finally run out of my stash. Apparently you can only get it in Ohio and California, and I just got out of California (20 years of trying.) They can’t make me go back. 😉

  33. Vicki Winslow 06/12/2016 at 5:02 pm #

    This chicken salad is fabulous! Just finished my first batch, using Duke’s mayo and North Carolina’s own Mt. Olive brand dill salad cubes and sweet salad cubes. I feel like I’m back in my grandma’s kitchen….

    • Kristin Francis 07/03/2016 at 11:36 am #

      Thank you! Making more today!

  34. Serena 06/29/2016 at 10:12 am #

    I am originally from the south. I love dukes mayo. I have been living in Wisconsin for the past 2 year’s and my sister had to always mail me duke’s mayo. Yesterday tho I found dukes mayo for sale at Walmart in Wisconsin!!!

  35. Janice Hill 07/02/2016 at 3:03 pm #

    Loved reading the comments. You make it nice and simple just like I do, but we are not a mayo family. I use Miracle Whip salad dressing like my mom did for years.

  36. Lauren C 09/28/2016 at 2:52 pm #

    I was looking for a recipe for chicken salad to re-purpose the remainder of a baked chicken. When I saw the jar of Duke’s, I knew I’d found the right one! This is exactly what I was looking for. It took me back to the church teas, luncheons, and showers I was dragged to as a child. Thanks!

    • Kristin Francis 11/09/2016 at 6:58 pm #

      So happy to hear, thanks for sharing!:)

  37. Sandee Ray 11/14/2016 at 6:41 pm #

    Hi Kristin! I am actually making this recipe at this very moment. So looking forward to it. I live in Ohio and we have Kroger’s here which is throughout the south. I was jumping literally, when I saw Duke’s on the shelf at my store. My husband and other shoppers in the aisle were staring but I raised that jar of Duke’s over my head as if I won a trophy!! I am actually going to try this on baby croissants and of course, I bought a box of Ritz for tomorrow’s lunch. I know that Kroger’s is a sister company to Ralphs in California so people need to look at their chain store before ordering it. They might be jumping for joy like I did!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  38. Beverly Clark 02/15/2017 at 8:48 am #

    what does a spoonful equal…

  39. Tina C Millard 08/13/2017 at 3:45 pm #

    With respect to the Dijon mustard, start with a couple of teaspoons. With reference to the pickles or relish, start with a couple of tablespoons. When you have finished mixing everything together, taste a spoonful or two of the salad. If you don’t notice any mustard, add a little more. Then taste the salad for pickles or relish, add more if you don’t notice the flavor, reduce in future if it dominates. It annoys me no end when recipes are vague or ambiguous too, but a little experimentation can solve the problem.

    • Kristin Francis 10/24/2017 at 6:46 pm #

      Finally, some actual practical tips! Thanks so much for sharing, Tina 🙂

  40. Anonymous 02/11/2018 at 4:07 pm #

    I sometimes use chicken breast in the can and it really makes good chicken salad.

    • Kristin Francis 02/26/2018 at 9:36 am #

      Interesting, thanks for the tip!

  41. Maree 03/16/2018 at 12:48 pm #

    Thank you for sharing recipe! Another great add is Wickles~ it is sweet and a little spicy.

    • Kristin Francis 03/26/2018 at 11:24 am #

      oh never heard of it, I’ll have to pick some up!

  42. Joe campisi 03/20/2018 at 5:12 pm #

    Try a half tea spoon of liquid smoke, gives it that grilled chicken taste.

    • Kristin Francis 03/26/2018 at 11:18 am #

      Hi Joe, thanks for your tip! I prefer the simple no fuss version but I’m sure other readers might like to try that!

  43. Anonymous 05/25/2018 at 9:30 am #

    Hi sweetie! I’m from the South……. from North Carolina. The simplest way to cut your chicken fine is and old fashioned hand held chopper! I make mine smalls for tarts at showers and such and it works great! Hope this helps!

  44. Anonymous 06/21/2018 at 5:26 pm #

    I got the biggest giggle from this post! Thanks for the recipe and being patient with those Older Southern Ladies 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 10/26/2018 at 12:10 am #

      Haha thanks so much for commenting! If you can’t tell I adore all southern ladies, I strive to achieve that discipline!

  45. jodie 06/29/2018 at 5:15 pm #

    This is great. I was looking for a recipe for a particular chicken salad that comes from Robert’s Grocery Store in Wrightsville Beach, NC. My mom’s side of the family is from there (the town, not the store), my dad’s side is from outside Asheville (boy are their customs different – ketchup in BBQ?, LIVERMUSH???), and I was born up near Williamston. I live in St. Louis now, and luckily we can get Duke’s mayo here. I’ve never seen salad cubes, though we do have Mt. Olive products and they are in my refrigerator right now! This chicken salad is actually the only time I will eat sweet pickles!

    Robert’s chicken salad has pimentos in it, which I think are a nice addition. It’s also a little stringier than the pate consistency, and I like a little texture – I think the KitchenAide suggestion from another commenter will do the trick. We’ve started eating it with Nut Thins… sort of a modern adaptation of the Ritz cracker (and not even a gluten allergy to be found – we just like them hahaha).

    • Kristin Francis 10/26/2018 at 12:06 am #

      Hi Jodie! Thanks so much for sharing your story and tips! I love pimentos so can’t see how that would be a wrong addition!

  46. cindibythesea 08/26/2018 at 7:48 pm #

    I don’t know about Duke’s, I mean I have seen it here, but for me nothing but Blue Plate from New Orleans will do. It’s the creamiest richest and best flavor. I never liked mayo until I tried it. I do understand that Blue Plate is regional, but here in the south, it’s what I love.

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:37 pm #

      Hi Cindi! I haven’t tried it yet so I will definitely have to! Is there a NOLA recipe that would fit it well?

  47. Anonymous 09/21/2018 at 1:18 pm #

    Perfect simplicity, it was exactly what I had in my fridge and my picky eater husband really enjoyed it. I added one or two crumbled “Whisps”, a parmasean cheese crisp- gave it a little something extra! Thanks again!

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:27 pm #

      oh I love that idea! I add potato chips to my sandwiches sometimes for crunch haha

  48. Christena Stachowski 10/23/2018 at 2:36 pm #

    I use my food processor to chop my chicken

    • Kristin Francis 10/25/2018 at 11:15 pm #

      Sounds like some other readers do that as well! I was told it makes the chicken tougher, but I’m all for time saving.

  49. Edwin Price 11/26/2020 at 11:01 pm #

    use Duke’s Mayo (one of the few Mayo”s that is sugar-free

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 9:01 pm #


  50. Lisa Oliveira 02/15/2021 at 10:00 am #

    if you want shredded chicken, put the breast back in the pot it was cooked in without the water. put a lid on the pot and shake the pot as hard as you can. repeat a couple of time and your chicken should come out all shredded. we used to do this at our restaurant when we made stroganoff. try it. you will be amazed how simple it is.

    • Kristin Francis 04/15/2021 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Lisa, thanks so much for your tip (sorry for the delay in responding). I’m completely fascinated, I will definitely give this a try!

      • Anne 01/24/2022 at 11:28 pm #

        Born and lifelong resident of NC, of a mother and 4 sisters all born in SC with all fabulous southern cooks, in addition, mother-in-law born in the mountains of NC. I’ve had a great learning experience from these southern ladies. Now 78 years, cooking everyday since age 17, I offer my Chicken salad Ingres which includes warm chicken Breasts ( cooked in Instant Pot now) shredded for years now by my gift from my children of my Kit.Aid mixer (using mixing blade) into light soft shreds and then stirring in the following added ingredients: Dukes mayonnaise (no substitute), pickle cubes, homemade pickles, or relish (whichever you have available), boiled chopped eggs, chopped celery, salt, lots of black pepper, and a tad of Cayenne Pepper, and my newest loved addition, but not necessary is some dried (pkg.) cranberries. It has been made this way every year (with exception of the cranberries) for most of approx.the last 40 years for the family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners by request. Your choice is the amount of crunch with celery and pickles being a madder of choice. My family enjoys a good share spread throughout being able to taste. Note: Chopped boiled eggs are a must! I use a Minnie processor for chopping the celery and the eggs which gives a somewhat smooth chicken salad for spreading. I have never measured as it is due to the amount of chicken used and the consistency desired. Use an amount of mayonnaise until the spreading consistency is right, moist and tasteful.

      • Kristin Francis 07/03/2022 at 1:09 pm #

        Anne thank you so much for sharing! I would absolutely love to try your chicken salad ingres!

  51. John B Logan III 10/07/2021 at 12:51 am #

    This is the new goto!! I’m sure everyone has heard or said, “it’s not the same as Granny’s.” This, too, is not like Granny’s–it’s BETTER! Sorry, Granny. Chicken salad, like pimento cheese, is in nearly every refrigerator here in the south (Alabama). Southern ladies stake their pride on their finesse of these two staples. Of course, Duke’s is the foundation for these cherished recipes.

    This is so simple and the directions “a few spoonsful” of whatever so remind me of Gladys P. (my Granny). I only add a little heat, whatever hot sauce I have on hand, and chopped water chestnuts for crunch. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Kristin Francis 07/03/2022 at 1:17 pm #

      Thanks for sharing John! Some heat and crunch would be amazing modifications, may try that next time!

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