Traditional Southern Chicken Salad

May 8, 2016
Traditional Southern Chicken Salad, with two 'secret' ingredients for fabulous flavor - hard boiled eggs and sweet pickle cubes.  Creamy and comforting!

This post was originally published in June, 2012.  It is being republished today in honor of my dear sweet friend Glenda, from whom I learned this recipe.  Glenda recently passed away, and is now shining her bright smile down on all her many loved ones from heaven.  I miss her every day.

Southern Chicken Salad ~ creamy & comforting.

Until recently, I had absolutely no idea how to make traditional chicken salad.  Ya know, the creamy, almost-totally-smooth, completely comforting down-home type of chicken salad.  The chunky tarragon type?  Yes.  Curried?  Yes.  Chunky fruit-and-nut?  Yes.  Regular ol' basic creamy chicken salad?  Nope.

But now I do.

With many thanks to my good friend Glenda, now  I do.

Glenda is a Southern lady through-and-through, with a heart of pure gold.  I kid you not, she is the kindest person I know.  And she makes a lip-smackin' darn-tootin'-good chicken salad.  I had her chicken salad on several occasions - as luncheons at our school when she'd make a huge batch, at her house for get-togethers, or when she'd be so sweet and pack our whole teaching team a lunch as a treat.  And I loved it every time.

Southern Chicken Salad ~ creamy & comforting.

I tried a few times to throw it together with what I thought was in it.  But I thought wrong.  I could never get it to taste like Glenda's.  But now I know her secrets ... two secret ingredients, and a method secret.  Well, I guess they used to be secrets!  She shared them with me ... and now I'm sharing them with you.

Secret #1:  Hard Boiled Eggs. 
I never knew there were hard-boiled eggs in this chicken salad!  Not a lot ... just enough to give a great flavor to the salad.  They're chopped up super fine in Glenda's version, so I never realized they were there.

Southern Chicken Salad ~ creamy & comforting.

Secret #2:  Sweet Pickle Cubes.
Sweet pickle cubes are like sweet relish ... but in bigger chunks, and not as 'mushy' as relish.  The cubes add a wonderful little bit of crunch to the chicken salad  See ... it'll actually say 'Sweet Pickle Cubes' or 'Sweet Salad Cubes' on the jar ... like this:

You can see the 'chunks' are bigger in sweet salad cubes than in regular relish:

If you can't find Sweet Salad Cubes or Sweet Pickle Cubes, use regular relish.  You'll just be missing some of the nice textural crunch of the cubes.

Secret #3:  Processing.
Glenda processes the chicken salad in a food processor to get the comforting creamy texture.  I always just chopped my ingredients really fine, but you just can't chop fine enough to achieve the creamy texture without processing in a food processor.  This was the method secret I was missing!

And there you have it - the secrets to delicious Traditional Southern Chicken Salad.  Thanks, Glenda!

Check out these other perfect-for-a-sandwich salads:
  • Southern Chicken Salad ~ creamy & comforting.
    Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!

    chicken salad recipe, Southern chicken salad recipe, chicken salad with hard boiled eggs
    Yield: about 3 cups

    Traditional Southern Chicken Salad

    Traditional Southern Chicken Salad, with two 'secret' ingredients for fabulous flavor - hard boiled eggs and sweet pickle cubes. Creamy and comforting!
    prep time: 20 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 40 M


    • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders
    • 2 hard boiled eggs
    • 1/2 c. sweet pickle cubes (may also be called sweet salad cubes)
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • Approximately 1/3 c. mayonnaise


    How to cook Traditional Southern Chicken Salad

    1. Cook chicken; cool. Process chicken in a food processor until finely chopped.
    2. Finely chop eggs and combine with chicken. Add pickle cubes, salt, and pepper. Stir in mayonnaise, adding enough to make the chicken salad smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
    3. Chill for at least about an hour before serving.
    Created using The Recipes Generator

    Traditional Southern Chicken Salad ~ Creamy & comforting! This traditional Southern Chicken Salad is made with 2 "secret" ingredients for extra fabulous flavor.
    This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


    1. Great post, I love chicken salad... best use for those cheap rotisserie chickens

      Now i have to hunt down those salad cubes!


      1. I use rotisserie chicken a lot to make this, too, Dave. So easy to just pick up chicken that's already all cooked!! The salad whips up in absolutely no time that way!

    2. my kids love both chicken and egg salad together might me an interesting twist. Please share this today on my foodie friday party.

    3. I saw this post on Foodie Friday. I love chicken salad, and make several variations of it. This is the way my grandmother made it, and it is my favorite! I usually find the salad cubes at Kroger. I am a new follower. Patsy

    4. Oh yum! I love any kind of chicken salad! I have never processed it learning for me!

    5. I love chicken salad but I've never been able to make it quite right! I think processing it is probably the trick. I have to give this a shot! Thanks for sharing on Whatcha' Whipped Up. Cant wait to see what you've done this week!

    6. I'm always up to trying a new chicken salad recipe and this sounds soooo good. I recently posted a Cha Cha Chicken Salad recipe. I'm your newest follower and would love if you followed me back :)

    7. No celery or onions?? Very simlar to what my grandmother, mother and now I make, but we add the customary celery and onions.

    8. Wow! That is picture perfect! It looks absolutely fabulous!! Thanks for linking up with us on "Strut Your Stuff Saturday!" We hope to see you next week! -The Sisters

    9. Every grocery store carries Pickle cubes. I use them in my potato salad. They've been around for many years for those of you who don't know. As for chicken salad, I'm from the south and still live here. We don't use sweet pickles in our chicken salad, we put them in tuna salad though. For chicken salad we use finely chopped celery to get the crunch you want and a heavenly taste. Try this one. Omit pickles and replace with chopped celery. I'm sure you will love it. And it is a southern recipe handed down.

    10. I didn't know there was any other way to make chicken salad! haha! Well, I AM from the south.

    11. I think this sounds good. Different from Mother's but that's OK. That's the thing about recipes...trying something different. Take what someone else does and then add or take out to fix to your liking. Yes, I would add celery. Thanks for the recipe!

      Saw this on The Country Cook Weekly Potluck #115. Pinning it!

    12. This is how I make my chicken salad - hubby loves the pickles in it, but sometimes I just like some finely chopped celery instead. I'm from the South, and this is the way we always make it. I'm not a fan of the recipes that include fruit...Great post!

    13. I never knew there was an "authentic" southern chicken salad! I have to have onion and celery in mine...

    14. Looks YUMMY! Thanks for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    15. Congratulations!
      Your recipe is a Top Ten this week on Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
      Miz Helen

    16. oh boy, so trying this! looks yummy. Stopping by from #FullPlateThursday

    17. I love chicken salad! I always put sweet relish in mine but have never tried the egg. I will try that the next time I make it. That ham salad looks awesome too.

    18. I am so partial to chicken salad, but don't believe I've ever had it with HB eggs - sounds tasty. So sorry about the loss of your friend. We must be thankful for each and every day God gives us to enjoy life and family. Have a good week. Thanks for sharing at Weekend Potluck.

    19. This looks and sounds so delicious. I pinned. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us. :)

    20. Congratulations!
      Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great day!
      Miz Helen

    21. I am seriously craving some delicious chicken salad. I can't wait to try this recipe. I know it's just like my Nana's.

    22. This warmed my heart...I immediately thought of Glenda as I saw the recipe...yes, a heart of gold and a great southern cook. Love you, friend.

    23. Hi Tracey,

      I just made this chicken salad and it is the best I've ever had! I too know a sweet lady with a heart of gold, named Glenda - a nurse with whom I used to work.

      I'm so sorry your friend passed away, but how lovely of you to remember her with this kind story and recipe.

      I am taking this chicken salad to work for a potluck and I will call it "Glenda's Heart of Gold Chicken Salad".

      Thank you again, I hope you have a lovely day!

      Kindest Regards, Shari Ann

    24. Hello from your newest reader! I saw your Ham Salad recipe on the Pinterest site, and came across the recipe here! Then I saw the link for the Chicken Salad, which I love dearly, but I refuse to pay almost $6.00 a pound for it in the Deli Department of most of our local grocery stores! I know how much chicken costs by itself, and even accounting for the labor, I can't justify $6.00 a pound for the finished product!

      I saw your comments regarding the sweet pickle cubes vs relish. I've always put onion and celery, finely chopped, almost minced, in my meat salads, regardless of the type. I usually save the pickle relishes for deviled eggs. Other than that, I honestly don't care much for the pickle relish specifically, or pickles in general. When I do use it, I always put the required amount in a small tea strainer, and rinse it well under cold running water. It removes the juices and sometimes I find it slightly slimy, which is also removed. This leaves the pickles, and any solid seasoning pieces remaining, which have the seasoned flavor already incorporated from the brining/pickling process. It seems to make them a little crispier too. I dump the whole business (after rinsing) on several thicknesses of paper towels, and press it all with the paper towels to remove any remaining liquid, which can tend to make the final product sort of "wet" if left in. This is the part of the relish/salad cubes I really object to. It's particularly important in things like deviled egg filling and egg salad, as neither are generally made in the large quantities it takes to absorb any excess liquids, such as picnic potato salad. It works nicely - give it a try!

      And, I know it's been quite some time since this post was made, and even a little longer since your wonderful friend, Glenda passed away, but I would still like to offer my condolences on your loss. I've lost two wonderful sisters-in-law in the past several years - they were well before their time when they left us, both leaving behind grieving sons in their mid-teens, as well as husbands, who both are my brothers. The loss gets a little bit easier to bear as time goes on, but it never truly leaves us.
      I apologize for rambling on about our own losses, when you have had such a loss in your own life, but my intention was to let you know that I really do understand.

    25. Made this yesterday. Yummy!! I used a large can of chicken from Sam's since I needed to use it up, added finely diced celery and onion and used only one egg and sweet relish. Happy Camper!! This is how chicken salad is supposed to taste!! :)


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