Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd

by Alli

Chunky Chicken Salad is a huge favorite at my house. Apples, red onions, pecans (or walnuts), and celery add flavor to the shredded chicken. 

There's a reason that my chunky chicken salad is requested over and over. It's the best I've ever tasted plus it's my husband's favorite. Click the photo to get the recipe or save for later.

Whenever we head to North Myrtle Beach for our family beach trip, my husband always asks me if I’m making my chicken salad. No worries. I’ll have it whipped up in no time.

If you’re planning a big weekend pool party,  a family reunion, or a trip to the beach, try my Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd. It feeds 18-20! And if you need more than that, just double it!

Chunky Chicken Salad

I usually prepare this the night before we hit the beach for our family vacation. I put it in a large freezer bag and stick it in the cooler just before leaving for our road trip to the beach. It’s nice to have something ready to eat when we arrive.  Serve with crackers or make sandwiches. It’s all good!

Helpful Hint: If I need to make a chicken salad in a hurry, I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I must always be in a hurry because I use a rotisserie chicken just about every time I make this.

When I’m preparing it for guests, I just use the breast meat and save the dark meat for another use. Southerners would never use dark meat in a chicken salad!

Don’t tell anyone, but when it’s just my immediate family, I use the whole thing!  My family loves dark meat! 🙂

Ingredients At A Glance For Chunky Chicken Salad

Keep scrolling to find the full, printable recipe.

  • boneless chicken breasts (or prepared rotisserie chicken)
  • chopped apples (gala or fuji)
  • red onion, chopped
  • chopped celery
  • walnuts OR pecans
  • mayonnaise (I always use Duke’s Mayo)
  • brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tips on Making Chunky Chicken Salad

If you’re using chicken breasts, let them cool completely before chopping.

Chunky Chicken Salad

Place chicken in a large bowl and add all the ingredients and toss with the mayo and mustard. Store in the fridge.

Chunky Chicken Salad

How long does chicken salad last in the fridge?

Chicken Salad can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge. Make sure you store the salad in an air-tight container. We rarely have leftovers and I think chicken salad is best eaten the day it’s made, after chilling in the fridge. 

Yield: 20 servings

Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd

Chunky Chicken Salad

Chunky Chicken Salad is creamy and crunchy and full of flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (or prepared rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 medium apples (gala or fuji), chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you're using boneless chicken breasts, place chicken in a large stockpot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
  4. Chop or shred chicken.
  5. In a large bowl, mix chicken with apple, onion, celery, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Toss with mayonnaise and mustard.
  6. Store in the fridge.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 251Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 62mgSodium 177mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 22g

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My chunky chicken salad is also delicious served in croissants for a bridal luncheon or a brunch. The crunch of the apples and nuts combined with the creaminess of the mayo/mustard mixture takes a ho-hum chicken salad to a whole new level.

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