Easy Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

This 15 minute lemon basil chicken salad is zesty, creamy & loaded with protein! It’s so versatile & perfect for meal prepped lunches during the week!

A close up photo of a chicken salad sandwich made with lemon basil chicken salad

Chicken salads are a favorite around here so I figured it’s time for a new one. This lemon basil chicken salad is so easy to whip up! It’s a zesty combo of shredded chicken and fresh veggies all tossed in a creamy lemon basil “dressing”.

The dressing is the true star of this dish! We’re keeping the base light and refreshing with a mix of mayo and greek yogurt (for a little extra protein) combined with vibrant ingredients like lemon zest, fresh basil and minced garlic. The whole dish comes together in about 15 minutes and is perfect for enjoying as a quick meal or meal prepping for a couple day’s worth of work lunches!

Ingredients used to make lemon basil chicken salad

Ingredients You’ll Need

Shredded chicken: Use store bought rotisserie chicken for ease or make your own shredded chicken at home! (Directions on how we make our shredded chicken are further below in the post.)

Lemons: We’re using lemon juice AND zest to really amp up the citrus flavor!

Mayonnaise: A necessity for any chicken salad recipe! This is used this as part of the base for your “lemon basil dressing.”

Plain Greek yogurt: Used as the other half of the base to lighten up your chicken salad. (I use 0% plain Greek yogurt from Fage for ours.)

Fresh basil: You’ll need 1 cup of chopped fresh basil for this recipe. I’d suggest buying a large basil plant from the grocery store if possible.

Garlic: One minced garlic clove is needed for the “dressing.”

Red onion: Red onion works the best for this recipe! (It’s more mild in flavor than white and yellow onion and won’t overpower your chicken salad.) I’d suggest finely dicing the onion so you’ll get a little bit in every bite.

Celery: We love the texture and crunch this adds! Feel free to use as little or as much as you prefer.

Spices: Salt and black pepper are all you need to season your chicken salad!

A small clear mixing bowl filled with creamy lemon basil dressing used for chicken salad
A large clear mixing bowl filled with shredded chicken, diced celery, red onion and a lemon basil "dressing"

How To Make The Best Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

1. Prepare the chicken. If making homemade shredded chicken, cook and shred the chicken using 2 large forks then add it to a large bowl. If using store bought shredded chicken, break the chicken into smaller shreds then add it to a large bowl.

2. Prep the veggies. Finely dice the onion and celery and add it to the bowl with your chicken.

3. Make the lemon basil “dressing”. Mix the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, chopped basil, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl.

4. Toss. Pour the dressing over the shredded chicken and veggies and mix until fully combined. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.

5. Serve! Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or use the salad as a sandwich filling with your favorite bread. (Alternatively, you can keep the chicken salad chilled in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.)

Want a creamier chicken salad?! Add another 1-2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt.

A large clear mixing bowl filled with freshly made lemon basil chicken salad

Make Shredded Chicken At Home

We usually make our own shredded chicken for chicken salads. (It’s so easy and we prefer like the consistency of the salad more.) Here’s how we do it:

  1. Season 1-1½ lbs. of chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
  3. Shred using 2 large forks!
A small serving bowl filled with lemon basil chicken salad surrounded by whole crackers and fresh lemon slices

Serving Suggestions

Serve it with your favorite crackers! We love using whole wheat crackers or Milton’s Sea Salt Crackers.

Wrap it in a tortilla! Trying adding spinach, chopped lettuce or a few slices of avocado!

Make a chicken salad sandwich! Freshly sliced tomatoes and crisp lettuce are great additions to your sandwich. You can keep it traditional by using your favorite bread or try it on a brioche bun or croissant instead! (Try toasting the bread too – it’s soo good!)

Serve it over greens! Spoon your chicken salad over mixed greens or spinach with a squeeze of lemon!

A lemon basil chicken salad sandwich made with lettuce and tomato on toasted bread sitting next to a bowl of lemons

Why you’ll love this chicken salad recipe!

  • Light & refreshing! Lemon zest, crunchy celery & fresh basil bring so much freshness to the dish!
  • An easy meal prep idea! This chicken salad takes minutes to prep & can be used for quick lunches during the week!
  • So versatile! Eat it with crackers, make it a chicken salad sandwich or turn it into a wrap – the possibilities are endless!

[Made one of my recipes? Tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments – I love seeing what you create!]

Easy Lemon Basil Chicken Salad

This 15 minute lemon basil chicken salad is zesty, creamy & loaded with protein! It's so versatile & perfect for meal prepped lunches during the week!
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken recipes, chicken salad, chicken salad recipes, lemon basil chicken salad, lunch recipes, meal prep recipes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded chicken (store bought or homemade)*
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Prep the salad. Add the shredded chicken, onion and celery to a large bowl then set it aside.
  • Make the "dressing". Mix the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, chopped basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt and black pepper together in a small bowl.
  • Toss. Pour the dressing over the chicken and veggies and mix until fully combined. (Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.)
  • Serve. Serve immediately with your favorite crackers or use the salad as a sandwich filling with your favorite bread. (Alternatively, you can keep the chicken salad chilled in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.)

Notes

*To make homemade shredded chicken:
  1. Season 1-1½ lbs. of chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
  3. Shred using 2 large forks.
Want a “creamier” chicken salad? Try adding an additional 1-2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt.

More chicken salad recipes you might like:

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