Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Classic Recipe)

This Instant Pot Chicken Salad recipe shows you how to pressure cook the tastiest chicken meat to use in a classic, American-style salad. It’s deliciously creamy, savory and tangy with a hint of sweetness from the fruit. Serve it in a bowl, in a sandwich or in a wrap.


INSTANT POT CHICKEN SALAD

While the Instant Pot and chicken salad might not seem a likely partnership, they do work together in a quick and easy cooking experience!

Using the pressure cooker to prep the chicken breasts results in flavor-infused, tender meat that can be shredded, diced or sliced to use in any salad. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require the use of the stove, which is a great hack in summer.

This Instant Pot Chicken Salad is a simple, classic, American-style recipe made with creamy mayo, mustard and sour cream dressing, crunchy celery, sweet red grapes, green onions and a topping of toasted nuts of your choice. 

It’s great for meal prep and can be customised with different vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. You can serve this chicken salad on a bed of greens or quinoa, as a filling in a sandwich or a wrap, or served in lettuce cups for a low-carb version. 

It’s healthy and bright with gorgeous flavors and textures. On its own, it is gluten-free and low-carb.

Instant Pot Chicken Salad Recipe
Ingredients Icon

INSTANT POT CHICKEN SALAD INGREDIENTS

The ingredients for this Instant Pot chicken salad are pretty simple but let’s go over some tips and swap options:

  • Chicken Breasts – we used two large chicken breasts, which are enough for about 4-6 serves; free-range chicken will have the best taste! The meat is pressure cooked in chicken stock infused with garlic and thyme. 
  • Mayonnaise – This is the key ingredient in the dressing so it will dictate the overall flavor. Some people prefer sweeter mayo while others like the less sweet brands, which is what we used as grapes add enough sweetness. You can also make mayonnaise at home!
  • Sour cream – Many recipes call for just mayonnaise but we find that mixing in some sour cream or yogurt lightens up the flavor and saves on a few calories. We recommend using light or lower-fat sour cream here.
  • Dijon Mustard – this adds a little tang, spice and depth to the dressing. Adding a little hot mustard will give the salad extra kick; wholegrain mustard will give it a great twist.
  • Grapes – You can use red or green seedless grapes. We love it diced up so you get little bits of sweetness coming through in every bite. Other fruit can be used like diced apple, blueberries, nectarines or peaches. 
  • Celery – This crunchy vegetable is a classic addition but if you’re not a fan, feel free to swap for radish, cucumber or carrots – anything crunchy.
  • Green Onion – Green onions (scallions) add savory, aromatic flavor without being too pungent. For a sharper taste, use diced shallots or red onions. Chives are also great! 
  • Toasted Almonds – You can use any nuts (pecans are often used in a chicken salad) and make sure to toast them slightly to bring out the nuttiness.
  • Garnish with herbs – Fresh herbs like parsley or dill are great for adding to a chicken salad. This is optional if you don’t have any on hand. 
  • Onion powder – adds a little umami, savory flavor. You can leave it out but it does add a lil’ something.
  • Salt and Pepper – To taste. We recommend to season after you’ve mixed all the ingredients. 

HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SALAD WITH INSTANT POT

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos of how to make classic chicken salad with the help of the Instant Pot. You can use a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.

PRESSURE COOKING THE CHICKEN

Step 1. Cut the chicken breasts into two pieces (cut the thickest part of the breasts to make them a little thinner and more even). Season with a little salt and pepper.

Step 2. Add a cup of chicken stock, sliced garlic and dried thyme to the Instant Pot. Nestle the chicken breasts in the broth.

Step 3. Secure the lid. Select the Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH. The Instant Pot will take 6-7 minutes to come to pressure. Once the timer has finished, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes and then manually let off the remaining steam.

Step 4. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and cool down for 5-10 minutes. Dice or slice into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Tip: save the broth to make a soup or stew with, you can freeze it.

MIXING THE SALAD

Step 6. While the chicken is cooking, dice other ingredients and prepare the dressing condiments.

Step 7. In a medium or small frying pan, pan-fry (toast, no oil!) the chopped almonds or other nuts over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Stir frequently, especially as the nuts start to brown and smell toasted. Remove when they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they are easy to burn. Set aside.

Step 8. Add all ingredients to the diced chicken (hold back salt and pepper) and mix well. You can stir the almonds through or save them to sprinkle on top.

Step 9. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper to taste. We find adding a good pinch of each was perfect. If you like a little more tang, you can mix in a tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN SALAD

Chicken salad is pretty delicious straight out of the bowl, isn’t it? Have you found yourself eating spoonfuls before it even makes it to the dinner table? We sure have! To turn it into a meal, here are few ideas for what to eat with chicken salad.

  • Chicken Salad Sandwich: Stuff it in bread rolls, sandwich bread, or a baguette and feel free to add lettuce, tomato, avocado or cheese.
  • Lunch Wrap: Use tortillas or flatbread to make satiating chicken wraps.
  • Lettuce Wrap: For a lighter, low-carb option, use large romaine or butter leaf lettuce to wrap it.
  • On top of something: For a low-calorie, light option, serve the chicken salad on a bed of greens; for something more filling, cook up some quinoa, brown rice or pasta. Cold pasta and chicken salad mix really well together.
  • Dip: Diced the chicken very small or shred it to make a dip-like salad and spread it over favorite crackers or chips.
Chicken Salad Sandwich (With Instant Pot Cooked Chicken)

HOW LONG IS CHICKEN SALAD GOOD FOR

  • Once the chicken salad is made, it is best chilled in the fridge. This way it can keep for up to 4 days. Once served out of the fridge, chicken salad can sit out for up to 4 hours.
  • If you don’t chill the salad straight after making it, it can sit out for up to 4 hours. Once you refrigerate it after 4 hours, don’t keep it for longer than 24 hours.  

MORE SALADS WITH INSTANT POT


FULL RECIPE & NUTRITION

Below is the full list of ingredients, instructions, notes, tips and nutritional breakdown. Don’t forget to rate this recipe and leave a comment with feedback or any questions.

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Instant Pot Chicken Salad Recipe - Served as a sandwich

Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Classic Recipe)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Learn how to make delicious, creamy, tangy and savory Instant Pot chicken salad. This recipe will show you how to make the tastiest chicken meat that can be shredded or diced to make that American-style, classic chicken salad. Serve it in a bowl, in a sandwich or in a wrap.


Ingredients

Scale

For cooking chicken

2 large chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup chicken stock

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

For the salad

1 cup diced celery (1 large celery stalk)

1 cup diced red grapes

1/2 cup chopped green onions (about 2-3 onions)

1/3 cup almonds, chopped or crushed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yoghurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper (or to taste)


Instructions

PRESSURE COOKING THE CHICKEN

  • Cut the chicken breasts into two pieces (cut the thickest part of the breasts to make them a little thinner and more even). Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Add a cup of chicken stock, sliced garlic and dried thyme to the Instant Pot. Nestle the chicken breasts in the broth.
  • Secure the lid. Select the Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to 10 minutes on HIGH. The Instant Pot will take 6-7 minutes to come to pressure. Once the timer has finished, release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes and then manually let off the remaining steam.
  • Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and cool down for 5-10 minutes. Dice or slice into small pieces and transfer to a bowl. Tip: save the broth to make a soup or stew with, you can freeze it.

MIXING THE SALAD

  • While the chicken is cooking, dice other ingredients and prepare the dressing condiments.
  • In a medium or small frying pan, pan-fry (toast, no oil!) the chopped almonds or other nuts over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Stir frequently, especially as the nuts start to brown and smell toasted. Remove when they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them as they are easy to burn. Set aside.
  • Add all ingredients to the diced chicken (hold back salt and pepper) and mix well. You can stir the almonds through or save them to sprinkle on top.
  • Taste and season with extra salt and pepper to taste. We find adding a good pinch of each was perfect. If you like a little more tang, you can mix in a tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar.

Notes

  • See the section on Ingredients above for tips and swaps/alternatives.

How much chicken salad per person?

  • This recipe makes 4-6 servings depending on how you serve the salad (e.g. in a sandwich or as a salad). In general, about 6 oz worth of chicken with other salad bits and pieces should be enough per person. It may be less or more depending on what else is served. We usually calculate 1 large chicken breast for 2 decent servings.
How long can chicken salad sit out?
  • Once the chicken salad is made, it is best chilled in the fridge. This way it can keep for up to 4 days. Once served out of the fridge, chicken salad can sit out for up to 4 hours. If you don’t chill the salad straight after making it, it can sit out for up to 4 hours. Once you refrigerate it after 4 hours, don’t keep it for longer than 24 hours.  

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6 oz worth of chicken with all the bits
  • Calories: 543
  • Sugar: 9.4 g
  • Sodium: 762.6 mg
  • Fat: 33 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 44.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 151.4 mg

Keywords: Chicken Recipes, Salad Recipes, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Chicken Breast Recipes

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

More about us here »

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