Paleo Chicken Salad

Now in all honestly I feel like most chicken salad recipes can be pretty easily converted to become Paleo/Whole30 compliant. It just so happens that I made this version specifically for my January Whole30 and thus we have: Paleo Chicken Salad.

I actually threw this together for an outdoor baby shower I was hosting, while on a Whole30, and wanted to make sure there was something that I could eat. It was so good that all the non-Whole30/Paleo guests were eating it up faster than the more indulgent food options. I got asked for the recipe several times so I figured I’d just add it to the blog. And here you go! Enjoy!


  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: My favorite way to cook these is to poach them in water seasoned with bay leaf, salt and black peppercorns. I think add a little of this poaching liquid back to the shredded chicken to keep it nice and moist before mixing with the other ingredients. Ir you don’t have a bay leaf or black peppercorns you can use other aromatics such as parsley or chives or nothing at all. The chicken salad will still be delicious!
  • Mayonnaise: Be sure to check your labels to make sure that your mayo is Paleo/Whole30 compliant. A lot of brands use soybean oil in there mayonnaise, which is a no no for the Paleo diet. Making your own mayo at home is actually surprisingly easy. Simply combine 1 egg with about a cup of light tasting oil ( such as avocado oil), a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice in a wide mouth Mason jar. Then use an immersion blender, starting at the bottom and working your way up until the mixture has completely blended into mayo.
  • Grapes: I love grapes in chicken salad and to be honest I often add more than the 1 1/2 cups written in this recipe. But that is completely up to you!
  • White Onion: I prefer the milder taste of white onion in this recipe. If you only have red or yellow onion, those will still work but chop them much finer.
  • Celery: I love the freshness celery gives to the recipe. About 1 large stalk or 2 medium stalks is all you need.
  • Green Apple: While you can use another color or apple I highly recommend sticking with Granny Smith. It adds a nice acidity and brightness to the recipe.
  • Pecans: Definitely don’t skip the step of toasting the pecans. It may be tempting to throw them in raw, and the chicken salad will still taste good. But the toasted pecans really brings out and earthiness and depth of flavor that tastes amazing.
  • Fresh Tarragon: I think fresh tarragon is really the key to this chicken salad. It’s definitely a strong taste so if you want to scale back from the recommended 2 tbsp feel free. But I absolutely love the flavor this gives to the dish and really makes it something special. If you don’t like tarragon you can replace with a little chopped fresh parsley, which will give great freshness though not the same flavor.

Tips & Tricks:

While you can also go old school and shred your chicken by hand with a couple forks, I highly recommended the mixer method. Simply put your hot, cooked chicken breasts in the bottom of a stand middle with the paddle attachment. Turn to medium for 30 seconds to a minute and you will have perfectly shredded chicken. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can also put your chicken breasts in a mixing bowl and a hand mixer will work the same way. So much easier, so much quicker!

Paleo Chicken Salad

Paleo Chicken Salad

Recipe by The Jam Jar Kitchen
5 from 24 votes
Course: Main Course, Lunch, SnackCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • 1 – 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • bay leaf, black peppercorns (optional)

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or poaching liquid

  • 1.5 cups seedless red grapes, halved (or quartered if especially large)

  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely diced

  • 1/2 cup pecans

  • 1/2 cup celery, diced

  • 1 green apple, peeled and diced

  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • salt & pepper


  • Add chicken breasts to a medium sized pot filled with water. Season the water with salt and, if desired, add 1 bay leaf and about a tsp of black peppercorns.

    Heat the pot over medium-high heat until the water begins to boil. Turn the heat down to medium and continue to boil the chicken for about 10-12 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Remove the chicken to the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium sized mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, turn to medium speed and beat until the chicken is finely shredded. You can use the same process with a hand mixer in a mixing bowl. Or you have shred the chicken by hand using 2 forks.

    Add in 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid or chicken broth and give another stir. Set aside and allow the chicken to cool completely before adding the mix-ins.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on a small baking sheet and toast for 5-8 minutes until fragrant but not burned.

    Remove from the baking sheet onto a cutting board and roughly chop. Allow to cool before mixing into the chicken salad.
  • When the chicken is cooled, add in white onion, celery, grapes, green apple, tarragon and pecans plus 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Stir until well combined and then add a pinch of salt & pepper to taste.

    If on Whole30/Paleo diet serve with cucumbers, celery, bell peppers or on a salad. It’s also wonderful in a croissant or on crackers. Enjoy!

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  1. This looks wonderful! I’m a huge fan of chicken salad and I love knowing that I can make it at home! Great recipe!

  2. So incredibly light and refreshing. I usually add walnuts but I’m looking forward to trying yours with the pecans. I can almost taste it already.

  3. Chicken salad is my favorite! This recipe is so delicious!

  4. It’s raining here and I’m craving this salad combo! And will try using the food mixer trick to shred my chicken.

  5. My favourite! This was yumm

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