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Ina Garten Chicken Salad (Barefoot Contessa Recipe)

Looking for a nutritious, delicious, and easy-to-make chicken dish? Look no further than this Ina Garten chicken salad

This classic recipe has been a fan favorite since the Barefoot Contessa first made it in 2006. It’s incredibly flavorful and satisfying, but that’s not all. 

Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad
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You can throw this healthy salad together in under 30 minutes!

That makes it an ideal lunch or dinner option when you’re short on time. 

Plus, it’s packed with protein, fresh herbs, and crunchy vegetables. There are so many reasons to love Ina Garten’s chicken salad.

So keep reading to learn how to make it. 

Ina Garten Chicken Salad 

Whether alone or on bread, chicken salad is a favorite for many. And Ina Garten knows how to make the best chicken salad.

It’s the perfect blend of tangy, herby savoriness.

The trick is using high-quality ingredients.

Start with lean chicken, fresh grapes and celery, and good mayonnaise and olive oil. Roast the chicken before shredding it. 

Also, be sure to use fresh tarragon instead of dried.

I once read somewhere that “there’s no wrong herb” for chicken salad. Even so, tarragon is your best bet. 

It smells phenomenal and tastes even better. Keep those things in mind to ensure your chicken salad has the best taste.

Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad Served on Top of Fresh Lettuce Laid on a Black Bowl


To make Ina Garten’s famous chicken salad, you’ll need the following eight ingredients: 

  • Chicken breasts. I use chicken breasts because I prefer to make chicken salad with all white meat. Roast it with the bone in and the skin on. Then, remove both skin and bones once it’s cooked. 
  • Olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Before roasting the chicken, you’ll coat it in olive oil. Then, season it well with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Don’t skip this step, as these ingredients give the chicken most of its flavor. 
  • Mayonnaise. Mayo acts as the binding agent in this recipe. It’s thick and creamy and holds everything together nicely. It also has a mild flavor that lends itself well to the other ingredients in the recipe. 
  • Tarragon leaves. Some insist dried tarragon works just as well as fresh, but I disagree. Vehemently. If you want the best possible chicken salad, you must use fresh tarragon. It provides the best flavor. 
  • Celery. Some chicken salad recipes use nuts for added crunch. I prefer celery and so does Ina Garten. Celery gives you all the crunch you need without adding a lot of fat and calories. Its earthy veggie flavor also pairs well with the grapes’ sweet tanginess.
  • Green grapes. Your hint of sweetness comes from green grapes. They’re juicy, slightly tart, and delicious. They’ll make your chicken salad taste phenomenal. 

Those are the only things you’ll need to prepare this chicken salad. Other people like to add onions, nuts, parsley, Dijon, etc. 

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You can add those things if you like, but the recipe doesn’t necessarily need them. 

How to Make Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad

Scroll down to see the complete chicken salad recipe. Here’s a quick overview of the steps you’ll take. 

1. Prepare and roast the chicken. You start by coating the chicken in olive oil and seasoning it with salt and pepper. Then, roast it for 35 to 40 minutes. 

Once it’s ready, shred the meat from the bones and dice it into small pieces. 

2. Prepare the grapes and celery. I always do this during the last 10 minutes or so of the chicken’s roasting. I halve the grapes and chop the celery into small, uniform pieces. 

3. Combine the ingredients. Finally, you mix all the non-chicken ingredients in a bowl. Then, pour that mixture over the chicken. Stir everything until it’s all well mixed. 

Once it looks like chicken salad, you know it’s ready to eat. 

Chicken Salad Sandwich

How to Serve Chicken Salad

You can serve chicken salad in a myriad of ways. I love to eat it with some herb-encrusted crackers, but here are some other options: 

  • Serve it on top of a bed of lettuce or other greens. You can also add crackers, fruit, or other side items to the plate. 
  • Turn it into a sandwich using croissants, baguettes, or bread.
  • Serve it over pasta. 
  • Stuff it inside veggies, such as avocado halves or artichokes.

It also makes an excellent addition to a brunch table or appetizer tray.

Recipe Substitutions and Additions 

Want to mix up the recipe a bit, or don’t like some of the ingredients? No problem!

Whether you want something light (like my Greek yogurt chicken salad) or something with more texture, here are some fun and easy substitutions:

  • Use dried cranberries or pomegranates in place of grapes for a more festive salad.
  • Substitute raisins or red grapes for brighter color contrast. 
  • Substitute your choice of nuts (toasted is nice) for celery. Or use them in addition to celery. 
  • Experiment with extra herbs, but don’t leave out the tarragon.
  • Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or use canned chicken if you’re pressed for time. (This option might not taste as good, but it will still be okay.)
  • Add a diced hard-boiled egg for extra protein.
  • Add a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes if you enjoy a little heat. 
  • Dice some green onions and add them to the salad. Doing so adds extra color and gives the salad an earthy, more robust flavor.
  • Spritz a little lemon juice or vinaigrette into the mix to liven up the flavor.

Play the recipe however you like. You’ll quickly find what works best for you and what doesn’t. 

Oh, and if you’re wondering, “Can You Freeze Chicken Salad?” check out my post to learn how.

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

Chicken Milanese
Chicken Riggies
Lemon Chicken Breasts
Chicken Murphy
Greek Chicken

Ina Garten Chicken Salad (Barefoot Contessa Recipe)



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You simply can’t go wrong with Ina Garten’s chicken salad! This easy recipe is made with chicken, mayo, tarragon, celery, and grapes. It’s simple, delicious, and perfect for lunch!


  • 4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

  • olive oil

  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup (2 stalks) small celery, diced

  • 1 cup green grapes, cut in 1/2


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Coat the chicken breasts in high-quality olive oil. Then, place them on a sheet pan, skin side up. Season them generously with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the breasts in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked throughout, then allow it to cool.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooled, pull the meat from the bones (use the skin and bones to make tasty stock!). Then cut the meat into 3/4-inch, diced sections and transfer it to a bowl.
  • Add the mayo, tarragon leaves, celery, and grapes. Add more salt (1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons) and pepper (1 teaspoon). Toss everything until the ingredients are well-mixed.
  • Serve it alone, on a bed of lettuce, with crackers, or on toasted bread. Enjoy!
Ina Garten’s Chicken Salad

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

2 thoughts on “Ina Garten Chicken Salad (Barefoot Contessa Recipe)”

  1. “Trash the bones and skin”? No way! Save them in the freezer along with other bones and trimmings to make a tasty broth. People are so wasteful these days, smh.


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