Chicken Sandwich Spread

Chicken Sandwich Spread on wheat bread cut in half

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
272 Calories
22g Fat
0g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 272
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 29%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 71mg 24%
Sodium 242mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 11mg 1%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 144mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chicken sandwich spread is a basic recipe, perfect for adding herbs, seasoning, and vegetables to make a customized sandwich filling. The mixture is called a "spread" instead of a "salad" because the chicken is chopped very finely, making it similar in texture to tuna fish salad. It's perfect for back-to-school lunch boxes, topping a green salad, or enjoying on toasted rolls.

Previously cooked chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken makes this spread come together quickly; canned chicken is another option, and is a real convenience for busy days. If you do have a few extra minutes, poaching boneless chicken breasts is easy and offers fresh flavor. 

If you prefer a chunkier spread for sandwiches or for serving on salad greens, cut the chicken and any vegetables you add into larger pieces. The recipe makes enough chicken spread for four sandwiches.


  • 2 cups cooked chicken

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • No-salt herb blend, optional, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder, optional

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken sandwich spread gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  2. Mince cooked chicken finely and put in a medium bowl.

    Diced chicken in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  3. Add 1/4 cup mayonnaise and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix gently. Add extra mayonnaise, as needed, until spread reaches desired consistency.

    Chicken, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  4. If you like, flavor the spread with a no-salt herb blend, a little garlic or onion powder, or a dash of cayenne pepper.

    Chicken salad ingredients mixed together in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  5. Spread in between slices of bread and enjoy.

    Chicken salad sandwich spread on whole wheat bread

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1/2 cup minced celery and 1 tablespoon minced green onion along with the chicken.
  • Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled crispy cooked bacon.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds and 1 teaspoon curry powder.
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts and 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Add 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon minced onion.
  • Add 3 tablespoons minced celery and 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tablespoon of minced fresh tarragon).
  • Before adding the salt and pepper, add 1/3 cup of chopped toasted pecans and 1 teaspoon of Creole or Cajun seasoning. Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.

How to Quickly Poach Chicken Breasts

Place 2 to 4 boneless chicken breasts—about 12 ounces for this recipe—in a saucepan with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add a bay leaf and a sliced clove of garlic, if desired. Cover the chicken with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken registers at least 165 F on an instant-read thermometer. Chicken breasts can be dry if overcooked, so start checking right around the 8-minute mark.

Remove the chicken from the broth and pat dry with paper towels. Dice the chicken when it's cool enough to handle. Save the broth and refrigerate or freeze it to use for soup or sauce.