Easy Hot Chicken Salad Recipe

This hot chicken salad recipe is a crowd pleasing dish loaded with rich flavor and texture. It’s a classic combination of chicken and mayonnaise, plus crunchy celery and almonds. Top it with crispy fried onions and bake this casserole recipe for a ladies luncheon or brunch.

hot chicken salad casserole in white dish on gray table, with glasses of wine and gold napkin

Recipe for Hot Chicken Salad

Wondering what to serve for a light luncheon or supper? This hot chicken salad casserole is a classic around these parts, and the recipe has been written down and passed around for years!

This warm baked version of the classic cold chicken salad is easy to prepare using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

It’s budget-friendly comfort food suitable for weekend gatherings, or weeknight meals at home with the family. It’s also good to serve a crowd for parties and overnight guests.

baked casserole with crispy fried onions on top

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s baked and hot so it feels like comfort food. 
  • This is actually a light dish in terms of feeling full. You won’t feel bloated.
  • The combination of textures is crunchy, creamy, and delicious.
  • In under an hour, this crowd-pleasing casserole is ready to serve!

When to serve this main dish?

The ingredients in this casserole make it a great menu item to add to any of these themed party ideas.

What to serve with hot chicken salad

This dish is great to take to potlucks, but when you serve it at home you can add one of these items on the side.

overhead view of two plates with chicken casserole and green salad
ingredients on wood board with gold napkin

How to Make Hot Chicken Salad

This traditional Southern favorite is made with tender shredded chicken, crunchy celery, and toasted almonds combined with a creamy parmesan and mayo sauce with a slight tanginess from the lemon.

The crunchy fried onions on top add a delicious layer of crispy texture.

I like to use Hellman’s Light mayonnaise for this recipe but you can use your favorite brand as you like.

  1. Heat – Preheat the oven and spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Mix – Combine all ingredients together in a bowl then transfer to the baking dish. Spread mixture evenly and place in the oven.
  3. Top – Once baked, sprinkle the top with remaining onions and continue baking for a little while longer.
  4. Serve – Round out this main dish with a simple side salad or baguette.

PARTY TIP: You can easily double the recipe to make it for a crowd.

What Chicken to use

  • Shred the meat from a rotisserie chicken
  • Use canned premium chicken breast meat
  • Make your own poached chicken and shred it
close up of hot chicken salad on plate

More Easy Casseroles

Need more casserole ideas for get-togethers? Here are some of our favorites.

hot chicken salad recipe card

Hot Chicken Salad Recipe

Yield: 5-6 servings

A hot twist on an old classic, this baked chicken salad casserole is loaded with texture and flavor. Make this Southern dish for brunch, lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted if you like
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup french fried onions

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fried onions for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9 x 11 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine all ingredients together. Transfer to baking dish and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Top with remaining onions and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

Did you make this recipe?

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16 Comments

  1. Oh, wow, Chris, this sounds delicious! I love the idea of anything hot right now, too! Even though I am in Florida, we could use a nice hot dish like this one.

  2. You mentioned that you served this dish to company. How many people did you feed? The recipe doesn’t say how many it serves. Also, it says to serve with bread & a salad. However, that just doesn’t seem like enough of a “dinner” to feed my guests. What did you serve with this? Any suggestions for side dishes? Also, how would this be served on croissants? Thanks!

    1. Tammie, we had a couple over and with appetizer and dessert it was plenty. If I were to serve another side dish it would probably be steamed broccoli, but it’s really a personal preference. When serving 1 casserole-type dish I like to keep the rest of the food simple. I don’t know about a croissant, but I put it on the baguette and enjoyed it that way.

  3. Looks delicious. My husband doesn’t care for traditional chicken salad – but maybe he’d like it like this! We’ll have to give it a try.

  4. Oh this recipe looks so good. I am always looking for a new recipe like this that I can make that is really good but lighter. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I love that you change up your party posts with useful recipes too!

  6. I have never made *hot* chicken salad. What an idea! And so simple…definitely going on my short-list to try 🙂 Thanks!

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