This classic chicken salad recipe features tender chicken breast, a creamy dill mayo dressing, crunchy bacon. It’s the perfect keto chicken salad for a protein-rich snack, or an easy lunch to pack for work. This is a keto chicken salad recipe you’ll love all year long.
Easy Keto Chicken Salad with Bacon
Chicken salad is a classic recipe that my whole family loves. It’s easy to pack for lunch in lettuce wraps, ideal to prepare in a large batch for keto meal prep, and easy to customize to your preference.
Keto chicken salad calls for a handful of ingredients that you likely already have in your fridge. After you cook the chicken breasts, it comes together in no time at all. And bonus: it’s dairy free!
How to Cook Chicken for Chicken Salad
The base of the salad is cooked chicken breasts. If you have leftover chicken breast (or chicken thighs, or meat from a rotisserie chicken) you can definitely use it for this recipe.
If you are starting from scratch, let me tell you about my favorite ways to cook tender juicy chicken breasts.
Poach Chicken Breasts on the Stovetop
Poaching is a gentle cooking technique that is used to make tender proteins like chicken breasts, fish, and eggs. You can poach chicken breasts on the stovetop in gently simmering water with spices and herbs.
To poach chicken breasts, first prepare your aromatics — that is, herbs and other flavorings — to flavor the poaching liquid. For this recipe, I like to use half a lemon, a clove of garlic, and a few peppercorns.
Then, place your chicken breasts in a large saucepan, and add in water until the water covers the chicken by 1 inch. Add in your aromatics.
Bring the chicken to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Turn the heat to low, and cook at a low simmer for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Let cool to firm up, and then dice the chicken breasts for the salad.
Cook Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot
The other method I like for cooking juicy chicken breasts is cooking them in the Instant Pot. Fresh chicken breasts only take 6 minutes of pressure cooking on Manual, followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release.
To make poached chicken breast in the instant pot, add 3-4 chicken breasts in a single layer in the bottom of the inner pot, along with 1 cup of water and any desired seasonings. Cook on Manual for 6 minutes (7 minutes if the chicken breasts are really large). After the cook time has elapsed, let the Instant Pot depressurize via “natural pressure release”. Then, release any remaining pressure, open the lid, and transfer the chicken breasts to a plate. Let cool to firm up, and then you can dice the chicken breasts for the salad.
Ingredients in Keto Chicken Salad
What else goes into keto chicken salad? I like to make a dressing with keto-friendly mayo, a bit of mustard, fresh dill, salt, and pepper. Add all of the dressing ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine. It’s that easy!
Then, for some freshness and crunch, I add some finely chopped celery, a tablespoon or two of minced red onion, and chives. Then, to top it all off, I add some cooked, crumbled bacon. Yum!
Stir it all up, and you’re ready to eat it all by itself, or bundled up in lettuce wraps.
Is Chicken Good for the Keto Diet?
Chicken is a good choice for keto dieters. It’s a great source of protein. Chicken is also rich in many vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, phosphorus and selenium.
Either light meat like chicken breasts or dark meat like chicken thighs are good choices on the keto diet. I like cooking with chicken thighs a lot of the time, but for this recipe, in particular, I like to use chicken breasts.
|Chicken Nutrition||Calories||Fats (g)||Net Carbs (g)||Protein (g)|
|Chicken thigh (4 oz.)||250||20||0||17|
|Chicken breast (4 oz.)||125||1||0||26|
This low-carb chicken salad isn’t difficult to make, and there are no hard to find ingredients. You can make it all in one big mixing bowl! Serve it as part of a lunch picnic, take it to work or school for lunch, and enjoy it by itself as a high-protein snack.
Keto Chicken Salad with Bacon
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
- ¼ cup crumbled bacon
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- 2 tbsp fresh chives
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, make the dressing. Stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, dill, chives, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine.
- Add the cooked chicken, celery, red onion, and bacon. Stir well to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, as needed.