Air Fryer Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad — Focusing on quality over quantity, Chick-Fil-A has one of the smallest fast-food menus. For decades, their chicken salad was a mainstay of their menu, available as a sandwich on whole grain bread or in a cup alongside crackers.
It was their original “lighter” option, preceding any grilled chicken sandwiches or wraps that you will find today. Sadly, it is no longer available, making this recipe a must for enjoying the chicken salad that we all remember.
What Are The Secrets To Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad?
There are three secrets to Chick-Fil-A’s chicken salad, and contrary to popular belief, none of them is dill pickle juice! The first, and most important secret is starting with breaded chicken! That’s right, their chicken salad wasn’t actually any “lighter” than their fried chicken sandwiches, as it started with their fried chicken.
For my recipe, I crisp up frozen breaded chicken tenderloins in the air fryer for less fat than deep frying. I look for frozen breaded “tenderloins” not tenders, as the tenderloins are whole white meat chicken, whereas “tenders” are formed like chicken nuggets. Once fully cooked, I let the tenderloins cool completely before chopping. You can also usually find chicken tenderloins precooked in your grocery store’s deli. Most delis will even sell them cooked and chilled, allowing you to skip the air fryer step entirely and start with those.
The second secret to Chick-Fil-A’s chicken salad is using a food processor to finely mince the chicken along with mayonnaise and celery. You’ll want to process in quick pulses to ensure you don’t overdo things, but the texture of the original was processed until nearly the texture of tuna salad.
The last secret to their chicken salad was adding a hardboiled egg into it, along with a lot of sweet relishes, and pulsing it in the food processor a few more times. Many people thought the light yellow color of the chicken salad came from mustard, but it was actually the yolk of the hardboiled egg!
Now, all that’s left to do is grab a few crackers or two slices of whole-grain bread and enjoy!
Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad
If you love the classic Chicken Salad from Chick-fil-A, but don’t want to leave your home to get it, then this recipe is perfect for you! With just a few simple ingredients and an air fryer, you can make the same delicious chick-filet chicken salad at home. You won’t believe how easy it is – all you need are:
Remember the step-by-step detailed instructions are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this page.
- Frozen Chicken Tenderloins: Use any of your favorite brands, from Trader Joe’s to Perdue Frozen Tenderlongs. The key is to have them breaded. The breading adds a lot of flavors.
- Mayonnaise: Use regular or low-fat mayonnaise; you can also use Greek yogurt.
- Relish: Use sweet relish or dill relish.
- Celery: Finely sliced celery, peeled.
- Egg: Hardboiled, also great prepared in the air fryer.
- Serving: Serve with wheat bread or on crackers, kosher salt, and black pepper to taste.
How To Make Air Fryer Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad
Crave the sweet, creamy taste of Chick-Fil-A’s chicken salad but don’t have time or money to get some? We’ve got you covered with an easy and delicious copycat recipe that can be made right in your air fryer!
Today, we’ll take you through each step of creating a creamy, crunchy version of one of America’s favorites – the Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad.
Step One: Air Fry The Chicken
Place frozen chicken tenderloins in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 350°F for 15–18 minutes, until crispy, and a meat thermometer registers at least 165°F when inserted into the thickest piece.
Let the cooked chicken tenderloins cool entirely before chopping.
Step Two: Combine The Ingredients
Place the cooled and chopped chicken in a food processor and add mayonnaise, celery, and 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse just until chicken and celery is finely diced.
Add relish and hardboiled egg to the food processor and pulse a few times more. All ingredients should be very finely minced.
Step Three: Serving
Season with salt to taste before serving. If the chicken salad is too thick, you may also wish to thin it out with an additional tablespoon or so of water.
- Best Version: For the best Copcat Version of this recipe, you can hit the drive-thru or use any leftover Chick-Fil-A Chicken sandwiches for the recipe.
- Eggs: If you want to eliminate the hard-boiled eggs, that’s fine. This is a copycat version, which included the eggs, which is why I included them. They give the texture a creamier flavor.
- Food Processor: If you do not have a food processor, you can finely dice your ingredients and chicken breast with a sharp knife.
- Onions: The original version used diced white onions, but you can also use diced yellow onions or red onions.
- Sweeter: Add a teaspoon if you love your chicken salad with some sweetness. Of granulated sugar or sugar substitute into the food processor.
- Low-Carb: You can use a keto-friendly wrap or bread. My favorite is Lewis Bake Shop Keto Friendly Bread, available at most supermarkets.
How To Make Chicken Salad Ahead Of Time
If you’re looking for a quick meal that is easy to make but can also be prepped beforehand, try making chicken salad.
With just a bit of planning, our taste buds are rewarded with the perfect sandwich! By making this chicken salad ahead and leaving it to marinate in the fridge, all its flavors have time to meld together perfectly – ensuring that every bite we take is delicious.
Place any leftover chicken salad into an airtight container. Placed in the refrigerator, the chicken salad will be great for 2-3 days.
More Chick-Fil-A Air Fryer Copycat Recipes
- AIR FRYER COPYCAT CHICK-FIL-A COOKIES
- AIR FRYER CHICK-FIL-A BREAKFAST BOWL
- EASY AIR FRYER CHICKEN SANDWICH (CHICK-FIL-A COPYCAT)
- CHICK-FIL-A COPYCAT COLESLAW RECIPE
- AIR FRYER CHICKEN NUGGETS (CHICK-FIL-A COPYCAT)
Making your own copycat recipe can be a lot of fun and rewarding too. Not to mention, much cheaper than buying it from the drive-through. Creating the Air Fryer Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad at home can easily be done with minimal ingredients and steps, allowing you to make a delicious and healthier version at home. It’s nearly identical in taste to the original, and better yet – no guilt about eating fast food! Plus, if you make enough leftovers, you get two meals in one! Now that’s what I call a win-win situation! So go ahead and give this recipe a try for yourself or share it with family and friends – either way, everybody will be delighted. Bon Appétit!
Air Fryer Copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Salad
- 1 pound breaded chicken tenderloins, frozen
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup celery, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup sweet relish
- 1 hardboiled eggs, peeled and diced
- salt, to taste
- Place frozen chicken tenderloins in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 350°F for 15–18 minutes, until crispy and a meat thermometer registers at least 165°F when inserted into the thickest piece.
- Let the cooked chicken tenderloins cool entirely before chopping.
- Place the cooled and chopped chicken in a food processor and add mayonnaise, celery, and 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse just until chicken and celery is finely diced.
- Add relish and hardboiled egg to the food processor and pulse just a few times more. All ingredients should be very finely minced.
- Season with salt to taste before serving. If the chicken salad is too thick you may also wish to thin it out with an additional tablespoon or so of water.
- Air Fryer
- Cooking Spray
- Parchment Paper