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Why buy the expensive deli chicken salad when you can make our Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad at home? (It’s just as good!)

Make this delicious Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad at home!


A few years back when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had food cravings like most pregnant woman do.  One of my cravings was for Willow Tree chicken salad.  Almost every day for lunch, I went to a little sandwich shop about a block away from my office, and I would get the exact same thing to eat: a Willow Tree chicken salad sandwich (and this sandwich shop specifically stated it was Willow Tree for good reason!) on sourdough bread, milk, and a piece of fruit.

Willow Tree Farm is a New England-area food company and poultry farm based out of Attleboro, Massachusetts, famous for their deli chicken salad and chicken pot pies.  According to the Willow Tree website, they credit their chicken salad as one of the reasons the company has flourished over the years, and their products are also sold at grocery chains all along the East Coast of the United States.

Willow Tree Chicken Salad copycat recipe

My husband learned of my Willow Tree chicken salad craving – and being the sweetheart that he is – he set out to recreate this chicken salad recipe at home just for me. (It’s always important to keep a pregnant lady happy!) 😉

Jack started with the recipe found online here (someone else must have had a similar craving) but tweaked it further after reading the ingredients which the folks at Willow Tree were nice enough to list on their website as well.  I think Jack has come pretty close with the recipe we’ve listed below. Enjoy!


How to make copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad at home

A few last notes: This recipe was originally shared here on A Family Feast in November 2012. We’ve updated the original photo (you can see that below – our food photography has definitely improved over the years) and we included a video as well (see above). Our readers love this recipe – even those readers who never tasted the original Willow Tree version!

I do also want to thank the folks at Willow Tree for being such great sports about this copycat recipe.  As you can see in the comments below, the folks at Willow Tree have been following along with our readers’ comments and closely guarding the family’s real chicken salad recipe!


Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad - Our attempt at recreating the famous Willow Tree chicken salad - and I think we're pretty close!

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Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


A copycat recipe of the famous Willow Tree chicken salad.


  • 1 pound cooked chicken breast
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced celery
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper


  1. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, blend chicken breasts until thoroughly shredded, or shred by hand. (Note: Shredded chicken rather than diced chicken pieces will help recreate the original Willow Tree chicken salad texture.)
  2. Remove bowl from the stand mixer and add in all other ingredients. Stir by hand to mix well.
  3. Serve over lettuce leaves or in sandwiches.

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Copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad - Our attempt at recreating the famous Willow Tree chicken salad - and I think we're pretty close!

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  • Dawn H wrote:

    Loved it! I grew up close to Willow Tree Farms in MA and I miss getting it now that I am in the South. Thanks so much for the recipe it’s pretty darn close to the original!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dawn – glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  • Lil Rhody At Large wrote:

    I can’t wait to try this! I’m such a huge fan of Willow Tree (my mom swears it’s all I would eat when I was in second grade), but I’ve moved out of the area and I miss it so much. I’ve never found anything to compare, honestly. Willow Tree, please expand to Chicago!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Andrew wrote:

    Having tasted the original my entire life, and I’ve made this recipe many times, I think the onion is not correct,im going to use 8 onion powder.

    Or perhaps they Blanche the celery and onion prior to using? The onion as described in this recipe is too strong and too much crunch.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Andrew – very possible!

  • Sue wrote:

    Love this recipe. And it’s so easy. Thank you for sharing! My family loves it!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Sue!

  • Judith wrote:

    Hi Martha..I made your chicken salad yesterday and it’s delicious..the best I’ve ever had! Thanks for sharing! All of your recipes looks soooo good!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Judith – glad the recipe was a hit!

  • Tammy Cowart wrote:

    I recently found this recipe when looking for a good chicken salad recipe for our food truck. OMG, this is fabulous! I love the texture of the chicken after pulsing. I did poach my chicken breasts first. We got rave reviews on how tasty this was.

    Thanks for sharing and it will be my “go to” for chicken salad now!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Tammy!

  • ramesh chandwani wrote:

    Awesome chicken salad I tried and it was delicious mam I also make chicken mayo with touch of salt and black pepper pwdr and apply on brown or white sliced brd.with some shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes, shereded bloosom cabbage as well toast it and serve with crispy potato wafers.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sound delicious Ramesh!

  • Hinal wrote:

    Hi, how do you cook your chicken for this recipe- boil, bake or pressure cook? And for how long?

  • p levi marsman wrote:

    is the copycat willow tree chicken salad the original chicken salad?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi – It’s our attempt at recreating the Willow Tree Chicken Salad at home – and we think we’ve come close – but we don’t know the exact deli recipe. Hope you’ll give it a try!

  • Sally wrote:

    This really hit the spot. I was searching for a chicken salad recipe that was just a bit different and this one really stood out. Made half a recipe and it worked out great!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you liked it Sally!

  • Mary Dodge wrote:

    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. It’s so fun to make this and other copycat recipes. Friends are always surprised when they find out .
    Do you have a recipe for mushroom risotto? There is one from Daniella’s Restaurant that is better than any I have tasted. Sure would love that “copycat” recipe.

    Well, thanks for your excellent recipes and website!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank YOU Mary! We do have a Mushroom Risotto recipe: – I’m not familiar with Daniella’s Restaurant or their risotto, so hopefully our recipe is a close copycat!

  • Jean Crouse wrote:

    How did she cook the chicken, because how that is processed will have a lot to do with the flavor of the chicken. You need to infuse flavor in chicken when it’s cooking or you will never get a good flavor later

  • Melissa Bannon wrote:

    I can’t rate your recipe as of yet, but I’m about to visit my father. He’s turning 70 years old and we haven’t had willow tree chicken salad since I was 14, omg 29 years ago. 😪.

    I’ve been racking my brains about what to get or do for him that makes him smile so big, he can’t help but tear up and now… thanks to you, I’m going to give it a go.

    As a girl, trips to Pawtucket and Cape Cod, are reminiscent of Willow Tree chicken sandwiches on peppridge farm bread, playing old maid with my grandma, her laughing because she’s cheating. Let’s not forget about the chips and ginger ale.

    I’m gonna make this for him at his party on Saturday. I cannot wait, so thank you so much for this. If I don’t completely botch it up, you will have made many happy people.

    • Martha wrote:

      Oh Melissa…I hope you all love the recipe!

  • Charlene LaFontaine wrote:

    I have a function that I have to make mini deli sandwiches for and I decided to make this recipe. After I made it; and sampled it; I have to say this is an excellent copy recipe. It definitely tastes like the chicken salad that I buy at the Deli. I will be making this again,

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you liked the recipe Charlene!

  • Samm wrote:

    This is hands down my go-to chicken salad recipe. I’m a Californian, so I’ve never had Willow Tree, but this recipe makes me want to take a trip and visit one. 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      🙂 Glad you are enjoying the recipe Samm!

  • Julie Sarnoff-Clark wrote:

    Love this! Thank you for posting! I moved from Rhode Island to Tennessee 13 years ago and have not had willow tree since then. I will definitely make this again in the not too distant future.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope our version is as good as you remember Julie!

  • sammycat wrote:

    Does anyone used canned chicken breast to make this? The chicken was on sale and I would love to save a for scheckels, if I can. I am using a high quality home made mayo, which taste better anyway. Has anyone tried this? Any instruction is appreciated.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi – Not that I know of, and we haven’t made this ourselves with canned chicken, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t use it for this recipe.

  • Amanda P wrote:

    I don’t usually comment on recipes, but this was incredible. The brown sugar really made this unique in a great way. I doubled up on the celery and onion because I love the crunch in my chicken salad, but the overall flavor as written is wonderful. I used a rotisserie chicken and my handmixer to shred it. Couldn’t be easier! Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Amanda! So glad you enjoyed it as much as we do!

  • Richie wrote:

    This is really good. I did add crumbled bacon to mine because, well bacon is good!

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Richie – you’re right, bacon is good!

  • Tango Joe wrote:

    This is a wonderful recipe. Making it again today, and this will be the third time!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Tango Joe! So glad you are enjoying the recipe!

  • Susan Saffell wrote:

    How do you cook the chicken? Boiled? Baked? Skin? Spices?

  • Cheryl Tremblay wrote:

    I have been making this recipe for about 10 years. I bring it to off off at 6 July celebration party every year and have been deemed the chicken salad Queen! One year the refrigerator broke and my sandwiches have to be thrown away they were many disappointed people.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoy the recipe Cheryl! (I would be very sad too if my chicken salad spoiled due to a broken refrigerator…)

  • Jody Dion wrote:

    This is delicious and very close.. Don’t worry Willow Teee, nothing can compare to the real thing. I love Willow Tree and buy it all the time but now when I have leftover shredded chicken this is what I’ll make with it.
    Wondering why you didn’t add paprika as it is in the ingredients for the real thing. I also added more salt, pepper, and garlic to taste.
    Thanks so much!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jody! 🙂 The last time we bought some Willow Tree chicken salad at the store, we looked again at the ingredients and noticed that paprika was included in the ingredients too. I honestly can’t remember if that was included 12 years ago when I was pregnant. Adding a little bit certainly won’t harm the flavor.

  • Jerri wrote:

    Very good. I added one 2.25oz. pkg sliced almonds, which comes from another chicken salad recipe I use.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jerri!

  • Sue wrote:

    I boiled my chicken with a little Nature’s Season Salt, and added a smidg. of Dijon after tasting. DELISH only added a pinch of Kosher salt and pepper. Will make again for sure. Loved the fact it didn’t use all the apples or grapes, I WANT TO TASTE CHICKEN☺

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sue!

  • riki63 wrote:

    The recipe calls for “cooked” chicken breasts. Also, I notice there is no salt in it. So I’m wondering if the breasts are boiled in bouillon or something? I live in Kansas City, so this is not something I’ve ever had the original one – maybe it doesn’t need salt?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Riki – You can use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket or you can cook it any other way that you like (roasted, poached, etc). We do list salt and pepper at the end of the ingredients list – but feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. You make a great point – depending on how the chicken is cooked, you may not need to season it further with a lot of salt or pepper. Hope that helps!

  • Martha Habeshian wrote:

    We moved from RI to Florida 19 years ago and the one thing I missed the most (excluding Cains mayonnaise) has been Willow Tree chicken salad. Every time we go up north, one of the first things I do is head over to Stop and Shop and buy a tub of it. I found this recipe online and just made it recently. This is the real deal! I can’t believe how much this is exactly like the chicken salad I remember and love. Thank you, thank you for fulfilling my chicken cravings.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Martha! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Mrs. Johnson wrote:

    I’m from New England but now live in North Carolina and I have been dying for Willow Tree chicken salad. This is sooo good!!! It definitely satisfies my craving. I’m on a ketogenic diet and am easily able to fit this into my macros with the carbs only coming from the brown sugar. I used a food processor to finely shred the chicken.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Mrs. Johnson!

  • Layla wrote:

    I made this recipe yesterday. I have never had Willow Tree chicken salad, but with the high reviews I thought I would try it. The salad was good yesterday, but it was even better today. I used Tone’s Garlic and Herb seasoning instead of just garlic powder. Great recipe that I will make again!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Layla!

  • PJ wrote:

    Love this recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks PJ! 🙂

  • Ria wrote:

    Haven’t tried this yet and I’m giving it to five. I’m so excited to try one of my favorite foods here in Omaha Nebraska. Will willow tree ever expand out this way? I’m from Rhode Island and spent many summers driving to the Willow Tree store to buy the salad chicken salad and fresh rolls. As soon as my sister and I got in the car we would make sandwiches and enjoy them heading down 95 south!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you love the recipe Ria! Thank you!

  • Deb wrote:

    You amaze me! Have never been an inspiring cook! Meat especially is overwhelming to me! Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Deb – glad you are finding recipes you enjoy!

  • Sabrina Smith wrote:

    Thank you so much! Your cravings and your husband’s efforts saved the day! The supermarket was all out of Willow tree. My son loved it. We can’t believe how much it tastes like the original.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Sabrina!

  • Brittney wrote:

    Quick, easy, DELICIOUS. Wow. Glad I clicked. I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to chicken salad, but this is SO satisfying. We live near the birthplace of Chicken salad Chick and that’s my go-to, but I’ll be making my own here on out! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Brittany – So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Ronda Emiliusen wrote:

    Looks great recipe please

    • Martha wrote:

      Ronda – The recipe is right in the post – just scroll down a bit and you can print from there

  • Heather W wrote:

    I feel like the mayo plays a big part in this recipe, which mayo did you use? I grew up eating this chicken salad and now I live nowhere near south Attleboro, I’m pregnant, and need this chicken salad. Help me.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Heather – We use Hellmann’s mayo! (And now you have me craving some too!) Good luck! 🙂

  • Maxine. Everett wrote:

    It’s would be better with. boiled eggs.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion Maxine!

  • Sammy Cat wrote:

    Hi Martha, What a wonderful and delicious hit this turned out to be. I am now making it weekly for my family. I use two picked rotisserie chickens and have upped the amount of celery and onion I add. I also make my own paleo avocado mayonnaise instead of using store bought and its absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Sammy – so glad you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!

  • Ty wrote:

    This turned out exactly how I imagined… Never had the original but this is without a doubt the best chicken salad recipe I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Ty! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Sandy wrote:

    My family is full of picky eaters, but every single one of them loved this recipe. I have to keep it in stock in my fridge in case they crave a snack. Great for stuffing celery stocks if you can’t eat gluten!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sandy! As the mom of a picky eater, I know how great it feels to find foods that everyone loves…so glad your family enjoys the recipe!

  • Jeanne wrote:

    Excellent! Everyone loved it. You can dress it up with grapes, nuts or pineapple if you like that kind of chicken salad.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jeanne – great ideas!

  • Glenda wrote:

    I’ve never heard of Willow Tree Chicken Salad, but while I was searching for a recipe, it popped up. I made it and I will say, “Hands Down! This is the BEST Chicken Salad ever!” My husband agrees and it will be a STAPLE in our life, now. Thank you for taking the time to figure it out AND for sharing it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow – You’re very welcome Glenda! So glad you enjoyed the chicken salad!

  • Sammy Cat wrote:

    Hello, This sounds like what I am looking for. I want to use a whole chicken from the deli (rotisserie). How should I increase the recipe to fit a whole chicken? Also would you include the dark meat in the salad? Please advise. And let me also say that this is the best example of a up kept message board I have ever seen on the internet. Kudos!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sammy! We’ve made this with breast meat only (as you see it in the photos), as well as white and dark chicken meat just for ourselves – so it’s really up to you! (The dark meat is delicious too.) Depending on the size of your rotisserie chicken, once you remove the meat from the bones you’ll probably wind up with 1-2 pounds of meat in total. The recipe calls for 1 pound of chicken so adjust accordingly if you have closer to 2 pounds (just double the recipe). Hope this helps. Enjoy!

  • Shaaron Flynn wrote:

    One of the best chicken salad sandwiches Ive ever had was in a deli in Wilmington, NC. It was very sweet, but couldnt put my finger on where the sweetness came from.. the ownersvrecipe was just like yours, but he used honey instead of brown sugar. Im going to try the brown sugar, but honey is a great option!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Sharon! Great idea!

  • Jean wrote:

    Ok, you have the copycat chicken salad. Have you tried to do the willow tree chicken pie yet? I would like to know how to do that sauce. The Greek dressing is good. We used to get Christop’s about once a week at work.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jean – We tried making a copycat pie recipe years ago, but decided we liked my husband Jack’s pot pie recipe better. We have that on our site as turkey pot pie, but it also works for chicken too if you’d like to try that: (We miss Christo’s!!) 🙂

      • Jean wrote:

        Thank you. Will try.

  • DougieB wrote:

    This recipe is a winner! Had a rotisserie chicken from the market to make things easy. I added a handful of Cilantro. I love the bright, fresh taste of it. Tasted wonderful and I’m sure it will be 10x as good once it sits in the fridge overnight. Thanks for another great recipe, keep them coming!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Doug! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Emmie wrote:

    I tried this tonight, and it’s good! I decided to make a “basic” salad that I can fruit up or nut up as I like or leave it alone (I’m a fan of the fruity ones, but have been frustrated with my combos the past few times). I added some lemon juice, salt, and lemon pepper seasoning.
    Add-ins I’ve liked include chopped apple (Honeycrisp), cut grapes, mandarin oranges, Sugar in the Raw. Toasted pecans ok; pineapple no.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Emmie!

  • Willow Tree Nana wrote:

    Just wondering what mayonnaise you use? Cains, Hellmans, or other brand. Thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi – We typically use Hellmann’s mayo!

  • claire wrote:

    Such a great base recipe for chicken salad! I used left over beer canned chicken that added smokiness which i love, and then also added grapes and walnuts! It is absolutely delicious and my husband is already begging for more!! Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Claire! So glad the recipe was a hit!

  • Sue M Laue wrote:

    I couldn’t find any reference to how much this makes. About how many sandwiches using the small Hawaiian rolls would you guess? Also, how about chopped up sweet pickles?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sue – We estimate the yield to be 4-6 servings/sandwiches (it’s at the top of the recipe card) depending on how much you like to load up your sandwich. For the small King’s Hawaiian rolls, I’d estimate that one recipe is enough to fill a package of 12 slider rolls with a reasonable scoop – but if you want to really load them up, I’d make extra. Hope that helps!

  • Mamie Young wrote:

    Sounds delicious except for the brown sugar??? Personally, I use grated carrots for the natural sweetness.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you’ll give the recipe a try Mamie! (You might be surprised!)

  • Karen wrote:

    I love this recipe. The first day I made it, I thought I should have deleted the brown sugar… but then the second day – it was so delish.. I can’t wait to even try to add chopped green grapes and maybe a few pecans to the recipe…

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Karen! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Fran wrote:

    Love Willow Tree Chicken Salad. I missed it as now I’m living in Florida. I made this recipe for a ladies luncheon I had this week, it was a big hit!!! I will make this again and again!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Fran – so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • J.M. wrote:

    I’m really wanting to try this recipe. I seems to be exactly what I’m looking for. Very simple basic ingredients. I’m not a fan of nuts & such in my chicken salad. Anyways, when preparing the chicken breasts I’m assuming you bake them…? Do you season the breast before hand? Thanks for any advice. Looking forward to making this hopefully soon.

  • Delilah wrote:

    This is a simple, down home chicken salad. Only changes I made were leaving out the onion because we don’t like it in cold salad but added a shake of onion powder. I also left the chicken a little chunkier since hubby prefers that to blended.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Delilah!

  • Joy Temple wrote:

    Made this today and loved it! I really liked the subtle touch of sweetness from the brown sugar. I followed the recipe as written with one minor change. I put the chicken in the food processor instead of shredding it. I wanted to produce a smoother chicken salad (just my personal preference). Thank you for a great recipe, I will be making this for many years to come!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Joy!

  • Marisa wrote:

    This is the best chicken salad recipe ever!! Love the flavor and the consistency!! Got my husband hooked too!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Marisa! So glad you both enjoyed the recipe!

  • Kat wrote:

    Would love to try this recipe? I’m looking for a new unch go to meal and I may try this but my question is – can you use plain fat free greek yogurt in place of mayo?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kat – Sure – Greek yogurt has a very different flavor than mayo but if you are OK with that, it’s definitely a lower fat option for you than using mayo.

  • Vickie wrote:

    I think I will try this recipe with Turkey.. seeing I will have Turkey leftovers this THANKSGIVING!!

    • Martha wrote:

      This recipe works great with leftover turkey – enjoy!

  • SheShe wrote:

    1 TSP soy sauce and 1/4 TSP of Chinese 5 Spice for an Asian twist. Definitely on my menu for the weekend!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like a delicious variation! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ellen wrote:

    I have made this recipe on several occasions and I’m always asked to make it again and again. I add dried cranberries and walnuts and the result is pretty close to Willow Tree’s. Add a little Buffalo Sauce and you get their buffalo chicken. They’re latest flavor sensation is sriracha chicken salad! I’m transplant to Pennsylvania, but whenever we go to Massachusetts every trip includes a stop at the Willow Tree store. Chicken salad and pot pies to take home! Gotta Love The Tree!

    • Martha wrote:

      Great suggestions Ellen! So glad you are enjoying our copycat version!

  • Carol wrote:

    Instead of brown sugar use honey…..big difference…

    • Jack wrote:

      Thanks for the suggestion Carol! We’ll give it a try!

  • Donna wrote:

    How do you usually prepare your chicken breasts– boiled, roasted, ect. ?

  • Delores Kay Collins wrote:

    Thank you for the recipe; I am eager to give it a try, because it looks and sounds wonderful.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Delores! We hope you love it as much as we do!

  • Melissa Howell wrote:

    I have never had WillowTree chicken salad (I live in Indiana.) That being said, this chicken salad recipe is amazing! Absolutely love it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Melissa! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Linda wrote:

    Good chicken salad. Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome! So glad you enjoyed it Linda!

  • Emma Rios wrote:

    I haven’t tried it but I will as soon as I return home. Thank you for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you love the recipe Emma!

  • April wrote:

    I just came across this recipe and I have to make chicken salad sandwiches for a wedding shower (tomorrow)! I have never made chicken salad before (don’t laugh lol), but definitely want to try this version. I will be cutting the sandwiches into triangles so I’m trying to figure out about how many whole sandwiches this recipe will make? Maybe half the thickness of the original image? Hope it’s not too late to ask this. Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi April – This recipe is portioned for two to three sandwiches…two if you really like a ‘full’ sandwich and three if you prefer a thinner spreading of the salad. Hope that helps!

  • Jen wrote:

    Greetings! No Willow Tree here in Alaska, but now have some darn tasty chickie salad!
    First time around was great as written; second time switched to yogurt instead of mayo, onion powder, little extra celery.
    Used toasted English muffin halves, one side hot with chick salad, tomato slice, green chiles, and habanero jack under broiler… other side cold with chick salad, dried cranberries, and toasted pine nuts. Toss up for which is better!
    Amazing recipe! Thank you so much!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds delicious Jen! So glad you are enjoying the recipe!

  • Pamela mack wrote:

    This is the best chicken salad. I’ve tried all kinds of recipes and this one is a hit! My husband loves them… Thank you for a delicious recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Pamela!

  • Linda wrote:

    Not familiar with Willow Tree, but I made this today and it is delicious. Subbed pickles for the celery (didn’t have any). Love the addition of brown sugar – I would never have thought to add that but it gives such a nice hint of sweet .

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Linda! I agree – the brown sugar is a surprising (and delicious) ingredient! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Rainah wrote:

    Slated this on the menu. Hubs made it up for us (though he only chopped the chicken). Loved it…., It was just the right amount of creaminess. The onion was too strong until we added the sugar….. Amazed how much we loved this…… I was so hyped to have a tried and true recipe…., Then I found out he adjusted the seasonings….. (like, extra pepper, garlic, and some oregano…..)……, now, can I recreate it for him???? (If you’ve read Understood Betsy, and how she learned to make applesauce, maybe you can appreciate our mindset on these things……)

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL – glad you enjoyed the recipe Rainah! Until we started blogging, my husband Jack never wrote down his recipes or precise measurements of ingredients so I completely understand! 🙂

  • Ashley wrote:

    Ok I JUST made this like 5 minutes ago, and it is DELICIOUS!! I left out the brown sugar because i prefer my chicken salad more savory than sweet, and I didnt have celery on hand, but even without those, its still so yummy! I had some time, so I seared my chicken breasts with salt and pepper on them, and then I baked them to cook through the rest of the way. One bite and I was like “Ohhhh yeaaa!!” Thanks for the recipe guys!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks so much Ashley!

  • Gran wrote:

    I have never had Willow Tree’s Chicken Salad, but I can’t imagine it being any better than yours. Best chicken salad sandwich that I have had in a long time. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome – So glad you enjoyed the chicken salad as much as I do Gran!

  • Donna J wrote:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful recipe! I grew up in RI and went to high school in Attleboro, MA. On my way home from school, I would always stop by the Willow Tree Farms store and get some of their amazing chicken salad. I married my husband, a physician in the military, which took us all over the country (SD, NE, FL, AK, and now OK). Through all our travels, I’ve never found food like we had in New England. I’ve tried so many times to recreate the delicious Willow Tree chicken salad over the years but it was never quite right. Kudos to your husband for figuring it out!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe throughout your travels Donna!

  • Shari D wrote:

    This sounds like it’s going to become MY “go to” chicken salad recipe, as I can tell from the ingredients and the process that it’s going to produce the precise chicken salad type that I have always loved but can rarely find! I grew up in southeastern Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay, where fresh caught seafood of many varieties was almost always the order of the day, along with good old Southern home cooking of course, and with good pork barbecue, southern style cured hams, etc., but in spite of my love for chicken salad, it was always hard to find.
    There was no Willow Tree in our area, or their products in our groceries, so I’m sure I missed out on something truly yummy. But this is going to provide me with the kind of chicken salad I adore. I have lived in Indiana now for going on 38 years, and no Willow Tree around here I have ever seen. Everyone around here seems to prefer selling it chunky style instead of shredded, and with all sorts of fruit and nuts in it, like white grapes, or cranberries and walnuts or almonds and all that sort of stuff. I’m sure if that’s your “thing” then it must be wonderful, but being a purist myself, I like my chicken salad to just BE chicken salad, not a fruit and nut salad with some chicken thrown in on the side!
    Chicken Pot Pie is also another favorite ~ wish I could get closer! The crust to me is the most important part. Boy, you better get a great flaky crust, as well as a thick, creamy sauce inside to carry the solid bits too!
    I will look forward to your “copycat” chicken pot pie recipe soon!
    Best regards….

    • Martha wrote:

      I hope you enjoy the recipe Shari! We’ve published my husband’s turkey pot pie recipe (which we use for chicken too) but not a copycat for Willow Tree’s version! Thanks again for writing to us today!

  • Connie wrote:

    we don’t have a willow tree:( but just made this and it’s wonderful taste like our fav. Chicken salad recipe that we get from a resturant here thank you connie

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you liked the recipe Connie! Thanks for taking the time to write to us today!

  • Valeria wrote:

    I just made your chicken salad. Then I used English muffins,slices of fresh garden tomato,chicken salad,Swiss cheese, and heated in oven until the cheese melted. Delish! I live in PA so I haven’t heard of Willow Tree , but it was really tasty. I liked the added pop of brown sugar

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Valeria! (Sounds delicious!)

  • MassachusEATS wrote:

    Just made a batch of this – very, very close to Willow Tree! Well done, I’m excited to make more in the future. 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Stephen Genuario wrote:

    Hello Everyone,
    I just wanted to chime in and thank you for all the great comments on our Chicken Salad. We take great pride in producing a product that is made fresh, without all those nasty additives that make the product stable beyond it’s intent. As we all know, these stabilizers affect the overall taste and appeal of any product. Our chicken salad has the cleanest label of any branded product of its type and we intend to keep it that way. Again, thanks for all your comments. We appreciate all your topics and all conversations. Like many of you, I grew up on Willow Tree as I live in Rhode Island.

    Stephen Genuario
    VP – Sales & Marketing
    Willow Tree Poultry Farm

  • Darlene wrote:

    This is an awesome chicken salad recipe although I don’t use mayo (miss my Hellman’s) use yogurt, and extra herbs, but this is my to go to recipe from now on, great job :).

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Darlene! Your adaptation sounds delicious and healthier!

  • Ruth wrote:

    Hi! Just wondering what kind of onion you use and also what kind of brown sugar, light or dark? Thanks in advance! Can’t wait to try this recipe ASAP! 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ruth – We usually use a Vidalia onion (but a red onion might be another good choice) and light brown sugar. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Matt wrote:

    The recipe was terrific. I used more like 4 or 5 tablespoons of celery, which was helpful, I think.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Matt!

  • Maria wrote:

    Not sure how I missed this recipe? I like Willow Tree and buy it frequently as chicken salad is one of my favorites! I wish you could copy the Trader Joe’s chicken salad with the pecans and cranberries. I’ve tried several recipes but none match it. Look forward to trying this recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Maria! We will have to try the TraderJoe’s version!! Sounds delicious!

  • Trish Wall wrote:

    I have never tried Willow Tree, but I LOVE chicken salad. (I’m from Texas and Florida…now living in Birmingham, AL). Hopefully, they will open a store down here someday. So, I’ve GOT to TRY your copycat Willow Tree Chicken Salad.

    • Martha wrote:

      We hope you like the recipe Trish! You might be able to find it sold at the deli of your local supermarket too – if you would like to try the original recipe! Thanks for visiting our site!

  • Tracey wrote:

    Hi. I am also a fan of Willow Tree. Any chance you have ever considered trying to do a copycat of their Chicken Pot Pie? It’s a family favorite for us and I have been trying for years to make one like it at home with no luck. You got their chicken salad just right! We loved it.

    • Martha wrote:

      Funny you should ask that – we have tried but still don’t have it quite right so never published it! We have a turkey pot pie recipe on our site that we also make with chicken – that is the recipe we usually make! We’re glad you enjoyed the chicken salad recipe!

  • Kat wrote:

    This looks great! How far in advance can you make and store this?

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Kat! I’d recommend a day or two at the most for the freshest flavor.

  • Jean Carpenter wrote:

    Hi Martha, I made this yesterday. Wow! I like it better that WT (don’t tell them LOL). Its nice to have a readily available alternative. My DH just loved it. We love to go to the Willow Tree store and have a “picnic” in our car LOL. Now we won’t have to leave the neighborhood. Needless to say, it was gone in one meal. I’m making more this weekend for my hungry man
    ( and me too!) Thanks again for a great recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Jean! And thanks for letting us know!

  • Laury wrote:

    Made this for dinner this evening and it was a big hit! This will be my new “go to” recipe for chicken salad. Thank you so much for sharing it!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe Laury! Thanks for visiting our site!

  • Your Friends at Willow Tree wrote:

    Hello Everyone, well we are all flattered that you enjoy our chicken salad enough to duplicate its taste. We are working very hard to push Willow Tree’s brand outward and into new areas. Just keep tuned to our facebook site at and ‘like us’. We always announce when our Chicken Salad is available in new areas. As for the actual recipe, well…. it’s just a lot of love, care, and great ingredients that goes into every container. Feel free to tell everyone! 🙂

  • Kim @ Soliloquy Of Food & Such wrote:

    I am so excited to find this, and cannot wait to try it out! I grew up in RI where Willow Tree is readily available. When I moved to northern Maine, I would make excuses to drive several hours south – as it was nowhere to be found nearby.

    • Martha wrote:

      I hope you like it Kim! We think it’s pretty close to the original – and in fact, it’s our most popular recipe ever! Thanks for stopping by! Martha

  • Stacy Cole wrote:

    Fantastic!! Thank you for posting it! 🙂

  • Jennifer wrote:

    What brand of mayonnaise do you use?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jennifer – we usually use Hellman’s mayonnaise!

  • Kim wrote:

    Thank you for this recipe. I saw it on Pinterest and made it tonight for dinner with some chicken noodle soup. The chicken salad us delish! I used 2 cans of chicken breast in water and it worked great.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you liked it Kim! Thanks for letting us know!

  • Evelyn @ My Turn for us wrote:

    Just dropping in from Serendipity and Spice to pin this. I am not pregnant but I crave a good Chicken Salad Sandwich!!

    Have a Happy New Year!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Evelyn! Hope you enjoy the chicken salad! It’s our most popular recipe!

  • Laurie @ Laurie’s Little Bits of Creativity, etc. wrote:

    This looks delicious! Definitely trying this recipe. Visiting and pinning from The NY Melrose Family’s Pinfest 2012 party. Thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Laurie! Happy New Year!

    • Norma Curran wrote:

      The brown sugar ! This is basically the same as mine, EXCEPT for the brown sugar.(mine calls for 1Tbsp curry….cause I love the stuff !) I am eager to try this recipe .Thanks 😉

      • Martha wrote:

        I hope you enjoy the recipe Norma! The brown sugar does add a distinctive touch of sweetness… (Your curry recipe sounds delicious!)

    • robbin wrote:

      the secret to willow tree’s chicken salad is OJ concentrate. i was told this by someone who used to work there.

      • Martha wrote:

        Very interesting Robbin! Thanks for sharing!!

      • shar wrote:

        Is that oj orange juice??? How much???

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Shar! Hopefully Robbin will reply back with some more info – I’m curious to know too!

        • Stephen Genuario wrote:

          Well… I’m not too sure about that orange juice! The REAL secret to our Chicken Salad is a closely (and I mean closely) guarded family recipe. Although you will not find OJ in our chicken salad, a tall glass of this refreshing drink would go so well with our Chicken Salad on a crusty Ciabatta Roll…. Oh, and there’s big news on the horizon. We are now making Willow Tree BUFFALO Chicken Salad! Watch for it in your local retailers this spring! Trucchi’s Supermarkets in Massachusetts, along with Select Hannaford Markets are already selling it.

          Thanks so much (and keep guessing)
          Steve Genuario – Willow Tree

          • Martha wrote:

            The Buffalo Chicken Salad sounds delicious Steve!! We will definitely look for it! 🙂

          • Cleeo2 wrote:

            You’re a good sport Steve! 🙂

          • Wendy Hampton wrote:

            How fun that Steve left a message! I’m in California and am not able to visit in person for a chicken salad sandwich. I think I will have to figure out a vacation trip. The Buffalo Chicken Salad sounds unreal!

          • Jackie wrote:

            Thank you Steve, you are an awesome sport! I am a Rhode Island native and yes, I have put it on ice to DRIVE home to KY with it so I have a taste of home in the place I call home now. I have been in KY for 10 years now, and when I go home Willow Tree Chicken Salad is one of the top things on my list of things to have before I come home!!!

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