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Pesto Chicken Salad

5 from 2 votes

posted: 05/06/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Pesto Chicken Salad is a great spin on traditional chicken salad! It comes together with easy-to-find ingredients and the flavors combine perfectly. This chicken salad is perfect for feeding a crowd.

Close up photo of Pesto Chicken Salad served on a croissant.

Chicken Salad is the perfect summer recipe. On days when you don’t want to turn on your oven, it makes a fast and refreshing dinner out on the deck. When you are invited to a potluck, it is a great recipe to serve a crowd.

This Pesto Chicken Salad is no exception. This is a great twist on my classic chicken salad recipe, with the amazing taste of pesto. If you are a pesto lover, you are going to rave over these. This salad is perfect on the croissant you see pictured, but for a lower carb option, it is great as a lettuce wrap too!

Reader Review

Easy peasy and perfect for summertime!

How to Make Pesto Chicken Salad

This simple chicken salad recipe with pesto comes together in just three simple steps. For the full recipe including all measurements, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  • Make the sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, pesto, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl.
  • Mix together other ingredients. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, red pepper, tomatoes, and onion.
  • Combine sauce with the main ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Salad

This Chicken Salad is an easy recipe that comes together to make an amazing chicken salad sandwich. Make it to bring to a picnic or just have it for an easy weeknight meal.
close up of a chicken salad sandwich

Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a sauce made from basil, oil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. It is very easy to make and if you grow your own basil, making pesto would be a great way to use it. I love using pesto in many different ways and it is the star of the show in this homemade chicken salad recipe. It is also delicious in my Italian Pesto Sliders and Chicken Pesto Pasta.

Pesto Sauce Recipe

This Pesto Sauce Recipe is so easy to make and is perfect with spaghetti for an easy dinner, or use it in one of our many recipes for a fun spin!
Overhead photo of a jar of Pesto Sauce Recipe
Overhead photo of a mixing bowl of ingredients combined for Pesto Chicken Salad recipe. Croissants on counter beside mixing bowl.

How to Make Shredded Chicken

Making shredded chicken for this or other recipes is very simple and takes less than 20 minutes. Another great idea is to keep Frozen Shredded Chicken on hand. This recipe calls for three cups of cooked chicken, which is about one pound of chicken breasts when they are raw.

  1. Place the chicken in a saucepan with enough water to cover it.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and simmer over low heat for 4 to 10 minutes or until the chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer.

You can also use your Instant Pot to make shredded chicken or use a rotisserie chicken. Sometimes I like to buy several, shred them, and freeze them.

Freezing Cooked Chicken

Freezing cooked chicken to keep on hand is the perfect short cut for dinners during a busy weeknight!
overhead of a ziplock bag full of frozen rotisserie chicken

How to Serve Pesto Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is so delicious on a buttery croissant with some spinach or lettuce and shredded parmesan cheese. You could also eat it with crackers or any other bread or bun for a yummy chicken salad sandwich. It would make a great wrap or for a low carb and gluten free option, a lettuce wrap like my Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover chicken pesto salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. This is a great dish to take to a picnic or potluck, however, if it was left outside for more than two hours it should be tossed.

Since this recipe has mayonnaise in it, I would not recommend freezing it.

Overhead photo of Pesto Chicken Salad served on a croissant. Tomatoes on counter behind sandwich.

Other Great Salad Recipes

If you make this Pesto Chicken Salad recipe or any of my others, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!

Close up photo of Pesto Chicken Salad served on a croissant.
5 from 2 votes

Pesto Chicken Salad

Serves: 7 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
This Pesto Chicken Salad is the best spin on traditional chicken salad recipes! It comes together with easy-to-find ingredients, and the flavors combine perfectly. This spin on homemade chicken salad is perfect for feeding a crowd.


  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 cup pesto or 8 oz jar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups cooked chicken shredded and cut small
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/2 small red onion diced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, pesto, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • In a large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients. Stir in the sauce and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve as sandwiches or lettuce wraps. Place leftovers in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.


Please note that the nutritional information is just for the chicken salad and not a roll, croissant, or any fixings to put on a sandwich.
Serving: 0.5cup Calories: 285kcal (14%) Carbohydrates: 7g (2%) Protein: 17g (34%) Fat: 21g (32%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0.01g Cholesterol: 50mg (17%) Sodium: 648mg (28%) Potassium: 219mg (6%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 906IU (18%) Vitamin C: 10mg (12%) Calcium: 74mg (7%) Iron: 1mg (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Close up photo of Pesto Chicken Salad served on a croissant.

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Pesto Chicken Salad

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners