Food Quantities

Making Chicken Salad For a Crowd? (How Much You Need Per Person)

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Planning an event and considering a delightful menu option that appeals to a variety of tastes? Look no further than the classic and versatile chicken salad! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything from portion sizes and serving suggestions to delicious recipes, pairing options, and the cost-effective aspect of catering with chicken salad. Let’s dive into the details to ensure your event is a resounding success.

1. Portion Sizes and Serving Styles

a. Recommended Portion Sizes:

  • As a main dish: 3/4 cup per person.
  • In a sandwich, salad, or as a side: Adjust to around 1/2 cup per person.

b. Serving Styles:

  • On its own: A convenient and tasty option.
  • With crackers: Enhance the experience with the delightful combination of creamy chicken salad and crispy crackers.
  • Chicken Salad Sandwich: Perfect for a nostalgic touch and mess-free dining.
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c. Calculating Quantities:

  • Use the formula: Portion size x Number of people = Total amount needed.
  • Example: For 50 people at an event where chicken salad is the main dish, you’d need 37.5 cups.

2. Exploring Chicken Salad Recipes

a. Beyond the Classic:

  • Discover various recipes at Chicken Salad Chick, featuring categories like classic, savory, sweet, and spicy.
  • Experiment with ingredients like buffalo sauce, barbecue, sriracha, and unconventional choices such as pineapple and jalapeños.

b. Personalized Twists:

  • Make it your own with additions like nuts, fruits, or cheese.
  • Tailor the recipe to individual preferences and dietary considerations.

3. Perfect Pairings

a. Complementing Flavors:

  • Consider side dishes that balance the flavors, such as sweeter salads with savory chicken salad.
  • Pair with salads, roasted potatoes, collard greens, fruit salad, or southern-inspired dishes.
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b. Dessert Options:

  • Opt for lighter desserts with citrus or fruit flavors, like fruit pies, cobblers, lemon meringue pies, lemon bars, or cheesecake.

4. Cost-Effective Catering

a. Cost Comparison:

  • Explore catering options, like those offered by Chicken Salad Chick, with affordable platter choices.
  • Example: Catering for 100 people with four luncheon sets costs around $411, significantly lower than the average catering cost of $1,200-5,000.

b. DIY Option:

  • Making chicken salad at home is a cost-effective alternative, especially for smaller gatherings.
  • Customize the recipe to your liking and save on catering expenses.
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5. Serving Chicken Salad Safely

a. Temperature Management:

  • Keep chicken salad at 40ºF until serving.
  • Use ice baths and shaded areas for outdoor events to maintain optimal temperature.

b. Avoid Contamination:

  • Refrigerate unused portions promptly.
  • Use individual scoops to serve chicken salad and prevent cross-contamination.

c. Smart Serving:

  • Rotate bowls to maintain freshness during the event.
  • Ensure food is not left out for extended periods to uphold safety standards.


Chicken salad is a versatile and crowd-pleasing option for any event. By following our guide on portion sizes, recipes, pairings, cost-effective catering, and safe serving practices, you’re well-equipped to host a memorable gathering. Elevate your event with the timeless appeal and deliciousness of chicken salad!

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