Ditch The Mayo For Another Creamy Ingredient In Your Next Chicken Salad

Everybody and their mother has a different recipe for chicken salad, some of which sound more interesting than others. For example, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, uses brown sugar as a secret ingredient, which helps balance out tangy elements and gives your salad an inconspicuous but helpful sweetness. Other standard recipes contain pickle juice or call for brining your chicken in the acidic liquid, bringing a welcome hit of brightness to a hearty lunchtime dish.

But, do we dare disrupt a mainstay ingredient — mayonnaise — in chicken salad sandwiches everywhere? Yes, we do. Next time you have leftover chicken, whip up a batch of chicken salad with avocado instead. 

Beyond the recipe's viral status on TikTok, avocado chicken salad is a summery twist on a classic, especially if you add lime and red onion for a guacamole-inspired dish. And you don't even need bread for this quick picnic lunch, either. Our creamy avocado chicken salad recipe suggests swapping the bread for lettuce cups to create a lower-carb option. If you want to consume less mayonnaise — but don't want to miss out on that creamy, silky texture in your chicken salad — avocado becomes a great ingredient swap to pack in some additional benefits. 

Avocados are a nutritious addition to chicken salad

Besides lending creaminess, making chicken salad with mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise is a great way to boost its nutritional value. Avocados, native to Mexico as well as Central and South America, have numerous health benefits. The green fruits are full of potassium, vitamin K, and the kinds of fats that support necessary body functions, and people who eat an avocado every day may have fewer painful muscle cramps, healthier bones, and lower cholesterol.


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If you're concerned that just using avocado in your chicken salad won't deliver the creaminess you're searching for, you can always boost the texture by adding Greek yogurt. As you can see in the viral TikTok, this will impart an additional silkiness that some might otherwise miss from mayo-based salads. And, not only does the creamy ingredient improve the texture, but it will add even more nutrition to your chicken salad recipe than avocado alone. Greek yogurt is high in protein, low in fat, and contains gut-friendly bacteria.

Other similar textured mayonnaise alternatives

While avocado may seem like an unusual replacement for mayonnaise in your basic chicken salad recipe, there are other (perhaps more interesting) choices you can make. Let's face it, not everyone loves the green fruit, with its sometimes waxy interior and that pit! How many times has it pinged out of its fleshy bed and rolled over the floor? Well, if you don't want that hassle but still need a zing to your chicken salad, try hummus. The Pioneer Woman ranks it number four on her mayonnaise substitute list and is noted for its similar texture but subtle earthy flavors which will compliment, if not improve, any chicken salad. 

And who doesn't like chicken and pesto? It may be a stretch to think pesto can replace mayonnaise in a recipe for chicken salad but according to Healthline, it actually ranks number two on their alt-mayo list. Not only is it similar in texture but it will also add a serious boost to your daily vitamin intake, including 36% of your vitamin E, 8% of your calcium, and a whopping 97% of your vitamin K (which helps support bone and blood health). So, ditch the mayo and push the boat out into new (hummus, pesto, and avocado) flavored waters.