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Southern Keto Chicken Salad

5 from 2 votes

This recipe is creamy, chunky, and with a surprising crunch from the pecans, this keto chicken salad recipe can be made ahead and enjoyed for lunches throughout the week, or it can be turned into a cute and yummy appetizer. Follow me, Chef Jenn, as I show you how to make this amazing keto chicken salad recipe everyone will love!

southern chicken salad served in a bell pepper
Serve and enjoy!
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I had to live in the South for 20 years before figuring out the right combination of ingredients to make the perfect Southern Keto Chicken Salad.

Maybe that’s because in the South they just cook differently. I don’t know, but like Paula Deen says, “Everything is better with butter!” Ok, so there’s no butter in this recipe, but it is a full-fat version. If you’re looking for a skinny Minnie version of chicken salad, scroll on by, my friend.

When I was a working chef and had my own store, we would make gallons of this chicken salad but we added grapes. Grapes aren’t keto, so this version is grape-less.

It really is fabulous, and once you get a taste of it, I’m sure it’ll be your favorite, too!

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  • Chicken – Do yourself a favor and start with a rotisserie chicken. If I have the time, I will season and bake chicken breasts for this recipe – I find the texture of the chicken is just a bit better.
    OR –
  • Canned chicken – use a similar amount of canned chicken, just drain it really well. I like to remove the lid then push the lid down on the chicken to remove excess liquid.
  • Sour Cream – Yes, sour cream. There’s hardly any mayo in this recipe, and the sour cream gives it a tangier flavor and plenty of creaminess.
  • Crunch – The crunch in this recipe comes from finely diced celery and the keto chicken salad’s secret ingredient: roasted pecans. Pecans are one of the more keto-friendly nuts, and they add SO much flavor to this Southern Chicken Salad recipe.
  • Lemon Juice – If you have a lemon on hand, give this dish a good squeeze. It really brightens up the flavors.

How To Make Southern Chicken Salad

This dish couldn’t be any easier, especially if you’re starting with a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken.

Simply remove the fat and skin from the chicken (and take it off the bone), and cut it into chunks.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold everything, then toss it with the chicken.

Chef’s Tips

  • Make sure you pull off all the skin and fat, and remove all the bones. That’s unpleasant to bite into.
  • Use whole pecans or pecan pieces and toast them in a skillet on the stove or on a sheet pan in the oven. Don’t walk away! Nuts wait until you’re not looking, and then they burn.
  • Use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor.

What To Serve With This Keto Chicken Salad Recipe

Serve this fabulous keto chicken salad recipe with these Crispy Keto Crackers, or serve it with your favorite keto bread as a sandwich.

You can also turn this dish into a tasty keto appetizer idea or keto snack. Finely chop the prepared chicken salad (yes, you can do this after it’s been prepared. Just run a knife through it a few times to chop it up more, but don’t pulverize it.) and put it on top of cucumber rounds, stuff it into mini peppers, or stuff it into garlicky mushrooms.

And, for more Southern goodness, check out Julianne’s Keto Fried Green Tomatoes!

southern chicken salad served on cucumber rounds
Southern Chicken Salad as an appetizer or snack.

Is This Chicken Salad Recipe Freezable?

Sadly, no. Sour cream and mayonnaise don’t play nicely in the freezer. That being said, you can freeze leftover chicken in an airtight freezer plastic bag, so that the chicken is ready to go whenever you’re craving this chicken salad with pecans recipe.

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southern chicken salad served in a bell pepper
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5 from 2 votes

Southern Chicken Salad (Keto, Low-Carb)

Creamy, tangy, and loaded with toasted pecans, this Southern Chicken Salad always disappears quickly!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, chicken recipes, chicken salad, keto lunch, lunch, southern recipes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 247kcal
Author Chef Jenn


  • 3 cups cooked chicken meat
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 2 tbps green onions
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  • Chop the chicken in to small chunks.
  • Combine the sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper, pecans, green onions, parsley, and celery in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken, too.
  • Toss the dressing with the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 260mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 193IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbohydrates: 1g

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed. Erythritol carbs (sugar substitutes) are not included in the carbohydrate counts as they have been shown not to impact blood sugar, and they have zero calories and zero carbs. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

By Chef Jenn

8 thoughts on “Southern Keto Chicken Salad”

  1. Every time I shop at Costco, I return home with a rotisserie chicken. This recipe is very simple and delicious, definitely a nice way to enjoy store-bought rotisserie chicken. 🙂

  2. This looks so good with the vegi suggestions to compliment it, can’t wait to make it. The sour cream sounds wonderful and I’ll use my homemade mayonnaise to couple it. The tarragon sounds good to for taste change….I so much appreciate the dietary macros break down on your recipes make me feel like its possible to eat it! Thanks Jenn!


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