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Southern Keto Chicken Salad

Packed with crunch, tender chicken, and loads of creamy flavor, this Southern keto Chicken Salad recipe is about as good as chicken salad can get! Inspired by living in the South for more than 20 years, this is the only low-carb chicken salad recipe you need!

southern keto chicken salad on a bed of lettuce
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 keto chicken salad recipe. 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.
  • Mayonnaise – Use your favorite keto-friendly brand.
  • 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.
  • Fresh herbs – Don’t forget the fresh parsley. Dill also works nicely.

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 the chicken into chunks. You can use dark meat from the legs and thighs, or chicken breast. I like using a combination of white and dark meat.

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

Chef Jenn’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 and mayonnaise for the best flavor and macros.


  • Use sugar-free plain Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and sour cream.
  • Sliced green onions add a lovely flavor.
  • Mix up the nuts – other chopped nuts, like walnuts or almonds will also go nicely in this salad.

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.

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

keto chicken salad on a plate
Southern Chicken Salad as an appetizer or snack.

How To Serve Chicken Salad

I love serving chicken salad lettuce wraps with butter lettuce, or sometimes, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll add this delicious chicken salad to an avocado boat or inside a seeded bell pepper.

You can also serve it on cucumber rounds, or just enjoy this chicken salad with a fork. Pair it with your favorite keto bread as a sandwich or a low-carb tortilla to make a wrap.

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chicken salad keto?

Yes, it sure can be! Some dressings and ingredients typically found in chicken salad can have hidden carbs, but this recipe is nothing but 100% pure keto-friendly. And, with just 1 net carb per serving, this keto chicken salad recipe is one you can enjoy guilt-free!

How many carbs are in keto chicken salad?

That all depends on the individual recipe, but in this Southern Chicken Salad recipe, there’s 1 tiny net carb per serving. So grab a fork and dig in!

Are pecans keto?

Yes! Nuts can be higher in carbs so you can’t just eat your fill of them, but in moderation, pecans are fine on a ketogenic diet. And in low-carb recipes like these, they add hardly any carbs.

Is this chicken salad recipe gluten-free?

Yes! It is naturally gluten-free so enjoy it with confidence.

Like This? Also Try These Keto Salad Recipes:

Step by Step Process

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southern chicken salad served in a bell pepper
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4.92 from 12 votes

Southern Keto Chicken Salad (Keto, Low-Carb)

Creamy, tangy, and loaded with toasted pecans, this Southern Keto Chicken Salad always disappears quickly!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, chicken recipes, chicken salad, keto chicken salad, keto lunch, lunch, pecans, southern keto chicken salad, 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.

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about jenn

Hi, I’m Jenn!

I’m a cookbook author (Keto Soup Cookbook and Keto Diabetic Cookbook and Meal Plan) as well as a retired chef, recipe developer, and writer of this blog (that’s a lot of hats!). I embarked on a journey to create foodie-worthy Keto-friendly meals that any home cook can be proud of! No matter if you’re low-carb, no-carb, dirty, or strict Keto, there are recipes in Keto Cooking Wins for you and your family. Read more...

12 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. Such a great recipe!! I love that you used sour cream instead of lots and lots of mayo – I’m not big on mayo, but sour cream I can eat all day every day.

  3. Sour cream and pecans sound really good in chicken salad. It looks really good too. Cannot wait to make this.

  4. 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!

  5. 5 stars
    This chicken salad recipe is so delicious and easy to make. I loved the Chef Jenn Tips and Variations sections! But I am a mayo girl all the way!!

  6. 5 stars
    Wonderful! Loved the classic flavors. I like to make a big batch and use it for everything from salads to sandwiches and wraps!


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