Kalyn's Kitchen

Chicken Salad with Basil

This low-carb Chicken Salad with Basil also has grated Parmesan, and this is one of the first salads I think of when basil plants show up in the stores! 

PIN the salad to try it later!

Chicken Salad with Basil finished salad in two bowls

This Chicken Salad with Basil is something you should make as soon as you see those basil plants showing up in the grocery store, and then keep making it all summer, and through the years I’ve decided you just can’t put too much chopped basil in this salad.

I’m a huge fan of fresh basil, and I’ve been growing basil in my garden and freezing the basil for many years now! So of course I’m excited when basil season gets started every year, and I want to remind you about this basil-loaded chicken salad recipe that’s one of my summer favorites.

And yes, I used the word SUMMER, but please don’t hesitate to make this tasty chicken salad any time you have chicken and fresh basil on hand! If you’re not growing basil and have to buy it in the grocery store you can certainly get away with using less in this recipe. But please try it if you’re a fan of these flavors. I could eat this over and over all summer long!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • diced cooked chicken, or see notes below to cook the chicken
  • mayo
  • buttermilk
  • green onion
  • fresh basil leaves
  • coarsely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Chicken Salad with Basil process shots collage

How to make this salad:

(Scroll down for complete recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. You can make the salad with leftover rotisserie chicken, but if you’re starting from scratch, trim the chicken breasts and cut into thirds lengthwise. I used a mixture of canned chicken broth and water to cook the chicken, combined with 2 teaspoons of Italian Herb Blend(affiliate link). You could use poultry seasoning if you don’t have the Italian blend.
  2. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the chicken and cook at the barest simmer until it’s cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the chicken into a colander and let it drain very well.
  4. Then cut the chicken into cubes about 3/4 inch square.
  5. I used Herb Scissors (affiliate link) to cut the basil into thin strips. If you’re using basil from the garden, give it a wash in a Mini Salad and Herb Spinner (affiliate link).
  6. After you slice the fresh basil, chop green onions, and prepare freshly-grated Parmesan.
  7. Whisk together the mayo and buttermilk so it’s smooth; then stir in the basil strips, chopped green onion, and a Parmesan. Gently stir the dressing into the cubes of chicken, season to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.
  8. This salad can also be chilled for a few hours before serving; enjoy!

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Recipes for Chicken Salad:

Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Hummus Chicken Salad ~ Aggie’s Kitchen
Leftover Chicken Salad with Mustard, Hearts of Palm, and Olives ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Whole 30 Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad ~ Wonky Wonderful
Shredded Chicken Salad with Green Olives, Celery, and Green Onion ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Tarragon Chicken Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats

Low-Carb Chicken Salad with Basil and Parmesan found on KalynsKitchen.com

Chicken Salad with Basil

Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

I love growing basil in the summer, and this low-carb Chicken Salad with Basil (and Parmesan!) is something I'd never get tired of.


  • 4 cups diced cooked chicken, cut in 3/4 inch pieces (If you’re cooking the chicken for this recipe, see notes below.)
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh basil leaves (or more)
  • 3 T coarsely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. If you’re cooking chicken for this, trim visible fat from 4 chicken breasts, then cut the chicken lengthwise into thirds.  Put the can of chicken stock, 2 cans of water, and the Italian Herb Blend (affiliate link) or poultry seasoning into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  When it boils add chicken breasts, turn heat to low, and  let simmer 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Drain the chicken into a colander placed in the sink and let it cool.
  2. While the chicken cools, slice the basil leaves or cut with Herb Scissors (affiliate link) and wash if needed, chop green onions, and measure the freshly-grated Parmesan.
  3. When chicken is cool, dice it into pieces about 3/4 inch square and place into medium-sized bowl.
  4. Combine mayo and buttermilk, whisking until it’s smooth.  Then stir in green onion, Parmesan, and basil.
  5. Add dressing to the chicken in the bowl and gently mix until chicken is well coated with dressing. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  6. This can be served immediately or chilled slightly before serving.  This will keep in the fridge for about a day, but it’s best freshly made.


This recipe adapted by Kalyn from one that appeared on the Best Foods site.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 401mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 23g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

square thumbnail image for Chicken Salad with Basil

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Chicken Salad with Basil is great for any low-carb or low-glycemic diet plan and any phase of the original South Beach Diet. South Beach would probably recommend you use light mayo and use portion control due to the amount of fat; other low-carb diets will prefer full-fat mayo.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more low-carb salads like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Chicken Salad with Basil

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    44 Comments on “Chicken Salad with Basil”

  1. Kalyn, you just told me to trim my basil regularly. Can you tell me exactly what you mean by that? (I feel so stupid, I've been growing the stuff for years. Mostly have trouble with something putting holes in it….)

  2. This sounds like it takes regular old chicken salad to a whole new level. Excellent!

  3. This is my kind of chicken salad! It's a good thing I have plenty of basil in my garden.

  4. Nancy, I don't have a recipe for chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts; it's one of the links in this post.

  5. I just may try this!
    I have been searching for your chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries, but can't find it anywhere!! Could you possibly email it to me?? I'd be so grateful!


  6. Katie, loved the sound of your salad with cranberries and walnuts (and then in one of the comments Maris gave me the idea of adding apples to it too, which also sounds good.) Limitless herbs is a wonderful thing. Not sure if I have completely achieved it, but I do have a healthy herb garden!

  7. Thanks for the link! I have been really enjoying stepping out of my chicken salad comfort zone and trying new and different combinations. I am trying to get my little herb garden to grow so I can have limit-less herbs available when I want to make recipes like this.

  8. Amy, I confess I'm just a bit obsessed with cutting things the same size ever since I took a Chinese cooking class and learned about "symmetry of cut" but I do think it makes a difference. No doubt that BC makes a great chicken salad! Glad you liked the roasted mushrooms.

    Elenka, it will grow. When it does, be sure to trim regularly.

    Lisa, I never did get any Thai basil planted this year, it's been a weird garden year around here.

  9. Kalyn, this looks great and I must try it when my basil plant gets a bit bigger. My Thai basil is going nuts, but the Italian basil is lagging behind. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. As soon as the basil in my garden is more than a half inch tall, I can try this recipe!! Patience…..

  11. That's how I chop my chicken when I make chicken salad. I'd like to say that I was naturally inclined to do so but the truth is I saw Barefoot Contessa do it on t.v. She makes a mean chicken salad.

    I agree about the basil – we have more that we can use so I've been putting it in everything and it is so good. The other day I read about how you oven roasted mushrooms and I did it but used different herbs…it was so good. 🙂

  12. Amanda, this should be very diabetes friendly.

    Frieda, I love basil, so this is perfect for me. Isn't it fun to grow!

    Meghan, an abundance of basil is a wonderful thing, and this is a good way to use some of it. Let me know if you try it with the yogurt; I'm thinking it will be good!

    Maris, thanks! Cranberry, apple, chicken salad sounds great too.

  13. Yum! This is a nice change from the typical walnut-cranberry-apple chicken salad recipe. Which I love! But it's nice to see another variation.

  14. This looks so delicious! I love chicken salad but never thought to put in fresh basil. I have an abundance of basil on my balcony!!! That's a great idea to sub some ff Greak yogurt for the mayo!

  15. Thanks for another recipe to use basil! I have 3 small plants in my yard…I appreciated your basil post from earlier, too!

  16. thank you, this looks really good 🙂 I've just been diagnosed with early diabetes so I've been thrust into eating better. I'll save this recipe to try!

  17. Joyandpain, I'm updating the old recipes without photos as fast as I can! This one is on the list.

  18. This sounds great. I'm going to try it. Maybe you could make it again and post a picture?

  19. This looked so good – I snagged it for a post. Thanks, Dear! 😉

  20. Thanks for the recipes.
    Mr. Quist