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. Eileen, that sounds good to me!

  2. This chicken salad is really making me want to go on a picnic! Just imagine how great it would be made into sandwiches and passed around with glasses of lemonade. Yay!

  3. Do any weight watchers know how many points this would be per serving??? Thx

  4. I made this last night. It is so delicious!!!

    I've pinned it so others will give it a try too.

  5. Glad to hear you are enjoying the recipes.

  6. so simple, but so delish. i'm having this for lunch today on top of some greens since i'm still on phase 1. i can't wait to try it with whole wheat pita bread tho.

  7. Gwen, thanks for letting me know you tried it and liked it. This is one of my favorites for leftover chicken.

  8. I made this for lunch, with basil and onion from my garden, and it was the best chicken salad I've ever had! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  9. I love fresh basil and am looking forward to using it in this recipe next time I grab some. It looks so simple.

  10. Oh come on, you *know* mayo is supposed to be mixed with yogurt/Greek yogurt 🙂

    Love the idea of adding basil. Still have a lot of basil in the back yard, gonna give this one a try!

  11. This sounds delicious…I'll have to try it! I generally make my chicken salad with crushed red pepper flakes for seasoning, as well as a teensy bit of salt and pepper, then use a lowfat vegan mayo, thinly sliced celery, a touch of coarse and spicy honey mustard, and tons of chopped red grapes for a taste of sweetness to counteract the spicy!

  12. those ingredients make so much sense to me!

  13. Cristie, love the idea of using gorgonzola! Sounds great.

  14. I love chicken salad and find it's a terrific way to turn left-over chicken into a tasty lunch or supper. I just tried a new chicken-salad recipe that uses gorgonzola cheese and basil. At first the strong gorgonzola taste was surprising but within a few bites I couldn't stop eating it. I agree with you, cheese, basil and chicken make a winning salad. Thanks for the post.

  15. Spanishamada, thanks so much for letting me know. Now I want to try it that way myself.

    Amy, thanks! So glad to hear you liked it. (That's just how my dad and I ate it too, sandwich for him and salad for me.)

  16. Made this for dinner tonight! It was delicious. I had it as a salad, and my husband had a sandwich. He loved it too!

  17. I just made it with Greek yogurt instead of mayo. Delish!

  18. Katerina, I did eat some that way and it was great!

  19. I can totally taste this stuffed in a WW pita!

  20. I mean that when the plant gets large leaves at the end of the stems (and especially it it's in the beginning stages of making flowers) you should trim that stem (leaving some leaves on at the bottom.) Then the basil will make two stalks where you trimmed, producing even more leaves. You can see how I trim my basil and read about freezing it in my post about How to Freeze Fresh Basil. It will really make a difference in how much basil your plants produce in a year.