The Queen Elizabeth-Approved Way to Make Chicken Salad

There are as many chicken salad variations as there are cooks. Some folks go heavy (or light) on the mayo, others like to add crunchy mix-ins to give the classic dish a fresh flavor, and some cooks, like chef Jacques Pépin, are fans of poaching the chicken. But if there's one thing classic American chicken salad recipes rarely call for, it's a bold, punchy spice. And once you open your mind (and your spice cabinet) to the possibilities you'll likely never make chicken salad the same way twice.
You can spice things up with red pepper flakes, try a few shakes of smoked paprika or go in an Italian direction with a spoonful of Calabrian chile paste. You can also head toward London and take a page from Queen Elizabeth's recipe book by adding a bit of curry powder.

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Why You Should Add Curry Powder to Chicken Salad

While there is certainly a time and place for chicken salad simply seasoned with salt and pepper, curry powder makes the dish royal-worthy. In 1953, coronation chicken salad—a creamy curried chicken salad studded with almonds and dried apricots (the apricots were eventually replaced with raisins)—was the official luncheon dish created in honor of the Queen's coronation. The curry powder adds tons of flavor and a hit of color to the creamy dressing and works well with the chicken, the nuts and the dried fruit.

Related: The Queen Elizabeth-Approved Way to Make Cucumber Sandwiches

What is Curry Powder?

Curry powder is a blend of spices commonly used in Indian cuisine and other South Asian dishes. It's not a single spice but rather a combination of several spices. The exact spices vary by brand, but many curry powders include turmeric, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, chili peppers, mustard seeds, black pepper, ginger, cloves and cardamom.

Related: 20 Best Trader Joe's Seasonings Ranked

How to Make Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Chicken Salad

There are numerous variations on the original coronation chicken recipe, but to give your chicken salad the royal treatment mix about 1 tablespoon of curry powder into the mayo. Taste and add more curry powder to taste. Add in some chopped almonds and dried apricots (or raisins), if you'd like. And that's all there is to it!

Our Best Chicken Salad Recipes

Looking for other great ways to make chicken salad? Here are five more to try.

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