Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad

This Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad is a delicious chicken recipe for lunches or light meals! Grab a rotisserie chicken and you’ll have this chicken salad done in minutes!

Love easy chicken recipes like this? Try our ULTIMATE CHICKEN MARSALA recipe these fun CHICKEN PARMESAN CHICKEN WINGS or baked FIESTA CHICKEN LEGS. And a bonus, they’re all low carb recipes too!

This Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad is going to be your new favorite recipe!

Rotisserie Chicken Recipes Make Dinner Easier!

Honestly, I used to walk right by those rotisserie chickens at the grocery store.

Right on by.

For some reason they just didn’t appeal to me, I guess I thought of them as just a chicken dinner. Like take that rotisserie chicken, put it on a platter and carve it up.

That wouldn’t even be enough for my family of four, especially with two growing boys at the table.

BUT what I didn’t realize is that basically a rotisserie chicken is tender, juicy chicken just waiting to be used in a chicken recipe like this Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad and SO many different recipes.

You can also use our Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions to make this chicken salad even easier to make – if you have them on hand! We like to make that recipe and freeze it in portions for recipes like this chicken salad. 

Now I hardly ever walk by those rotisserie chickens…in fact I’m smarter now and grab two.

What Makes This Chicken Salad Taste SO GOOD!!!

Mostly, it’s the caramelized onions my friends. Don’t skip the step of caramelizing them and getting them good and brown and sweet.

Yep, it’s going to take about 15 minutes to get there but once you do you’re almost done! Especially if you were smart and grabbed on of those rotisserie chickens from the store.

Get the onions in a skillet over low heat with olive oil. Grab a beer and just hang for a bit because you’re going to need to stir these onions so they don’t burn.

Caramelized Onions Chicken Salad, onions in a skillet cooking

After about 15 or 20 minutes you’re going to end up with perfectly caramelized onions that can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for tons of different recipes.

But today we’re making chicken salad, one of my most favorite chicken salad recipes ever in fact.

Caramelized Onions Chicken Salad, caramelized onions finished

Chicken Salad FTW

There’s so many reasons we love eating and making chicken salad, first of all because it’s easy and second of all you can do so many different things with it.

Serve this chicken salad as is in bowls or on a plate, or in lettuce leaves for a low carb lunch or dinner. Carb lover? Me too. Then pile this chicken salad on buns or crunchy toast for a sandwich you won’t believe.

Pile it in a wrap or on crackers…I can go on and on.

Chicken salad is one of those recipes that you can eat right away or let hang out in the refrigerator a while so that the flavors come together.

I like to let it hang out in the fridge for at least an hour or two to get the chicken chilled and blended with the other ingredients.

And considering this is such an easy chicken recipe, I’m sure you’ll have time to whip it together way before it’s time to eat. You can even make the onions a day or two ahead of time and stir them in when you’re ready.

Caramelized Onions Chicken Salad, ingredients in a bowl

Most of the other ingredients are pretty basic as far as chicken salad goes. Celery, mayonnaise, mustard, thinly sliced scallions and some sunflower seeds for crunch.

The sunflower seeds will get soft as they sit with the chicken salad so if you want them to be really crunchy, add them in at the last minute before serving.

Make this Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad for lunch, dinner or even brunch!

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Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad collage for Pinterest

Make this Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad for lunch, dinner or even brunch!

Caramelized Onion Chicken Salad

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

This delicious, easy chicken salad recipe is perfect for lunches or a light dinner!



  • 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (about the amount from a rotisserie chicken if you’re using one)
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the caramelized onions

  • 3 cups diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Start by making the caramelized onions. Add the oil and butter to a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt, pepper and thyme then stir and cook for 20 minutes until browned. Stir often so the onions don’t burn.
  2. Remove the onions from the skillet to let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add the chicken, celery, scallions, sunflower seeds, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, cumin, garlic powder and pepper.
  4. Stir to combine, then stir in the cooled caramelized onions.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until ready.
  6. Stir again before serving.

Recipe Notes

I like to start out with 3/4 cup of mayonnaise and work my way up to a cup if I think the chicken salad needs it.

Also, if you want to sunflower seeds to stay crunchy, stir them in at the last minute before serving.

  • Category: Dinner/Lunch
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American


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5 Responses
  1. candice

    Oh boy, that looks ahhh-mazing! Like any self-respecting Southern lady, I’ve got a massive arsenal of chicken salad recipes for every occasion and whim, but this one will definitely be moving to the top of the list. Caramelized onions make everything better though…am I right???

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