Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad plated with a croissant, celery sticks, and grape tomatoes



This recipe is flexible. If you don’t have or, heaven forbid, dislike tarragon, consider another fresh herb such as fresh dill, rosemary, a mixture of Italian parsley and fresh mint, or basil. Be sure to finely chop the herbs. Rosemary has a strong flavor, and you will only need about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary, minced. Add a little to the dressing at a time and taste to make sure it does not overwhelm the dressing.


If grapes are not available, you can substitute other fruits, such as apple chunks, peach chunks tossed in lemon juice, or dried cranberries or apricots. You may also leave out the fruit. 


This is a great recipe to use with leftover roasted turkey in place of chicken. For eight servings, you will need about 6 cups of chopped turkey. Substituting dried cranberries for grapes makes this a post-Thanksgiving treat! If you have less turkey leftovers, just reduce the other ingredients accordingly.


Susan likes this made with a combination of full fat Greek yogurt, like Fage, and mayonnaise. If you really must reduce the calories in the dressing, use light or reduced fat products, even just 2% Greek yogurt if you it (Laurie does not like it in this recipe, so we are divided on this issue) . We agree not to bother making this with fat-free products.

Kook Sisters Tarragon Chicken Salad 

Serves 6-8 as a main dish 

This is the chicken salad we serve to company and occasionally make for each other. You can easily divide or multiply, depending on the size of your gathering. Use the best chicken you can find - giant chicken breasts or those injected with solutions will not taste as good in this dish where chicken is the star.

Food Safety Considerations


6 poached, sous vide, or roasted chicken breasts, cubed (keep seasonings mild)

3 stalks of celery, chopped 

3 cups seedless red or green grapes, halved (see substitutions below)

1 cup pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped


¾ cup good quality plain mayonnaise 

¾ cup full fat sour cream (or all mayonnaise) 

¼ cup fresh lemon juice 

1 tablespoon honey (add more if needed after tasting) 

4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (or 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar with 1 Tbsp. crumbled dried tarragon, soaked together at least one hour and then drained through sieve to remove dried tarragon)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon (optional but excellent) or 2 tsp. dried tarragon - see substitutions below

3 green onions, chopped fine or 2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped (optional)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients first, then taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. If the dressing is too thin, add more mayonnaise or yogurt. Fat-free products will not work well in this recipe.

Gently toss the dressing with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate immediately. May be made one day in advance. If made ahead, add the grapes the day you are serving.

Serve on salad plates on a lettuce leaf with a fresh croissant, seeded bread or assorted crackers