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Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad makes a great summer dinner! Escape the kitchen heat by picking up a rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken to whip this light and easy meal together.

I first served this Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad last month when the girlfriends came over for our monthly dinner party. I served it up beside a whole platter of sliced fruits and a dollop of cottage cheese. So delicious that I had to make it again and share the recipe with you, my lovely readers!

A beautiful plate of sliced melons, kiwi, fresh pineapple, grapes, nectarines, berries, Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad and cottage cheese.

Inspired by a tuna named Charlie

This recipe was actually inspired by tuna. Ever since high school I occasionally eat tuna straight from the can. And now that Starkist has these individual tuna packets, I’ve been munching on them as well. My absolute favorite flavor being, of course, Lemon Pepper.

One day as I dove into a packet with my fork and stuffed the tuna into my munching mouth, I experienced a throwback memory to a luncheon I had attended. I remember being served this lovely plate of fruit, cottage cheese and chicken salad. Something I definitely didn’t eat everyday. The light meal had impressed me as being refined and elegant.

I looked back to my packet of tuna. Not so refined, as shoveled this into my mouth. But a lightbulb went on in my head as I imagined how delightful this lemon pepper flavor would play with an array of fruit! And what a perfectly beautiful showing plated together with melons and berries! I could imagine it.

But I couldn’t really see myself just opening Starkist packets beside fruit and calling that dinner. I think I would possibly do that for myself.

Better than Chicken of the Sea

For a lovely meal for guests, however, I thought chicken salad would be slightly more acceptable. I Googled Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad recipes. And since I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I thought I’d better make my own.

My launching spot was this recipe by the The Cozy Apron. But I wasn’t really interested in using Greek yogurt. Mayonaise all the way for me! So I subbed in the mayo and added a little celery for crunch.

Someone recently introduced me to Costco’s rotisserie chicken! Now of course, you can get rotisserie chicken wherever you buy food, but I do love these from Costco. Only five dollars. Super plumb and juicy. Much more flavorful than if I cooked chicken breast myself, and the seasonings on them go great with this recipe’s other flavors.

Ingredients arranged. Chopped chicken, peppercorns, lemon, celery, red onion, dill and mayonnaise.

Fresh Herbs

This recipe includes fresh dill which I happen to be growing in my herb garden right now. My next post will be about the fruit syrups I made using fresh mint and basil and drizzled over the fruit! I’ll update the post with my link to that as well when it’s available.

A closeup of a mound of Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad on a plate of fruit.

I love this sophisticated version of chicken salad! Lemon and pepper make this meal refreshing and perky.

A Little About Plating

So it is really easy to just use an ice cream scoop for these lovely, round balls of chicken salad. I didn’t have a scoop as large as I liked (3/4 cup) so I improvised.

First, I lined one of my small custard cups with plastic wrap. You could also use a measuring cup. Then I spooned in the Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad.

Next, I lifted out the plastic wrap and gently turned it upside down onto the plate. It stays put, but it would also be easy to reshape through the plastic wrap before you remove it.

collage demonstrating the steps of forming the chicken salad into mounds without an ice cream scoop.

The Recipe

This recipe was so simple to mix up beforehand! It was a quicker meal to throw together than what I ususally do and didn’t require heating up the stove or oven at all.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad shown inside a croissant with lettuce.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This refreshing variation of classic chicken salad features lemon zest and fresh pepper.


  • 2 ½ cup cooked and diced chicken
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp., heaping, grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • freshly grated pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill or to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients with ¼ cup light mayonnaise. Stir in remaining 1-2 tablespoons of mayonaise until you like the consistency. Chill until ready to serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 98Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 236mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g

Hope that Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad makes a cool summer meal for your family. Did you like this recipe? Be sure to rate and share!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Shirley Ratliff

    I love the lemon pepper chicken salad! Thank you, Penny!

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