Coronation Chicken Salad is an iconic dish that was served at the coronation luncheon in 1953 for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth ll. There are many variations for this Indian-inspired, curried chicken salad, but I like this one the best!
I got this variation of a recipe for coronation chicken from a chalet girl. So what do chalet girls, India, and the Queen’s coronation have to do with chicken salad?
How I Learned About Coronation Chicken Salad
When I was living in London, my dad came to visit me. We took a trip to Paris and Val D’Isere, in the Alps, to go skiing. (This post was originally published on August 20th, 2012. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
We stayed in a chalet with mostly British visitors, and the chalet girls were all British Sloane Rangers.
The chalet girls cooked breakfast and supper every day and were all well trained at either Swiss, London, or Parisian cooking schools.
When they were done with their cooking and cleaning duties, they were able to spend the rest of the day skiing.
Wistful thoughts of skiing all day, all season long, began to plague me. But alas, I had a real job, a life in London, and was only on a two-week holiday.
One day we were served chicken coronation salad, which was first created for Queen Elizabeth ll for her coronation in 1953. It was so delicious, and I asked for the recipe.
Fortunately, the girls must have gotten lots of requests for their recipes because they’d printed a little paper cookbook with some hand-drawn illustrations. For 5 pounds I got a copy, and have made many dishes from it ever since.
Who Invented Coronation Chicken?
Angela Wood helped to invent the dish after spending days perfecting the recipe. It was originally named Poulet Reine Elizabeth, or chicken Queen Elizabeth.
The coronation chicken salad recipe was first served during the Queen’s coronation banquet in 1953.
Since the inventors clearly did so with a nod to the British Raj in India, coronation chicken is believed to have been inspired by the jubilee chicken created for George V, the Emperor of India, in 1935.
Coronation Chicken Salad Ingredients
For a coronation salad, curry powder is a necessity! Depending on your curry powder, you can add more or less to your coronation chicken salad. Let your taste buds decide. I tend to use a medium curry powder, but you can also get mild or hot.
The addition of the Major Grey’s chutney gives it a certain nuance, but there can be very large chunks. Chop the big pieces up a bit.
Sometimes I switch it up by adding raisins, apples, or cashews to the chicken salad.
Coronation chicken salad can be served as sandwich filling, or on a bed of lettuce for a low-carb lunch.
Perfect Tea Sandwich Filling!
Coronation chicken salad is perfect as a filling for delicate tea sandwiches. If you will be using it for tea sandwiches, you’ll want to chop the chicken, grapes and almonds into smaller pieces. Use a soft white bread and trim the crusts. Here is more information on how to make tea sandwiches.
My dad was in London for the coronation. Well, not there in Westminster Abbey, but there, with millions of others on the mall.
I still have some of the coronation souvenirs he brought back. This commemorative cup and saucer are from the May 12th, 1937 coronation that never happened!
Edward the Vlll abdicated in December of 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, but by then, the date had been set, and the china cast. The dinner plate from Elizabeth’s coronation, which of course did go off without a hitch, is also in my collection.
She’s now the longest-reigning monarch in Britain’s long history. The Winston Churchill toby jar is one of my favorite pieces. Naturally, Winston was there for both the abdication and the subsequent coronation. For King Charles’s Coronation, Coronation Quiche was served.
How to Make Chicken Coronation Salad
What is in coronation chicken salad? It’s chicken, mayo, curry powder, chutney, grapes, and other seasonings.
To get started on this royal salad, start by dicing up any of the large pieces of chutney.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add chopped shallots and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Add curry powder and mustard, to allow it to “bloom” for another minute or two, while stirring.
Turn off heat and add chutney, apricot jam, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
In a food processor or blender and pulse the curry, shallot, chutney, jam mixture to make a smooth paste.
In a bowl, mix diced chicken, almonds, grapes and curried mayonnaise mixture.
Serve as a filling in a sandwich or on a bed of lettuce for a lower carb or gluten-free option.
Chicken Salad is a Great Idea For Leftover Chicken
Chicken salad is nothing new for sure. It’s the perfect way to add moisture to an otherwise dry chicken or (turkey) breast.
Even though I prefer dark poultry for flavor when eating a plain bird, I always opt for white breast meat when making a chicken salad.
This coronation chicken salad recipe, or any chicken salad recipe, is also perfect for leftover turkey, making it particularly popular around the holidays.
Do you love chicken salads as much as I do? Then check out my Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad for a great fall salad.
Apricot Almond Tarragon Chicken Salad is another salad, perfect in the summer.
Coronation Chicken Salad
- 1 Tablespoons oil neutral flavored, a mild olive oil or coconut oil.
- 3 Tablespoons shallot diced. (1 medium).
- 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder use more or less depending on your taste.
- 2 tablespoons Major Grey chutney dice any large pieces.
- 3 Tablespoons apricot jam
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces chicken breast meat cooked, cubed or shredded. (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup red or green grapes halved
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds
- Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add diced shallots and saute briefly, 1-2 minutes. Add curry powder and mustard, and stir another minute. Remove from heat.
- Dice any large pieces of chutney. Add chutney, apricot jam, lemon juice, salt and pepper to shallots and curry mixture.
- In a food processor or blender pulse or blend chutney/curry mixture with the mayonnaise until a smooth paste. Check seasoning, adding additional salt, black pepper, lemon juice or curry powder to taste if needed.
- In a bowl, fold in chicken, curried mayonnaise, grapes and almonds. Remember that the addition of the chicken, grapes and almonds will dilute the flavor, so re-season accordingly.
- Serve as a filling in a sandwich or on a bed of lettuce for a lower carb or gluten free option.
Jovina Coughlin says
One of my favorite meals- chicken salad. I love it piled on top of a hollowed out tomato.
I love chicken salad too! I have about 4 different recipes I use. Serving it in a tomato is carb-smart!
Christina @ Christina's Cucina says
I have never tasted or made Coronation Chicken Salad, in fact, I never had any chicken salad until about 15 years ago. Your photos are absolutely so enticing, though and I’m sure I’d love this with the curry flavor through it!
And what a fun trip with your dad!
It makes a great filling for a tea sandwich too!
Mandy @Mandy's Recipe Box says
Mmm… it looks absolutely delicious! What a fun trip!
Thanks Mandy! It was a fun trip!
allie @ Through Her Looking Glass says
Dear Cynthia, what an awesome post. Love the history with the queen and the coronation, also your history….being on holiday with your dad in Val D’Isere. What wonderful memories and how great you got this recipe. For you and us both!!! I know I will be trying this, perfect for a ladies luncheon or tea.
Allie, you’re right, this is a great sandwich filling for a tea.
This Chicken Salad looks amazing! I definitely want to try it!
Taylor Kiser says
This chicken salad looks amazing! Would love this for lunch!
Thank you for the recipe for Coronation Chicken salad and the story behind it. I was 3 years old when the coronation took place and watched it on TV …….a really old one with a funny round screen! I would love to know what other recipes the Chalet girls shared with you and whether you have shared those on your site?
How exciting to have watched the coronation! I don’t think I have any others from the girls on my site, but I have so many, I’d have to check the cookbook. I do have lots of british recipes from when I lived in London though!
mimi rippee says
What fabulous souvernirs! And a great story. When we were in Scotland my husband ordered coronation chicken thinking it was going to be something else completely. He does not eat mayonnaise, so I was going to trade lunches with him, by I couldn’t even handle not only the amount of mayonnaise, but also the curry powder. It was awful. But that’s how I learned about it!
I think a lot of it depends on how hot the curry powder is. I use a medium powder and it gives it flavor, but not heat.
Thanks Cynthia. Loved your recipe. With the hot summers in South Africa we need cool food! I deviated slightly from your recipe. Finely grated a small onion and fried it until soft before adding 2 tsp hot curry. I also grated two small gurkens (pickle?) and added a crunchy red apple. This is a keeper recipe. Greetings from a hot Mossel Bay. Terribly windy and in our 3rd year of drought. Verona van den Berg. ❤️
I always forget while we’re all eating soups and stews in the US, SA and Australia are wanting cool foods! Although living in So. Cal, I’m happy to eat this year-round!
OMG This is so delicious. Pro tip: if you don’t have apricot preserves on hand, try papaya Lilikoi preserves (because surely you have that! Or not.) App won’t let me give it 5 stars but I would if I could.
When am I supposed to put in the mustard powder?
sorry for the late reply! with the mayo.
My husband and I love coronation chicken salad and this is the best recipe we have tried yet.
Thanks so much! I appreciate it!
Jill Colonna says
Love this recipe and the story behind it, how it was created. That trip to the Alps as you described is so funny. I’ve had this salad in a sandwich at the Savoy’s teatime recently to celebrate our daughter’s graduation in London – so posh and this totally recreates it! I’ll get the kettle on …
Do you want to update the recipe to include the half teaspoon of dry mustard powder in the directions?
thank you! updated!
Beth Sachs says
You can’t beat a coronation chicken salad. One of my favourites (but I am British!)
This is a wonderful recipe and we loved it. So well written and I love history part.
Such an amazing salad!! It was a huge hit with my family!! I will definitely make it again!
I appreciate it! Thank you!
This chicken salad looks amazingly delicious. Thanks for the recipe.
TAYLER ROSS says
I made this chicken salad for lunch today and OH MY GOODNESS it was delicious! The perfect light lunch!
SNK Creation says
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Loved it! Will be making again in future!