The Washington Post

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Oct 10, 2017

Chicken salad is timeless; chicken salad flavored with tarragon — or sometimes dill — and studded with nuts and fruit was a 1980s special. In this old recipe, Martha Stewart doubles down on the sweet-and-savory combination by serving her chicken salad on slices of nutty, cinnamon-spiced carrot bread. It was popular at parties, as an hors d’oeuvre.

She suggests grapes or apples as possible mix-ins and notes that cucumber or baguette rounds would make fine bases; endive boats or lettuce wraps would also work.

Serve on thin slices of Carrot Bread (see related recipe) or use thin rounds of French bread or cucumber slices.

To read the accompanying story, see: These three cookbooks went viral before the Internet existed — and they still hold up today.

Make Ahead: The chicken can be roasted, cooled and refrigerated 2 days in advance. The chicken salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings; makes 4 cups

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • Leaves of fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme and basil
  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 10 ounces each)
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon (may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, or more as needed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or more as needed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use some butter to generously grease one or two baking sheets.

Scatter the onion slices and a generous amount of herbs in the pan(s), then lay the chicken breast halves on top, skin side up, in a single layer. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast (middle rack) for 30 to 40 minutes, or just barely done; the meat’s juices should run clear). Do not overcook. Let cool.

Shred the cooled chicken meat or cut into cubes or slivers and place in a mixing bowl, discarding the skin and bones, herbs and onion. Add the tarragon and season lightly with salt and pepper, tossing to incorporate.

Stir together the sour cream and mayonnaise in a separate bowl, then add to the chicken a bit at a time to produce a salad that is creamy but not wet. Mix in more sour cream and mayonnaise, as needed.

Taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper. Stir in the celery and the pecans, if using.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Entertaining,” by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, 1982).

Tested by Charlotte Druckman and Anne Midgette.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 6): 140

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 6g 9%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 60mg 20%

Sodium: 180mg 8%

Total Carbohydrates: 0g 0%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 0g

Protein: 21g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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