Copy Panera Chicken Salad Sandwich (Original)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins

This is a copy that I made up myself of the Old version of the Panera Chicken Salad Sandwich. Not the new one with grapes and almonds. It's delicious! I just made it and its actually better because there aren't a lot of chemicals and preservatives like the Panera kind. I took cue from the main ingredients in the sandwich. Here are Panera's ingredients : Chicken (water, food starch modified, salt, chicken fat, chicken flavor (beef extract, wheat starch, silicone dioxide, thiamine hydrochloride, alpha tocopherol)) dextrose, corn starch, flavors, sodium phosphate) mayonnaise (water, soybean oil, vinegar, food starch modified, egg yolk, whole eggs, corn syrup, spices, salt, propylene glycol alginate, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate & potassium sorbate-preservatives, calcium disodium EDTA), celery, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, parlsey.) Here are mine:

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Take the Chicken Breasts and place them on a cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap and pound with a mallet (or a frying pan if you don't have one) to a 1/2 inch thickness. They will cook more evenly and it will be easier to chop them into even chunks. HEAVILY season both sides of the chicken with garlic and onion powder. (You are going to boil the chicken so don't worry about it being too salty.) Put the chicken in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring it to a boil and then cover and let simmer till cooked, about 10 minutes. If it finishes cooking earlier then take it out then so it doesn't become rubbery. Take the chicken out and let cool.
  2. Chop the celery and the cooled chicken and set in a bowl. In another small bowl put mayo, sugar, pepper, lemon juice together and whisk until well combined. You want the sugar to disintegrate so that you're not tasting the grain.
  3. Mix the mayo with the chicken and celery. Take a slice of bread and place a large slice of lettuce, then tomato, then red onion. Top with the chicken salad and another slice. Serve with potato chips and pickle. (Or you're favorite soup!).
  4. I hope you like this recipe. I really thought it out and was RELIEVED that my hard work paid off and it tasted so close to the real thing!
  5. Good luck!
Most Helpful

I didn't follow the recipe super closely, but the result was outstanding. I used apples and grapes and didn't add any celery. I also used chicken thighs instead of breasts. I threw the thighs into the crockpot with a bunch of onion and garlic salt/powder and some salt and pepper. Cooked on high for about 2 hours and then low for another hour or so. Shredded it, threw in the grapes and apples and then threw in the dressing (as in the recipe). Oh my...heavenly! I was nervous I wouldn't like it...because chicken salad can be finicky. But I really enjoyed and will make it again.

scottgfuller October 10, 2014

I can't really comment on the copy-cat aspect of this recipe as I can't ever recall having this chicken salad at Panera, but this is by far the best chicken salad I have ever made at home. I follow the recipe exactly and find that two chicken breasts are the perfect amount for the amount of dressing. Please do not be afraid of the seasoning. It really makes the dish.

alskaggs February 23, 2013

GREAT job with this recipe! My wife loves Panera's chicken salad, so I searched many recipes to try to find a good one to try for her, and I chose yours (thankfully!). I followed your recipe exactly with the exception of the celery whick I replaced with a chopped granny smith apple. I also added some almond slices. Worked out beautifully, and my wife loved the chicken salad sandwich. Thanks for posting - it's a fantastic recipe!

dustindmnd2 July 01, 2011