The Classic 1953 Coronation Chicken Salad Recipe

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins

This is my adaptation of the much loved and famous recipe created by Constance Spry for the Queen's Coronation lunch in 1953. I make this regularly for picnics and buffets; it is also amazing as a sandwich filler. In 1953, curry powder would have been used - but I find that curry paste works better. Use any type of poached or cooked chicken - I usually cook a couple of chicken breasts just for this recipe, however, a whole cooked chicken works very well; don't forget to remove the skin and check for bones first. This recipe is based on the Coronation Chicken recipe in: The Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry & Rosemary Hulme (1956).

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 2 12-3 lbs cooked chicken breasts (chicken pieces or whole cooked chicken)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 fluid ounces red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 lemon, juice of
  • 4 canned apricot halves
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 12 pint mayonnaise
  • 4 fluid ounces whipping cream
  • salt & pepper
  • watercress (to garnish)


  1. Remove the skin and any bones from the chicken and cut into small pieces.
  2. Heat up the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Cook on a medium heat for about 3 minutes until the Onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the curry paste, tomato puree, red wine, bay leaf and the lemon juice to the cooked onions.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes until reduced. Remove the bay leaf and leave to onion sauce to cool.
  5. Finely chop the apricot halves and puree them through a sieve or with a hand held blender.
  6. Place the pureed apricots into a bowl and mix in the mayonnaise.
  7. Add the onion sauce and apricot jam and mix well.
  8. Whip the cream to stiff peaks and fold this also into the mixture. Mix well.
  9. Season with salt & pepper and if necessary add a little extra Lemon Juice.
  10. Finally, fold in the chicken pieces coating them with the mixture well.
  11. Garnish with watercress and serve.
  12. Serves 4 to 6 as a salad with additional salad ingredients, or makes 8 rounds of sandwiches. Also wonderful as a vol au vents or pie filling.


Most Helpful

I felt as though I was going to see the Queen herself today when I made this. My guests surely felt as though they were dining with royalty. I made this earlier in the day, (I actually had the chicken cooked from a prior day) I also had put together the onion sauce last evening, so all I did while people were getting settled was whip the heavy cream. I folded the cream gently into the mayonnaise onion mixture, and added the cool chicken just tossing lightly. I made some fresh bread yesterday, and cut rounds with a biscuit cutter and piled the chicken salad atop the round bread. Oh this is delicious, FT. The taste is so smooth and very, very special. I added a little bit of apricot preserves as a side for my guests to add to the bread and chicken. Perfect, FT! Will use again, and again.

Andi of Longmeadow Farm September 27, 2007

Made these into YUMMY sammies for Easter Sunday nibble lunch. I overcooked my chicken breasts, so I shredded them up finely and used 300ML of cream to disguise the dryness. I made and refrigerated the coronation chicken the night before, and made the sandwiches right before they were eaten, with watercress and chives mixed into the filling. They went like hotcakes!

Very Berry April 16, 2009

WOW-this looked so unique I just had to try it and I was so happy I did-DELICIOUS!!! I served on a bed of greens w/ bread on the side. Thank you for a great recipe, French Tart! Made for the Think Pink Tag Game In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, October 2008.

Mrs.Jack October 29, 2008

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