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Chicken sandwiches – gatherings, picnics, lunches!

5 mins Cook
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Never underestimate the power of great chicken sandwiches! Excellent platter for gatherings, picnics and work lunches. My secrets? Fresh dill, a handful of walnuts and shred the chicken really finely using a stand-mixer or electric beater. Yes, really.

Chicken sandwiches – gatherings, picnics, lunches! - NomNomWow
Chicken sandwiches – gatherings, picnics, lunches! – NomNomWow

Chicken sandwiches

If you’ve ever wondered why that gourmet deli’s chicken sandwich is so popular and sells for such a high price, the answer lies not just in the secret blend of ingredients used in the filling. It also has the texture of chicken.

“It’s so soft, it just melts in your mouth!” my friend said.

secret? Using a stand mixer, mince the chicken until it’s basically crumbly, which makes the chicken his sandwich filling tender and creamy.


And the second secret, of course, is the sauce! It should be rich in creamy sauce, but not too oily or heavy with mayonnaise. (because of its delicious taste) should be used.

Ingredients in Chicken Sandwich Filling

Here’s what goes in my chicken sandwiches. And before you say it, let me acknowledge that I left out the most obvious ingredient for sandwiches – BREAD

  1. Chicken – I use store bought chicken for ease. Bonus: The flesh is seasoned all the way through. Homemade roast chicken – If you’re a better person than me, make your own brined roast chicken (the brine will infuse the flesh with salt like store bought rotisserie chicken).Chicken breast – I prefer to use a whole chicken so you get a good blend of white meat (breast, lean) and dark meat (thigh, leg, wings – juicier and more flavour). But if you prefer to use just chicken breast, use my Foolproof Poached Chicken Breast (guarantees juicy breast) and toss the shredded chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt before mixing the sauce through.
  2. The bread (which I forgot to picture!) – The traditional bread is soft white sandwich bread. For fellow Australians – hot tip: Bakers Delight. The white sandwich bread, standard slice, is best for finger sandwiches. Soft but not so soft that the filling squishes the bread. And of course, the bread of choice is not set in stone so feel free to use whatever bread you want!
  3. Mayonnaise – I always use whole egg mayonnaise which is creamier, smoother and has better flavour than mayonnaise that is not labelled “whole egg”. The reason is because whole-egg mayonnaise has more egg in it. My favourite mayonnaise brand is S&W, followed by Kewpie. Hellman’s is good too albeit a little sweeter. I find other brands (especially non whole-egg mayonnaise) too sweet and/or too vinegary and/or lacking in (good) flavour. I live in Sydney, Australia, and you can get all these brands at everyday large grocery stores.
  4. Sour cream – Secret ingredient! Using this means we can have plenty of tasty sauce in our chicken sandwich filling without it being overly greasy from using just mayonnaise. Yogurt can also be used but sour cream is my preference because it’s creamier.
  5. Walnuts – The classic nut addition in “gourmet deli-style” chicken sandwiches. I think part of the appeal, other than the hint of nutty flavour, is that it adds a bit of much needed texture in the otherwise very creamy filling. Best substitute – cashews, macadamia nuts or pecans. Else, leave it out.
  6. Fresh dill – Another ingredient that makes this “gourmet deli-style”! Lovely hint of fresh flavour. No other herb will provide the same flavour so if you don’t have it / like it, just leave it out. (Parsley can be used for a bit of green colour but won’t add flavour).
  7. Pickles – For the most subtle touch of tang in the filling. Use your favourite pickles. You could even substitute with capers.
  8. Celery and green onion – Adds background freshness in the filling and the celery also adds texture. While green onion could be substituted with red onion or eschalots (French onions / US: shallots), don’t skip the celery! It really makes a difference.
  9. Onion, garlic, salt, pepper – The seasonings for the sauce. I use onion and garlic powder rather than fresh because they have a smooth earthy flavour which is what I’m after for the sauce.
  10. Lemon juice – For a touch of freshness in the sauce. Substitute with vinegar.
  11. Dijon mustard – More flavour!

How to make deli-style chicken sandwiches

Nothing groundbreaking here. The only trick is to cut the chicken as finely as possible. The shredded, creamier chicken filling sets it apart from other deli-style chicken sandwiches.

As mentioned earlier, a stand mixer makes this easy. A hand mixer also works. Otherwise, use your hands and some patience!

  1. Remove flesh off the chicken and remove the skin. (No prizes for guessing where all the chicken skin goes around here. You’ll see in the recipe video!)
  2. Shred the chicken as finely as you can. It takes about 1 minute on medium speed using a stand-mixer using the paddle attachment (not whisk, it gets all caught up in the wires). A hand-held beater will also work but will take a bit longer. Else, use your hands.
  3. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Use a whisk, if needed.
  4. Pour sauce over the chicken with remaining Filling ingredients (walnuts, celery, green onion, pickle, dill) and mix until combined. At this stage, you should sneak in a taste test and marvel at how soft and creamy the chicken sandwich filling is!
  5. Butter the bread. This not only provides extra flavour but a protection barrier so the sauce of the chicken filling doesn’t soak into the bread.
  6. Spread the filling on the bread, from edge to edge.
  7. Cut off crusts – I typically don’t cut the crust off sandwiches but for chicken sandwiches, I do if I’m making them for other people. Partly so they look neat – think High-Tea finger sandwich style – and also because then you get the full effect of the soft creamy chicken filling with just soft white bread. No tough crust getting in the way of the eating experience ! PS You know full well the crusts get eaten right? Plenty of chicken filling makes its way to the crust!
  8. Cut in half on the diagonal, or into rectangles, then line them upon a platter!

Tip: If you want really clean edges, refrigerate the assembled sandwich for at least 2 hours before slicing. This makes the stuffing firmer and easier to cut cleanly. I didn’t do this with the sandwich pictured in this post.Patience is not my greatest virtue!

I love good sandwiches and these chicken sandwiches are highly rated in my book. As a bonus, the filling he keeps for 3 days and the sandwiches he assembled are best freshly made, but even the next day he keeps them 90% ready (the bread softens over time). In fact, the sandwiches in this post were my dinner and breakfast two days in a row.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I am sharing this recipe with holiday gatherings in mind Take it to your office Christmas party. picnic with friends. A day at the beach.

Chicken sandwiches – gatherings, picnics, lunches!

Chicken sandwiches – gatherings, picnics, lunches!

Never underestimate the power of great chicken sandwiches! Excellent platter for gatherings, picnics and work lunches. My secrets? Fresh dill, a handful of walnuts and shred the chicken really finely using a stand-mixer or electric beater. Yes, really.
prep time
15 mins
cooking time
5 mins
total time
20 mins



  • 500g/ 1 lb cooked chicken meat from 1 large store bought roast chicken (Note 1)

  • 1 celery stem , sliced 3mm/0.1″ thick then into 0.5cm/0.2″ pieces

  • 1 green onion stem , finely sliced

  • 3/4 cup walnuts , roughly chopped (Note 2)

  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cornichon/dill pickle

  • 1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped dill (Note 3)

  • SAUCE:

  • 2/3 cup whole egg mayonnaise (S&W best in Aus, Note 4)

  • 2/3 cup sour cream (sub full fat yogurt)

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (sub white wine or cider vinegar)

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (or more garlic powder)

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or more onion powder)

  • 3/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • Salted butter , for spreading on bread

  • 20 slices white sandwich bread , or more for less filling (Note 5)


Shred the chicken as finely as you can. The best method is using a stand-mixer. Just put the meat in the bowl with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until it's really finely shredded (~ 1 minute). Else use a handheld beater or your hands.
Mix the Sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth – use a whisk if needed.
Pour Sauce over the chicken. Add remaining Filling ingredients. Stir until combined.
Spread bread with butter. Spread with Filling
Peel (for a true "gourmet" experience!) and cut in half. (Tip: For a really clean cut, refrigerate the sandwich before slicing so the filling can set.)
Serve on platters littered with green fluffage, if desired!


Chicken filling per sandwich: – Deli standard (recommended): 100g / 1/2 cup (makes 10 sandwiches) – Very generous: 130g / 1/2 cup (makes 8) – Everyday lunchbox: 80g (1/3 cup) (makes 15).


Chicken – It’s ok! You can use store bought roast chicken! Bonus: The flesh is seasoned all the way through. Make your own – use this Brined Roast Chicken. If using homemade plain cooked chicken, toss 1 teaspoon extra salt through the shredded chicken. Use my Foolproof Poached Chicken Breast recipe. Cool, then roughly shred into large pieces with hands before blitzing in stand-mixer. No scales? 500g/1 lb chicken once finely shredded is just shy of 4 cups, lightly packed (ie don’t jam it in to measure). Walnuts is the classic nut addition for “gourmet deli-style” chicken sandwiches and adds a touch of special. Love how it softens and melds into the filling. Best subs: cashews, macadamia nuts or pecans. Else, leave it out. style”. No other herb will provide the same flavour so if you don’t have it / like it, just leave it out. (Parsley can be used for a bit of green colour but won’t add flavour). Mayo – S&W is best in Australia. Kewpie is the next best, followed by Hellman’s. I find others too sweet, too vinegary – who me, fussy? 🙂 Bread – Hot tip for Aussies: Bakers Delight white sandwich bread sliced standard thickness (not extra thick) is best for softness but not so crazy soft it gets squished! Filling amount – It’s a rich filling, don’t need to go crazy with it. 1/2 cup (100g) per sandwich is generous and makes a filling sandwich, even for someone with a “robust” appetite like myself! Makes 10. Normal lunchbox size sandwich – 1/3 cup (80g) is sufficient, makes 15. Mega sandwich – pile on as much as you want! Storage – Keeps for 3 days in the fridge, assembled or filling only. Filling flavour gets even better overnight!
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