When making chicken salad, the time and preparation required for roasting and de-boning a chicken add hours of labor and waiting to the process. Buying canned, prepared chicken or a rotisserie chicken are time saving measures, yet each technique has advantages and drawbacks.
Canned chicken is precooked and available for use the instant it is removed from the can. Because of its packaging process and shelf stability, canned chicken is high in sodium. If salt is a concern, one can place the canned chicken in a colander and rinse it with water to remove some of the sodium content. Canned chicken also lacks the flavor of its freshly cooked counterpart. A bold ingredient like curry, combined with lemon juice, mayonnaise, toasted almonds, and grapes or raisins, elevates the flavor of chicken salad made from canned poultry.
A rotisserie chicken is a whole chicken available in many supermarkets. Cooked on the day of purchase and kept warm under heat lamps, a rotisserie chicken possesses more flavor with less sodium than canned chicken but at a greater expense. Before using a cooked, whole chicken in chicken salad, it must be de-boned, adding time to the preparation process. Some cooks discard the skin while others shred it and incorporate it into their chicken salad. A healthy alternative to mayonnaise is the addition of an avocado for every 2 cups of cooked chicken. When mixed with onion, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper, the resulting chicken salad has a healthier fat content. For additional creaminess, a small amount of plain yogurt can be added at the last minute.