How to Fix Watery Chicken Salad? [10 Simple Tricks]
It’s the perfect time to collect simple, fast, and fresh recipes to prepare for the whole summer! Chicken salad is one of my fav recipes to start with, as it blends flawlessly with a bunch of ingredients, from pasta to fruits. It’s common knowledge not to add salt in advance to keep the moisture in, to save watery veggies for the last, and not to add too much dressing for the perfect salad. But what if you make a mistake, and your chicken salad turns into a soggy mess? Here’s how to fix a watery chicken salad!
Straining the salad and adding thicker dressing is the easiest thing to do to fix watery salad! If you want a complete meal – add pasta, potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, or barley. What’s more, if you fancy playing with tastes and textures, go for nuts and interesting vegetable purees.
I love good chicken salad, but let’s be honest – sometimes it turns out watery, no matter how many times you make it. Instead of eating diluted, tasteless dressing – I found a whole range of ideas on how to make the best of it! Here is a list, so let’s dive in!
Strain the Salad
If you made a whole batch of it and it discharged a lot of liquid, straining is a logical thing to do. By doing that, you’ll definitely withdraw most of the relish, but the consistency will be way better. Adding new seasonings, dressings, and herbs can fill in the missing flavors, though.
Grains are great absorbing ingredients. They are delicate to work with, though. When it comes to choosing the best of them for chicken salads – opt for grains that hold the shape better.
Whole grains are top-notch options! Quinoa, barley, brown rice, spelt, and farro are the top 5, undoubtedly! They go well with other ingredients as they have a neutral taste but with a slightly earthy and nutty undertone.
Having this in mind, pair them with nuts, avocados, and citruses.
Pasta is chicken salad’s best friend, plus it absorbs liquid impeccably. If you’re planning to make it in advance, you can cook it al-dente, so it will soften just enough in salad juices. Pasta pairs well with chicken, no doubt, along with any vegetables and dressings, as well.
Which pasta you’ll choose for your salad is completely on you! But, in the sea of pasta varieties, there are some that blend better than others. Go for types that are bite-size – similar to chopped-up vegetables and chicken: macaroni, rotini, orzo, farfalle, and gemelli.
Potato salad is great, but chicken plus potato salad is top-tier! They will soak up plenty of liquid and still be delish. Cooked potatoes tend to crumble, though, so they are best to use when you want creamy salad – like signature Russian Olivye!
You can use nuts in salads in many different ways. It will change not just the consistency but also nutritional values. Nuts are the best ingredients to skyrocket healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber! 
I like to blend the nuts into an almost buttery texture and combine it with my salad. It creates a beautiful custardy feel, and it will actually soak up loads of liquid. Just for the heads up, it won’t be silky smooth as mayo, for example, but more on the grainier side.
Chopped-up or whole nuts are a superb option, as well. They will absorb moisture but keep some crunch, as well, depending on how long the salad rests. They can be a bit chewy, though, if they stay immersed.
If you don’t mind that, go for it! Walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, or any other you like – and each will be extra delicious!
Mayonnaise pairs with almost any salad, but usually as a part of a dressing. To thicken up the salad, use mayo only. Its dense consistency will do the trick in creating a creamy sauce with a rich and slightly sour taste.
There are also vegan and diet mayo options, be free to use them, too!
Add Greek Yogurt or Cream
Greek yogurt is one more splendid choice! It has a lighter taste than mayonnaise, but a very similar consistency. Keep in mind to choose thicker yogurt varieties, though.
The taste is perfect to marry up with chicken salad as it has a slightly salty and distinctive sour relish. It is a lighter variety when it comes to calories, as well. So, it’s obviously a win-win situation!
There are two more supreme options: sour cream and crème fraiche! Sour cream is tangy and less fatty, but a little more fluid than crème fraiche, which is fattier. Overall, they are both great additions to thicken up your salad!
Add Vegetable Puree
A veggie puree is a fine option to dense up a watery salad. Plus, you’ll add taste, minerals, vitamins, and fiber! My favorite option to pair with the chicken salad is roasted eggplant and tomato dip.
Consider roasted pepper or carrot dip, as well, because their smoky, garlicky, rich flavor is a perfect addition! Here are some more ideas for you to check out: beets plus garlic, cauliflower plus onion, butternut squash plus ginger, or beans plus roasted tomato. These combinations will elevate salad to a 5-star meal!
Add Feta Cheese
Cheese is always a good idea! And feta is my absolute favorite — it blends impeccably with chicken, anyone knows that, but feta-based dip blends even better. It will thicken up the salad but give a salty taste to it!
Just feta will do the job, as well, but if you want a completely smooth texture- blend feta and a bit of Greek yogurt! This is a dash of Greece that’s been missing!
Whether you add them as a whole or blended, chickpeas will refine both taste and texture in a heartbeat. They have a mild earthy flavor and pair amazingly with chicken – especially when splashed with lemon juice. If you decide to blend them – hummus will provide you with a perfect creamy texture!
On the other hand, whole chickpeas will absorb the water, but pretty much keep the shape.