Make a British royal dish in just 10 minutes! Classic Coronation Chicken is super easy to prepare and great for sandwiches, salads and jacket potatoes!
The recipe for traditional Coronation chicken salad couldn’t be easier, requiring just 10 minutes to make and a few simple ingredients.
A British royal dish
The original Coronation chicken was invented by writer Constance Spry and the founder of the famous Le Cordon Bleu cookery school Rosemary Hume, while preparing the food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The original dish is basically cooked chicken meat with a simple curried mayonnaise dressing, and it's quite funny that such a simple recipe made its way into Buckingham Palace.
You might find it surprising, but the original recipe calls for curry powder, because fresh curry spices were almost impossible to find in post-war Britain.
Nowadays you can easily find this classic British salad everywhere in UK, from supermarkets, deli shops to sandwich bars.
Unfortunately, over the years this recipe has lost a bit of its charm, with so many ingredients and variations added, it looks now a really vague reinterpretation of the royal dish.
Most versions out there include ingredients that have nothing to do with the original version, such as sultanas.
The original recipe doesn’t contain a single sultana, only dried apricots (that can be chopped or pureed), and the dressing includes a balanced mix of mayonnaise and whipped cream.
The recipe I'm sharing today follows very precisely the traditional recipe, and it couldn't be easier to make.
All you need is just a few simple ingredients:
- cooked chicken
- dried apricots
- crème fraîche
- olive oil
- curry powder
- white onion (or shallot)
- red wine
- bay leaf
- lemon juice
- a pinch of sugar
- salt & pepper
The only minor change I made to the original recipe it's swapping the whipped cream with light crème fraîche for a lighter result.
But you can totally follow the traditional route if you want, and use fresh unsweetened whipped cream.
And if you want to lighten things up a little bit more, swap the cream with Greek yogurt.
The dressing/sauce comes together in as little as 7-8 minutes with few easy-to-follow steps:
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.
Add in the onion, bay leaf and curry powder and gently cook for 2 minutes.
Add in the tomato paste, red wine and water and bring to a gentle boil.
Pour in the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, then season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
Simmer for 2 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced, then remove from the heat. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and allow it to cool.
Once the sauce is ready, you can fold in the remaining ingredients.
In a large bowl mix together the prepared sauce with the mayonnaise, chopped apricots and crème fraîche.
Add in the chicken breast chunks, optional almond flakes, and mix gently all the ingredients together. That's it!
How to cook the chicken
For the cooked chicken meat, you can simply grill or steam the skinless chicken breasts (you can also use skinless and boneless thighs if you like).
I usually poach the chicken in water with a peeled carrot, onion, potato, celery stalk and a bay leave.
This way I can save up all the chicken stock and use it for other tasty recipes.
The traditional recipe instructs to poach the chicken in a big pot of water with a carrot, a bay leaf, a splash of wine, a little fresh thyme and parsley, and four peppercorns.
Use your preferred method from the two above mentioned, and poach the chicken for 40 minutes, then cool it down, chop into chunks and mix it with the prepared dressing.
There are endless ways to serve your coronation chicken salad! Here are a few of my favourite ways:
- in a sandwich
- over a bed of salad leaves
- with basmati rice
- with grilled veggies
- as a topping for a baked potato
You can store coronation chicken leftovers in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to two days. I don't recommend storing it in the freezer.
Once you have mastered the basics, feel free to add a few extra ingredients. Some of my favourite includes:
- finely chopped celery
- toasted almond flakes
- a little bit of mango chutney
- some fresh finely chopped coriander
- few drops of Tabasco
Can I make it allergy-friendly?
Traditional coronation chicken salad is naturally gluten-free, soy-free, peanut-free and nut-free.
To make it egg-free you could use a mayonnaise without eggs.
And if you want to make it dairy-free, I recommend swapping the crème fraiche with a thick dairy-free yogurt.
More British recipes you'll love:
The Original Coronation Chicken
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon white onion (or 1 shallot), finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1 teaspoon double-concentrated tomato paste
- 60 ml red wine
- 60 ml water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon brown sugar
- 200 g mayonnaise
- 125 g creme fraiche (or unsweetened whipped cream)
- 1 tablespoon dried apricots, finely chopped
- 2 large skinless chicken breasts, (600 g or 6 cups) cooked and shredded or cut into chunks
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoon toasted almond flakes, (optional)
- Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat.
- Add in the onion, bay leaf and curry powder and gently cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in the tomato paste, red wine and water and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add in the lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, then season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
- Simmer for 2 minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced, then remove from the heat. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and allow it to cool.
- In a large bowl mix together the prepared sauce with the mayonnaise, creme fraiche and finely chopped apricots.
- Add in the cooked chicken breast, and mix gently all the ingredients together. Finally, add in toasted almond flakes if you using.
- Serve the coronation chicken with a salad, rice or as a filling for jacket potatoes and sandwiches. Enjoy!
- Apricots: substitute with 2 tablespoons mango chutney.
- Almonds: substitute with 1-3 tablespoon sultanas.
- Celery: feel free to add 1 celery stick finely chopped.
- Cinnamon: feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon powder.
- in a sandwich
- over a bed of salad leaves
- with basmati rice
- with grilled veggies
- as a topping for a jacket potato
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
** This post was originally published in April 2015 and updated with new info and a more clear recipe**
Hey Hi there!
This meal is a weekly fav ‘cause it’s quick, easy to make, and can be left around for the family to assemble with whatever they have time to prepare! Most times it’s on a bed of rocket leaves!
Small additive - I replaced curry with a T crushed dried chilies - it gives it another dimension yet the fierceness of the chilliest is muted by the mayo and cream. Def’s a thumbs up!
Lesley Nicholls says
Although I was a child in the the UK for the Coronation in 1952 I had never heard of Coronation Chicken until I came to Canada and found it in sandwiches at afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria about 50 years later! I had a yen for something different today and decided to make it. I followed your recipe exactly and found it very bland..needed much more curry paste, maybe Madras instead of the mild one I used? I used mayo and Greek yogurt. Also the chicken was very dry, might have used too high a heat for the poaching? Next time I will cool it in the poaching liquid. I am going to add red pepper to add needed texture. Next time will add celery also for the crunch. I hated to throw away the strained veggies from the chicken, maybe liquidize them for additional taste? I think a good basic recipe but could do with some tweaking to my taste.
Delicious! Just not sure about the word 'Original' we didn't have crème fraìche in 1953. Not for decades. Yogurt was not even widely available. Delucious though - thanks.
clancy sullivan says
How important is the tomato paste. It is not listed with the other ingredients but appears later in the recipe?
Hi Clancy, please make sure you follow the printable recipe at the bottom of the post. I did forget to add the tomato paste in the list within the post but the full recipe is absolutely correct. The tomato paste adds another layer of flavour, and I have never tried it without it, so my recommendation is not to omit it. Hope you try this original Queen's coronation chicken recipe soon!
Rosemary from Montreal says
I tried this out, looking for sandwich fillings for an upcoming church lunch. I poached the chicken breast first. Taste is good but lots and lots of sauce. I added a rib of celery too because i have a lot on hand. I don't think this would work in a sandwich, maybe warmed up on rice or quinoa. First time using creme fraiche, it's quite expensive!
(The sauce by itself makes a dandy dip for red peppers! YUM)
I made this today while waiting for my occupational therapist to arrive. She came in just as I finished making the sauce...heavenly curry! Came out absolutely delicious!
It is the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11 on 02-06-2022.
Heard about Coronation Chicken for the first time today & wanted to get the original recipe for it. Thank you .
Will Muse says
Awesome I added raisins with the apricot and the only wine I had was her Moscato sangria so no sugar added!
Marcia Niemann says
I had trouble converting ml of red wine and water into cups or tablespoons. I had trouble converting grams of mayonnaise into cups or tablespoons. Same with grams of creme fraiche and grams of chicken. I am not convinced that I made the corrections correctly--especially on the mayo and creme fraiche which seemed like too much, so maybe, for your USA readers, you could add the correct amounts in the measures we use, too. I read about this in a Canadian novel I am reading this week, where the characters had an assortment of sandwiches, including "coronation chicken," so I looked for this recipe to try. Thanks for posting it!
Hi Marcia, Try downloading and using the app Mila’s tools for simple unit conversion. It’s a great, easy to use app.
The beauty of recipes in ml and g is they need no conversion: only a set of scales. A ml of most liquids weighs one g. All the measuring jugs, spoons, uniform sized cups etc can be replaced by any container on a kitchen scale
Bill Richardson says
The recipe is missing the tomato puree in the description and ingredients list. Please correct it!
Hi Bill, the recipe calls for tomato paste and you will find it in the ingredient list under "double-concentrate tomato paste". Hope you give it a try, coronation chicken is one of my favorite recipes to make!
Mary Ellen says
Nevertheless, Bill is correct in that the introductory portion lists b the recipe ingredients and completely fails to include anything tomato-ey. Thank uou.
My Mum used to make this, found your recipe and having made it I’m tearing up to a taste of my Mums ! Thank you
Jacqui Wright says
I made this at a request from my daughter for a picnic and it was awesome she now wants the recipe......this was a favourite of ours in the uk so I stressed over getting it right thanks for your recipe and instruction
I used white wine though and mango chutney and of course I added a few saltanas !
Looking for recipe for Coronation I have found yours called Original. I did it and very first one was great when I prepare all ingredients listed in your introduction. As my Family like it a lot I did it second time in not very long time. I remembered list of all ingredients, but then I was following all your instructions from introduction. This time my Coronation Chicken was different . Not the same. I decided to give a go again. And to my surprise in your introduction list of ingredients didn't contain tomato pure , but in instruction it is . Please let me know what is right, what is wrong, kind regards. MM
Barb Kean-Williams says
my go to recipe, especially for Christmas! Make it the day before hand, flavour improves. Great hit on the christmas lunch table!
Sandra Tyler says
Just lovely, the smell is amazing cooked it for tomorrow Sundays lunch with salad nom nom nom
That makes SO happy! Please share a picture on Instagram and tag me, I can't wait to share it!
My family loved this recipe! I will be making it again and again!
Amanda Mason says
I have never heard of coronation chicken before but this sounds amazing!! Loving the different ways to serve this! What a great recipe for dinner, lunch or a snack!
Jenny Pote says
I also don’t see tomato paste in the recipe ingredients! Does it really take tomato paste in this recipe?
Hi Jenny, if you scroll down to the recipe card you'll find the tomato paste listed in the ingredient list 🙂
I can't believe that this wonderful dish takes only 10 minutes to make! Such a good classic, and perfect filler for sandwiches too!
I love that you went back to the original. Not that there's anything wrong with an adaptation, but I think it's fun to enjoy a dish in it's original form. I love that something like this was part of the royal coronation!
Pearl Rodrigues says
I'd love to have some of this in my sandwich right now !! This looks so so good and I can't believe its so quick to make
Midwest Foodie says
My husband loves chicken so I am always looking for new recipe. This one looks delicious - love the name too! Definitely pinning this recipe for later!
Oh my goodness. It looks SO good and it is SO easy to make!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I've never had coronation chicken! I'm thinking I've got to try it - soon! So creamy!
Uma Srinivas says
Never heard this of recipe. But few of my friends likes chicken dish, i will pass on to them.
I can't believe I have never heard of coronation chicken. All of the ingredients sound like an incredible combination, one I am super excited to try!
Chef and Steward says
This is such a moreish dish! Thanks for sharing this classic. I wonder what will be the next coronation dish?
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer says
Oh how unique and delicious looking! I’ve never heard of this dish but wow it sounds amazing! Loving the addition of dried apricots!
ana | muy delish says
Can't wait to make this! I think I'll swap the cream with Greek Yogurt since that's what I have in my fridge all the time. Thanks for sharing Andrea!
That sounds like an awesome idea 🙂 I suggest you add a little yogurt at a time and taste the mix out as you add it, so you can balance out the tartness coming from the yogurt!
I made it yesterday, it was tasty, the best coronation chicken salad I ever tried!!!
Thank you so much for sharing! I've added celery and toasted almonds and it was really really good, I can't wait to make it again.
These are two of my favorite add-ons! So glad to hear you liked it :)))
Just made this and it tasted incredible, my family loved it too!
I'm so happy to hear that!!
I've never come across the measurement of a glass before (1/2 glass in this recipe). Can you put that in ounces or millilitres? Thanks so much.
Hi Liz, sorry about that! It's typical italian to put some measures in glass, and I forgot this is not often the case elsewhere 🙂 I've now updated the recipe, hope you enjoy this delicious Coronation chicken salad!
Thanks so much. I've been looking for a good coronation chicken recipe for some time and this one looks great.