Coronation Chicken is a light and delicious summer salad, gently spiced with curry powder and sweetened with fresh and dried fruit. It’s a really popular British recipe all year round, featuring at picnics, luncheons and buffets.
I first blogged this post on June 2nd, 2013, the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The History of Coronation Chicken
Coronation Chicken was one of the dishes served at the luncheon following HM The Queen’s Coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953. Britain was still in the grips of post-war rationing so developing a formal luncheon menu to feed 300-odd people was definitely a challenge.
The menu was written in French. The meal began with Tomato and Tarragon soup and finished with a choice of Strawberry Galette or Lemon Roulade. The main course was ‘Poulet Reine Elizabeth’ (Chicken Queen Elizabeth), later referred to in English as Coronation Chicken. Developed by Rosemary Hume, the original recipe was much more complicated than the versions more commonly served today and required the use of whole chickens poached in water and wine specially for the recipe.
Today chicken breasts are more commonly used, and Coronation Chicken is a great way to use up leftovers – especially leftovers of chicken made with my Easy Lemon and Herb Marinade. Lightly curried and nutty, it is the perfect summer salad or sandwich filling. I like to serve it atop a bed of thinly sliced lettuces.
Tips for Making Coronation Chicken
Use as much spice as you like. My family like between 2 and 3 teaspoons of curry powder, but if you prefer more or less, do suit yourself.
Be sure to use a combination of mayonnaise, plain yogurt or créme fraîche for a healthier dressing.
If you are using the recipe for sandwiches or wraps, be sure to cut everything in very small pieces.
Coronation Chicken is best chilled for an hour or so after mixing with the dressing to allow the flavours to blend.
How Can I Serve Coronation Chicken?
Serve Coronation Chicken is such a versatile recipe.
Serve as individual salads, or as starter salads.
Make sandwiches or wraps with Coronation Chicken.
Top crackers or bruschetta with Coronation Chicken for simple summer appetizer or canapés.
Serve a double recipe of Coronation Chicken in a big bowl on a summer buffet.
Take Coronation Chicken along on your next picnic. Be sure to take the cold packs to keep it well chilled.
Coronation Chicken will keep in the fridge for 24 to 36 hours.
However you serve this wonderful dish, it is sure to become a family favourite.
Coronation Chicken – Printable Recipe
- 3 to 4 cold cooked chicken breasts (without skin), diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 crisp apple, cored and finely chopped
- ½ cup seedless grapes (red or green or a mixture of the two), halved, plus extra for garnish
- ¼ cup raisins or sultanas
- ¼ cup flaked toasted almonds plus extra for garnish
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used Hellmann's Extra Light)
- 4 tablespoons plain yogurt, crème fraîche or sour cream (you can use half or reduced fat if you like)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery salt
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- sliced lettuces to serve
- Put the diced chicken breasts, red onion, apple, ½ cup grapes, raisins and ¼ cup flaked toasted almonds in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt (crème fraîche or sour cream), curry powder, celery salt, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Whisk together until blended.
- Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken, vegetable, fruit and nut mixture until well mixed. It's easiest to toss the mixture lightly using two forks.
- Serve on a bed of thinly sliced lettuces, garnished with extra halved grapes and flaked toasted almonds.