The Greenbrier's Famous Chicken Salad Recipe


This recipe is also commonly referred to as Dorothy Draper's Chicken Salad. Dorothy Draper was one of the best decorators of all time. She embraced vibrant colors, large florals, and brilliant patterns. Walk into any room that she decorated, and you would know it. And you immediately come alive. In 1948, Draper decorated the Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, one of our favorite resorts to visit. You'll experience her signature style–breathtakingly bright accents, bold striped walls, curtains made of flowery chintz–around every corner. It is simply happy. Draper penned two popular books: "Decorating is Fun!: How to Be Your Own Decorator" and "Entertaining is Fun!: How to Be a Popular Hostess." One of our favorite chapters in "Entertaining is Fun!" outlines the five essentials to hosting a successful party:1. A hostess who expects to have a good time.2. Some clever touches which give your home a party feeling.3. Friendly guests who come prepared to enjoy themselves.4. Plenty of delicious food, attractively presented.5. Some element of unexpectedness. Sounds like a party we would love to attend – and a hostess we'd love to know. Here, we focus on the ever-so-popular Chicken Salad, one of Draper's famous recipes that is included in "The Greenbrier Cookbook: Favorite Recipes from America's Resort." Chicken Salad is a reliable and delicious choice for Southern women hosting baby showers, ladies' lunches, and garden parties. Draper's version includes diced celery, sour cream, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, and ground black pepper. Joy in every single bite – as Dorothy Draper would have wanted.

Dorothy Draper Chicken Salad
Photo: The Greenbrier
8 serves


  • 1 (5-pound) fowl or 2 (2 1/2 pound) chickens

  • 1 cup diced celery (3 medium ribs celery)

  • cup sour cream

  • 1 ⅓ cups mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Put the chickens in a large stock pot with lightly salted cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and poach gently, skimming off any foam accumulating on the surface, until the meat is very tender when pierced with a knife, 50-60 minutes. Leave the chickens to cool in the poaching liquid. When cool enough to handle, remove all the meat using a paring knife and your fingers. Discard any skin, fat, or gristle. Cut the meat into ¼-inch dice. (The poaching liquid can be used as chicken stock in another recipe.) The chicken may be prepared up to 1 day ahead.

  2. Mix together the diced chicken, diced celery, sour cream, mayonnaise, and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill well before serving with greens and vegetables as a salad, on bread for a sandwich, or with half a cantaloupe as served at The Greenbrier outdoor pool.

Related Articles