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Coronation Chicken Sandwich

Half of coronation chicken sandwich held by two hands ready to be eaten.
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The Great British sandwich, the nation’s favourite, none other but a classic Coronation Chicken Sandwich, is definitely worth making for your office lunch or even a fancy afternoon tea party! Delicious curried poached chicken breast filling, further flavoured with mango chutney, apricots and coriander, this is no ordinary sandwich! The creamy textures of the filling contrast well with crunchy lettuce and soft bread, making it one of the best British recipes out there…

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History of The Great British Sandwich

A recipe for Coronation chicken was created by Rosemary Hume, a chef who was appointed by Sir David Eccles, the Minister of Works, to take care of the coronation banquet to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming a queen in 1953. However, the original dish was actually a salad with green peas and rice (not a sandwich at all). The recipe was widely publicized encouraging the public to make it in their own kitchens to join in the celebrations.

Whilst originally this fancy recipe was known by its French name, Poulet Reine Elizabeth, these days it is more widely known as…well… a sandwich filling.

Halves of coronation sandwich stacked on a wooden board.

Why You Should Try Coronation Chicken Sandwich Filling

Coronation Sandwich is one of the best sellers in the UK for a reason. And you will be absolutely amazed at how much better the homemade version tastes! The reasons you will enjoy this coronation luncheon classic are numerous:

  • Make it completely from scratch by poaching chicken breasts or use any leftover chicken you have: rotisserie chicken, baked or pan-fried chicken breasts will all work well in this recipe.
  • These sandwiches make the perfect packed lunch to enjoy at your desk at work or to take on a picnic. Or you can cut the crusts off, and slice the sandwiches into small two-bite-sized pieces to make them into beautiful tea sandwiches.
  • Coronation sandwich filling has a beautifully vibrant yellow colour that brightens up any lunch!
  • Any leftover filling can be used to top the salads or as a filling for jacket potatoes.

Ingredients and Substitutes

  • chicken breasts: you can poach your own chicken to ensure extra moist and creamy filling (see instructions below), or use any leftover chicken from your Sunday roast. You can also use shop-bought cooked chicken.
  • mayonnaise: is a key ingredient to make a creamy dressing for the chicken. But you can also substitute half of it with Greek yogurt if you wish. Full-fat or light mayo works well.
  • dried apricots: can be replaced with golden sultanas or raisins.
  • lime: only juice will be used in the filling. You may choose to use lemon juice if you don’t have a lime handy.
  • curry powder: we typically use medium or mild curry powder. If you are looking for a bright colour, use the spice mix that is heavier on turmeric that will vibrantly colour the mayo. You may also choose to use curry paste instead of powder.
  • mango chutney: addition of mango chutney gives a lovely sweetness that complements the flavors of curry spices very well. However, the original recipe called for apricot jam, so you can easily substitute it.
  • coriander: Also known as cilantro in many parts of the world. Fresh coriander leaves and stalks are finely chopped and added to the sandwich filling. If you don’t enjoy the flavour of coriander, substitute it with parsley.
  • lettuce: iceberg or baby gem lettuce works very well. But it can be substituted with other leafy salads, like spinach, watercress or rocket (arugula).
  • bread: use any sandwich bread you enjoy, but we particularly like Coronation Chicken filling with granary or seeded sandwich bread.
Ingredients for coronation chicken sandwich.

Recipe Variations

We have discussed many substitutions that are possible in the Coronation Chicken Sandwich in the section above, but here are a few more ideas on how to jazz it up further:

  • If you enjoy a bit of spice, chop up 1/4 of red chilli pepper into the filling.
  • Substitute lettuce with cucumber slices.
  • Instead of bread slices, stuff the filling in wheat tortilla wraps or pitta bread.
  • Bake this absolute British classic into a vegan sandwich by following our Coronation Chickpea Sandwich recipe.
  • Use crustless white bread or simply cut the crusts off your regular bread and slice each sandwich half in three and serve as part of your afternoon tea selection.

How To Poach Chicken Breasts?

If you are making this coronation banquet staple from scratch, we recommend you poach your chicken breasts. After all, the original coronation chicken recipe used for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, used poached chicken. It’s an easy way to cook the chicken to perfection whilst retaining the moisture within it. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Pour enough cold water to submerge chicken breasts in a large pot. Add a bouquet garni or bay leaf (optional) and a few peppercorns to the water and bring it to a rolling boil.
  2. Once boiling, carefully lower your chicken breasts into the water. Wait for the water to boil again, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover it with a lid. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off, keep the lid on, and leave the chicken breasts to finish cooking in hot water for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes, check if the chicken breasts are cooked by measuring the internal temperature of the chicken (it should be no less than 74°C (165 F). Alternatively, cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast and if the juices run clear into the poaching liquid (as opposed to pink or cloudy), your chicken is cooked.
  5. Immediately place poached chicken breasts into a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to lock in the moisture.
  6. Proceed to make delicious chicken sandwiches.

Method

The first thing you need to do is to make the creamy dressing for the chicken. In a large bowl, combine the mayo, mango chutney, dried apricots, coriander (cilantro), curry powder and lime juice. Whilst it may look like a lot of coronation sauce, a good sandwich is a moist sandwich, so you need a lot of this creamy sauce. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Cut or shred your chicken breasts into small pieces, and add them to the dressing. Give everything a good mix, taste and season to your liking. Note that the colour from the spices will continue developing, so if you want a brighter yellow filling, make it in advance.

Spread the chicken filling on two large slices of bread, scatter a generous amount of shredded lettuce and top with another slice, pressing down gently.

And here you have it, your traditional coronation chicken salad sandwich is ready to be enjoyed or packed for lunch later!

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Recipe FAQs

Why Is My Chicken Filling Not Yellow?

There are two reasons for this. First, your curry powder may be low on turmeric, giving it brown tones, not yellow. Add some turmeric powder to make it brighter. Secondly, the colour of the filling will develop further as time goes by, so you can make the filling a couple of hours ahead of time.

What’s A Good Side Dish For Coronation Sandwiches?

Coronation chicken sandwiches are filling and satisfying, each providing you with almost 500kcal of energy, so a sandwich on its own is typically enough for a tasty lunch. However, if you want to add a little something extra, Soup and a Sandwich is a traditional lunch option in the UK. A cup of Green Pea Soup or Carrot Soup makes a great addition.

How To Store Coronation Chicken?

If you’ve made too much filling, simply spoon any leftovers into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. See the section below for ideas on what to do with any leftover curried chicken filling. The filling, unfortunately, cannot be frozen.

If you want to make the sandwiches to enjoy the next day as a tasty lunch, wrap the sandwiches in sheets of tin foil and store them in the fridge.

What Can I Do With Leftover Coronation Chicken Filling?

The coronation chicken sandwich may be one of the most popular choices to grab and go from a sandwich shop in the UK, but you can do so much more with this delicious curried filling. Another great way to enjoy it is to use it as a filling for your baked potato! Alternatively, try it in a potato salad: just mix the filling with boiled baby potatoes and add some extra mayo if you need to. You may also top your leafy salad with the filling!

And last but not least, a delicious way to use up the leftover sandwich filling is to fill small tartlet cases or mini vol-au-vents with the filling and serve them as easy canapes.

Coronation chicken sandwich filling in a white bowl.

Other Delicious Sandwiches & Wraps

Do you enjoy sandwiches for lunch? Us too! Try these delicious recipes next time:

Recipe Card

Two Coronation Chicken Sandwiches, cut in half on a wooden board.

Coronation Chicken Sandwich

The Great British sandwich, the nation's favourite, none other but a classic Coronation Chicken Sandwich, is definitely worth making for your office lunch or even a fancy afternoon tea party! Delicious curried poached chicken breast filling, further flavoured with mango chutney, apricots and coriander, this is no ordinary sandwich! The creamy textures of the filling contrast well with crunchy lettuce and soft bread, making it one of the best British recipes out there…
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine British
Servings 2 sandwiches
Calories 487 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 230 g chicken breast (boneless, skinless) or 180g cooked chicken
  • 90 g mayonnaise
  • 40 g dried apricots finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime juice only
  • 1 tbsp curry powder mild or medium
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 5 g fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 2 lettuce leaves shredded
  • 4 sandwich bread slices

Instructions
 

Poach Chicken Breasts:

  • Pour enough cold water to submerge chicken breasts in a large pot. Add a bouquet garni or bay leaf (optional) and a few peppercorns to the water and bring it to a rolling boil.
  • Once boiling, carefully lower your chicken breasts into the water. Wait to the water to boil again, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover it with a lid. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off, keep the lid on, and leave the chicken breasts to finish cooking in hot water for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, check if the chicken breasts are cooked by measuring the internal temperature of the chicken (it should be no less than 74°C (165 F). Alternatively, cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast and if the juices run clear into the poaching liquid (as opposed to pink or cloudy), your chicken is cooked.
  • Immediately place poached chicken breasts into a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to lock in the moisture.

Assemble:

  • In a large bowl, combine the mayo, mango chutney, dried apricots, coriander (cilantro), curry powder and lime juice.
  • Cut or shred your chicken breasts into small pieces, and add them to the dressing. Give everything a good mix, taste and season to your liking.
  • Spread the chicken filling on two large slices of bread, scatter a generous amount of shredded lettuce and top with another slice, pressing down gently. Slice in half and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  1. Skip poaching the chicken breasts part if you are using cooked chicken in your sandwiches. 
  2. The colour from the curry powder in the filling will develop further with time, so you may choose to make the filling in advance.

Nutrition

Calories: 487kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 32gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 785mgPotassium: 881mgFiber: 6gSugar: 21gVitamin A: 2772IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Coronation Chicken Sandwich, Coronation Chicken Sandwich Filler, Coronation Chicken Sandwich Recipe, Easy Coronation Chicken, Vegan Coronation Sandwich
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