December 16, 2008

Salad Olivieh

Salad Olivieh is a popular picnic or party dish in Iran. The origin of this food is believed to be Russian. There are many different recipes for this dish. Some like the potatoes more chunky others prefer a smoother and creamy salad. I like to add lemon juice in addition to the pickles for a more tangy taste. Olivieh salad is a combination of chicken, potato and egg salad all in one!

Salad Olivieh

Serves 4-6

6 large potatoes boiled, peeled and finely chopped or shredded
2 chicken breasts cooked, chopped into small cubes or shredded
3 eggs boiled, peeled, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream *optional
3 dill pickles finely chopped
1 package frozen baby peas (16 oz), thawed and drained
1 cup olives - green or black, (seedless)
1 small carrot, shredded
1-2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  2. In another large bowl, combine chicken, potatoes, eggs, chopped pickles and peas. Add the mayo dressing and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Place salad olivieh in a serving dish, even out the surface with a spatula. Garnish with olives, pickles, peas or carrots. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve.



  1. Love salad oliveh. The recipe I have does not call for sour cream. I'll have to try your version.

  2. You are absolutely right. In the original recipe for salad olivieh, the one that I grew up with, there is no use of sour cream as an ingredient. I too love salad olivieh very much and I make it frequently. But I’m not too crazy about using a lot of mayonnaise. In order to make this salad creamy and smooth you need a generous amount of mayo. So, I’ve been experimenting with substituting regular yogurt, thick yogurt (mast-e kiseh) and sour cream. That’s when I came up with using ½ cup of sour cream mixed with the mayo. A few tablespoons of sour cream goes a long way, it makes the dish more creamy and tasty. But that’s totally optional.

    1. Azita,
      Thank you very much for the great food blog!
      In Russia where I am from this salad is very popular. A very common version of the Olivieh includes diced fresh cucumbers in addition to the pickles, and there is almost always green onions in Olivieh. The addition of fresh cucumbers and onions decreases the amount of time one can keep the salad in refrigerator. Back in the days of my childhood, most Russian cooks would use bologna instead of chicken, even though it is believed that the original version called for chicken and/or other poultry.

  3. If you came up with sour cream by mere experimenting (ie without googling for it), then it seems like sour cream is the best choice since the Russian version of Olivia Salad has sour cream in its recipe too!

  4. great recipe..ive had this before and I love it....

  5. My mom usually cooks pieces of chicken with bones and then takes the meat off the bones once cooked. What is the difference with using breast? I could imagine that when using breast the chicken is less like "threads", which is the case when you cook pieces of chicken and then takes it off the bones?

  6. Nazanin, That was the way my mother used to do it too, but I find it more convenient to use chicken breasts. It eliminates the deboning process and shredding and since there won't be any dark meat in there, the colors come out better and more evenly. Either way you decide to cook it is good!
    Thank you so much for visiting!

  7. I am a chef I'v never use sour cream ,it was the first time for me to see like this :) but i will try to make olivie with that to know , how is it ?

    1. Russians use a sour cream also .. And it's pretty good, this salad requires little acidity which is usually added by pickles .. But I have never heard of yogurt though ..

  8. This is one of my favorite salads/appetizers. My grandmother, who was Persian, never used carrots, sour cream, or olives. I may add black olives now that I've learned to apprecite them as an adult. Yummy food. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is a wonderful recipe -- thanks for sharing! I just made it as a side dish for a crowd and they gobbled it up. It also made for tasty leftovers. Before baking the chicken breast at 350 in a convection oven, I seasoned it with garlic powder and turmeric (along with salt, pepper, and olive oil) and it added even more flavor to the dish. Next time, I might also try replacing the sour cream with thick yogurt (maybe Greek yogurt if mast-o-kiseh is not available) for a slightly healthier version. I did use light mayo and light sour cream and that turned out well, too.

  10. In fact the name of salad comes from Lucien Oliever, a chief of Moscow Metropol Hotel in late 19th century who has come with the idea first. Instead of chicken it had grouse, beef tongue and a sturgeon caviar but the rest of receipt is original. Correct dressing was mayo as stated before.