This flavorful Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad is a delicious and healthy choice for lunch or dinner. Perfectly seasoned with a tangy homemade dressing, it's sure to be a hit!
This Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad recipe is perfect for those looking for an easy, fast, and delicious meal. I particularly love it as an easy lunch option during a busy workday.
With only a few simple ingredients, this flavorful salad can be thrown together in just minutes and is sure to please any palate. Tender chicken combines with tart cranberries and crunchy pecans for a one-of-a-kind salad that will become a regular part of your weekly meal planning.
This family favorite chicken salad recipe can also be served at a picnic, potluck, baby shower, or another family gathering. It is a favorite way of mine to feed a crowd because I can make it in advance.
Cooked Chicken - You can use any type of cooked chicken in a chicken salad. I prefer cubed grilled chicken breasts but shredded rotisserie chicken, chicken thighs, or roast chicken is fine too.
Dried Cranberries - These add a nice sweetness and tangy flavor.
Pecans - Use roasted salted pecans for the best results. They have more flavor than raw pecans. You can even use smoked pecans.
Celery - Chopped celery gives this another nice crunch.
Mayo - Mayonaisse gives this a rich, creamy flavor.
Greek Yogurt - You can use all mayo if you'd like a dairy-free option but pairing it with plain Greek yogurt lightens up the dressing. Alternatively, you can use sour cream.
Salt & Black Pepper - You can season to taste.
How to Make Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
This easy recipe only takes about 5 minutes to make.
Step One: Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
Step Two: Toss the ingredients so they are combined with the dressing.
Step Three: Season the chicken mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
The best chicken salad is the one you enjoy so feel free to change this up to your personal preferences.
Onions - If you enjoy onions go ahead and add some chopped red onion or yellow onion to this along with the crunchy celery. Thinly sliced green onions work well too.
Seasoning - Garlic powder, onion powder, or even a sprinkle of cinnamon pair nicely with the other flavors in this great recipe.
Fresh Herbs - Fresh herbs are a wonderful addition. I particularly like fresh chopped basil in this salad. Rosemary is another great choice.
Apples - Sweet apples also taste great in this easy chicken salad. Just chop them into small pieces and add them in. The tart sweetness of granny smith apples is perfect.
Dressing - If you want to save some time add bottled poppy seed dressing in place of the homemade dressing I use. To enhance the flavor add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Can I make this with leftover chicken?
Both leftover chicken and purchased rotisserie chicken can be used. You can even use leftover turkey. Using a leftover protein makes this easy salad into the perfect quick dinner.
How do I serve chicken salad?
Chicken salad is a classic dish that can be served in a variety of ways. From sandwiches to lettuce wraps, there are many options to choose from. Lettuce wraps are a popular choice among those who want a healthier option, while tortilla wraps provide a heartier, more filling meal.
To serve pecan cranberry chicken salad in lettuce wraps, start by washing and drying the lettuce leaves thoroughly. Place the chicken salad on top of each leaf and roll it up tightly. This creates a delicious and low-carb option for those who want something lighter. Or you can just serve it on a bed of lettuce or fresh spinach.
If you prefer something with more substance, try serving your chicken salad in tortilla wraps. Start by heating up your tortillas on a pan or griddle until they are warm and pliable. Next, spread the chicken salad on top of each wrap and add any additional toppings you desire such as avocado or cheese. Roll it up tightly and enjoy!
How do I store chicken salad?
If you've made chicken salad and are wondering how to store it properly, there are a few things to keep in mind. Proper storage is important not only for maintaining the quality of your dish but also for preventing foodborne illness. Here are a few tips on how to store chicken salad:
1. First, don't leave chicken salad at room temperature for more than an hour before storing it in the refrigerator. Warm or hot temperatures can promote bacterial growth, which can spoil the food.
2. Store your chicken salad in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. This will help to prevent air from getting in and causing spoilage.
3. Label your container with the date when you made the chicken salad so that you know when it's time to throw it away if it's been sitting in the fridge for too long.
How long does chicken salad last?
The shelf life of a chicken salad depends on various factors such as the ingredients used, storage conditions and the method of preparation.
In general, homemade chicken salad can last for up to 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container and kept refrigerated at temperatures below 40°F. If you're unsure about whether your chicken salad has gone bad or not, check the texture, smell and color of the ingredients before consuming it. If there's any discoloration or foul odor coming from your chicken salad, then it's best not to eat it as it could lead to some serious health issues.
- 16 oz grilled chicken
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup roasted salted pecans chopped
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ⅓ cup mayo
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the ingredients so they are combined with the dressing.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.