Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad is a delicious blend of tender chicken, tart cranberries, and crunchy nuts. This easy recipe is perfect for a quick and flavorful meal.
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- Why You'll Love This Recipe Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe
- Ingredients for this easy chicken salad recipe
- How to Cook Chicken Breasts
- Step-by-Step Instructions
- Storage and make ahead directions
- Cranberry chicken salad variations and substitutions
- How to eat chicken salad with cranberries
- More salad ideas
- Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad
This chicken salad with pecans and cranberries is a great recipe to whip up for a quick lunch, light dinner, or snack.
Use your leftover rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, turkey, or tuna, and make this cranberry pecan chicken salad recipe instead of egg salad. Or prepare the chicken from scratch with the few simple methods below.
Why You'll Love This Recipe Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe
Ideal for using leftover chicken: Don't let your leftover chicken go to waste. Use it to make chicken salad, and no one will be the wiser that they are eating leftovers.
Sweet Cranberries: I love the cranberries in this salad so much! Give them a quick chop so you get a little bit in every bite.
Good source of protein: Chicken is a great source of protein, so this salad will keep you full for hours.
Great meal prep recipe: Prepare this salad on Sunday afternoon, and you've got a great option for lunch the next day.
Ingredients for this easy chicken salad recipe
A complete list of ingredients can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken - Cooked and diced. See cooking options below.
- Mayonnaise - Mayonnaise adds a rich creaminess to this salad.
- Dijon Mustard - Dijon mustard adds a touch of savoriness.
- Pepper - Use freshly ground black pepper.
- Craisins - I like to give them a rough chop.
- Diced Onion - I used a white onion, but any kind will work, even green onions or a red onion.
- Diced Celery - Diced celery adds the crunch I crave in my chicken salad.
- Pecans - I love pecans, but almonds or crunchy walnuts are great substitutions.
How to Cook Chicken Breasts
Here's a couple options for cooking the chicken breast if you don't already have leftover chicken on hand:
Poaching chicken infuses the chicken with moisture and flavor. The key to really flavorful chicken is to ensure the water or broth you cook it in is loaded with ingredients that will transfer flavor.
To poach chicken, place it in a pot with your favorite broth, an onion, fresh or dried herbs, and a bay leaf. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice will also add more flavor.
Make sure the chicken is fully submerged in the broth and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes. The chicken is fully cooked when its internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Full proof oven baked chicken
Pound the chicken so that each breast is about the same thickness throughout.
Season the breasts with kosher salt, black pepper, or your favorite spices, and bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, confirm the chicken is at 165 degrees before removing it from the oven.
Step 1: Prep your chicken, onion, craisins, pecans and celery.
Step 2: Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine.
Step 3: Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Yes, canned or freshly cooked chicken can be used to make this cranberry nut chicken salad.
Fresh cranberries are much more tart than dried cranberries, so dried cranberries are best.
Greek yogurt is a great healthy substitute for mayonnaise when making chicken salad.
Storage and make ahead directions
Make ahead: This cranberry chicken salad can be kept for 4 days in the fridge.
Freezer: Leftover chicken salad with mayonnaise can be frozen, but the texture may differ once you thaw it. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight.
Cranberry chicken salad variations and substitutions
- Swap the cooked chicken for leftover turkey or tuna.
- Instead of dried cranberries, use currants, dates, or any other dried fruit.
- Toast the crunchy pecans for a deeper flavor, or for a nut-free salad, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
- Add in fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro for more flavor.
- To sweeten up the salad, add fresh fruit like diced apples or pineapple. Check out my favorite tuna salad recipe with green apples.
- Squeeze in a touch of lemon juice will brighten the salad.
- Substitute half of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt to lighten up the salad.
How to eat chicken salad with cranberries
There are a number of ways to eat this cranberry chicken salad;
- Serve on top of salad greens or prepare lettuce wraps or lettuce cups with romaine lettuce leaves.
- Scoop on top of your favorite salad.
- Wrap in a tortilla.
- Stash the chicken salad into a pita.
- Make a pecan and chicken salad sandwich by spreading the salad between two slices of bread; sourdough is my personal fave.
- I love chicken salad as a snack with club crackers.
More salad ideas
Cranberry Nut Chicken Salad
- Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.3 cup Cooked Diced Chicken, ¾ cup Mayonnaise, ½ teaspoon Dijon Mustard, ½ teaspoon Salt, ½ teaspoon Pepper, ¾ cup Craisins, ⅓ cup Diced Onion, ⅔ cup Diced Celery, ½ cup Pecans