Does anyone of you other women out there feel like chicken salad is a standard baby shower/bridal shower food? You can count on it, every single time. So, whether you are planning a baby shower or just working on meal prep, you really need to give this Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Recipe a try. This will quickly become your favorite chicken salad recipe!
What Makes This Chicken Salad So Good?
I believe a good chicken salad needs a few things, and this salad has them ALL. Let me tell you what makes this salad such a great recipe.
Something sweet. I know plenty of people love grapes or apples in their chicken salad, but what about dried fruits? This one has dried cranberries (Craisins). They are so good!
Something crunchy. For me, it is crunchy celery. This is a highly debated topic, but for me it is always added in, If you aren't into it, omit it.
Some kind of nuts. Pecans were the nut of choice, but there are so many other options.
Greek yogurt. I prefer this to all mayo salads, they just feel too heavy. This way it is lower in calories and higher in protein, making it a win/win.
It needs to be an easy recipe, with all the ingredients easy to find at the grocery store. Chicken salad is not one that needs to be overly complicated. Keep it simple with a twist.
If this sounds like your kind of salad, keep on reading.
- Chicken Breast- I used 2 decent size ones for mine. You are looking for 1 ½-2 pounds.
- Minced Garlic- used for flavoring the chicken while it is cooking.
- Dried Cranberries- If you have not tried them in chicken salad, you really should.
- Pecans- You can always sub these out for other nuts if you prefer, but I love pecans!
- Celery- I love celery, but I know some people struggle with it. Add it as an option if you like. Make sure you choose crisp celery, you do not want the soft wilted celery.
- Greek Yogurt- This is plain yogurt, I go with nonfat, as a personal preference. This helps it become a healthy recipe, and certainly much healthier than a traditional chicken salad recipe. Some people like to use sour cream, but I prefer Greek yogurt.
- Mayo- I only use ¼ cup.
- Mustard Powder- This might seem like a weird spice to add in, but try it, it is so good!
- Salt, Pepper, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder- Aside from the mustard powder, these are the only other seasonings you will need.
How To Make The Salad
Let's make this healthy chicken salad.
Start by cooking your chicken. I like to do this in my Instant Pot as it is such an easy way to cook chicken. Add in your salt, minced garlic, and water. If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can also add the chicken to a saucepan and boil it.
Or if you really want to save time, you could also use a rotisserie chicken. If you have previously cooked some chicken, use the leftover chicken.
Once the chicken is cooked you can shred it or cut it in chunks as I did.
Let the chicken cool.
Once it is cool, add the cooked chicken to a bowl with the celery, pecans, dried cranberries, Greek yogurt, garlic powder, mustard powder. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Mix well, then the last thing is to taste for salt and pepper. If you need to add more, sprinkle it on and mix again. Don't overdo it!
That is it! The salad is done. Wasn't that simple? This is the best chicken salad recipe.
If you like, you can also sprinkle in a few poppy seeds as well.
There are plenty of other variations you can add to this salad. I kept mine simple, but let me give a few suggestions. If you want onions in your salad a red onion is good, but green onions are even better.
A small squeeze of lemon juice also adds great flavor to the chicken salad. I would not use any more than 1 tablespoon.
As noted above, apples are really good in chicken salad, if you want to add in a cup of apple chunks, do it! Just make sure they are fresh apples and have a firm skin. Sweet apples are much better than tart apples in this case, in my opinion anyway. I would avoid a granny smith apple and instead go for gala, fuji, or a Honeycrisp apple.
I love crunchy pecans, but walnuts are also really good in this salad, as are sliced almonds.
This salad is also a good way to use up leftover turkey too. Roasted turkey from Thanksgiving or Christmas is my favorite.
If you are looking for meal prep ideas, this is one of those simple recipes you will use over and over,
It will hold well in the fridge for up to 5 days, making it a great meal prep option.
Ways To Serve
There are quite a few ways to serve this, but let me share a few of my favorites.
The first way is to eat it just like it is. I do this all the time when I am looking for a high-protein dish to curb my hunger.
My husband loves to eat this with crackers. Wheat thins and ritz are his favorite.
If you are keeping it healthy, how about using this salad for a lettuce wrap. Use leaf lettuce or bib, add some of the chicken salad to it and enjoy. Simple!
Or toast a slice of great bread and serve the chicken salad on this.
Trust me, there are so many ideas to use this salad.
Yes! Leftover rotisserie chicken is great to use in this recipe. It really simplifies the process.
You sure can. Add in the chicken with garlic, salt, and pepper and cover with water. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6.
Yes. There are a lot of types of mayonnaise out there, use what you prefer eating.
Other Chicken Recipes
- Grilled Chicken Tacos
- Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
- Chicken Thighs Smothered in Fig Balsamic
- Chicken Shwarma
- Teriyaki Chicken Burgers
- Southwest chicken Burger
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad Recipe
- pressure cooker
- cutting board
- 1 ½-2 pounds chicken breast
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup mayo you can leave this out and sub in Greek yogurt if you prefer.
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make sure and read the instructions all the way through before beginning.
- I like to cook my chicken in a pressure cooker, it is just so simple and really speeds up the process.
- Add the chicken to your Instant Pot with water, minced garlic, and salt. Seal the lid, set the pressure to high for 20 minutes.
- If you don't have a pressure cooker, simply cover the chicken in water in a saucepan with salt and garlic. Boil until it is tender.
- Quick-release the pressure cooker and remove the chicken to cool slightly.
- Cut the chicken into chunks. Then once it is cooled all the way, begin mixing.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Taste for salt and pepper and add more as needed.
- That is it! This simple chicken salad is done.
I love a good chicken salad and this one is a winner! All the texture and it not being too heavy with dressing - love!! Thanks for such a great recipe!
I feel the same way!! Thanks, Lori!