Chicken Salad With Apples and Cranberries

Chicken salad with apples and cranberries

The Spruce 

  • Total: 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
495 Calories
36g Fat
8g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 495
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 46%
Saturated Fat 7g 37%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 381mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Protein 35g
Calcium 62mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This tasty chicken salad is filled with flavor. The crunchy apples, cranberries, and nuts make it extra-special. This is an excellent way to use leftover chicken—or make the salad with leftover turkey. A fully cooked rotisserie chicken or convenient fully cooked chicken breast strips may be used as well. Below the recipe, you'll find basic instructions for cooking chicken breasts on the stovetop.

Diced apples, dried cranberries, celery, and a dash of curry powder add flavor to this chicken salad. The chopped pecans and walnuts in the salad add some extra flavor and interesting texture, but you can leave them out if you'd like. 

Serve this well-seasoned chicken salad in sliced ciabatta bread or similar bread as a sandwich, or serve in lettuce leaves for a lighter luncheon. The salad can be served in tortillas or wraps as well. Light mayonnaise may be used in this salad.

This Southern chicken salad made with the addition of chopped dill pickle is another excellent choice. For a party or special occasion, try these wonderful chicken and Havarti cheese puffs


  • 3 cups chicken (cooked, diced)
  • Olive oil (as needed, for cooking)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped, or slivered almonds or pecans, toasted)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup celery (diced)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup apple (diced)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons mayonnaise (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Optional: good-quality bread or sandwich buns (sliced)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this chicken salad is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for cooking and assembly.

Cook the Chicken

  1. Pound 3 or 4 chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness.

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  2. Place a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts to the hot skillet and cook them for about 6 minutes, or until browned.

    Put chicken in skillet
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  3. Flip and continue cooking for about 5 minutes longer, or until thoroughly cooked. Avoid overcooking. The minimum safe temperature for chicken (USDA) is 165 F.

Toast the Nuts

  1. Put 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or pecans in a dry skillet.

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  2. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking the skillet and stirring and turning the nuts constantly, until they are lightly browned and aromatic. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes.

    Place skillet over medium heat
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  3. Pour the toasted nuts out onto a plate immediately to stop the cooking process.

Make the Chicken Salad

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken salad
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  2. In a bowl, combine the diced, cooked chicken, cranberries, celery, onion, apple, and walnuts, if using.

    Cut up chicken
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  3. In a cup or small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise. the lemon juice, curry powder, if using, salt, and pepper.

    Add lemon to mayo
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  4. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken, adding more mayonnaise as needed for moisture and for flavor.

    Stir mayo mixture into the chicken
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  5. Line the bread or sandwich buns with lettuce leaves and spread the chicken salad on the lettuce. Or serve the chicken salad on lettuce-lined plates with slices of avocado or tomatoes.

    Chicken salad sandwich
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  6. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of curry powder, consider adding a dash of Creole or Cajun seasoning to taste.
  • Seedless red grapes, halved, may be used in place of the dried cranberries, or replace the dried cranberries with raisins or goji berries.

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