This is the best Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe! It is loaded with sweet dried cranberries, juicy, tart apples, crunchy celery, sliced almonds and savory shredded chicken in a creamy mayo dressing. And while the ingredients definitely have a festive winter vibe, this chicken salad is scrumptious year round!
I’ve been making this easy Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe on repeat for about 2 months now! It makes the perfect light supper or lunch, and we just can’t get enough of the combination of tartly sweet dried cranberries, crunchy celery and apples and savory chicken!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s perfect for making a day ahead! Cranberry Chicken Salad gets better as it sits in the fridge. Those dried cranberries rehydrate a little and the sweet/savory flavors really starts to sing.
- It uses simple ingredients we all have.
- It makes enough for more than one meal.
- It makes the prettiest little sandwiches for parties, showers and brunches. Or serve it with crackers and melba toast as a party appetizer.
Cranberry Chicken Salad Ingredients
I’ll walk through an overview of ingredients & steps in these next sections along with helpful tips!
Look for specifics at the end of the post in the recipe card.
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken)
- red apple (Honeycrisp)
- green apple (Granny Smith)
- dried cranberries
- sliced almonds
- real mayonnaise
- brown mustard (or dijon mustard)
- salt & cracked black pepper
Recipe Additions/ Substitutions: Instead of almonds, try chopped pecans, walnuts or even pine nuts. Toasting those nuts makes them even better! Of course, you can omit nuts from your Cranberry Chicken Salad altogether if that suits your family better.
For a flavor boost, add 3-4 green onion tops. This is my FAVORITE addition!
Instead of finishing your salad with an extra sprinkle of cracked black pepper, poppy seeds and celery seed make tasty substitutions.
For the dressing, substitute half the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt or sour cream. And as always, make sure you’re using real mayo and not a salad dressing substitute.
Got leftover turkey? Use turkey instead of shredded chicken.
How To Make The Best Cranberry Chicken Salad
Check out the VIDEO in the recipe card to cook along with me!
Shred the chicken. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add chicken breasts and cook until done. Remove from water to chop and shred.
Dice the apples & celery. Dice the apples and celery into similarly sized pieces.
Mix it together. Add chicken, apples, celery, dried cranberries and almonds to a large bowl and stir together.
Dress & Serve! Add mayo and mustard and mix well. Mix in additional mayonnaise 1 tablespoon at a time if extra creaminess is desired. Salt & pepper to taste and serve!
How to Serve This Easy Cranberry Chicken Salad
- I love to serve this recipe as a cranberry chicken salad sandwich by stuffing it into mini buttery croissants. They’re just the right size for a perfect lunch and, with a leaf of Butter or Romaine lettuce, make an ideal party sandwich for a shower or brunch! This chicken salad is also pretty yummy between a couple slices of sourdough.
- Use Butter or Boston Bibb lettuce to make yummy lettuce wraps, or simply serve a scoop on a bed of lettuce for a pretty salad.
- And, of course, there’s nothing better piling a little cranberry chicken salad on top of your favorite crackers as a quick snack.
Keep It Refrigerated
Cranberry Chicken Salad should be kept in an airtight container and stored in your refrigerator. Depending on how fresh your ingredients are, this salad can last up to 4 days if stored properly.
Making it Ahead of Time
Because the dried cranberries have time to rehydrate by soaking in a bit of the dressing while sitting in the fridge, Cranberry Chicken Salad is actually better when made the day before it’s served!
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken), shredded
- 1 medium honeycrisp apple, diced
- 1 medium granny smith apple, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 ¼ cups real mayonaise
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard (or dijon mustard)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add chicken breasts and cook until done. Remove from water to chop and shred.
- When apples and celery have been diced, add chicken, apples, celery, dried cranberries and almonds to a large bowl and toss together.
- Add mayo and mustard and mix well. Mix in additional mayo 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved if extra creaminess is desired. Salt & pepper to taste and serve!