This easy cranberry pecan chicken salad recipe is a quick recipe made with rotisserie chicken, crunchy pecans, and simple ingredients.
Use chicken breast, rotisserie chicken, or even leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make this easy recipe. This is my favorite way to enjoy leftover chicken.
Enjoy the fall flavors with crunchy pecans and the tart sweetness of dried cranberries. Serve with crackers at your next festive celebration or in a croissant sandwich or lettuce wrap for a quick dinner or easy lunch.
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- Great flavor: This chicken salad recipe has amazing flavors and textures. It's smooth, creamy, zesty, and a little sweet.
- Quick and easy: Only 10 minutes of prep time thanks to the rotisserie chicken (the easy way!). Plus, this is a perfect make-ahead dish.
- Seasonal favorite: This is a great recipe for fall and winter.
- mayonnaise - to make a creamy dressing
- white wine vinegar - to add a slightly acidic tang
- dijon mustard - to add a tart and tangy flavor
- honey - for sweetness
- kosher salt - for flavor
- ground black pepper - for flavor
- rotisserie chicken - shredded with skin and bones removed
- dried cranberries - for a sweet and tart berry flavor
- pecans - roasted
- celery - for crunch
- green onion - or scallions, for a mild onion flavor
- parsley - optional, to garnish
See the recipe card for quantities.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Add in the shredded chicken, cranberries, pecans, celery, and green onion.
Stir until well combined, and all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Garnish with optional fresh parsley and serve.
Hint: Allowing the chicken salad to chill in the fridge before serving is ideal because it allows the flavors to come together for a greater depth of flavor.
Ways to Serve
Try one of these creative ways to serve cranberry pecan chicken salad:
- Crackers - Serve with a cheese spreader at your next gathering.
- Croissant sandwich - Slice open a fresh croissant or serve in mini croissants
- Lettuce wrap - This is a great low-carb option
- Deviled eggs - For a fun party appetizer, this is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken salad
- Tortilla wrap - Perfect for a quick lunch or roll into pinwheels
- On its own - It can't get any simpler than that.
- Mayo - Use your favorite mayo (like Duke's Real Mayonnaise) or full-fat plain yogurt or sour cream. If using Greek yogurt, you may want to add more honey to add a little sweetness.
- White wine vinegar - White wine vinegar has a lighter, more delicate flavor compared to other vinegar products. Apple cider vinegar can be used instead. For even more tang, add a tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Dijon mustard - Use dijon mustard (such as Grey Poupon) or stone ground mustard for best results. Yellow mustard can be used in a pinch.
- Honey - Substitutes include maple syrup and agave syrup.
- Rotisserie chicken - Substitutes include leftover chicken breast or thighs. Any pre-cooked chicken will do.
- Roasted pecans - The best substitute for chopped pecans is chopped walnuts. A cranberry walnut chicken salad will taste almost identical.
- Celery - Crunchy celery can be replaced with apples, or you can make chicken salad without celery.
- Green onions - These may be labeled in the grocery store as scallions. Green onion can be swapped with red onion if desired. Learn how to make onions sweeter.
This is the best chicken salad recipe. Once you've mastered this cranberry pecan chicken salad, you can make all sorts of variations.
- Mix up the fruit - Instead of cranberries, you can try using dried cherries, raisins, pomegranate seeds, or quartered fresh grapes. You could also adding fresh apples like a granny smith apple, honeycrisp apple, or another sweet apple variety.
- Add a little spice - If you enjoy spicy foods, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the salad or a teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce.
- Swap the protein - Need a new way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers? Try chopped turkey instead of shredded chicken.
This dish is great for meal prepping. You can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.
Serve cold, heating isn’t recommended. Freezing is not recommended.
- Mix the dressing ingredients first. This helps the dressing evenly coat the ingredients and prevents any over-mixing of the salad.
- Don't over-mix. Too much mixing can cause the shredded chicken to break down and become mushy.
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 pound rotisserie chicken shredded with skin and bones removed
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup chopped roasted pecans
- ½ cup chopped celery about 2-3 stalks
- ½ cup chopped green onion about 2-3 stalks
- fresh chopped parsley optional, to garnish
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Add in the shredded chicken, cranberries, pecans, celery, and green onion. Stir until well combined, and all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
- Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve.
Frequently asked questions
Never leave food out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, food should not be left out for more than 1 hour.
According to the FDA, store-prepared chicken from the deli can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Homemade cooked chicken leftovers can be refrigerated for 3-4 days.
Important notes if serving this dish at a party or outdoors in the heat, sourced from USDA:
- Leaving food out too long at room temperature can cause bacteria to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness.
- Never leave food out of refrigeration for over 2 hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, food should not be left out for more than 1 hour.