Pecan Cranberry Chicken Salad

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This pecan cranberry chicken salad recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Loaded with rich spices, crunchy vegetables, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and a delicious homemade dressing, so many flavors and textures combine to make an out-of-this-world salad perfect to serve for a special occasion lunch or brunch!

front view of Cranberry Chicken Salad inside a croissant on a plate


This cranberry chicken salad has been a go-to recipe for me for over a decade.

When I worked outside of the home, I would often make it on Sunday to pack for my lunches for the week.

When I need to make a special recipe for a lunch or brunch gathering, this pecan cranberry chicken salad is always my first choice.

This recipe is a combination of so many flavors and textures that blend together perfectly for the most delicious chicken salad ever.

Tender chicken, crunchy veggies, tart but sweet dried cranberries and nutty pecans are tossed in a richly spiced homemade dressing. We love to serve it in croissants, wraps or over a bed of lettuce.

Pecan Cranberry Chicken Salad in a bowl with crackers

Cranberry Chicken Salad: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the ingredients in this Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe
  • Cooked Chicken.  I often used leftover rotisserie chicken to make this recipe. However, I provide directions on how to cook shredded chicken in the recipe card in case you want to make this and don’t have access to a rotisserie chicken.
  • Mayonnaise. I suggest using a high-quality mayonnaise for the best flavor (such as Sir Kensington’s or Chosen Foods). 
  • Turmeric/paprika. these spices give the salad it’s orange hue. I don’t recommend substitutions here!
  • Celery. Be sure to finely dice the celery for the best overall texture. 
  • Green Onion. Red, yellow, sweet, etc. onions all taste great, but green are my favorite.
  • Green pepper.  The bell pepper is optional, but recommended. You can also use red, yellow or orange bell peppers in place of green if desired. 
  • Dried cranberries. I suggest using an organic variety.
  • Pecans. you can use walnuts if you prefer.
a bowl of Pecan Cranberry Chicken Salad

How to make Cranberry Chicken Salad

If you already have cooked chicken, this recipe only takes 15 minutes to make (chopping the veggies is the most time-consuming part)! Don’t forget to watch the video for helpful instructions as well.

Begin this recipe by making the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder, pepper and turmeric.

two photos showing how to make the dressing for this Pecan Cranberry Chicken Salad

Then, in a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, celery, green onions, and green pepper and stir to combine.

two photos showing how to make Cranberry Chicken Salad

Then add the mayonnaise mixture and stir until evenly distributed.

two photos showing how to make Cranberry Chicken Salad

Next, stir in the cranberries and pecans.

Chill

Once the salad is ready, cover it and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until chilled all the way through. This is important so the flavor blend together.

two photos showing how to make Cranberry Chicken Salad

Serve

Serve this cranberry chicken salad recipe chilled as sandwiches (using croissants), over a bed of greens, or with crackers for dipping. It is the perfect dish to bring to a picnic. I suggest serving it with the following recipes: 

Cranberry Chicken Salad sandwich on a croissant on a plate

Store

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. 

If you love chicken salad, try this classic chicken salad and avocado chicken salad!

a spoon taking a scoop of Cranberry Chicken Salad out of a bowl

Recipe FAQs

What can I eat with cranberry chicken salad instead of bread?

You can serve it with crackers or chips (as a dip), in lettuce wraps, tortillas, over a salad etc.

What can I add to chicken salad?

This recipe is highly customizable. You can add your favorite veggies, spices, nuts, etc. and it will still taste amazing.

How long does pecan chicken salad last?

Up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze chicken salad?

I don’t suggest freezing this recipe. It’s best when served fresh and stored in the refrigerator.

a bowl of Cranberry Chicken Salad

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Pecan Cranberry Chicken Salad

Laura
This pecan cranberry chicken salad recipe is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Loaded with rich spices, crunchy vegetables, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and a delicious homemade dressing, so many flavors and textures combine to make an out-of-this-world salad perfect to serve for a special occasion lunch or brunch!
5 from 1 vote
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 209
Prep Time15 minutes
Chilling2 hours
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder, pepper and turmeric. Stir to combine.
  • In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, celery, green onions, and green pepper and stir to combine.
  • Add the mayonnaise mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Add the cranberries and pecans and stir to combine.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until chilled all the way through.
  • Serve chilled as sandwiches (using croissants), over a bed of greens, etc.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Cooked Chicken.  I often used leftover rotisserie chicken to make this recipe. However, I provide directions on how to cook shredded chicken in the recipe card in case you want to make this and don’t have access to a rotisserie chicken.
  • Mayonnaise. I suggest using a high-quality mayonnaise for the best flavor (such as Sir Kensington’s or Chosen Foods). 
  • Turmeric/paprika. these spices give the salad it’s orange hue. I don’t recommend substitutions here!
  • Celery. Be sure to finely dice the celery for the best overall texture. 
  • Green Onion. Red, yellow, sweet, etc. onions all taste great, but green are my favorite.
  • Green pepper.  The bell pepper is optional, but recommended. You can also use red, yellow or orange bell peppers in place of green if desired. 
  • Dried cranberries. I suggest using an organic variety.
  • Pecans. you can use walnuts if you prefer.
How to cook chicken breasts:
  1. Add 2 lbs of raw, boneless skinless chicken breasts to a medium pot and cover them with water. Add a dash of salt and pepper and cover the pot with a lid.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil. Boil until the chicken is easily shredded (about 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken). Remove from water and shred with two forks. Transfer to an airtight container and chill completely in the refrigerator before using in the recipe.
Store
Store this recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 133IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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