Apple cranberry chicken salad is full of crunchy apples and sweet tart dried cranberries. It makes a great lunch, perfect on a sandwich or on lettuce for a lower carb option.
This is the chicken salad for people who like tons of flavor and texture. It has plenty of crunch from celery and apples, pecan and almonds, and flavor from the scallions (green onions), parsley and dill.
The chicken is cooked in a slow cooker, so you can get on with your day.
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Apple Cranberry Chicken Salad
I have been making this version of my chicken salad recipe for almost two decades. A chicken salad sandwich is one of my favorite lunches and a batch will keep in the fridge all week, making lunchtime a breeze.
I use chicken thighs for my chicken salad, because that’s what I prefer. I find they have more flavor than boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
How to make chicken salad
I prefer to use shredded chicken for my chicken salad instead of diced chicken. I like the way thigh meat shreds, so that’s another win for dark meat. You can absolutely shred chicken breasts, if that is your preference.
First, place the chicken in the slow cooker and cook until it’s done. The timing will depend on your slow cooker and whether you use the high or low setting. If I have the time, I cook mine on low.
Once the chicken is done, set it aside to cool enough to handle.
Kitchen tip: meat shreds easier when it’s warm
Then shred the meat with clean hands or with forks and set aside to cool completely. Cut up the apple and celery, herbs and anything else you want to add to your chicken salad.
Make the dressing and combine everything in a large bowl. Stir and fold until it is well combined.
That’s the great thing about cooking, you can do whatever you want to (within reason). Like most of the recipes on this blog, this apple cranberry chicken salad recipe is totally customizable to your personal preferences.
Cranberry chicken salad wraps
If you like the Whataburger apple and cranberry chicken salad, you ‘ll like these wraps.
I make a fairly big batch of this recipe for chicken salad with apples and then use it for the week ahead. It’s great to have it made already when you need a quick bite. This is a staple in our house and I’m sure once you make it, you’ll be hooked too.
More sandwich ideas
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- 3 cups chicken, cooked, cooled and shredded
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 3 scallions (green onions), diced
- 1 small apple, diced
- 1/3 cup cranberries, dried, sweetened (craisins)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1 bunch parsley, washed, dried and chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise, I use Hellman's
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh (optional)
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Sprinkle 2 - 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs with the granulated garlic and onion, 1 teaspoon salt and half teaspoon of pepper.
- Cook on low in a slow cooker for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours. (I usually do them on low.)
- Remove chicken from crock pot, cool slightly and shred. Set aside.
- Mix mayo and sour cream together. Add lemon juice, if using.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more mayo, if needed.
- Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
I make extra chicken in the crock pot for other uses. I figure if I'm making chicken anyway, I'm going to cook a little more than I need. If you find you have more chicken than you need, freeze the rest for another batch of chicken salad when you don't have time to make the chicken.
If you are really in a pinch, buy a rotisserie chicken. We've all been there.
Sometimes, I add a spoonful of whole grain or Dijon mustard to this chicken salad. It adds a nice tangy bite.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 323mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 3/19/18, most recent update 4/21/21.