Cranberry Chicken Salad was one of the first recipes I shared on the blog, and it’s still a favorite. This chicken salad recipe with cranberries and pistachios is perfect for baby and wedding showers, picnics, and easy lunches!
The Search for the BEST Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is one of those foods that can be incredibly delicious or just plain icky. Over the past few years I’ve had my share of both.
I’ve drooled over many delectable looking chicken salad sandwiches on the menu, only to receive a pile of chicken and mayo goo between two slices of stale bread.
On the other hand, I’ve also tried a few chicken salads I really enjoyed, and even recreated some of my favorites at home–like this Parmesan Basil Chicken Salad and Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans.
Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe FTW
I thought I had pretty much played the field when it came to chicken salad, but on a recent brunch visit to Mimi’s Cafe, I was intrigued by a new combination they had on the menu– Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pistachios.
I’ll be honest, I mainly ordered it because it was served on a croissant. I mean, geesh, I would eat shoe leather if it was sandwiched in a fluffy, buttery croissant. But that’s beside the point.
The point is this chicken salad was AWESOME. Within days after consuming that masterpiece of a sandwich, I was craving it again. I knew I had to try to recreate it at home.
With a little tweaking I managed to get the recipe pretty darn close. Mr. NeighborFood., who usually scoffs at anything that mixes “pointless” fruit with meat, said it was the best chicken salad recipe he’d ever tried.
That’s what I call a WIN, and now I’m thrilled to share the recipe with you!
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Salad with Cranberries
Like most chicken salads, this Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe is easy to make and uses common ingredients. Basically, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and you’re done!
That said, I do have a couple tips for taking chicken salad to the next level.
- Always start with good quality chicken. This is not the time for chicken in a can. I like to use leftover chicken from another recipe (like this Italian Dressing Chicken) or from a store bought rotisserie chicken. You can also use this method for quick pan fried chicken breast.
- Splurge on good bread. You definitely CAN judge a chicken salad by its day-old Wonder Bread cover. So do it up right and grab a hearty, seedy wheat bread, chewy ciabatta rolls, make ahead butterhorn rolls, or flaky croissants.
- Don’t skip the sour cream or the lemon juice! These are the secret ingredients that really put this Cranberry Chicken Salad over the top. They add a hint of tang and brightness that makes this chicken salad taste so fresh! If you’d like, sub the sour cream for plain Greek yogurt, but don’t skip this ingredient.
- Add nuts! I absolutely ADORE adding buttery pistachios–they’re such a nice, crunchy compliment to the creamy chicken salad. That said, a Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad or Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad would also be lovely.
How Long Does Homemade Cranberry Chicken Salad last?
This recipe keeps well in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Be sure to give it a good stir before serving. I also recommend omitting the pistachios and adding them right before serving so they retain their crunch.
What to Serve with Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pistachios
- 4 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- Ciabatta, croissants, or other rolls for serving
- Lettuce and tomato for serving
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayo and sour cream. Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Add chunks of chicken to mayo mixture and stir until combined. If needed add a bit more mayo to cover. Stir in cranberries and pistachios. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to serve, slice rolls in half. Pile high with lettuce, chicken salad, and tomato, if desired. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4.5gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 12.7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4.3gProtein: 34g