Chicken Salad with Apples and Pecans is a delicious twist on traditional chicken salad. Apples lend their bright, crisp flavor, while pecans bring a little crunch to the creamy sauce. Apple Chicken Salad is the perfect way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken or Thanksgiving turkey!
It’s turkey sandwiches stacked high on homemade rolls with a fat slice of Swiss and a smear of Miracle Whip (<<don’t judge me!). It’s stuffing fried in butter on the stove top and finished with a warm, dippy egg. It’s mashed potato cakes with a dollop of sour cream, and cranberry sauce on a Waffled Turkey Sandwich.
In the barrage of Thanksgiving leftovers, I often forget about one of the best and easiest ways to transform poultry into a completely different dish– chicken (or turkey!) salad.
Whether you’ve got leftover rotisserie chicken waiting to be used or a fridge packed full of Thanksgiving turkey, this Chicken Salad with Apples is my favorite way to transform boring leftovers into something we’re excited about eating again.
Tips for Making Apple Chicken Salad
- I don’t know about you, but I like my chicken (or turkey) salad to be more meat and less sauce. If the mayo gets out of hand, I get weird and politely excuse myself from the table. This recipe uses just enough mayo to hold everything together.
- I also prefer that my chicken salad have lots of add-ins, flavor, and crunch. I feel this way about almost everything. Why get one frozen yogurt topping when I could get nine? In some things, less isn’t more, and I believe chicken salad is one of those things.
- Use great bread! Apple Chicken Salad needs a dang delicious vehicle. I love using these make ahead butterhorns, but simple Amish white bread, croissants, or a hearty multigrain sandwich bread are also great options.
How to Make Chicken Salad with Apples
First, let’s talk ingredients. You will need:
- Cooked chicken or turkey, obviously.
- A combination of mayo, sour cream or Greek yogurt, and apple cider vinegar for the sauce
- Apples– I prefer a tart, crisp apple like Pink Lady, Empire, or Cortland
- Dried Cranberries
- Salt and Pepper
This combo has lots of harvesty vibes and strikes the perfect balance of creaminess, crunch, sweetness, and a little bit of tang.
To make apple chicken salad, chop the chicken into bite size pieces and dice the apples, celery, and pecans. Mix together the sauce ingredients and season to taste with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar if desired. Toss everything together and refrigerate until ready to serve!
Can Chicken Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?
Chicken Salad with Apples is an excellent make ahead dish, perfect for toting along to picnics or family gatherings. Keep the chicken salad refrigerated until you’re ready to serve. I recommend choosing a very crisp apple, and serving the salad within 48 hours of preparing it.
I hope you enjoy this fall-inspired take on chicken salad, and don’t forget– turkey makes a great “chicken” salad too! Want more chicken salad recipes? Try my Parmesan Basil Chicken Salad and Cranberry and Pistachio Chicken Salad.
- 3 cups leftover chicken or turkey (I used a mix of white and dark), chopped
- 1 tart apple, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Pinch salt
- Pinch sugar
- Pinch black pepper
- Bread or rolls for serving
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 563 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 24g Cholesterol: 124mg Sodium: 396mg Carbohydrates: 32g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 19g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 29g