This is a basic chicken salad recipe with a few extras that add a nice zing. Dried cranberries provide just the right amount of sweetness. Toasted pecans, which I always love paired with cranberries, add the perfect crunch.
This is a very adaptable recipe. I usually have shredded chicken in the freezer, so I often use that. But leftover roast chicken makes a really great salad. And you can’t beat the price and ease of pre-cooked roasted chickens these days!
You can use halved grapes instead of cranberries, but if you haven’t tried chicken salad with cranberries, it really is amazing. I have also made this with walnuts or slivered almonds. Be sure to toast the nuts first. This keeps the nuts from being bitter and helps them retain their crunch when mixed with the dressing.
Crumbled bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the recipe below, but around here it is mandatory. My family always wants crumbled bacon sprinkled on the top of their sandwiches, but “Did you make bacon?” is a pretty standard question around here, regardless of what the meal is.
Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (about 2 lb)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or use 1 cup halved grapes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or use walnuts or slivered almonds), toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried dill (or tarragon)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional
In a large bowl, mix cooked chicken, celery, green onions, cranberries or grapes, and toasted nuts.
In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken until salad is desired consistency. There may be a little extra, depending on how moist you like your chicken salad.
Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired. Do not mix the cooked bacon into the salad. It becomes too soft and mushy. Sprinkle over individual sandwiches just before serving.