This walnut cranberry chicken salad, with tender chicken breast, crunchy walnuts and tangy cranberries is great on its own or in a sandwich. Perfect for picnics and brown bag lunches!
*This is an updated version of a post I originally published over two years ago, in the early days of the blog. Since it’s a family favorite and it deserved better, I’ve made some improvements to the post, photos, and recipe.
It's almost picnic season here, and I can't wait to pack up some food and enjoy a leisurely lunch in the grass, soaking in some sun with a good book!
But you don't have to wait for the sun to make chicken salad. This is a recipe I make often, especially for workday lunches. If I'm making chicken breasts for dinner, I'll sometimes cook up a couple of extra breasts to chop up for this salad.
*This post probably contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
It only takes a few minutes to toss some chicken with a simple dressing and a few add-ins. You can customize with whatever you have on hand. Sub the cranberries for raisins, or chopped fresh apples or grapes. Use almonds instead of walnuts. Just go for it!
How to Make Walnut Cranberry Chicken Salad
- Cook up a couple of chicken breasts. You have many options here. You can pan-fry them, grill them, bake them, or poach them. You can use store-bought rotisserie chicken if you like! I usually pan-fry them. Pound the breasts to an even thickness, season with salt and pepper and cook in a skillet over medium heat for around 6-8 minutes per side until no longer pink in the center.
- Whisk together a quick dressing of mayo, white wine vinegar, shallots, and chopped herbs (optional), salt and pepper.
3. Place the chopped chicken with the dressing, some chopped celery and walnuts for crunch, and dried cranberries in a large bowl.
4. Toss the salad together and season with additional salt, pepper, and herbs if desired.
Serve on a bed of lettuce, or in a bun or croissant.
Sound good to you? If you make this walnut cranberry chicken salad, I would be thrilled and honored if you would take a pic and tag me on Instagram @ourhappymess!
Or pin for later! ↓↓↓
More Easy Salads that are Perfect for Picnics and Work Lunches!
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- 4 cups (about 1 ¾ lb) chopped, cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup (100 grams) chopped walnuts
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsely, tarragon, basil or whatever you like
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Add chicken, walnuts, celery, and cranberries and toss until well coated.