This Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans recipe is so creamy and filled with cranberries, celery, toasted pecans, orange zest, and poppy seeds. Serve it on croissants, rolls, as a wrap, or a bed of lettuce.

This Chicken Salad serves eight and costs $13.70 to make. That is just $1.72 per serving, including the croissant! This recipe is excellent for everyday lunches and dressy enough to serve on holiday luncheon or potluck tables! 
Finished Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe with text overlay for Pinterest.

MORE CHICKEN RECIPES:


Cranberry Chicken Salad

Do you need a healthy recipe that you can keep in the fridge and pull out for lunches or a delicious snack? Me too!
 
I find that if I do not keep a few healthy options in my fridge, then I am heading straight to the pantry for some chips, chocolate, or some other unhealthy thing calling my name.
 
BUT if I can have this Cranberry Chicken Salad in a Tupperware waiting for me to make a quick sandwich, I am golden.
 
This Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans is my go-to Christmas potluck, luncheon, or party recipe. Everyone always loves it, and you can make it ahead of time!
 
This recipe is also a smart way to use up your leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Just use turkey in this recipe instead of chicken!

Can Chicken Salad be frozen for later use?

Absolutely! You can place it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.  

How long will homemade chicken salad last in the fridge?

You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. 

Do you have to cook canned chicken?

Although canned chicken is already cooked, I like to heat it and season it with salt and pepper. I find this adds more flavor to the chicken.

So technically no, you do not have to cook canned chicken, because it’s already cooked. 

Two cranberry chicken salad sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

How to make Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans for Sandwiches:

STEPS ONE AND TWO: First, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Drain the chicken and cook in skillet until all the pink is gone. Place cooked chicken in large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Cooked chicken added to a skillet and bowl.

STEPS THREE AND FOUR: Next, in a small bowl mix cream, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, poppy seeds, and orange zest until combined. Then pour mixture over chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Next, add chopped celery and mix. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Chicken added to the cream mixture and mixed until combined.

STEPS FIVE AND SIX: Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pan. Then add nuts and cook until toasted. Stir in toasted nuts and dried cranberries just before serving.

Toasted pecans and cranberries added to the chicken mixture.

STEP SEVEN: Cut croissants in half and serve the salad on the croissants. 

chicken salad served on a split croissant with some lettuce.

Cook’s Note:

  • Although the canned chicken is already cooked, I like to heat it and season it with salt and pepper. I find this adds more flavor to the chicken.
  • Instead of canned chicken, you can use 2-3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken. If you use rotisserie chicken, skip step 1, and go directly to step 2.
  • This cranberry chicken salad recipe doubles beautifully. Depending on your pan size, you may need to heat the chicken in batches.
  • You can make this recipe up to 2 days in advance. Just make sure you add the pecans and dried cranberries right before serving.
  • If you serve this on large croissants, then you can get about 6-8 sandwiches out of this recipe. If you serve it on small croissants, then you can get 10-12 sandwiches out of this recipe.

Chicken salad is an easy comfort food classic that you can quite literally serve year-round. Your friends and family will love this Cranberry Chicken Salad Recipe when you bring it to the next get together.

You’ll love having it in your fridge to have for lunches throughout the week. Cranberry Chicken Salad is also a great option for some beginning of the week meal prep! Add it to your menu plan this week! 

Cook’s Tools:

  • large skillet
  • mixing bowls
  • small pan
Cranberry Chicken Salad on a croissant.

More Holiday Lunch-in Recipes:

Here are a few recipes that are perfect for a ladies’ lunch or Christmas Cookies exchange. I love serving these chicken salad sandwiches with my Christmas Cranberry Salad. It’s a delicious fluff salad that is the perfect Christmas color and topped with pomegranate seeds.

Another great option is to serve my Kinderpunsch (a non-alcoholic warm punch). Then for dessert, you can’t go wrong with this gorgeous Gingerbread Cake

How much will this Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad recipe cost to make?

RECIPE COST: $13.70

PER SERVING COST: $1.72

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. 

  • 2 -12.5 oz canned and cooked chicken – $4.98
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil – $0.10
  • ½ cup heavy cream – $0.48
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise – $1.07
  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt – $0.37
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds – $0.24
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest – $0.62
  • 1 cup celery chopped – $0.36
  • 1 Tablespoon butter – $0.10
  • ½ cup chopped pecans – $1.42
  • 1 cup dried cranberries – $1.32
  • 8 croissants – $2.64
A spoonful of chicken salad with 2 sandwiches in the background.

What readers are saying about this recipe:

Peggy Brooker:

We loved this Jill! Next time I will get the large croissants so I can eat 2 large instead of 2 small ones!

Milly:

Chicken salad is one of my favorites. Chicken salad with cranberries is decadent, but chicken salad with cranberries and pecans is just overly scrumptious. We grow pecans so I am a little bias but this chicken salad is to die for. Way to go! Love it.

More Salad Recipes: 

  1. Southwest Pasta Salad
  2. Italian Pasta Salad
  3. Food Truck Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
  4. Christmas Cranberry Fluff Salad
  5. Easy Pasta Salad
  6. Egg Salad
  7. Creamy Homemade Coleslaw
  8. Black Bean and Corn Salad
  9. Poppy Seed Pasta Salad
  10. Mexican Corn Salad
a heap of chicken salad on large leaves of lettuce.
4.91 from 11 votes

Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans

Author Jillian – a Food, Folks and Fun original!
Recipe Cost $ 13.70
Serving Cost $ 1.72
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 8 minutes
8 people
This Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans recipe is so creamy and filled with cranberries, celery, toasted pecans, orange zest, and poppy seeds. Serve it on croissants, rolls, as a wrap, or on a bed of lettuce.

Equipment

  • large skillet
  • mixing bowls
  • small pan

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions

  • Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with olive oil. Drain chicken and cook in skillet until all the pink is gone (you may have to do this in batches depending on how big your skillet is). Place cooked chicken in large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl mix together cream, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, poppy seeds, and orange zest until combined. Pour mixture over chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add chopped celery and mix until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • In a small pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add nuts and cook until toasted, about 2-3 minutes (they should be a little more than lightly browned and you’ll begin to smell them).
  • Stir in toasted nuts and dried cranberries just before serving. Serve with split croissants.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 745IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1.5mg

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This recipe first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on December 8, 2011. I have since updated the photos, and one of the originals is below.

The photos you see above have recently been updated. Below is the original picture of this chicken salad recipe.

Note: the picture below shows a double batch of this Cranberry Chicken Salad recipe, which is enough to fit into a trifle dish!

 
 
This Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pecans recipe is all dressed up and ready for the holidays. Serve it on croissants, rolls, or as a wrap.
4.91 from 11 votes

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64 Comments

  1. Rosanne Robinson says:

    This tasty looking recipe will definitely be a big hit with the family, thx so much!

  2. Susan Broughton says:

    This recipe looks and sounds delicious! I am going to definitely give it a try!

  3. Cassandra D says:

    I would make this for sandwiches before I go to the beach.

  4. Delicious! Toasting the nuts in butter is the best idea: it adds a wonderful flavor.
    Thank you

  5. So the canned chicken isn’t cooked?

    1. Food Folks and Fun says:

      Canned chicken is already cooked, I like to heat it and season it with salt and pepper. I find this adds more flavor to the chicken.

      So technically no, you do not have to cook canned chicken, because it’s already cooked.