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Fancy Chicken Salad Recipe

We call this Fancy Chicken Salad because of the dressing, grapes, and pecans, but it’s truly easy. This is a fresher and lightened-up version of classic chicken salad and it’s perfect for meal prep.

This is the perfect side dish or main course. It’s especially easy if you use leftover Roasted Chicken. Watch the video tutorial and see how simple it is.

Chicken salad in mixing bowl garnished with dill

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We love protein-packed salads like our Chicken Avocado Salad, Autumn Chopped Chicken Salad, and Cobb Salad. This creamy chicken salad is really the best combination of chicken salad and Waldorf salad that will become a go-to for lunch. 

Chicken Salad Video Tutorial

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Croissant Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients for Chicken Salad

The 5 ingredients in this chicken salad are so simple, but each one is important for the best taste, texture, and color.

  • Chicken – we use 2 large chicken breasts from a whole roasted chicken, but you can use rotisserie chicken or sauteed chicken breasts instead. Leftover dark meat chicken will also work.
  • Celery – adds a great crunch to the salad and lightens up the flavor. Even if you aren’t a fan of celery, don’t skimp on it and I hope you give it a try.
  • Grapes – add sweet juiciness to the salad. Just like in our Broccoli Grape Salad, the grapes are a refreshing addition and make the salad feel ‘fancy.’
  • Pecans – we toasted nuts on a dry skillet to give them even more flavor.
  • Red onion – finely chop half of a medium red onion, or you can add red onion to taste. You can also substitute for chopped green onion, but red onion keeps better refrigerated.
Ingredients for making chicken salad with roasted chicken, celery, grapes, pecans and onion

The Best Chicken Salad Dressing

This is similar to the dressing we love for our popular Broccoli Salad, except we didn’t add any sugar or honey since the grapes add plenty of sweetness. This dressing is creamy, tangy and adding sour cream makes it lighter than just using mayo.

  • Mayonnaise – use real mayo for the best flavor.
  • Sour cream – we use full-fat sour cream, but you can substitute it with low-fat sour cream or fat-free Greek yogurt.
  • Lemon juice – be sure to use freshly squeezed and not from concentrate.
  • Dill – finely chopped fresh dill is our favorite, but you can substitute with 2 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley.
  • Salt and Pepper – added to taste
Ingredients for the best chicken salad dressing

How to Make Chicken Salad

  1. Toast pecans – place on a dry skillet over medium/low heat and toss frequently until pecans are golden and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board to coarsely chop and set aside to cool then add to a large bowl.
  2. Chop Chicken – dice chicken breast and add it to the mixing bowl. Note: we prefer the texture of chicken when it’s diced instead of shredded.
  3. Halve Grapes – cut grapes in half with a serrated knife and add to the bowl.
  4. Chop celery – trim off ends, cut celery sticks in half lengthwise then thinly slice and add to the bowl.
  5. Onion – finely chop and add half of a red onion.
  6. Make Dressing – combine dressing ingredients and add dressing to the salad.
  7. Toss to combine – stir until salad is evenly coated in dressing, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Making chicken salad in a bowl

How to Serve Chicken Salad

This salad can be served as a side salad or as a main course. We love to serve it for lunch because it’s easy to turn it into a meal.

  • Over Mixed Greens – place your favorite greens such as arugula or mixed salad greens into a large bowl, top with the chicken salad, and serve.
  • Lettuce Cups – serving in lettuce cups is a great low-carb option for lunch.
  • Croissant Sandwiches – Cut the croissant in half without cutting all the way through then fill it with the salad. It tastes like a bakery-quality sandwich.
  • Pita Bread – we love to stuff a pita with chicken salad, it’s so simple and good.

Pro Tip: The best way to reheat a croissant is to toast it in an air fryer at 350˚F for 3 minutes until it’s lightly crisp on the outside and warmed through. This is what we do with store-bought croissants and they taste like they just came out of a bakery oven.

Serving suggestions for chicken salad mix over salad, lettuce cups and crossants

Make-Ahead

To Refrigerate – Store the leftover chicken salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days depending on how fresh the cooked chicken is. The USDA recommends storing cooked chicken for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

More Easy Lunch Ideas

If you love this Chicken Salad, then you won’t want to miss these lunch recipes that keep well in the refrigerator and are perfect for meal planning.

I hope this creamy chicken salad gives you some great lunchtime inspiration. I’m convinced this will become your new favorite creamy dressing – it’s easy and excellent.

Fancy Chicken Salad Recipe

5 from 24 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Chicken salad in bowl

We call this Fancy Chicken Salad but it's truly easy. Its a fresher and lighter version of classic creamy chicken salad and it keeps well so it’s perfect for meal prep.

Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $10-$12
Keyword: Chicken Salad
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Calories: 438 kcal
Servings: 6 people as a side salad

Ingredients

Chicken Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast meat 4 cups diced*
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes halved
  • 1 cup celery, cut in halve lengthwise then sliced (from 2-3 sticks celery)
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped (1/2 medium red onion)
  • 1 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped

Chicken Salad Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp dill finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the pecans on a dry skillet over medium/low heat and toast for 3-5 minutes, tossing frequently until golden and fragrant then transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine diced chicken, halved grapes, sliced celery, chopped onion and cooled pecans.
  3. In a small bowl, add all of the dressing ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Add all of the dressing to the salad, or add it to taste and stir until salad is evenly coated with dressing. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

*You can make a roasted chicken, buy a rotisserie chicken or cook your own chicken breasts. 

Nutrition Facts
Fancy Chicken Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 438 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 13g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 398mg17%
Potassium 453mg13%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 236IU5%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Sandra Ward
    June 15, 2021

    Wow! dinner tonight over shredded lettuce, was a hit! Thank you!

    Changes I made fir our family:
    1/4 c. onion (reduced amt)
    dried dill 1/2 tsp.
    1 cup mayonnaise (no yogurt)
    + 1/4 cup dried cranberries,
    chopped coarse

    salt, pepper, dill & lemon juice to taste

    Again, thank you!! 💐💐

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 15, 2021

      Glad you all enjoyed this recipe for dinnner! Thank you for sharing that with us.

      Reply

  • Barb
    June 15, 2021

    This chicken salad truly is the best I’ve ever made or eaten. I made it the day ahead for lunch company and served it in a large fresh croissant with pickles and potato chips on the side. So delicious!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 15, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Barb!

      Reply

  • Anna
    June 14, 2021

    Hi Natasha!

    I’m obsessed with your blog and recipes! Every single one is a hit! I tried this the other day and it came put wonderful (as usual). We have some vegetarian friends and wondering how I could make this vegetarian and substitute the chicken?

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 14, 2021

      Hi Anna, great to hear that you’ve been enjoying my recipes! I think you can try tofu if you like it, that’s usually the substitute for chicken in other recipes.

      Reply

  • Joan
    June 13, 2021

    For years my favorite salad has been your avocado/cucumber/tomato salad! But, Natasha, you have outdone yourself with your Fancy Chicken Salad! Actually, serving the two together would be a great dinner!
    Thank you!! ❤️❤️❤️
    I made it as recipe is but think adding some fresh pineapple or mango would be good in it.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 13, 2021

      That’s a good suggestion too, Joan. Thank you for sharing and for giving a great review of this recipe!

      Reply

  • Joan
    June 13, 2021

    For years my favorite salad has been your avocado/cucumber/tomato salad! But, Natasha, you have outdone yourself with your Fancy Chicken Salad! Actually, serving the two together would be a great dinner!
    Thank you!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 13, 2021

      Thank you for your awesome feedback, Joan. We appreciate it1

      Reply

  • Shellie Barkman
    June 13, 2021

    I have not made this yet, but plan on it as soon as I can get to the store! In you’re video you asked if there was an easier way to halve the grapes. I have the “Close N Cut” from Pampered Chef that works wonderfully for things like this. You can add a handful of grapes at a time, close the top and cut, does the trick without handling each grape. Highly recommend. Thank you for delicious recipes that are fast and fun to prepare!!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 13, 2021

      That’s a nice suggestion, Shellie. Thank you for sharing that with us and I’m glad you’re enjoying my recipes!

      Reply

  • Katharina
    June 13, 2021

    So refreshing on a warm summer day! I’ve actually never had a salad that included fruit, usually just lots of different vegetables haha, and I loved it. Definitely going to check out your other salad recipes this summer. The lettuce cups were also a cute way to serve them, made it fun. 🙂

    Also one question, can you freeze this salad? I assume not because you only mentioned refrigerating it, so I hope it’s not a stupid question! I don’t know a lot about that stuff haha.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 13, 2021

      Hello Katharina, thank you for your wonderful comments and feedback. I honestly haven’t tried freezing this yet as I’m afraid it might not work great if frozen but if you do give that a try, I recommend doing a small portion first to see how it goes.

      Reply

      • Katharina
        June 19, 2021

        Ahh I see! For now we finished it in two days haha, so we haven’t had the opportunity to try it, but I’ll definitely let you know if we do at one point. Thanks for the information!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          June 19, 2021

          You’re welcome, Katharina!

          Reply

  • Traci
    June 12, 2021

    This was the best chicken salad ever! I used an apple because that’s what I had. I also used it in a pita or plain out if the bowl! Perfect to take to work for lunch. I love your recipes and how easy you make it look! Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 12, 2021

      You’re welcome, Traci! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Debra
    June 12, 2021

    This chicken salad is the best I have ever had. I love chicken salad. Some I have tasted I do not like. You are amazing Natasha! Love your recipes and videos!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 12, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Debra!

      Reply

  • Joy
    June 11, 2021

    This Chicken Salad is so delicious! I will definitely be making this again and again! Thank you Natasha.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 11, 2021

      You’re very welcome, Joy! I’m so happy you enjoyed that.

      Reply

  • Rick M.
    June 11, 2021

    This recipe is restaurant quality … better, actually. Followed the recipe exactly as written. Outstanding! Thank you … Rick

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 11, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Rick!

      Reply

  • Pam Campbell
    June 11, 2021

    Tried it yesterday! It is delicious! Will add it to my collection and make it often! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 11, 2021

      That’s so great! It sounds like you have a new favorite, Pam!

      Reply

  • deborah currier
    June 9, 2021

    Hi, This salad is delicious. My husband loved it as well. We had it for supper over homegrown lettuce. I added some radishes and dried cranberries. My husband requested that I add more dill to the dressing. But you hit this one out of the park Natasha!!! thanks

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 9, 2021

      Wow, that sounds so good to serve the chicken salad over homegrown lettuce. What a treat!

      Reply

  • Leah
    June 9, 2021

    Wow this is so good! Going to put it on my weekly menu for lunch. Thank you so much

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 9, 2021

      I’m so happy you loved the chicken salad. Thank you for the wonderful review!

      Reply

  • Theresa
    June 8, 2021

    To slice several grapes or cherry tomatoes at one time use Williams Sonoma’s Cherry Tomato Slicer $14.95. It works well.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 9, 2021

      Thanks for the tip and suggestion!

      Reply

  • Afeef Salloum
    June 8, 2021

    Hi Natasha, love your videos/recipes and always try and share them, thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 8, 2021

      You’re so nice! Thank you!

      Reply

  • Lee Thayer
    June 7, 2021

    I made this on 6 Jun, my family and I truly loved this! This is a keeper. The intent of the recipe was followed, for the chicken, I used canned as that is what I had on hand at the moment, and forgot the lemon juice in the dressing, everything else followed, and it was a hit! Thank you for the excellent recipe, Natasha.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 7, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Lee!

      Reply

  • Candi mcfuire
    June 7, 2021

    Natasha did you stop doing closed captioning?? I can no longer hear what your saying??!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 7, 2021

      Hi Candi, the closed captions are definitely there and we pay for them to be added to every video. On the video player, click “cc” at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and they should display. I wonder if there was a youtube glitch if you weren’t able to see them?

      Reply

  • Mike
    June 7, 2021

    Thank You

    Another GREAT recipe

    I used soft Tortillia’s and rolled them up. Great to take on a picnic.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 7, 2021

      You are so welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the chicken salad and I love the idea of rolling it up in tortillas.

      Reply

  • Angela P
    June 7, 2021

    What a simple and tasty recipe. The dill is an absolute must!!! I just made it for lunch and loved it.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 7, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful review with me.

      Reply

  • Nikki
    June 7, 2021

    I used unsalted cashews and it was simply delicious. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 7, 2021

      That’s so great, Nikki! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Noree False
    June 7, 2021

    Amazing! Love your recipes!

    Reply

  • Annette Dollenmayer
    June 6, 2021

    This was so good! My husband loved it! I know you showed the lettuce cup, etc.. as ways to serve it. Is eating it right out of the bowl an okay way too? 😉 Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 6, 2021

      Hi Annette, yes that would definitely be okay too.

      Reply

  • Thomas L Wettengel
    June 6, 2021

    Yet, another great recipe. Delicious. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      June 6, 2021

      You’re welcome, Thomas. Glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Vijay
    June 5, 2021

    I just love u recipes thx u for sharing

    Reply

  • Melanie
    June 5, 2021

    Wonderful recipe! Adding a few capers is a nice addition, too. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      Yum! I bet that makes it even fancier! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Melanie
    June 5, 2021

    Wonderful recipe! Adding a few capers is a nice addition, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Melanie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Tamela
    June 5, 2021

    Really really good! I had to double the dressing ( probably because I didnt measure the 2 chicken breasts, I just chopped them and threw them in). I didnt change anything else. Followed exactly. Superb!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      Ah! I’ve done that before too, but some just come so much bigger than the average size! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • malak
    June 5, 2021

    can you do more yeast recipe an.d do you have a cookbook

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      Hi Malak, you can find all of our yeast recipes HERE. I don’t have a cookbook out yet, but it’s on my list of life goals, and we recently signed with an agent.

      Reply

  • Jody
    June 5, 2021

    Which will be your next yeast recipes because I saw in Instagram that you are making a dough so I am excited 😆 lol cannot wait

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 5, 2021

      I am always messing with some kind of dough and it may have been pita bread?

      Reply

  • Dianna
    June 5, 2021

    We also add a few chopped hard boiled eggs!!! Love your recipes and videos.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      Great idea! Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Dianna!

      Reply

  • Wilma
    June 5, 2021

    Thanks for this recipe, tried more than once, easy and delicious.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 5, 2021

      I’m so happy you enjoyed that. Thank you for sharing that with us!

      Reply

  • PETRA
    June 5, 2021

    HI, I WANT TO MAKE THIS BUT I ONLY HAVE WALNUTS WILL THIS WORK ALSO.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 5, 2021

      Hi Petra, yes that will work great with walnuts. I would still toast them to bring out their best flavor.

      Reply

      • Ericka S DeForest
        June 5, 2021

        I was just going to ask about Walnuts! How do we toast them?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          June 5, 2021

          Hi Ericka, yes, that will work great with walnuts. I would still toast them to bring out their best flavor. You can toast them in the oven or a pan; walnuts go from being toasted to being burnt in the blink of an eye, though, so keep a close eye on them. I like to do this on a pan so I can keep a close eye on them. Heat the pan, place the walnuts into the pan, and frequently mix until they’re toasted. I hope that helps.

          Reply

  • Njambi
    June 5, 2021

    I made this salad for lunch and loved it! I substituted almonds for pecans and it worked perfectly! 👌Thanks Natasha!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 5, 2021

      I love that substitution. Almonds are really good in chicken salad.

      Reply

  • Angia Macomber
    June 4, 2021

    Here’s a Grape-Slicing Shortcut, as requested:
    https://youtu.be/YEHJDztbkL0

    Reply

  • Irina Y
    June 4, 2021

    Just made this salad, it is delicious ! Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply

  • Ice
    June 4, 2021

    This looks really good! Can’t wait to try this out. My daughter is allergic to pecans and walnuts. Just wondering what your suggested substitution for this would be. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 4, 2021

      Hi, cashews would also work great and you can even leave out the nuts if you prefer and the salad will still work because the celery also adds that crunchy texture that’s nice in this recipe.

      Reply

  • Andrea Thueson
    June 4, 2021

    The grapes had me a little nervous, but they were the perfect hint of freshness and sweetness! I will be making this again for sure.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 4, 2021

      I’m so glad you gave it a go, Andrea! Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful review with me.

      Reply

  • Sharon Price
    June 4, 2021

    https://youtu.be/e3tDG89v5Vc

    Fast way to cut many grapes in half

    Reply

  • Lauren
    June 4, 2021

    This recipe was awesome! Kids loved it. Next can you make a seafood salad please and some copycat recipes? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 4, 2021

      That is the best when kids love what we moms make. That’s so great! & thank you for those wonderful suggestions, Lauren! Adding those to my to-do list. We absolutely love copycat recipes and Seafood recipes!

      Reply

  • Lauren
    June 4, 2021

    Hi Natasha! We’re SO excited to try this recipe this weekend! I happen to have all the ingredients on hand except for the red grapes. I do however have dried sweet cranberries. Do you think they could work as a substitute or will it throw off the flavor? Thanks again and keep your awesome videos coming!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 4, 2021

      Hi Lauren, I think dried cranberries would be delicious here. You can add a little sugar like 1/2 tsp to the dressing if you think it needs it with the dried cranberries, but that sounds tasty.

      Reply

      • Amy
        June 4, 2021

        Looks amazing! Definitely going to try it!!!
        Another trick to reheating croissants: dip it in water completely and then put it in the air fryer, so moist inside and crispy on the outside. I do that with old bagels and bread as well, but I put it in the oven at 350 for up to 10 mins. It tastes amazing. Just a quick tip😉

        Reply

        • Natasha
          June 4, 2021

          That’s a great idea! thank you for sharing. I’ll have to try that.

          Reply

  • Trudi
    June 4, 2021

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious, although with nut allergies in our family I’ll have to let those out. I was wondering, have you tried this with leftover turkey? How do you think it would taste?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 4, 2021

      Hi Trudi, I have not but I bet that could work! If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe!

      Reply

  • Kristyn
    June 4, 2021

    Yum!! Love chicken salad & this recipe is delicious!! Time to make again for sure!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      June 4, 2021

      I’m so happy you loved the chicken salad recipe! thank you for the great review.

      Reply

  • Natalie
    June 4, 2021

    This is my go-to anytime we have gatherings!! Everyone loves it & you can make a lot of it! It’s so good!

    Reply

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