This Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad is a delicious way to use up leftover cooked chicken or turkey. This nutritious salad is light and creamy, with great texture and mix of sweet and tart flavors. The salad is gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly.

bowl of cranberry walnut chicken salad.

If you’re looking for a high-protein meal that’s ready to eat in less than twenty minutes, chicken salad is your friend!

This recipe is even easier with the use of already cooked chicken. You can use leftovers or cut up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. It’s customizable, tastes even better the next day, and makes one heck of a sandwich.

Dried cranberries, celery, and walnuts make a rather delicious team. Try to get a bit of everything in each sweet and crunchy bite. For Whole30, paleo, and keto diets, enjoy it plain or in lettuce cups. For gluten-free and dairy-free diets, enjoy with some crackers or gluten-free toast.

a cracker with cranberry chicken salad on it.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Transform leftover chicken into a drool-worthy lunch or dinner.
  • You only need twenty minutes to whip this up. That’s less time than it takes to watch an episode of Friends.
  • You can substitute whichever mix-ins you like. You’re not legally bound to cranberries and walnuts, I promise!

Key Ingredients

ingredients for cranberry walnut chicken salad

Shredded chicken – If you don’t have any shredded chicken leftover, you can use a rotisserie chicken its place. Just remove the meat from the bones and give it a quick chop. You can also use leftover cooked turkey interchangeably with cooked chicken. Either dice or shred your cooked poultry.

Walnuts – Walnuts are slightly bitter and delightfully crunchy which makes them an excellent match for sweet cranberries and creamy dressing. You can sub in pecans, slivered almonds, or cashews.

Dried cranberries – If you don’t like or have dried cranberries, dried cherries, raisins, or golden raisins all work too! Be sure to use unsweetened cranberries if you’re on a strict Whole30, keto, or low-carb diet.

Celery – Celery adds a welcoming crunch alongside the soft and creamy texture of the dressed chicken.

Lemon – A squeeze of lemon does wonders for a rich mayo-based dressing. The acid gives it that something extra and really makes it sing.

Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise traditionally is the base of a good chicken salad recipe. You can sub in dairy-free Greek yogurt but I don’t recommend more than half. Otherwise, the chicken salad comes out dry and too tangy.

Hot sauce – Optional, but delicious – if you like a bit of heat add in a couple shakes.

Recipe Steps

Step One

In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Stir well to combine.

As always, please do see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Two

Enjoy immediately, or place in the refrigerator to chill.

a bowl of shredded chicken salad

Step Three

Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • To toast your walnuts, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add the walnuts and let them toast for several minutes, tossing them occasionally to toast evenly. Keep an eye on the walnuts so they don’t burn.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled depending on how many servings you want.
  • You can also use leftover cooked turkey in this recipe.
  • You can sub in pecans, slivered almonds, or cashews for the walnuts.
  • Top mixed greens with a scoop of chicken salad and balsamic vinaigrette for an easy and delicious way to eat your greens!
  • To keep this recipe Whole30-friendly, be sure to use a sugar-free mayonnaise without vegetable oils. I like the Primal Kitchen brand or you can make your own using this Whole30 Mayo recipe from Cassidy’s Craveable Creations!
a spoonful of chicken salad.

Recipe FAQs

What goes well with chicken salad?

Potato chips, fresh fruit, a pickle spear, pasta salad, mixed greens salad, romaine salad, tomato soup, and broccoli salad are perfect sides for chicken salad. Choose whatever sides you like based on your dietary needs.

What can I serve with chicken salad besides bread?

I like to scoop my chicken salad into romaine, iceberg, or Bibb lettuce when I don’t want all the calories from bread. See my list of the best alternatives to bread.

Other Healthy Salad Recipes You Might Like

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

And, consider following me on social media so we can stay connected. I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a cracker with chicken salad on it

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad


Description

This Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad is a delicious way to use up leftover cooked chicken. This nutritious salad is light and creamy, with great texture and mix of sweet and tart flavors. Gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and Whole30.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, chopped and toasted (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries (use unsweetened cranberries for keto, low-carb, and Whole30 diets)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (about two shakes)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, walnuts, cranberries, celery, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and hot sauce. Stir well to combine.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.
  3. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. To toast your walnuts, heat a small dry skillet over low heat. Add the walnuts and let them toast for several minutes, tossing them occasionally to toast evenly. Keep an eye on the walnuts so they don’t burn.
  2. This recipe can be easily doubled depending on how many servings you want.
  3. You can also use leftover cooked turkey in this recipe.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: Healthy

Keywords: cranberry walnut salad, best chicken salad recipe, chicken salad with cranberries

Don’t forget to join the Clean Eating Kitchen newsletter. You’ll get my Clean Eating Quick Start Guide, plus links to all the latest recipes.