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Easy Leftover Chicken Salad Recipe

Do you have leftover chicken and you don’t know what to do with it? Check out this super easy recipe for Leftover chicken salad!

Sometimes when you make a whole chicken, or buy a rotisserie chicken, there can be a lot of leftovers! Today I’ve got a great recipe that you can use for that leftover roast chicken to make a delicious lunch!

Easy Chicken Salad: A Quick and Delicious Meal Solution

Picture this: tender chunks of chicken, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy celery and pecans, all bound together in a creamy, tangy dressing. Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Our Easy Chicken Salad recipe brings this vision to life!

Perfect for a quick lunch or a potluck dish, this chicken salad has a burst of flavors and textures that will have you coming back for seconds. The best part? It’s incredibly easy to make!


Can I use rotisserie chicken?

Absolutely, rotisserie chicken is a great time-saver and adds extra flavor to the salad.

Can I omit the honey mustard?

You can, but the honey mustard adds a lovely tang and sweetness. You could substitute with Dijon mustard and a bit of honey if you’d like.

Is it okay to use low-fat mayonnaise?

Certainly. The taste might be slightly different, but it’s a good way to cut down on calories.

Tips and Tricks

  • Poaching the chicken breasts in seasoned water can infuse more flavor into your meat.
  • Make sure to let your chicken cool down before mixing it with the other ingredients to avoid a “mushy” texture.
  • Toasting the pecans briefly in a dry pan can add a deeper nutty flavor.

What is good with chicken salad?

There are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing chicken salad with different foods. Some of my favorites include:

  • Sliced up vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes
  • Bread or crackers
  • Salad greens
  • Pita bread or tortillas
  • Leftover mashed potatoes or rice
  • Grapes or berries

Can I freeze chicken salad with mayonnaise in it?

You can freeze chicken salad, but I recommend leaving out the mayonnaise until you are ready to eat it. The mayo can make the salad a little icy when it is frozen. This is the best chicken salad to make the next day.


  • Substitute dried cranberries with grapes or dried apricots for a different fruity twist.
  • Replace pecans with walnuts or almonds for a varied crunch.
  • Experiment with fresh herbs like dill or basil for added complexity.

Where to Serve

This chicken salad is versatile! Serve it on a bed of leafy greens, stuff it into a pita pocket, or make it the star of a sandwich. It’s also an excellent dish for picnics, BBQs, and family gatherings.


The chicken salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s best not to freeze this dish as mayonnaise doesn’t freeze well.

It’s an easy salad recipe for a hot summer day. You can even serve this tasty chicken salad in a lettuce wrap for a quick lunch.

What is your favorite chicken salad recipe?

I love this easy recipe for leftover chicken salad because it is so versatile! You can use whatever ingredients you have on hand, and it’s a great way to use up any leftovers. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, my favorite recipe includes boiled eggs, grapes, and celery. Yum! This creamy chicken salad recipe will be a big hit with the entire family.

Common Problems and How to Avoid Them

  • Soggy Texture: Excess moisture can make your chicken salad soggy. Make sure to drain your cooked chicken well and pat it dry.
  • Lack of Flavor: Season your chicken generously when cooking and taste your salad before serving to adjust the seasoning.
  • Separating Dressing: This often happens with reduced-fat mayonnaise. Stick to full-fat for consistency.

Tips for Making This Recipe With Kids

  • Allow kids to help measure and mix the dressing ingredients. It’s a good way to teach them about ratios in cooking.
  • The kids can help chop the celery with a kid-safe knife, under supervision.
  • Make a mini sandwich station where kids can assemble their own sandwiches using the chicken salad, allowing them to engage with their food creatively.

How long does cooked chicken salad last in the fridge?

Cooked chicken salad will last in the fridge for about 3-4 days. If you are planning on eating it later than that, I would recommend freezing it.

What ingredients do you need for this leftover chicken salad recipe?

  • chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • dried cranberries
  • Mayonnaise 
  • celery, diced
  • pecans
  • honey mustard
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

You won’t need any red onions, olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice or bell pepper for this classic recipe. It’s a hearty lunch with a great flavor that you can even serve on sandwich bread, pita pockets or a tortilla wrap.

This classic chicken salad recipe is a great idea for bridal showers, baby showers or even church potlucks.

One of this simple salads that you can save for the next day in airtight container. This easy chicken salad recipe definitely one of those nice additions to any menu.

This creamy salad is great in a large bowl with fresh herbs as a topping or garnish. Try this healthy chicken salad today!

Topping Options

  • A sprinkle of paprika or a dash of hot sauce for those who like it spicy.
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color and flavor.
  • Extra pecans for more crunch, or even some crispy bacon bits for a smoky twist.

Why This Recipe Works

This Easy Chicken Salad shines because of its balanced flavors and textures. The chicken breasts provide lean protein, while the mayonnaise and honey mustard create a creamy, tangy base. The dried cranberries offer a sweet contrast, and the celery and pecans give that satisfying crunch.

Seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper tie everything together perfectly. Apple cider vinegar adds a subtle tang, rounding out the flavors beautifully. This harmony of ingredients results in a versatile, delicious, and wholesome dish that can be enjoyed in numerous ways.

What are some more amazing salad recipes to try?

Easy Leftover Chicken Salad Recipe
Yield: 1 large bowl

Easy Leftover Chicken Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This super easy chicken salad recipe is delicious and the perfect way to use leftover chicken!


  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 cup (2 stalks) celery, diced
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp honey mustard
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


  1. Chop up the chicken and celery.
  2. You can use leftover rotisserie chicken for this process as well.
  3. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes. (optional)
  5. Best if served chilled 


You can substitute grapes for the dried cranberries.

You can substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans.

I used Dukes Real Mayonnaise for this recipe, if a non-full fat mayo is used, the results will vary and seasonings may need to be adjusted.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 297Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 25mgSodium 242mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 2gSugar 20gProtein 7g

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