Cranberry Chicken Salad with Apples is loaded with tender chicken, crisp apples and tart dried cranberries in a light creamy dressing. Enjoy this healthy chicken salad recipe in wraps, sandwiches or straight out of the bowl for a light lunch or dinner!
I have been making this healthy cranberry chicken salad for years now. It's a great recipe with tons of flavor that even picky eaters like. And, it's a family favorite!
There was a time when my kids absolutely avoided salad in any way, shape or form. They say that if you keep on serving your kids a certain food, eventually they'll learn to like it, or at least, accept it. And that's pretty much what happened here.
This creamy cranberry chicken salad is crunchy, creamy, a little sweet and slightly tart, with just a hint of cinnamon. It's absolutely delicious, and it's positively bursting with flavor.
Originally, I made cranberry walnut chicken salad with sour cream in the dressing. Then, I started leaving out the walnuts, and I've also been using organic plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
Personally, we think this version is even better!
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious chicken salad recipe. If you don't have what you need in your refrigerator or pantry, you can find the ingredients for chicken cranberry salad in your local grocery store:
- Yogurt -- You can use regular yogurt or Greek yogurt here
- Mayonnaise -- your favorite brand
- Dijon mustard
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- Ground cinnamon
- Cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
- Granny Smith apples -- or a mix of apples for a delicious flavor combo
- Lemon juice
- Dried cranberries -- Craisins or any brand of dried cranberrymix
How to Make Healthy Cranberry Chicken Salad
You will need to start out with cooked chicken, so you need to plan ahead.
I usually try to meal prep and bake chicken breasts on the weekend or the night before I need them. You can also make Instant Pot chicken breasts or Crock Pot chicken breasts to cut up.
But in a pinch, buying rotisserie chicken is the easy way to go. There's nothing like roast chicken to add amazing flavor to the salad! Just be sure to remove the skin first.
First, dice your Granny Smith apples or your choice of apples, and cut up the cooked chicken ahead of time. Then, set them aside for a bit--I like to mix the salad dressing ingredients separately before adding the chicken and apples.
In a large mixing bowl, add regular or Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and mayonnaise together. Then, mix all ingredients until well combined.
Next, stir in sea salt, pepper, and cinnamon. If you don't like cinnamon, you can leave it out, but it really just adds to the flavor in this easy cranberry chicken salad recipe.
After mixing well, add the cut-up chicken and diced apples, and drizzle the apples with lemon juice. The lemon juice helps prevent the apples from turning brown. Lastly, stir in the dried cranberries.
There are a variety of different ways to enjoy this great recipe, but my favorite way to eat this delicious cranberry chicken salad is in a wrap.
I use spinach tortillas, add a little leafy green lettuce and some chicken salad, roll it up burrito style and eat it up!
For a lighter low carb meal, substitute the tortilla for large lettuce leaves to make a lettuce wrap or lettuce cups. Or, just serve the salad over a bed of lettuce, and dig right in!
This creamy salad also tastes amazing on a buttery croissant roll or as a sandwich with wheat bread.
You can also use regular or Greek yogurt depending on your taste preferences. Feel free to add different veggies to the salad, such as red onion, green onions, or some crunchy celery.
If you like a more nutty flavor, this delicious recipe can easily be turned into cranberry walnut, or cranberry pecan chicken salad.
There's no right way to enjoy this classic chicken salad! In fact, you can substitute turkey for chicken. This is a great option when you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
How to Store
Store any leftover chicken salad in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It keeps well for 3 to 4 days.
You can freeze the apple cranberry chicken salad for longer storage. However, for best flavor and consistency, this salad is best when enjoyed fresh.
Again, you can use your extra leftovers in a variety of ways. I like to pack the salad in school lunches because my kids love a tasty, quick lunch!
And as a mom, I love giving them a healthy lunch at school!
Cranberry Chicken Salad with Apples
- ½ cup yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups cooked chicken cubed or shredded
- 2 small diced Granny Smith apples, washed, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Add yogurt, mayo and mustard to a large bowl, and mix until well combined
- Stir in the sea salt, pepper and cinnamon
- Add the chicken and apples, and drizzle with lemon juice
- Add the dried cranberries, and mix well
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Recipe originally published in 2017 and updated in 2021 for clarity and tips.
I hope you give this delicious easy cranberry apple chicken salad a try. Let me know what you think!
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What a great way to make leftovers exciting again, What a treat and the kids loved them in a wrap.
Could I use vanilla Greek yogurt for this?
Yes. I've used that before, and it was fine.
Miz Helen says
I love the combo for your delicious wrap! Hope you have a fantastic weekend and thanks so much for sharing your awesome post with us here at Full Plate Thursday. We hope to see you again real soon.
This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much, Anita. It's now one of our favorite dinners!
Lauren Hall says
You give me hope then that one day my children will like salads! Until then I'll eat their portions of this.
They usually do come around, eventually. Thanks, Lauren!
Cathy @ Lemon Tree Dwelling says
This is pretty much my ideal chicken salad! It looks perfect!
This wrap looks awesome. I love the ideas on ways to cook the chicken for this recipe.
Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
I love a great chicken salad for lunch on the hot summer days!
Dorothy Reinhold says
I am always trying to come up with new and different lunch options. My kiddos are home for the summer and get tired of the same old thing. This looks amazing, and they will love it!
Thanks, Dorothy. My kids just love this stuff!
I love getting a rotisserie chicken from Costco and shredding it up to use for lunches and this would be perfect for that! Looks so light and delicious!
Thanks so much, Jen. It really is!
Oh, Dee - those look absolutely mouth-watering perfect for summertime dining. YUM! Thanks for the inspiration, recipe and gorgeous stimulating photos. I am now STARVING to eat those! MMMMmmmm!
Thanks so much, Michele! I wish I could send you some right now! 🙂