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This cranberry walnut chicken salad is an irresistible combination of savory and sweet flavors. It features tender chicken, dried cranberries, walnuts, and celery in a creamy dressing.
Chicken salad is one of the easiest comfort food meals you can make. It’s delicious for lunch or dinner, and it’s a popular dish when you’re feeding a crowd.
This cranberry walnut chicken salad is such a flavorful make-ahead meal. It’s a sweet and savory dish with lots of crunch and a creamy dressing. The honey and apple cider vinegar give it the best flavor.
Also called Cape Cod chicken salad, this dish highlights dried cranberries. These berries are our state fruit here in Massachusetts, and we enjoy them year-round in their dried form. I like to serve this chicken salad on rolls or lettuce wraps for a light meal.
Try my chicken salad with grapes and almonds for another variation on this delicious recipe.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad Tips
You can use leftover cooked chicken for this recipe if you have some on hand. If not, poach chicken breasts in a gentle simmer for about 8 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Alternately, you can cook chicken breasts quickly in the Instant Pot.
The chicken can be chopped or shredded to make this cranberry walnut chicken salad. I prefer to chop it into bite sized pieces.
It’s best to dress the chicken salad while the chicken is still warm. However, you should let the chicken cool for several minutes before cutting it so you don’t burn your fingers.
Feel free to substitute almonds or pecans for the walnuts if you’d prefer. Cape Cod chicken salad often uses pecans instead of walnuts. The flavor is delicious either way.
Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
- 2 lbs chicken breast
- 2/3 cup organic mayonnaise
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbs honey
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup walnuts diced
- 2 stalks of celery diced
- 2 scallions diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the chicken in a large pot in a single layer. Pour water over the chicken to cover by an inch (about 6 cups). Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low, and let the chicken simmer gently for 8 minutes. Then use a meat thermometer to see if the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If it hasn’t reached this temperature, keep cooking it on medium low heat and check every minute or so. Once the chicken has reached 165 degrees, carefully remove it from the pot to a cutting board.
- While the chicken cools a bit, prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Set aside.
- When it’s cool enough to handle, shred or chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, place the chicken, dried cranberries, walnuts, celery, and scallions. Stir to combine, then pour the dressing over the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the chicken salad to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cape Cod Chicken Salad Price Breakdown
This recipe costs a total of $9.76 to make, or $.81 per serving. Try this cranberry walnut chicken salad for a delicious meal any time of year.