This creamy, crunchy chicken salad adds sweet-tart dried cranberries and toasted walnuts to a classic recipe for a delicious fall lunch. For convenience, you can poach the chicken breasts ahead or use leftover rotisserie chicken as well!
Course Lunch, Salad
Keyword chicken salad recipe, fall chicken salad, how to make chicken salad
2-1/2cupscubed poached or rotisserie chicken breast, chilled (see cooking notes below)
1-2teaspoonsfresh lemon juice(to taste, depending on how tart you like it)
1/4cupdiced red onion or shallot
1/4cuptoasted chopped walnuts
1/4cupflat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2teaspoonfreshly-ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir in celery, red onion, cranberries, walnuts, and parsley. Fold in cubed chicken.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the flavors to meld. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper before serving.
We like this chicken salad best on 4-grain bread, lightly-toasted farmhouse white, or croissants.
To Poach Chicken Breasts:
Place 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pot in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Add about 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns and some aromatics to the pot, such as 1-2 garlic cloves, a few sprigs of fresh herbs like parsley, dill, and thyme, and a dried bay leaf.
Add enough water to cover the chicken by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. You may see a white foamy substance in the pot as the chicken breasts cook; this is normal, you can either skim it away or leave it alone.
Simmer until the chicken breasts register 165 degrees F at the thickest portion. This will take anywhere from 5-14 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
Store poached chicken breasts, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
This chicken salad can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days from when the chicken was cooked. The chicken will absorb some of the dressing as the salad sits overnight. I like to make a little extra dressing to hold on the side and toss with the chicken salad, as needed, if I'm serving it the next day.