Curried Chicken Salad is the best chicken salad! You get the tender chunks of chicken and crisp celery, with the added bonus of sweet apples, chewy raisins, and crunchy cashews in a creamy curry-flavored dressing.
My family loves traditional chicken salad, but when I’m craving a version with bold flavors, this curried chicken salad is my go-to. Just like the classic recipe, this version is made with a creamy dressing, tender chicken, and a variety of add-ins for flavor and texture, but the addition of fragrant curry powder really takes it up a notch!
What Does Curry Chicken Salad Taste Like?
Curry chicken salad is both sweet and savory, and thanks to the curry powder, it’s also earthy and aromatic. And don’t worry—as long as you stick with a mild curry powder, it won’t be spicy! Skip the nuts and it’s perfect for packing up into a school lunch.
Whether you serve curried chicken salad on a bed of greens or in a sandwich, this easy recipe is sure to become a fast favorite!
(We live for cold salads in the summer and this curried chicken salad does not disappoint! Be sure to check out some of our other favorites like BLT Pasta Salad, Tex-Mex Doritos Taco Salad, and Grilled Corn Summer Salad.)
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Cooked chicken – Use shredded chicken or cut it into chunks.
- Mayonnaise – Feel free to replace half or all of the mayo with Greek yogurt to make your curried chicken salad a little bit healthier.
- Sour cream
- Lemon juice – You’ll need 2 tablespoons, which is about half of an average-size lemon.
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Yellow curry powder – I use one full tablespoon of curry powder, but if you’re unsure, you can start with a teaspoon or two and add more to taste.
- Tart apple – Granny Smith is the classic choice, or you can go with a variety that’s a touch sweeter like Pink Lady.
- Celery stalks
- Roasted salted cashews – Pecans can be swapped in for the cashews.
- Dried cranberries or raisins – Golden raisins or regular work here, or you can use a combination.
- Green onions – For more pungent onion flavor, try diced red onions instead.
How Do I Cook Chicken for Chicken Salad?
If you need to cook chicken breasts specifically for this recipe, I recommend roasting them in the oven or poaching them on the stovetop.
That said, chicken salad is an excellent way to use rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken breasts. You might even want to plan your meals accordingly; buy a rotisserie chicken and use it for chicken flautas the first night, then curried chicken salad the next day. Or, just throw some extra chicken breasts on the grill so you have leftovers.
How to Make Curried Chicken Salad
Once you’ve chopped all of the ingredients, assembling this chicken salad is a breeze!
Make the dressing. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl until the mixture is smooth and well-combined.
Assemble the salad. Toss the chicken, apple, celery, raisins, and cashews in a large bowl. Pour the curry dressing over the chicken mixture and toss to coat.
Chill. Refrigerate your curried chicken salad for at least 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to serve it.
Curried Chicken Salad Variations
There’s a lot of room for customizing this salad to your tastes and preferences. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Make it healthier. Use full-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo and omit the honey.
- Up the veggie factor. We love adding grated carrots to this recipe!
- Add fresh grapes. If you can’t have chicken salad without grapes, you can add those in addition to or instead of the apples. Red grapes or green grapes are both fine!
- Make it tropical. Add diced mango instead of apple to infuse some tropical flavor into your curried chicken salad.
- Swap out the celery. Not a fan of celery? You can use julienned jicama or water chestnuts to add crunch instead!
- Kick up the heat. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for some spicy flavor.
How to Serve
My favorite way to serve this salad is on a bed of butter lettuce or other salad greens. This makes your curried chicken salad naturally gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, Whole 30, and keto!
You can make this chicken salad into a sandwich with bread or a croissant, or serve it as a wrap with tortillas. For a low carb wrap option, try rolling the salad up in big collard green leaves or in a sturdy lettuce for a lettuce wrap.
How to Store
Curried chicken salad stores well, so it’s great for making in advance as part of your meal prep plan. It will last for 4 to 5 days when refrigerated in an airtight container.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Like other salads with mayo-based dressings, curried chicken salad can’t be frozen because the dressing will separate. In addition, the crunchy celery and apples will soften after being frozen and thawed.
More Cold Creamy Salads
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Curried Chicken Salad
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 4 cups cooked, roughly chopped or shredded chicken
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Juice of ½ a lemon about 2 tablespoons
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon yellow curry powder
- 1 tart apple chopped
- 2 celery stalks
- ¾ cup roasted salted cashews
- ½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Cook and chop the chicken into bite-size pieces, slice and chop the apple, celery, and green onion.
- Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and whisking together.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, chopped apple, celery, raisins, and cashews. Pour the mayo-curry dressing over the top. Toss everything together until mixed and all of the chicken is coated in the sauce.
- Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until ready to serve.
This recipe first appeared on Savory Experiments, where I am a contributor.