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A classic Southern chicken salad recipe is lightened up with the rich, tangy flavor of Greek yogurt. You’ll love the sweet, savory, and crunchy combination of tender meat, juicy grapes, celery, and pecans in this simple make-ahead lunch or dinner.

Chicken salad with greek yogurt in a blue and white bowl on a green table.
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love This Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt and Mayo
  2. Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
  3. How to Make Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt
  4. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Serving Suggestions
  5. Preparation and Storage Tips
  6. Healthy Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe Variations
  7. Tips for the Best Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe
  8. Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe

A basic chicken salad recipe has been one of my favorite make-ahead lunch or easy dinner options for as long as I can remember. My mom serves it regularly, and I’ve tweaked my own version over the years to make it absolutely perfect. While a curried chicken salad with grapes is delicious for a change of pace, and my go-to chicken salad with tarragon is a sure hit with guests, this lightened-up twist is a welcome update!

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt and Mayo

I’ve made a lot of chicken salad over the years, and this recipe is absolutely a winner! Here’s why:

  • The Right Amount of Greek Yogurt and Mayonnaise: The perfect chicken salad has just the right amount of dressing — enough to hold the dish together, but not so much that it’s overpowering. It took some tweaking, but I finally got the proportions correct. The salad is moist and flavorful, but not drowning in mayo or yogurt.
  • A Variety of Textures and Flavors: The recipe includes a great mix of sweet and savory flavors, as well as crunchy, chewy, and tender textures. You’ll love the combination of nutty pecans, crisp celery, tender chicken, and sweet grapes. Add hardboiled eggs or pickle relish for even more flavor!
  • It’s Quick and Easy: No one wants to spend hours in the kitchen just to get a meal on the table. I’ve got 5 hungry mouths to feed, so I need delicious, flavorful options that come together without too much effort. This recipe delivers! You can cook your own chicken at home, or use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. When starting with cooked chicken, the entire dish is ready in about 10-15 minutes.
  • A Prep-Ahead Option: This traditional chicken salad recipe is best when it has a chance to chill for at least 2 hours before serving. As a result, it’s a great choice for parties, luncheons, or busy weeknight dinners when everyone is on different schedules and you need an easy meal ready in the fridge.
Square side shot of a chicken salad sandwich with lettuce and tomato on white bread.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead of mayo?

Yes, but I don’t recommend it. This recipe uses a combination of equal parts mayo and yogurt in the dressing, which is a nice balance of flavors and textures. Greek yogurt is very tangy, while mayo has more flavor and salt. If you omit the mayonnaise entirely, it will drastically change the taste and texture of the salad.

Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare the healthy greek yogurt chicken salad with grapes. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Mayonnaise: Duke’s brand is my pick for the best quality and flavor.
  • Plain Greek yogurt: I prefer a whole milk yogurt for the best flavor and texture. This adds extra protein to the dish, and has far fewer calories than mayo.
  • Dijon mustard: for a hint of zesty flavor. Add a bit of ground mustard if you don’t like Dijon, or just omit this ingredient and use a little bit more yogurt.
  • Apple cider vinegar: an acidic component that brightens up the dressing. Sub with distilled white vinegar or champagne vinegar if you like.
  • Dried tarragon: this herb pairs really nicely with the chicken. Feel free to omit the tarragon if you don’t like the flavor, or add a different herb such as chives, basil, dill, rosemary, or thyme.
  • Sugar: just a hint of sweetness in the dressing adds complexity to the dish.
  • Garlic salt and onion powder: for savory flavor. If you don’t have garlic salt, use less garlic powder and season with salt to taste.
  • Chicken: cooked and shredded; a rotisserie chicken is my preference for both ease and flavor.
  • Celery: crunchy, crisp texture and savory flavor. See my notes below for a substitute.
  • Pecans: chopped and toasted add great flavor and crunch.
  • Red grapes: quartered so that they’re not too large in the salad.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Whisking together greek yogurt dressing for chicken salad.

The Best Chicken to Use

My favorite chicken to use in this healthy chicken salad recipe is the shredded meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. It’s a quick shortcut that yields delicious results, since the rotisserie chicken is moist, tender, and already seasoned.

If you’d prefer to cook your own chicken at home to use in this salad, you’ll need about 1 ½ lbs. of raw, boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs to equal about 3 cups of cooked, shredded meat. You can boil the chicken until cooked through (about 12-18 minutes), and then shred with two forks or dice into small pieces when it’s cool enough to handle.

Alternatively, you can cook the chicken in a crockpot for 1-2 hours on HIGH, then shred and cool before using in the salad. If you’re shredding a lot of cooked chicken at once, use the paddle attachment in a stand mixer to make the job easy!

Process shot showing how to make chicken salad with greek yogurt.

How to Make Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt

If you’re starting with cooked, diced chicken, this recipe comes together with about 10 minutes of prep time — no baking required. I’ve included the detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Whisk together the dressing.
  • Add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cover the chicken mixture and chill for at least 2 hours.
Square overhead shot of greek yogurt chicken salad on a table with a side of chips, grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Serving Suggestions

Chicken salad is a great option to keep in the refrigerator and pull out when you need a quick snack with crackers, when you need an easy lunch, or when you want a simple, make-ahead, light dinner or potluck option. Perfect for meal prep! Here are a few great ways to serve a chicken salad with Greek yogurt:

The Best Crackers for Chicken Salad

If you’re pairing the classic chicken salad with crackers, here are a few great options to try:

Greek yogurt chicken salad sandwich on a blue and white plate

What to Serve with a Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Sandwich

If you prefer to serve the salad on bread, croissants, rolls, or biscuits, here are a few sides that will go well with the chicken salad sandwiches:

Preparation and Storage Tips

Prepare this salad at least 2 hours in advance. It keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and actually gets better as it sits overnight and the flavors come together. Stored properly, homemade chicken salad will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

I do not recommend freezing this dish, since the creamy dressing may separate when thawed, and the fruit and vegetables will have a mushy, watery texture.

Square side shot of a bowl of chicken salad with greek yogurt.

Healthy Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe Variations

  • Substitute for Celery in Chicken Salad: If you don’t have any celery on hand, or if you just don’t care for the taste, you can substitute with extra nuts, extra grapes, dried cranberries, diced or grated sweet onion, scallions or green onion, diced or grated carrots, water chestnuts, or diced green apple.
  • Swap out the grapes and use sweetened dried cranberries instead. If you prefer a Greek yogurt chicken salad without fruit, just replace the grapes with an extra cup of chicken.
  • Hardboiled Eggs: Many Southern chicken salad recipes include chopped hard boiled egg. You can feel free to add those, too!
  • Use sour cream instead of Greek yogurt, or replace the Greek yogurt with extra mayo.
  • Stir in sweet pickle relish or chopped dill pickles.
  • Add different fresh herbs such as fresh dill, parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, or basil. Sliced green onions (scallions) are also delicious in the salad.
Overhead shot of greek yogurt chicken salad in a blue and white bowl.

Tips for the Best Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Recipe

  • White or Dark Meat: If you like dark meat, it adds great flavor to chicken salad. We like a combination of both white and dark, but you can use whichever you prefer.
  • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for an easy, flavorful shortcut.
  • Cook the Chicken at Home: If you’re cooking the chicken at home, you’ll need about 1 ½ pounds of raw boneless, skinless chicken. Boil the chicken until cooked through (about 12-18 minutes), and then shred with two forks or dice into small pieces when it’s cool enough to handle.
  • Use a high-quality mayonnaise, since this contributes a lot of flavor to the dish. I prefer Duke’s brand. A whole milk Greek yogurt is also best.
  • Add More or Less Mayonnaise or Yogurt: The amount of dressing in a chicken salad recipe is truly a matter of preference. I like to err on the side of less dressing; however, if you like a wetter salad, increase the yogurt or mayo to taste.
  • Cooking just for two? Cut all of the ingredients in half to prepare a smaller portion. If you’d like to serve a larger crowd, you can easily double or triple all of the ingredients.
Side shot of a bowl of the best greek yogurt chicken salad.

More Chicken Salad Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of greek yogurt chicken salad on a table with a side of chips, grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes.

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

Prep: 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 5 cups
Calories 471 kcal
This chicken salad with Greek yogurt is a lightened up twist on the Southern classic!

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup mayonnaise (I prefer Duke’s brand)
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (I use whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (such as from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup red grapes, quartered
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, vinegar, tarragon, sugar, garlic salt, and onion powder.
    Whisking together greek yogurt dressing for chicken salad.
  • Stir chicken, celery, pecans, and grapes into the mayonnaise mixture until well combined. Taste and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper, if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
    Process shot showing how to make chicken salad with greek yogurt.

Notes

  • White or Dark Meat: If you like dark meat, it adds great flavor to chicken salad. We like a combination of both white and dark, but you can use whichever you prefer.
  • Use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for an easy, flavorful shortcut.
  • Cook the Chicken at Home: If you’re cooking the chicken at home, you’ll need about 1 ½ pounds of raw boneless, skinless chicken. Boil the chicken until cooked through (about 15-18 minutes), and then shred with two forks or dice into small pieces when it’s cool enough to handle.
  • Use a high-quality mayonnaise, since this contributes a lot of flavor to the dish. I prefer Duke’s brand. A whole milk Greek yogurt is also best.
  • Add More or Less Mayonnaise or Yogurt: The amount of dressing in a chicken salad recipe is truly a matter of preference. I like to err on the side of less dressing; however, if you like a wetter salad, increase the yogurt or mayo to taste.
  • Cooking just for two? Cut all of the ingredients in half to prepare a smaller portion. If you’d like to serve a larger crowd, you can easily double or triple all of the ingredients.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 471kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 31gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 375mgPotassium: 460mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 172IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: chicken salad greek yogurt, chicken salad with greek yogurt, greek yogurt chicken salad
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Marion McClung says:

    Sounds so good! Since I cook for just one, I often prepare the ingredients and either combine them or, more often, store them separately and not add the dressing until I make one or two portions. I can often use less dressing and it keeps the salad from getting “wet” when I keep the salad ingredients for several days. I would love to be able to mix the whole salad at once but, unfortunately, there’s no one to help me eat it.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Sounds like a great way to handle cooking for one!