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Southern Chicken Salad Recipe

A simple Southern Chicken Salad recipe that's loaded with tender meat, sweet cranberries (or juicy grapes), celery, Vidalia onion and pecans in a mayonnaise-based dressing!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword chicken salad with cranberries, curried chicken salad with grapes, southern chicken salad recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 - 6 people
Calories 312kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 3 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 1 cup dried sweetened cranberries (such as Craisins) or halved red grapes
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup diced Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion)
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: fresh parsley


  • In a large bowl, toss together chicken, cranberries (or grapes), celery, pecans and onion. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, about ½ teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper.
  • Add mayonnaise mixture to the chicken mixture and toss to coat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as necessary. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Garnish with parsley just before serving.


  • Chicken Salad with Hardboiled Eggs: Many Southern Chicken Salad recipes include a couple of chopped hardboiled eggs in the dish. It's not our preference, but you can feel free to add those, too!
  • Shredded Chicken Salad: This is just a matter of personal preference -- shred the cooked chicken or dice it into bite-size pieces -- whatever you like best!
  • 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.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Salad: Shred the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken to use in this recipe. It's a great, 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.
  • Add More or Less Mayonnaise: The amount of mayonnaise in a chicken salad recipe is truly a matter of preference. I like to err on the side of less mayo, so I think this is best with about ¾ cup (sometimes I'll even cut it back to just ½ cup). If you like a wetter salad, increase the amount to 1 full cup.
  • Add Mustard: This particular chicken salad recipe is made without mustard, but you can add a dollop of Dijon or honey mustard to your dressing for even more flavor.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 276mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg