Make Ahead

Zesty Chicken Salad

October  4, 2022
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

There are thousands of variations of chicken salad. Some recipes include mayonnaise while others have a mustard base. Some are crunchy, some are not. Some recipes have fruit while other recipes have vegetables. No two recipes are the same, including mine. Making chicken salad is any opportunity for me to experiment with different flavor combinations. Tonight when I made chicken salad I was looking for something light and crunchy. I included gala apples for crunchy and sweetness, dried cranberries for some tartness, and lemon zest to make it light and flavorful. Hope you enjoy. (Quick tip: Take a short cut and purchase a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket to make this salad. The cooking is already done for you and there is little clean up. Perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight dinner!) - A Couple Bites —A Couple Bites

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a lovely twist on chicken salad. The secret ingredients are celery seed and lemon zest, and they really perk things up, and are a nifty complement to the cranberries and apples. I served it once on a lightly toasted English muffin, as A Couple Bites suggests, and once atop some baby arugula, dressed with a light vinaigrette. Both were so satisfying. If, as I did, you prefer a bit more moisture, just add a squirt or two of lemon juice or another couple of teaspoons of mayo. - calendargirl —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 split chicken, removed from bone, skin removed & shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small gala apple
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries and/or golden raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Zest from one small lemon
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar (taste as you go)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Spread on an english muffin or toast, add fresh spinach and/or tomato, and enjoy!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Heather Harrison
    Heather Harrison
  • Dabblings
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  • Wilde Koechin
    Wilde Koechin

4 Reviews

Heather H. June 21, 2016
I served this over toasted soughsough bread with avocado and salt. Soooo gooood!!!! The lemon zest is fantastic in this recipe! Saving<3
Wilde K. June 20, 2012
After reading this recipe I found myself wanting chicken salad. It was a hot day and I didn't want to heat up the kitchen. Even the BF who doesn't eat anything with any kind of fruit in it liked so much that he requested it for lunch the next day! I totally forgot the lemon zest. It still was great. Love Love it. Vielen Dank.
Dabblings July 9, 2011
I made this tonight for dinner over a salad with some roasted potatoes. Everyone loved it. It's a very simple twist on a classic. Good call with the lemon zest. Thanks for sharing :)
HandRocksLadle February 20, 2011
The lemon zest and celery seed really were a nice touch. I enjoyed this on a toasted english muffin on a picnic!