This delicious Chicken Salad Recipe is filled with the flavors of fall – sweet apples, tart cranberries, and pecans are mixed with a lightened up greek yogurt and mayonnaise dressing with just a hint of spice. Make a big batch today and have easy lunches at the ready all week long!

a platter of fall chicken salad sandwiches on ciabatta buns  

This fall chicken salad can be made with store-bought rotisserie chicken for convenience or with holiday turkey leftovers. The light dressing is made with a combo of yogurt and mayo, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a drizzle of sweet honey, a splash of tangy balsamic vinegar, and spice from chili powder and chili flakes. Add in sweet apples, tart cranberries, and crunchy pecans, and you have a winner.

I’m all about holiday leftovers. These easy-to-make seasonal Fall Chicken Salad Sandwiches are packed with flavor and fresh seasonal ingredients, giving your mouth something else to be excited about. 

During the holiday season, most people only think about the big family dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what about the other meals? Have you figured out breakfast or lunch yet? This recipe is easy enough to throw together in a few minutes. Now you can keep on working without interruption!

Why You Should Make This Autumn Chicken Salad

This recipe comes together in a flash and is filled with healthy protein, fiber, and nutrients to keep you and your family satisfied until dinnertime.

The sweet tartness of the cranberries and apples make this chicken salad totally kid friendly, while the tangy, slightly spicy dressing is sophisticated for adults.

As a bonus, there is almost no prep work to be done. If your chicken is already cooked, you only have to invest a total of five minutes prep!

If you’re worried the salad will become boring throughout the week, just imagine the many ways you can serve it. Here’s a few ideas: on a ciabatta roll as a sandwich, with crackers as a homemade lunchable, on celery sticks as an a snack.

I love to throw a scoop on top of a simple green salad for a little extra protein on my go-to “adult lunch.” I’ve also been known to eat it straight from the bowl, because sometimes I’m busy and hangry. Don’t judge!

spice jars and bowls of chopped pecans, chopped apples, cranerries, shredded chicken and greek yogurt as mis en place for chicken salad recipe

How to Make This Fall Chicken Salad with Apples

Like I said before, this is a super simple meal that requires just minutes of prep. So as long as you have your chicken (or turkey) cooked and shredded, the whole operation takes just five minutes to throw together.

First up, give your ingredients a quick chop. Your chopped apples can go in a mixing bowl with your chicken. Rough chop the pecans and cranberries and toss them in, too.

unmixed dressing ingredients for fall chicken salad recipe

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together your mayo, yogurt, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, honey, and seasonings until thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture, then stir to incorporate. Feel free to eat immediately or refrigerate in a covered container for up to five days.

autumn chicken salad in a black enamel bowl with a turquoise napkin underneath

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of chicken should I use for chicken salad?

As long as your chicken is free from bones, you can use just about any kind you like. I love to use my oven baked chicken breast recipe whenever I have a little extra time on my hands. Poached chicken breasts or any boneless skinless chicken that you cook in the Instant Pot will also work, as will any leftover chicken that isn’t already sauced.

If I’m short on time, a rotisserie chicken that I’ve shredded does the trick. And with Thanksgiving coming up, this is an awesome way to use up your leftover turkey!

How should I serve this chicken salad with apples?

As a sandwich: If you’re yearning for a Panera style chicken salad sandwich, nothing beats loading this fall chicken salad onto a lightly toasted ciabatta roll with a few slices of butter lettuce.

As a lunchable: In a bento style box, neatly pack in some crackers, apple slices, a wedge or two of cheese and a scoop of my chicken salad. Kids will have a great time eating this little snack pack!

As an after-school snack: Tuck chicken salad with apples into the grooves of celery stalks for a high protein, healthy finger food.

On a green salad: Lightly toss a few handfuls of salad greens with a light vinaigrette then add a scoop of my fall chicken salad to boost your protein content.

Straight from the bowl: Because sometimes, hunger just won’t wait. Don’t worry, I’m not judging you.

How long does chicken salad keep?

My family loves this fall chicken salad, so it doesn’t stay around for very long. That said, I’d put a conservative estimate that anything mayonnaise based should probably be eaten within five days.

You can eat this chicken salad immediately after mixing the salad together. That said, the flavors of the spices will become more pronounced after a few hours of marinating in the fridge. I find that it is even more delicious after it rests overnight.

platter of autumn chicken salad sandwiches with a halved green apple and small bowl of cranberries

Need more quick lunch inspiration?

Check out these other delicious recipes:

If you made this Fall Chicken Salad with Apples recipe, please be sure to rate and review it below. I love knowing how your kitchen adventures are going!

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chicken salad with apples on ciabatta rolls on a silver platter

fall chicken salad with apples on a platter

Fall Chicken Salad Sandwiches

5 (1 rating)
This fall chicken salad can be made with store-bought rotisserie chicken for convenience or holiday turkey leftovers, sweet apples, tart cranberries, and crunchy pecans. The light dressing is made with a combo of yogurt and mayo, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, a drizzle of sweet honey, a splash of tangy balsamic vinegar, and spice from chili powder and chili flakes.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Ciabatta roll, for serving
  • Butter lettuce, for serving

Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Serve on a ciabatta with lettuce.  Serve as a sandwich or over salad.

Notes

  • Use any leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or leftover turkey to make this fall chicken salad even easier!
  • You can also bake chicken breasts or poach them if you want.
  • Toasting your buns adds a lot of texture to the sandwich, but is not necessary.
Calories: 368kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 61mg, Sodium: 377mg, Potassium: 245mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 288IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks