This cranberry rotisserie chicken salad recipe is a fantastic combo of sweet and savory flavors, with tangy cranberries, savory chicken, and a creamy dressing.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
It's just so versatile! This recipe for Cranberry Rotisserie Chicken Salad is great as-is, but there are so many ways to change it up and make it your own.
We're starting with a pretty classic chicken salad base. Rotisserie chicken gives the salad a ton of great herby flavor. Then, the dried cranberries give the chicken salad that sweet, tart element that so many people love. That combination (all tied together with a creamy dressing) is the perfect blend of savory & sweet tastes.
But - if you want to change it up, that's totally possible! I've got a few of my favorite suggestions below, but if you can think it up, you can probably use that variation.
This cranberry chicken salad recipe is also great as a salad, dip, or sandwich. Make one recipe and use it in lots of different ways!
Why should I use rotisserie chicken?
Two words: flavor and convenience.
If you've never used a rotisserie chicken in your recipes, you're seriously missing out. It's the most tender, flavorful chicken out there. You're going to get a fantastic blend of herbs and spices that have slow-cooked into the chicken for hours.
What's more: you don't have to do any work! It's already cooked for you, pretty inexpensive (sometimes cheaper than buying a raw chicken), and available at just about every grocery store.
Rotisserie chicken is honestly a no-brainer in this recipe. The flavors play so well off of the sweetness in the cranberries.
Check for day-old rotisserie chicken in your deli's refrigerated section. They're typically a little bit less expensive than fresh rotisserie chickens and are already refrigerated...no need to wait to make your chicken salad!
Rotisserie Chicken Salad Ingredients & Variations
(See full ingredient list, with measurements, on the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
For Chicken Salad Base
- rotisserie chicken - Don't have access to a rotisserie chicken? No problem - just used about 1.5 lbs of cooked & shredded chicken breast meat. You could also use leftover turkey meat (hello, post-Thanksgiving lunch!)
- diced celery
- chopped pecans - If you're not a big pecan fan, use chopped almonds, cashews, walnuts, or sunflower seeds.
- finely diced red onion - If you're not a big onion fan, leave this out.
- dried cranberries - You can use another dried fruit in place of the cranberries. Raisins, apricots, or even dried apples work wonderfully!
- mayonnaise - I prefer a full-fat mayo, like Duke's Mayonnaise. You can lighten this recipe up by using light mayonnaise - it makes just a minor flavor difference.
- sour cream - Just like with the mayo, you can use a light sour cream to reduce the fat and calories in this recipe. You can also sub plain Greek yogurt for a big protein boost.
- Dijon mustard - This adds a great bite that works well with the sweetness of the cranberries.
- salt & black pepper
- garlic powder
- I am just not really a "fresh fruit in my chicken salad" kind of gal. However, if you are, add a cup of either chopped grapes or apples to your salad.
- Same with eggs - they're not my thing, but if you love them, you can add 2 boiled & chopped eggs to the salad.
- A few fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, dill, or thyme) would give this salad a big flavor boost!
- Garnish your chicken salad salads or dips with a little bit of chopped green onion.
Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Remove and shred chicken meat; put in a large bowl. Chop celery, pecans, and red onion; toss these and cranberries into rotisserie chicken meat.
Step 2: In a separate smaller bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and Dijon mustard. Add spices to dressing and blend well.
Step 3: Pour dressing over chicken mixture. Stir until everything is coated.
Step 4: Let chicken salad rest in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
How to Serve Rotisserie Cranberry Chicken Salad
There are so many ways to enjoy this cranberry rotisserie chicken salad!
- Make it into a sandwich. Place between two toasted pieces of sandwich bread and add a little bit of lettuce for crunch.
- Serve over a salad. All you need is a bed of lettuce or spinach and a couple of basic veggies (cucumber, red onion, tomatoes) with a big scoop of this chicken salad for a great lunch.
- Build a lettuce wrap. Use large pieces of romaine lettuce and fill with chicken salad for a low-carb meal with tons of flavor.
- Use as a dip. This chicken salad is great on Ritz crackers!
This salad stores well in an airtight container. Pop it in the fridge after making for 3-4 days. It actually gets better the longer it sets...all of those yummy flavors blend together!
Freezing Chicken Salad
This is one recipe I don't recommend freezing. Your fresher ingredients (celery, onion, even the dried cranberries) are going to get soggy. You could freeze just the chicken and creamy dressing, but that's honestly more work than just making it fresh as needed.
More Tips & Tricks
- Try to make this rotisserie chicken salad at least a few hours before you're ready to enjoy it. It needs that time for the flavors to blend together and for the dressing to soak into the salad elements. I prefer to let mine hang out in the fridge overnight.
- Make sure your chopped elements (celery, onion, and pecans) are finely diced. Nobody wants a big bite of onion in their chicken salad. Even the chicken needs to be shredded down to bite-sized pieces.
Cranberry Rotisserie Chicken Salad FAQs
Show me your chicken salad creations on social media! Just tag me 📸 on Instagram or Facebook (@lambertslately) to show off your meals. You can also let me know how liked the recipe by leaving a comment/rating ⭐️ below.
Cranberry Rotisserie Chicken Salad
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For Chicken Salad Base
- Remove and shred chicken meat; put in a large bowl. Chop celery, pecans, and red onion; mix these and cranberries into rotisserie chicken meat.
- In a separate bowl, stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and dijon mustard. Add spices and blend.
- Pour dressing over chicken mixture. Stir until everything is coated.
- Let chicken salad rest in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.