Chicken Salad with Apples, the BEST chicken salad with loads of fresh apple, walnuts or pecans, cheese, and a maple dijon dressing. This homemade gourmet chicken salad with apples is quick and easy to make!
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This Chicken Salad with Apples, is an easy recipe perfect for a quick fall lunch or dinner! It’s also a great way to use leftover precooked chicken (or use a rotisserie chicken) you may have around. We always seem to have leftover chicken, is that normal?
I’ve been making this chicken salad with apples recipe for years! I typically just throw in whatever we have around the house. It’s so easy that all you do is just mix all the ingredients in one bowl. There are so many substitute possibilities too with this Apple Chicken Salad, that I couldn’t possibly list them all, but I do have a few quick ones I’ll share with you further down.
This easy homemade chicken salad is full of chicken, nuts, fresh apples, shredded cheese, and a homemade dressing. The dressing is similar to a creamy honey mustard dressing, but instead of honey, I use maple syrup.
There are SO many ways to make chicken salad! Let’s start with the basics for those who have never made chicken salad before…
What is in chicken salad?
There are generally three parts to a basic chicken salad…
- Chicken – precooked and could be shredded or chopped. You could even use canned (not my favorite…) or a rotisserie chicken.
- Dressing – sometimes just mayo, but could be yogurt (such as plain Greek yogurt) and have other things like mustard, herbs/spices, and sometimes even a sweetener like honey, sugar, or maple syrup.
- Mix-ins – some popular things to add are chopped nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, or pecans), grapes, cranberries, cheese, apple, veggies (celery, kale, etc.), and even raisins. Have even heard people using blueberries, broccoli, and anything else they have around!
You really can mix and match your favorites for a whole new chicken salad recipe.
Homemade Chicken Salad with Apples Ingredients
- Mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)
- Maple syrup
- Dijon mustard
- Dill (dried)
- Salt & Pepper
- Chicken (precooked)
- Walnuts (or pecans)
- White Cheddar Cheese
How to Make Chicken Salad with Apples
- MAKE DRESSING. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, maple syrup, mustard, dill, and salt and pepper until well combined.
- MAKE SALAD. Add chicken, apple, walnuts, and cheese to bowl, and stir to combine. Serve as desired.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Chicken Salad Serving Suggestions
- As-is – This chicken salad is great all by itself. Just eat it with a fork!
- Sandwich – Makes a great sandwich or even a grilled sandwich.
- Over Salad – Serve over lettuce, cabbage, kale, or your favorite greens.
- Lettuce Wraps – For a lower carb option, serve a little chicken salad on lettuce leaves for fun wraps.
- Dip – Perfect for a party or holiday chicken salad dip. Serve with some crackers, crostini, or even vegetables like celery sticks.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Use plain precooked chicken that is not covered in any kind of sauce or strong flavors or seasonings.
- Use a crisp crunchy apple that you like. I like Fuji apples, but any of your favorites will work.
- Serve the chicken salad within a few hours so that the nuts and apples don’t get soft and mushy.
- If you’re short on time, prep the ingredients ahead of time and then mix and serve later.
Chicken Salad with Apples FAQ
How do you store chicken salad?
I personally think this chicken salad is best served right away (or within a few hours) because the apples and nuts can get soft the longer they sit in the dressing. However, if you must store, or have leftover chicken salad, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or a well covered bowl. If you are planning to store the chicken salad for a while, I’d suggest mixing the nuts (and even the apples…) in right before serving as they can get soft the longer they sit in the dressing.
Can you freeze chicken salad?
No, I do not recommend freezing this chicken salad. I mean technically you can freeze it, but you will probably be disappointed with how it turns out after thawed.
How long does chicken salad last?
As I mentioned above, I think this chicken salad is best served right away or within a few hours but can last a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. The longer you store it, the softer the apples and nuts will get.
What can I substitute for the mayo?
For a no mayo chicken salad, you could substitute plain Greek yogurt or even Miracle Whip if that’s more your thing.
What can I substitute for the nuts?
You can substitute any type of nuts for the walnuts, but if you don’t want any nuts you can omit them entirely or chopped celery would be a nice crunchy alternative.
What can I substitute for the maple syrup?
You can use your favorite sweetener such as sugar, brown sugar, honey, sugar alternative, or whatever you like. You may need to change the amount of the sweetener though so start with just a little, taste the dressing, then add more as needed. For a low carb chicken salad, you can omit the sweetener entirely.
What can I substitute for the apple?
If you don’t like apple, you could try substituting a firm pear or even chopped grapes or dried cranberries.
What should I serve with chicken salad?
This chicken salad is a meal in itself in my opinion. I personally like to serve it over lettuce as a salad. A fruit salad on the side would also be great. You could serve with some homemade rolls or breadsticks for a few more ideas. Check out my other serving suggestions above in the post.
How do you cook chicken for chicken salad?
Any kind of precooked chicken will work. You can use leftover grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, baked chicken, smoked chicken, canned chicken, Instant Pot Shredded Chicken, or whatever you have. Check out my How to Boil Chicken and How to Make Shredded Chicken for some popular options.
Other Chicken Salad Recipes You May Enjoy
- Ranch Chicken Club Salad Sliders – An oldie but goodie, and fun twist on chicken salad with ranch dressing.
- Thai Chicken Salad – Chicken salad with Asian flavors.
- Light Crispy Chinese Chicken Salad – A Chinese chicken salad made “light”.
- Mediterranean Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad – A no mayo chicken salad with Mediterranean flavors.
- Buffalo Chicken Salad – More of a lettuce salad, but with buffalo chicken.
Chicken Salad Video
See how quick and easy this Chicken Salad with Apples comes together…
This gourmet chicken salad is naturally gluten-free, but if gluten is a concern, be sure to use gluten-free bread if making a sandwich. It’s also dairy-free and can be nut-free (just omit the nuts). For a low carb version, skip the maple syrup or use a sweetener alternative.
Hope you enjoy this chicken salad recipe with apples!
Chicken Salad with Apples
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, maple syrup, mustard, dill, and salt and pepper until well combined.
- Add chicken, apple, walnuts, and cheese to bowl, and stir to combine.
This post was originally published in September 2015, but updated in September 2019 with additional information.