This quick and easy chicken salad recipe is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. Equal parts crunchy, creamy, and satisfying, it has no added sugar, gluten or dairy. Make this simple chicken salad recipe to save for quick easy go to meals for the week.  

If you’re anything like me, chicken makes a regular appearance on your table. It is so easy to make and is able to soak up any flavor you give it.

This lightened-up classic chicken salad is no exception. It is perfect to use up your leftover chicken. Moreover, it is packed with sweet and savory flavors, crunchy and creamy textures. 

Why I Love This Chicken Salad Recipe

A bowl of chicken salad with celery, apples, cranberries and dill on top.

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy leftover chicken. Because it elevates my lunch in a tasty way without a lot of time or effort.

Not to mention, I get to enjoy a chicken salad without any weird ingredients or added sugar. Instead, I only used a handful of simple fresh vegetables and gluten friendly condiments.

Two of my Favorites Gluten Free Approved Mayos are:

  1. Chosen Food Avocado Mayo
  2. Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo

When you make this dish at home instead of buying it from the deli, you can adjust it to suit your own unique preferences.

Tweak it by increasing the flavors you love the most, making it your own creation. Therefore, this recipe can easily be made gluten-free and dairy free.

How to Make This Chicken Salad

A bowl of celery, apples, cranberries, walnuts, mayo, lemon, and dill on top.

You can make this chicken salad using whatever leftover chicken you like. Try using my oven-baked chicken breast, slow cooker whole chicken, or even rotisserie chicken. Simply remove the skin, and then shred with a fork or chop your chicken of choice.

Combine chicken with the other ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. And you’re done! 

Optional Add-Ins to “Dress Up” the Chicken Salad

Personally, I love adding dried cranberries, tart apples, shredded carrots, golden raisins, sunflower seeds. Because the sweet and crunchy add-ins create the perfect contrast with the creamy mayo and savory chicken.

You can also play up your favorite flavors by adding curry powder, Chinese 5 spice, or even Jamaican jerk seasoning. 

Besides all the fun add-ins, make sure to choose no sugar added and preservative-free options to keep this recipe gluten free. 

With endless combinations and possibilities, this chicken salad never gets old!

How to Serve Chicken Salad

A bowl of chicken salad with celery, apples, cranberries and dill on top.

How will you enjoy your chicken salad? Here are a few options:

  1. Lettuce wrap or over salad greens
  2. Sweet potato toast
  3. On top of Crackers.
  4. Use your favorite toasted bread (for those not following a gluten free lifestyle) with lettuce tomato and avocado – Classic!
  5. Chicken Salad Buddha Bowl 
  6. Chicken Salad Tacos 

When it comes to ways to serve this chicken salad, the sky is the limit! Comment below to share your favorite ways with me!


A bowl of chicken salad with celery, apples, cranberries and dill on top.
A bowl of classic chicken salad with celery, apples, cranberries, walnuts and dill on top.

Get the recipe:Lightened Up Chicken Salad {with Apples and Walnuts}

Classic chicken salad made lighter. With apples and walnuts in the mix, you have creamy savory chicken and sweet nutty crunch in every bite.
4.50 stars (4 reviews)
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  • 2 cups Chicken *
  • 1/4 cup Mayo**
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped apples
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Salt Pepper to Taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 – 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill, optional
  • 1/2 lemon juiced


  • Primal Kitchen – Avocado Oil Mayo, Dairy Free and Gluten Free (12 oz) – 2 Pack


  • Cook the chicken breast in the oven using my favorite oven-roasted chicken recipe, or use a leftover rotisserie chicken (take out the bone). Pull the chicken into thick pieces or roughly chop into cubes.
  • In a big mixing bowl, add all the ingredients. Mix well until everything is combined and lightly covered by the mayo.
  • For best results, cover and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to ensure the flavor soak in.
  • Serve with tomato, avocado, and lettuce on your favorite toasted bread or crackers. Enjoy!


  1. * You can use chicken breast or leftover rotisserie chicken (my favorite)
Serving: 1g, Calories: 246kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 203mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 12g

The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.