This Pecan Chicken Salad is pretty much one of my all time favorite recipes! My Dad made a mean chicken salad and over the years I have tweaked it until I found what I think is the perfect balance of crunchy, chewy, sweet, tart, crisp and soft.
Shredded chicken breast is the star of the show but the toasted pecans, crunchy celery, juicy grapes, sweet Craisins, tart onion, creamy mayonnaise, and seasonings each play an important role in this recipe.
A couple of tricks when it comes to boiling chicken.
- I cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces so that it cooks faster and doesn't become dry and rubbery.
- I like to add 1 or 2 chicken bullion cubes to the water. I think this helps the chicken to be more flavorful but it is totally optional.
- If you have a stand mixer, you can put your warm boiled chicken breasts in the bowl and use the paddle attachment to shred the chicken (see below). It works perfectly every time and is such a time saver if you are shredding a lot of chicken (or pork).
A couple of other tips when making this chicken salad.
- I quarter the grapes. Green or red grapes are fine.
- I like to finely chop the onion. That way you don't get a mouthful of onion just the flavor of the onion.
- If you have time, toast the pecans in a nonstick frying pan just until they are toasty and you can start to smell a toasted/nutty smell.
- This recipe doubles very easily if you are feeding a crowd.
- I use light mayonnaise but you could use regular or olive oil.
- My favorite way to serve it is with croissants but if you are looking for a lighter option, it is delicious inside or on top of a tomato.
- It is best to let the flavors “marry” for a couple of hours before serving.
I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
- 2 lbs. shredded chicken breast
- 1 cup red or green grapes, quartered
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup finely diced onion
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like light mayo)
- 1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, quartered grapes, chopped celery, toasted pecans, diced onion, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, garlic salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Stir until completely combined.
- Chill in the refrigerator until flavors have blended, at least one hour.
- Serve on your favorite bread or a sliced tomato.