Apple Chicken Salad

September 20, 2023  ·  Published September 6, 2015

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Refreshing Chicken Salad with Apples – This fall inspired recipe is loaded with crisp sweet apples, crunchy pecans, green onions, lightly tart cranberries and plenty of tender chicken. And it’s all coated in a Greek yogurt based rich and creamy rosemary dressing.

Chicken salad with apples shown in whole wheat bread slices as stacked sandwiches.

Autumn Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

A crisp, apple studded, protein rich chicken salad that’s perfect for a hearty autumn lunch or even a simple weeknight dinner that won’t weigh you down.

It’s made healthier with a combination of Greek yogurt and a little mayo, and it pairs beautifully with a hearty whole grain bread. Or you can serve it lower carb over lettuce leaves for another nutritious option.

This version is made with rotisserie chicken but you can use leftover cooked chicken breasts as well. I just recommend that you avoid canned chicken for a better chicken salad.

It’s simple to make and worthy of your recipe collection!

Try serving it with baked sweet potato fries or sweet potato chips for a colorful fall pairing.

Apple chicken salad served in lettuce leaf boats.

Chicken Apple Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Cooked rotisserie chicken
  • Apples (gala are my favorite here)
  • Pecans
  • Green onions
  • Dried cranberries
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Maple syrup or honey
  • Rosemary
  • Dijon mustard
  • Nutmeg (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lettuce leaves or bread for serving

Ingredients needed for apple chicken salad.

How to Cook Chicken for Chicken Salad

  • If you want to cook chicken from raw use 20 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness then brush lightly with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Place on a foil lined half baking sheet and roasted at 425 degrees until it was 165 in center (which will take about 16 – 23 minutes, time will vary based on thickness of chicken breasts).
  • Then I let it cool completely (can be speed cooled in the freezer) and cut into pieces.


Making chicken salad dressing in mixing bowl.

How to Make Chicken Salad with Apples

  1. Add chicken, apples, pecans, green onions, and cranberries to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate small mixing bowl mix together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, maple syrup, rosemary, dijon mustard, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour over chicken mixture then toss to evenly coat.
  4. Serve in lettuce or on whole grain bread.

Tossing chicken salad with dressing.

Possible Substitutes and Variations for Apple Chicken Salad

  • No mayo: To make it even healthier you can use all Greek yogurt no mayo. If going that route I recommend using full fat Greek yogurt to give it a little more richness.
  • Nuts: Swap other nuts for those here. You can use walnuts, slivered or sliced almonds, or even peanuts (they go well with apples).
  • Onions: Red onion is a good addition here in place of green onions. Though they are stronger so you’ll only want to use 1/3 cup.
  • Leftover chicken: Instead of using a rotisserie chicken you can use leftover cooked chicken breasts.
  • Turkey: This chicken salad is a perfect way to use leftover turkey during the holidays to make a turkey salad.
  • Herbs: Fresh parsley is a delicious alternative to the rosemary, use 3 Tbsp.

Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to let chicken cool completely in the fridge before using. This type of chicken salad is best when chicken is cold vs. hot.
  • Add dressing shortly after chopping apples so they don’t turn brown.
  • As chicken salad rests a few hours the chicken tends to absorb some of the moisture making it seem like there’s less dressing. You can add a few more tablespoons of Greek yogurt or mayo, or even a little water to thin it back out.


  • This chicken salad will keep for about 2 days in the fridge.
  • Store it an an airtight container.
  • Toss before serving.

Bowl full of apple chicken salad.

More Chicken Salad Recipes to Try


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Chicken salad with apples shown in whole wheat bread slices as stacked sandwiches.
5 from 3 votes

Chicken Salad with Apples

The best autumn chicken salad! Loaded with crisp apples, crunchy pecans, lightly tart cranberries, tender chicken, and it's all coated in a flavorful fresh rosemary dressing.
Servings: 5 servings (about 6 cups)
Prep20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes



  • 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked rotisserie chicken (cold, 1 lb.)
  • 2 cups chopped apples, such as gala, fuji or golden delicious
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted or raw)
  • 2 green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped



  • Add chicken, apples, pecans, green onions, and cranberries to a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate small mixing bowl mix together greek yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, maple syrup, rosemary, dijon mustard, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour over chicken mixture then toss to evenly coat.
  • Store in the fridge up to 2 days. Serve in lettuce or on whole grain bread.


  • Note that as mixture sits a few hours the chicken may absorb the dressing and it will seem to dry up a little. You can thin it with a little more Greek yogurt or mayonnaise, or water (depending on how creamy you want it).
  • Nutrition estimate based on using lettuce leaves not bread.
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Salad with Apples
Amount Per Serving
Calories 383 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 86mg29%
Sodium 388mg17%
Potassium 514mg15%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 215IU4%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 81mg8%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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    I made this for after church yesterday. People liked it, but for me personally, I’d make some changes to the dressing like leave out the yogurt and use more mayo instead, cut back on the cider vinegar, leave out the rosemary or use thyme instead. It was still a decent recipe.

  • Jasson

    Very nice recipe chef 👍👌👏. I like the way you think, nice presentation. Thank you for your effort 🌞😎. P. S I diden’t had lettuce so I made pancakes which I then bake in the oven in a form of a bowl. 🤗

  • Tony

    This is a keeper!
    I added the extra steps of marinating and then grilling the chicken.
    Tender marinated chicken breasts grilled to juicy perfection!
    ⅓ cup oil olive oil or vegetable oil
    ¼ cup cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    1 tablespoon Kosher salt or to taste
    1 tablespoon pepper
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl or freezer bag. Add chicken and toss well to combine.
    Marinade for a 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours) before cooking chicken.

  • Stephanie

    We LOVE this recipe. We eat it on sourdough, and tastes like a high end sandwich place made it.


    I used leftover turkey breast, Granny Smith apple, Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt in place of plain Greek yogurt and omitted the honey. I had these ingredients on hand and I didn’t have to make a trip to the store. It turned out fabulous!!! Thank you for this awesome recipe.