Curried Chicken Salad

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

This curried chicken salad is savory, sweet, and a little spicy, with lots of crunch from grapes, cashews, and celery.

Chicken salad over lettuce in a bowl.

I originally shared this curried chicken salad on my salad column on Serious Eats in 2011. All these years later, it is still one of my favorites. Savory, sweet, and a little spicy – with lots of fresh crunch from grapes, cashews, celery, and scallions – it is wonderful over greens or piled into a sandwich. The creamy dressing is flavored with curry powder, a blend of spices like coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, to name just a few. I recommend using poached chicken to make the salad, but roasted chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken work well too.

What You’ll Need To Make Curried Chicken Salad

curried chicken salad ingredients

As mentioned above, I use poached chicken for this recipe — it’s easy and the method yields super tender chicken. If you’d prefer to use roasted chicken, you’ll need 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the chicken breasts skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet, and coat them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done, and then let cool.


Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, curry powder, honey, lime juice, and salt.
dressing ingredients in mixing bowl

Whisk to combine.

Bowl of whisked dressing.

Add the chicken, celery, grapes, scallions, cashews, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired, to the dressing (if not serving immediately, hold off on adding the cashews so they stay crunchy).

adding chicken, grapes, cashews, celery, and scallions

Toss well, and then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. (If using a rotisserie chicken, be careful when mixing so that it doesn’t fall apart too much.)

mixed curried chicken salad

Chill the curried chicken salad until ready to serve.

Bowl of curried chicken salad.

You May Also Like

Curried Chicken Salad

This curried chicken salad is savory, sweet, and a little spicy, with lots of crunch from grapes, cashews, and celery.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • ½ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 1 lime
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups cooked shredded chicken (see note)
  • 3 large stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
  • 3 scallions, light and dark green parts, finely sliced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
  • ⅔ cup salted cashews


  1. Make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, curry powder, honey, lime juice, and salt.
  2. To the dressing, add the chicken, celery, grapes and scallions. Toss well to combine, then taste and adjust seasoning, adding the cayenne pepper, if desired. Cover the chicken salad with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, stir in the cashews (adding them at the last minute ensures they stay crunchy).
  3. Note: I use poached chicken for this recipe. If you'd like to use roasted chicken, you'll need 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the chicken breasts skin-side up on the prepared baking sheet. Coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done. Let cool. (You may also use a rotisserie chicken.)
  4. Make-Ahead Instructions: This salad can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Wait to add the cashews until right before serving, otherwise they will get soft.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Calories: 527
  • Fat: 42 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 514 mg
  • Cholesterol: 96 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:


  • Great recipe! Wonderful flavor!

    • — Michelle Burch on June 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Oops, sent comment, but forgot the most important… STARS

    • — Mary Caldejon on May 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Another Once Upon a Chef “KEEPER!” Just fabulous…. And spot on tip about holding off on cashews until right before eating…. Thank you from Crozet, VA

    • — Mary Caldejon on May 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love curry, but I found this to be too heavy on the curry flavor – I literally could not taste any of the other yummy ingredients (could have been curried anything!). Maybe because I used “high end” Penzeys curry? I’ll half the curry next time.

    • — Becky on March 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious! I had it when a friend made it in tortillas as wraps, and loved it. Now that she’s shared the recipe with me, I made it and found it equally yummy and am serving is as part of a birthday lunch!

    • — Kate on February 17, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was excellent! I made it with a few tweaks: I used canned chicken, omitted the celery (don’t like it), and substituted golden raisins for the grapes and thinly sliced almonds for the cashews. I also added a little more curry. All the other ingredients were added in lesser amounts (about half) since I only used 2 small cans of cooked chicken. I will definitely make it again – thanks! 😋

    • — Meriweather Clark-Connors on January 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this several times. The only thing I do different is add extra sauce because the sauce is so yummy.

    • — CindyG on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • This is the first time I have ever commented on a recipe. This was SO delicious. I didn’t have grapes but used raisons instead and it was still wonderful. I also toasted the cashews for additional flavor. Yummy, yum, yum!

      • — Caryl on December 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is a favorite recipe! It turned out beautifully. I’m not a celery fan, so I substitute one finely chopped apple. I also add 1/4 cup craisins.

    • — Sarah on November 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • I loved this recipe but found it a bit salty. I felt like it called for too much salt when I was adding it. Next time I would cut back to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon. Otherwise, it was yummy!

    • — Laura on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • If one is not a lover of uncooked celery, what can be substituted instead without altering the flavor profile of the salad too much?

    • — Alan Cronson on July 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Alan, two options that come to mind are diced jicama or water chestnuts. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is delicious, my husband liked it too, have made it several times

    • — Peggy kahle on June 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • I had a craving for this salad but first time making your recipe. It’s delicious! My five year old twin grandsons even ate it.

    • — Chris on May 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I had leftover chicken breasts, but no grapes or sour cream, so I went all mayo and substituted red bell peppers for the sweetness of the grapes. I also cut the curry in half. I loved it.

    • — RenoSue on February 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Another hit! The only change I made was to add a lot more curry but that is simply a personal preference for spicy food. This will definitely go into our summer rotation.

    • — Michele on July 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have been making chicken salad for years and this is the best of all my recipes. I did substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream and I also added 2 chopped hard boiled eggs. I am never disappointed.

    • — Lynn on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is such a great, delicious recipe! The only thing I added was some fresh ground pepper. Love this wrapped in Iceberg lettuce leaves, on a croissant or on a salad. Perfect. Thank you!

  • I made this pretty much following the recipe but used walnuts instead of cashews. The second time I’m making it I’m using chives instead of the scallions and doubling the recipe. Everyone gobbles this up! It’s so yummy!

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.