Curried Chicken Salad

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

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.

STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS

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.

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.

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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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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

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  • 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, Edamam.com. 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.

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Comments

  • 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!

    • — Kathleen on May 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Melody Reed on May 26, 2022
    • Reply

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