Make this chicken salad with apples for an easy lunch or a casual dinner. Pile the chicken salad on thick toast for a filling and crunchy sandwich.
An Easy, No-Fuss Sandwich
Casual dinners have become the norm around here these days. My husband and I like to watch the news during dinner, and we rarely sit at the dining table.
I like to opt for “easy to eat” choices, and sandwiches top the list. Our favorites are grilled turkey and cheese, ham and swiss sliders, and chicken salad sandwiches – which is what I’m sharing with you today.
Tips for Amazing Chicken Salad with Apples
This is a very easy recipe to make (which is why it is one of my favorites). Even so, here are some tips that take all the guesswork out of it for you.
- Use pre-cooked chicken to save time. Any kind of chicken can be used to make this recipe, but rotisserie chicken or baked chicken breasts are easy and very moist.
- Use both apples and celery. The combination of the celery and apples adds a delicious crunch, so make sure to use both ingredients.
- Sweet apples are best in chicken salad. Use your favorite apple variety to make this easy recipe. Some suggestions are Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, or Golden Delicious.
- Roast the pecans for the best flavor. The pecan roasting step is optional, but it only takes a few minutes, and the pecans become so much more flavorful after.
- Customize the recipe for your taste. This chicken salad with apples can be made according to your family’s tastes. The measurements are simply guidelines and can be easily adapted. Ideas for additional add-ins are red or green onion, grapes, dried cranberries, or fresh dill.
- Use fresh lemon. The lemon zest and parsley brighten the taste of this salad and add a wonderful flavor. I love tasting a subtle hint of lemon in every bite.
- How to thin the dressing. If you like your chicken salad thinned out a bit, add a tablespoon of milk or plain yogurt. Stir well to make sure everything is combined.
How to Serve Chicken Salad
One of the things I love about this recipe is how versatile it is. True, I typically eat it as a sandwich, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this flavorful dish.
Serve the toasted sandwiches with a cup of soup, and you have a casual yet hearty and filling dinner. Alternatively, you could serve this in a pita or as a wrap.
If you are in the mood for something light, this chicken salad with apples can easily be served on a bed of lettuce rather than on bread. Add a healthy muffin, and you’re good to go.
I find that this recipe also works well for a party appetizer or a simple snack when paired with crackers and/or fresh-cut veggies. Cucumber, celery, carrot sticks, and sliced bell peppers are my go-to.
Lastly, try chicken salad along with a fruit plate. I love eating this for lunch in the warmer months.
FAQs About This Chicken Salad With Apples Recipe
Here are some questions people often ask about how to make this chicken salad. If you have any additional questions, please leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.
How do you keep apples from turning brown in chicken salad?
The best way to prevent apples from turning brown is to add lemon juice to them. If you are storing this chicken salad for later, I suggest spritzing the apple slices with a little bit of lemon juice before adding them to your salad.
You won’t be able to taste much of the lemon juice, and it keeps the apples looking nice and fresh.
Why is my chicken salad watery?
Ingredients like celery and apples have water in them. The longer you store them in the salad, the more water will seep out of them and into your salad.
To prevent your chicken salad from becoming too runny, I suggest making sure the apples and celery are thoroughly dry. I dry the produce after I wash it, but I also go back and squeeze the chopped produce gently in a paper towel right before adding it to the salad.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
The above being said, you can make this recipe a few hours ahead of time.
As I mentioned, this is one of my go-to casual dinners. One of the best things about making chicken salad sandwiches for dinner is that the prep work can be done ahead of time so you can rest in the evening. I make the chicken salad in the afternoon, so all I have to do is assemble the sandwiches at dinner time.
What kind of chicken should I use?
Any cooked chicken will work. I think it’s easiest to use some shredded rotisserie or canned chicken. If you have some leftover cooked chicken breast, shred or chop it up and use that. Cooked chicken thighs will work too.
Ready to start making this dish? All of the details are in the printable recipe card, right here.
Chicken Salad with Apples & Pecans
- 2 cups chicken (chopped)
- 1 cup celery (chopped)
- 1 cup apple (chopped)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (zest from 1 large lemon)
- 1 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 cup lite mayonnaise
- salt & pepper
- Prepare the ingredients. Chop the chicken, celery, apples, and parsley, Zest the lemon.
- Place the chopped pecans in a small skillet on the stove, over medium high heat.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully and stirring, until pecans are lightly roasted.
- Add pecans, salt and pepper to chopped ingredients.
- Toss lightly to combine.
- Add the mayonnaise, and gently stir until the mayo is incorporated into the ingredients.
- Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Serve on a bed of lettuce, or on toasted bread as a sandwich.
More Casual Dinner Ideas
Here are a few more of my favorite effortless dinner ideas. These are delicious and will come together in a few minutes—no fuss required.