Chicken Salad With Apples & Pecans

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.

stacked toasted sandwich on round wood board with tomatoes

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. 

chicken salad ingredients in bowl

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. 
chicken salad with apples in pyrex bowl

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.

Stacked sandwiches filled with chicken salad with apples

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 sandwich stacked fi

Chicken Salad with Apples & Pecans

Make this chicken salad with apples for an easy lunch, or a casual dinner. Pile the chicken salad on thick toast for a filling & crunchy sandwich.
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.82 from 11 votes
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Refrigeration time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 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.


Any kind of chicken can be used. Rotisserie chicken and baked chicken breasts work well.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe?Follow me at @onsuttonplace

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.

Click to join The Decorating Panel on Facebook!

subscribe box recipes lemon cookies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. I’ve tried your chicken salad recipe and it is fantastic! It is great in a sandwich but even better as part of a fruit plate. Thank you!

  2. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Thanks, Ann, for this Chicken Salad Sandwich recipe. It sounds so yummy! I am going to make this tomorrow.

  3. Melanie Sullins says:

    Oh, your chicken salad recipe looks and sounds so good! I can’t wait to try it, thanks for sharing!

  4. Linda Johnston says:

    I’m going to ty this recipe out. We also eat watchng the news many days. I still prepare a hot meals especially if our daughter’s home after work. She just texted she out tonight with friends. Big salad it is tonight.

  5. This looks and sounds amazing. Can’t wait to make it!

  6. Sue Davidson says:

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this recipe! All of my favorite flavors for lunch! Thanks, Ann!

    1. Quand vous dites « mayonnaise », est-ce genre Hellman’s ou plutôt sauce à salade comme Miracle Whip?

      1. Ann Drake says:

        Oui, Hellman’s est de la mayonnaise… mais Miracle Whip peut aussi être utilisé. C’est ce que vous préférez. Prendre plaisir!

  7. 5 stars
    This chicken salad is excellent. It is easy to make and comes together quickly. Great taste and can be adapted for other additions.

  8. Denise Iams says:

    5 stars
    My husband and I love this recipe! We made it several times last summer. Using rotisserie chicken (Kroger even sells it chunked) makes this the easiest, quick recipe. Do take the extra few minutes to toast the pecans; it does make a difference. I shared a batch with a friend who was recovering from surgery and it was greatly appreciated.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I love the Kroger rotisserie chicken that is already pulled! Whoever thought of that is brilliant. :)

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you Ann for the recipe, particularly suitable as Daylight Savings will be here on the 14th. Easy dinners will be the agenda for the following week!