Curried chicken salad with apples, celery, raisins, and almonds, lightly dressed with a yogurt and curry dressing, is welcome at almost any meal or gathering.
Curried chicken salad is kind of a classic, isn’t it? I like to look at vintage cookbooks from the 1950s era and I almost always see a recipe for curried chicken salad. Yet, if you look online today, you’ll still find plenty of recipes for this favorite salad, so it’s not entirely a dish from the past.
Wonder why curried chicken salad recipes have such staying power? If you haven’t tried this salad yet, you’ll find that it’s flavorful and easy to make. The curry powder gives it that extra special flavor that carries the salad beyond mundane and into the realm of Wow! You’ll see why curried chicken salads have stuck around all these years.
Curry chicken salad is an easy main dish salad to make. It makes a great lunch or dinner – serve it on a bed of greens or on a croissant. I love piling it into tomato cups: hollow out a large tomato and pile in the the curried chicken salad. It stands on its own, too, you really don’t need to add anything. Or serve it as an appetizer in min-phyllo cups.
Curried chicken salad would be perfect for a special luncheon, too, a bridal or baby shower. Take a container on your next picnic. I just know you’re going to love this healthy curried chicken salad.
What is curry powder?
Briefly, curry powder is a spice blend and there are lots of variations. Most include turmeric, fenugreek, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, and pepper, but that list is far from complete. You can make your own blend, too. You’ll find curry powder in mild, medium, or hot strengths. Often the mild version is called sweet curry. Curry is popular in many different cuisines (think Thai) but it doesn’t look the same for each. Experiment with different blends and find the one you like best!
About this curried chicken salad:
Even though curried chicken salad has kind of an exotic flavor, due to the curry powder, you won’t need exotic ingredients to make it. It’s a pretty simple salad with chicken, celery, apples, raisins, and scallions (green onions). I like to garnish it with toasted slivered almonds. You won’t have to search the grocery store to find these simple ingredients and you may already have most of them in your kitchen.
About the chicken: I always have roasted chicken breast in the fridge or freezer so that’s what I usually use for this salad. Rotisserie chicken would be delicious, too. Or poach a couple of fresh or frozen chicken breasts.
I like to skinny up the dressing by replacing some of the mayonnaise with fat free Greek yogurt. I use this method to make most of my creamy dressings and I am so pleased with how they taste. You really won’t taste the difference. Try it in poppy seed dressing or homemade ranch dressing.
Make the dressing for this curry chicken salad with non-fat Greek yogurt, mayo, lemon juice or white wine vinegar, and a bit of honey and salt. Oh, and don’t forget the curry powder! I use sweet (mild) curry powder but if you like a little more spice, use a hotter blend.
Note: if you don’t happen to have a fresh lemon, use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead. Either would be a fine replacement.
Mix everything together, except the toasted almond slivers, and put it in the fridge for an hour or so. You can eat it right away but it’s better if the salad has a chance to let the flavors soak in. As a side benefit, the raisins get a little juicier, too.
Enjoy! Make it a special occasion by serving it with a glass of white wine. Riesling or Gewürztraminer would be perfect.
How to make this curry chicken salad your own:
Curried chicken salad is pretty versatile. Use what you have in your pantry to make it just the way you like. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Substitute sliced red or green grapes for the apple, or just add them as additional fruit in the salad. Use golden raisins or currants if that’s what you have.
- Don’t care for scallions? Just leave them out. You could also substitute finely chopped red onion, about a tablespoon or two.
- Like your salads with eggs? Add a couple of chopped hard-boiled eggs.
- Make this salad keto-friendly by using full-fat Greek yogurt and no mayonnaise. Omit the honey, if desired.
- Don’t have Greek yogurt? You can substitute all mayo if you like, or use regular yogurt. The dressing will have a thinner consistency if you use regular yogurt but it works just fine. I’ve done that plenty of times.
- We have nut allergies in our house, but this salad is fantastic with some toasted almonds or toasted cashews stirred in.
Curried chicken salad keeps well in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stir well before serving.
More chicken salads
Looking for more main dish chicken salads? Like this curried chicken salad, they can be made ahead and are ready when you are. Try:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (can substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped (about 3 cups shredded chicken)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
- 1 cup diced apples (about 1 apple)
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions (about 3 scallions)
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
- Bread, croissants, lettuce, or crackers for serving
- In a large bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Add chicken, celery, apples, scallions, raisins and stir well to coat all ingredients with dressing.
- Can be eaten immediately, but recommend refrigeration for at least 1 hour for best flavor and texture. If adding nuts, stir in immediately prior to serving or sprinkle on top of each serving.
- Store leftovers in a covered container for 2-3 days.
- This is a lightly dressed chicken salad. If you prefer a more heavily dressed chicken salad, you may wish to double the dressing ingredients.
- Nutrition information is for chicken salad only and does not include bread.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.