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Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Preview: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad is a slightly fancy chicken salad laced with poppy seeds and cranberries. It’s suitable for a weekend brunch, ladies luncheon, or a game-day party.

How many recipes for chicken salad do you have? If you are a chicken salad lover like me, I bet you can guess the answers to the following question:

How are chicken salad recipes like blue jeans?

  • You can never have enough of either.
  • Everybody has his favorite brand or recipe.
  • There’s a pair of jeans or chicken salad recipe for every occasion
  • Every cook has a way of adapting recipes to his own tastes just like we all have a certain way we like to wear our jeans.
  • A basic pair of jeans or a basic recipe is timeless.
Poppy Seed Chicken Salad  with Greek Yogurt in croissants

Although I only have one chicken salad recipe in my index, I have several other chicken recipes I like. One is an everyday mix-in-two-minutes-spread-on-white-bread recipe. Another is a curried chicken affair. (I make it when I don’t want my husband to eat it.) The third is this Greek yogurt chicken salad recipe.

Recipe inspiration:

I found the original recipe buried in a notebook of company recipes for a pizza chain. I used to work for Pizza Inn in research and development.

First, I set about revising the amounts to make them domestically appropriate. Then, I dressed it up a bit when things like toasted almonds. Finally, I lightened it up a bit with homemade yogurt and a touch of lemon juice.

yogurt course

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • CHICKEN: This is an opportunity to use up leftover cooked chicken. My Alabama sister says good chicken salad never has dark meat in it. Something to consider. White turkey meat is the only substitute I would consider.
  • GREEK YOGURT: Unflavored yogurt is best in this recipe. If you only have regular yogurt on hand, you could strain some of the whey off to make it thicker. (Pour it into a paper coffee filter placed inside of a cheap strainer or colander and let it sit for an hour until thick.)

    You can substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt but it is rather cloying in my opinion. The yogurt adds freshness. Suit yourself.
  • POPPY SEEDS: A reader told me she accidentally used chia seeds instead of poppy seeds and nobody could tell the difference. Try that at your own risk.

    One tip about poppy seeds: Store them in the refrigerator. They tend to go rancid quickly.
  • CELERY: Celery adds a crisp texture that makes this recipe more interesting. Peeled and chopped apples would do the same thing.
  • DRIED CRANBERRIES: Dried cranberries could be optional if you don’t have them but they add sweetness and more importantly, color. Substitute dried cherries if you prefer.
  • ALMONDS: The almonds should be sliced–with or without the skin on. I like to lightly toast almonds in the microwave before adding. Toasted pecans are a fabulous substitute.
  • LEMON JUICE: No fresh lemons in the house? My next choice would be some apple vinegar. You don’t need much.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad served with crackers



I love this Greek yogurt Chicken Salad with poppy seeds served with homemade rolls of almost any kind. My current favorites are these sweet potato rolls made into crescents or “butter horns” (as my mom used to call them) shapes. Other possibilities include crescent rolls out of a can or use croissants.


Another idea for chicken salad is to make sweet potato chips and eat them with a spoonful of chicken salad on top. That is how I serve ham salad and is so tasty. Low-carb never tasted so good.


What I do most often is spoon it on top of a huge salad (vacuum-sealed). Add a little olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese. Eating this for lunch is guaranteed to improve the rest of the afternoon.


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p.s. Questions or suggestions? Please email me: Paula at

Yield: 5 servings

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad in croissants

A fancy chicken salad full of white chicken, celery, almonds, poppy seeds, and dried cranberries. It's all held together with Greek yogurt and mayo. It's a great way to recycle leftover rotisserie chicken.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, unflavored
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
  2. Chill.



  1. Replace the almonds with pecans. Absolutely divine!
  2. Substitute sour cream or more mayonnaise for the yogurt.
  3. Vinegar is a good replacement for lemon juice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 307mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 17g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

I made this for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit! It is so easy to put together, yet tastes special because of the almonds and cranberries. I used shredded chicken (canned) which really cut down on the prep time. This is definitely going into my recipe file. Thank you, Paula.


Friday 24th of May 2013

Thanks Jocelyn, I haven't used canned chicken much but maybe I should try it. :-)


Tuesday 5th of February 2013

Paula, I made this chicken salad for my son's 9th birthday party. He wanted a cricket themed party (the sport-my husband is South African) so I wanted something a little elegant for the adults. We had beautiful weather and I made & assembled the sandwiches on homemade buns (yes! I used my bread machine! I used a sour cream dough, however.) with a piece of romaine lettuce and a toothpick through the center to keep it all together. I received many, many compliments! Thank you for sharing your fabulous recipe & helping to make my son's party special! L


Monday 21st of January 2013

Made this salad and loved it! I am adding it to my list of fav Chicken Salads. Thanks for sharing!


Friday 18th of January 2013

A dear friend sent a link to me, which led me to your salad-in-a-jar video, and I'm so glad that she sent it! After viewing that video, I just had to do a search in order to find your blog, Paula. Who could resist?

Well, you grabbed my attention right away with your yummy sounding chicken salad recipe. I know what I'll be putting together tomorrow! I'm off to my kitchen just now to prepare dinner, but I'll be right back to take a better peek at your site.


Thursday 17th of January 2013

This sounds great! To make you laugh, I made poppy seed muffins the other day and accidently used CHIA seeds! I had bought them (because they are supposed to be so good for you) and put them in a jar just like the one that my poppy seeds were stored in. I didn't tell anyone, and no one was the wiser. Still giggling about that...


Friday 18th of January 2013

You made me laugh Piper. So just what was your plan for the CHIA seeds? That's a territory I have yet to explore.

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