Sneak Preview: This Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Salad is a slightly fancy chicken salad recipe with poppy seeds, dried cranberries, and Greek yogurt. It’s suitable for a weekend brunch, ladies’ luncheon, or a weeknight supper.
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How many recipes for chicken salad do you have? If you are a chicken salad lover like me, I bet you have several.
If you want a chicken salad recipe that goes together quickly and doesn’t require ingredients that will send you to the store (no fresh fruit), add this one to your collection. The crunchy textures will provide a tongue-tingling contrast to a soft bun without making the bread soggy.
Although I only have one chicken salad recipe listed in my index on this website, I have several other chicken recipes I like. One is an everyday mix-in-two-minutes-and-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 Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Salad—my all-time favorite.
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 made it fancy with ingredients like toasted almonds and dried cranberries. Finally, I lightened it with homemade yogurt and a touch of lemon juice.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- CHICKEN: This is an opportunity to use up leftover cooked chicken. I buy the rotisserie chicken at Costco.
My Alabama sister says she makes her chicken salad with boneless skinless chicken breasts and never uses dark chicken meat. Something to consider.
White turkey meat is the only substitute I would consider.
- GREEK YOGURT: Unflavored Greek yogurt is the 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. 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 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 color. Substitute dried cherries if you prefer.
- ALMONDS: I like the almonds to be sliced (as opposed to slivered)—with or without the skin on. I also like to lightly toast the almonds in the microwave before adding. Toasted pecans are a fabulous substitute.
- LEMON JUICE: No fresh lemons in the house? My next choice is apple vinegar. You don’t need much.
3 ways to serve Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
1. I love this Greek yogurt Chicken Salad with poppy seeds served with homemade rolls of almost any kind. My current favorites are the sweet potato rolls (pictured at the top) made into crescents or “butter horns” (as my mom used to call them) shapes. Other possibilities include crescent rolls out of a can or using croissants.
3. What I do most often is serve it over a huge salad (vacuum-sealed). Add a little olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese and toasted pecans. I guarantee eating this for lunch will improve the rest of your day.
Commercial poppy seed dressing has a lot more sugar in it than I want in my chicken salad. It’s also a thinner consistency compared to mayonnaise and Greek yogurt.
No. I don’t recommend it. The texture will change when it thaws.
Store covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. This recipe stays fresh longer than a chicken salad with fresh fruit such as strawberries or grapes added.
Parting thoughts: These bread machine recipes make good sliders to hold your chicken salad. Or go for a full-size bun recipe with these Potato Buns.
- My Favorite Dinner Rolls–Updated with the Tangzhong Method
- Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter Glaze
- Hawaiian Bread Rolls
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!
Easy Poppy Seed Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Greek Yogurt
- 2 cups cooked chicken - cubed
- ½ cup slivered almonds - toasted
- ¼ cup celery - finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt - unflavored
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Pinch of sugar
- Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
- Replace the almonds with pecans. Absolutely divine!
- Substitute sour cream or more mayonnaise for the yogurt.
- Vinegar is a good replacement for lemon juice.