Easy Chicken Poppy Seed Salad with Cranberries and Greek Yogurt

Sneak Preview: Introducing the Easy Chicken Poppy Seed Salad: A delightful blend of flavors featuring poppy seeds, dried cranberries, and creamy Greek yogurt. Whether you’re planning a weekend brunch, a ladies’ luncheon, or a quick weeknight supper, this recipe is your go-to choice for a slightly fancy chicken salad that’s sure to impress.

chicken poppyseed salad with ritz crackers on the side.Pin

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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.

Although I only have one chicken salad recipe listed in my index on this website, I have several other chicken salad recipes in my repertoire. One is an everyday mix-in-two-minutes-and-spread-on-white-bread recipe with sweet pickle relish and mayonnaise. Another is a curried chicken affair. (I make it when I don’t want my husband to eat it.) The third is this Easy Chicken Poppy Seed Salad with Greek yogurt—my all-time favorite.

Three Reasons This Recipe Was Meant for Sharing

  • It boasts a medley of interesting textures with crispy poppy seeds, crunchy celery, chewy dried cranberries, and creamy Greek yogurt.
  • It won’t send you to the grocery store looking for elusive ingredients like fresh fruit or an exotic spice.
  • The toasted nuts and dried fruit are optional if you want to keep things simple.

Happy Cooks Speak Up

“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. “– JOCELYN

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 revised 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 or cook a whole chicken are directed in this chicken and dumpling recipe.
    • My Alabama sister says she makes chicken salad with boneless skinless chicken breasts and never uses dark chicken meat. It’s 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 a cheap strainer or colander and let it sit for an hour until thick.)
    • You can substitute mayonnaise for the yogurt, but it is cloying. The yogurt adds freshness. Suit yourself.
  • POPPYSEEDS: A reader told me she accidentally used chia seeds instead of poppy seeds, and nobody could tell the difference. It’s worth a try.
    • 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 them. Toasted pecans are a fabulous substitute.
  • LEMON JUICE: No fresh lemons in the house? My next choice is apple cider vinegar. You don’t need much.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad served with crackersPin

Four Ways To Serve Chicken Salad

1. Serve with homemade or store-bought dinner 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). Other possibilities include crescent rolls out of a can or croissants.

2. Make sweet potato chips and eat them with a spoonful of chicken salad on top. That’s how I serve ham salad. It is so tasty.

3. Serve 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.

4. Eat with your favorite crackers or make a sandwich with a loaf of Blue Ribbon Buttermilk Bread made with a Bread Machine.

FAQ for Poppy Seed Chicken Salad

Can I use store-bought poppy seed dressing in this recipe?

Commercial poppy seed dressing has a lot more sugar than I want in my chicken salad. It’s also thinner in consistency compared to mayonnaise and Greek yogurt.

Can I freeze this chicken salad?

No. I don’t recommend it. The texture will change when it thaws.

How long can I store it?

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.

Random thoughts: These bread machine recipes make good sliders for your chicken salad. You can also go for a full-size bun recipe with these Potato Buns.

Help at Your Fingertips: For questions or suggestions, email Paula at saladinajar.com. If you need help, I’m happy to troubleshoot via email (faster than leaving a comment). Attach pictures and as many details as possible for the best advice.

chicken poppyseed salad with ritz crackers on the side.Pin
Yield: 5 servings

Easy Chicken Poppy Seed Salad with Cranberries and Greek Yogurt

You will love this chicken salad full of white chicken, celery, almonds, poppy seeds, and dried cranberries. Greek yogurt and mayo hold it together. It’s a great way to recycle leftover rotisserie chicken.
5 from 3 votes


Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 cups (250 g) cooked chicken, cubed
  • ½ cup (60-75 g) sliced almonds or chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 stalk (40-50 g) finely chopped celery
  • 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • cup (43 g) dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup (50 g) unflavored Greek yogurt unflavored
  • ½ cup (112 g) mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • pinch sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Combine 2 cups (250 g) cooked chicken, cubed, 1/2 cup (60-75 g) sliced almonds or chopped pecans,, 1 stalk (40-50 g) finely chopped celery, 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds, 1/3 cup (43 g) dried cranberries, 1/4 cup (50 g) unflavored Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup (112 g) mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt together in a bowl until combined.
  • Chill.


  1. Substitute sour cream or more mayonnaise for the yogurt.
  2. Vinegar is a good replacement for lemon juice.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 86IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg

All images and text ©️ Paula Rhodes for Salad in a Jar.com

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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Do you have a Bread Machine dough Croissant recipe?

    1. Hi Samantha,
      I do not, but you can find many online. Make the dough with the DOUGH cycle. After that, you must roll the layers with butter, etc. It’s a process. The rolls you see on this post are sweet potato rolls that I made. You can see the instructions for making them in this post. They are not really croissants since they do not have multiple layers of butter in them. But nobody will care–they are delicious as is.

  2. 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.

    1. Thanks Jocelyn,
      I haven’t used canned chicken much but maybe I should try it. 🙂

  3. 3petitsprinces says:

    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!

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

  5. A dear friend sent a link to me, which led me to your youtube.com 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.

  6. 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…

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

  7. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    This sandwich looks gorgeous. I can only imagine how it would taste on brioche. I’m going to give it a try.

  8. Which of your bread recipes is the best to use with chicken-salad sandwiches?

    1. That question is like asking who is my favorite child!!

      Current favorite would be the sweet potato rolls followed by My favorite dinner rolls or brioche. If you want regular bread– the Sweet Milk White Bread would be fabulous.

  9. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    Oh, yum. I don’t use poppyseeds nearly enough.

  10. I always like chicken salad and this one looks yummy. I did make your sweet potato dinner rolls and we all enjoyed them for our Christmas dinner.

    Happy New Year, Paula : )

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      I guess you and I were eating the same kind of dinner rolls at our Christmas dinner. Hope your new year is going well.

  11. Ok never mind. I didn’t see the entire post on iPad mini until after clicking submit. You already answered my question.

  12. Already made this & packed in lunch for work! Yum! And so easy to throw together! What type of bread/crackers do you recommend to go with this for maximum satisfaction of my taste buds?

    1. Hey Susie,
      I forgot to tell you that Special K Crackers in the Multi-Grain variety are really good with this salad. Actually. They’re just really good. Period. Similar to wheat thins. That’s what you see in the top picture of this post.

  13. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Hi Paula, love your chicken salad, it sounds wonderful. I think poppy seeds make everything a bit more special.

  14. Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies says:

    I have a favorite chicken salad recipe, too, but I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Love this one!

  15. This sounds like a wonderful recipe and those sandwiches look so appetizing!

  16. I love chicken salad, your recipe looks so good! =)

  17. Debbie Lindsey says:

    This is a great salad, delicious! Was fortunate to receive some and I would definitely make it myself. The yogurt gives it a different texture/taste. Thanks Paula!