Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Home » Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds and Dried Cranberries

Sneak 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.

Poppy Seed Chicken Salad  with Greek Yogurt in croissants

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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 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.

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 with ingredients like toasted almonds. Finally, I lightened it with homemade yogurt and a touch of lemon juice.

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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


1. 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 using croissants.

2. 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.

3. 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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Poppy Seed Chicken Salad in croissants

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds

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 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Salads
Servings 5 servings


  • 2 cups cooked chicken - cubed
  • ½ cup slivered almonds - toasted
  • ¼ cup celery - finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt - unflavored
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt


  • Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
  • 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 Facts
Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad with Poppy Seeds
Serving Size
Amount per Serving
Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Keywords: chicken salad sandwich fillingchicken salad with Greek yogurtGreek Yogurt Poppy Seed Chicken Salad
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Recipe Rating


  1. 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!

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

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

  4. 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!

  5. The Café Sucré Farine says:

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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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. 🙂