Creamy Curried Chicken Salad Recipe

Chicken salad: the ultimate sandwich-filler, cracker topper, and pita-stuffer. It's a versatile mixture of mayo and cubed chicken, usually served plain with lots of celery and red onion. It's protein-rich and travels well, making it one of the more common road trip and beach-ready snacks in the picnic basket.

While nothing quite beats a classic mayo-and-celery chicken salad, this recipe for curried chicken salad by developer Michelle McGlinn is a perfect way to switch things up a bit. It's not exactly spicy, but has the distinct flavor of your favorite chicken curry thanks to the inclusion of nutty cashews and flavorful curry powder. The grapes are a pleasant, sweet surprise that add a little bit of crunch and brightness to the dense curry flavor. And even though it's made from scratch, this chicken salad comes together easily so that lunchtime can still be a breeze. Looking for a new way to enjoy chicken salad? This recipe is sure to hit the spot.

The ingredients needed for creamy curried chicken salad

First, you'll need chicken breasts, salt, and pepper. If you're running low on time or simply have chicken leftovers to use up, feel free to skip the cooking step and use a pound of already-cooked chicken (just make sure it's cooled). The chicken can be shredded or cubed; if making the chicken from scratch, it's best to cube it into bite-sized pieces for easy cooking.

For the dressing, you'll need mayonnaise, celery, scallions, cashews, lemon juice, curry powder, and red grapes. You can swap for green grapes, but note that they will be slightly more sour. If you'd prefer a different nut, McGlinn recommends swapping for peanuts or almonds (or leave them out entirely for a nut-free version).

For serving, McGlinn suggests a simple sandwich of Italian bread and alfalfa sprouts, but you can get creative and eat the chicken salad on croissants, inside pitas, or on top of seasoned pita chips.

Cook and cool the chicken

This step can be completed as far as a couple of days ahead of time, or as little as an hour before serving. Cube the chicken into fairly small pieces (about ½-inch or less is easiest to eat) and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat up a skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken until completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes total, stirring and tossing the pieces frequently to brown all sides. Once the chicken has no signs of pink (we like to taste test a piece, just to be sure), remove it from the heat and let it cool completely. McGlinn doesn't recommend mixing in the mayo right away because the mayo will melt into the warm chicken.

Mix everything together

Bring the mayo, celery, scallions, cashews, curry powder, and lemon juice together in a large bowl, combining with your cooked and cooled chicken. Don't add in the grapes just yet; the first mixing step will require some elbow grease, which risks squishing the grapes and making the salad watery. Stir, folding in the mayonnaise and curry powder until the salad takes on a creamy yellow consistency. Taste the salad and add more curry powder if the flavor seems bland.

Once the salad is creamy, yellow, and flavorful, gently fold in the grapes until just combined.

Serving curried chicken salad

The beauty of chicken salad? It's easy, and once it's made, it stores well in the refrigerator for about a week where it can be used for a variety of lunches. If you're someone who gets bored of the same lunch everyday, chicken salad should be your best friend; it can be served between pita, with hummus, on a croissant, or on top of pita crackers. If you like it as a classic sandwich, try adding alfalfa sprouts for an additional subtle crunch (so as not to take away from the crunchy grapes, celery, and cashews). Avoiding carbs? Serve the chicken salad on cucumber rounds instead of crackers for a refreshing snack.

Nothing goes better with a sandwich than a big, warm bowl of soup. Curried chicken salad goes particularly well with lentil soup, curried potato soup, and sweet potato chili. More into leafy greens than liquid veggies? This chicken salad also pairs well with something leafy and cheesy, like a grilled halloumi salad.

Creamy Curried Chicken Salad Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
This creamy curried chicken salad recipe has the flavor of your favorite chicken curry thanks to the inclusion of nutty cashews and flavorful curry powder.
Prep Time
Cook Time
bowl of curried chicken salad
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch or smaller pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from ½ a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • ¼ cup red grapes, halved
Optional Ingredients
  • Bread, for serving
  • Alfalfa sprouts, for serving
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. Heat an oiled skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides until completely cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. Add chicken, celery, scallions, cashews, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder to a large bowl. Mix until completely combined.
  4. Add grapes to mixture and gently combine.
  5. Serve on bread with sprouts, if desired.
Calories per Serving 409
Total Fat 29.6 g
Saturated Fat 4.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 94.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.8 g
Total Sugars 2.6 g
Sodium 435.8 mg
Protein 28.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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