Sweeten Up Your Next Chicken Salad Recipe With Canned Fruit Cocktail

Chicken salad is a classic for a reason. Not only is it delicious and comforting, it's also super easy to make. Yet, while you don't need endless ingredients to prepare it, that doesn't mean a recipe should only consist of shredded chicken and copious amounts of mayonnaise. Instead, a good chicken salad should boast variety, which is more than achievable by introducing one or two flavorful — dare we say, wild card — ingredients. To craft a chicken salad that's anything but predictable, take a sweeter approach. Simply add in some canned fruit cocktail and prepare to be amazed.

An albeit unexpected way to use up canned fruit cocktail, adding the ingredient to chicken salad actually does wonders in revamping an uninspired recipe. Drawing inspiration from the many recipes that include fresh or dried fruit, fruit cocktail acts as a cheap and convenient alternative. Nevertheless, it still manages to improve chicken salad tenfold. The question is, how?

Along with boosting visual appeal in otherwise beige-looking salads, the colorful ingredient provides a dimension of flavor thanks to its unique combination of fruits. Most impressively, the canned fruit can also help in balancing flavors. Given its mainly sweet profile, chunks of soft and syrupy fruit offset the saltiness and savoriness of the chicken salad. Plus, this sugary quality can even contrast other flavors within a recipe like the zestiness of diced onions or bitterness of chopped celery, leading to a more harmonious bite.

The dos and don'ts of using canned fruit cocktail in chicken salad

Many canned fruit cocktails include a medley of pears, peaches, pineapples, grapes, and cherries. But, different brands may boast varying ratios or entirely different fruits. Likewise, some might be packed in syrup, others in fruit juice or water. In any case, all cans are equally as effective in elevating chicken salad.

For the best results, strain the fruit cocktail fully. Adding extra liquid will only lead to a soggy and sickeningly sweet salad. We also recommend giving the fruit a rough chop for a better diffusion of flavor. Depending on the size of the can, it might not be necessary to use all of the fruit. So, feel free to adjust amounts to your liking. Lastly, since the fruit will impart a significant degree of sweetness, remember to salt and season the salad accordingly in order to keep flavors well-balanced.

Not sure which recipes benefit from a fruit-forward makeover? Essentially, almost every creamy chicken salad can be enhanced with a can of fruit cocktail. Whether it be a savory salad complete with crumbled bacon, a decadent recipe teeming with buttery avocado, or a spiced and curried chicken salad, fruit cocktail lends a pop of color and burst of flavor to any recipe. With so many ways to experiment, the days of dull chicken salads are long behind you!