Fifteen Spatulas

Fridge Staples: Cranberry Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad Recipe

In order to keep myself from eating certain “dangerous foods” that reside in my pantry, I always keep a stock of ready-to-eat filling dishes like this chicken salad in the fridge. If I open the refrigerator door and there’s nothing inside to nibble on, stop #2 is the pantry, where I know I can only find foods that tend to be of the more calories and less filling variety, like the Girl Scout cookies that keep calling my name. My fridge staples help me stay away!

Need a quick lunch? Layer some chicken salad on crusty bread with tomato slices and greens, and you’re set. Need to nibble on a little bit of protein? I grab a whole wheat cracker, put a spoonful of chicken salad on it, and find that it tides me over for a while.

Chicken salad can be done in so many ways, but I find the three staples I must always have in any version is some crisp chopped celery, red onion, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice:

Chicken Salad Fridge Staples

Extra goodies in this recipe come in the form of dried cranberries (love!) and freshly chopped basil leaves. Another favorite of mine? Curry chicken salad.

But what’s the most important ingredient in a chicken salad? Time. The chicken salad gets better when it gets a chance to sit in the fridge and have the flavors meld, which is why it’s the perfect fridge staple. Enjoy!

Do you have any fridge staples that you always like to keep on hand? Share your fridge staples in the comments section discussion below.

PS Store your celery in a tiny bit of water in the fridge to help it stay fresh longer. I show you how to store celery in this video.

Cranberry Chicken Salad

Yield: Serves 4, easily doubles, triples, etc


2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
about 20 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp greek yogurt
salt and pepper
1 tsp apricot jam (don't sub other jams here)
1 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


If you don't know how to cook the chicken breasts, the way I like to do it is to shallow poach them in a wide skillet. Add enough chicken stock or water to the bottom of the pan to create a shallow layer (about 1/2 cup liquid total) and add the seasoned chicken breasts. Cook over medium heat with a lid on the pan, and flip them after 10 minutes or so. You want to cook the chicken breasts until they read at 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Also make sure you don't take the heat above medium because you want the chicken to cook gently and slowly. Allow the chicken to cool completely, then chop into pieces.

Mix together the chopped chicken, celery, red onion, basil, cranberries, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, apricot jam, and whole grain mustard. Add 2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Now taste the chicken salad and see if it needs more lemon juice, salt or pepper, keeping in mind the flavors will develop more in a few hours. The chicken salad can be served with crackers or in sandwiches. Enjoy!

Disclosure: this post contains an Amazon affiliate link for the thermometer I use, love, and recommend.

17 comments on “Fridge Staples: Cranberry Chicken Salad

  1. Oh I’m making chicken in cranberries today, so I will make this salad too. Looks so delicious!

  2. I am always looking for a great chicken salad recipe – love the looks of this one!

  3. Mmm. I can’t say it’s one of my fridge staples but I do love homemade chicken salad!!

  4. Looks absolutely delish! I always try to keep cut up oranges in the fridge…and I’ve been making tons of pickled vegetables (and regular pickles) so it’s nice to grab a small taste there. The chicken salad looks delish, Joanne!

  5. I’ve never thought of putting dried cranberries in a chicken salad. What a great twist! I will have to try it, and it makes me want to experiment and try other things in chicken salad too!

  6. Salsa. It’s a quick and low calorie way to add flavor to just about anything.

  7. It looks good, but we seldom eat meat, so I never make chicken salad. I often times copy off meat recipes though as I like the sound of the seasonings used. That goes for this one. I have heard of making mock tuna salad with beans, maybe I will try with this. Garbanzos, cannellini…we’ll see.

  8. Yum! I was just suggesting chicken salad as our main course for an upcoming Easter/birthday party, so I will be bookmarking this one! Cranberries just make everything better.

  9. Yum! This looks delicious and I love the idea of adding cranberries to it!

  10. I totally need to do this, because I am constantly ending up in the pantry!

  11. We love chicken salad here too! Great idea to keep a container of it on hand for the munchies. I usually try to grab the apple slices or carrots, but…that doesn’t always happen :-)

  12. Love the addition of cranberries!!

  13. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I made it today and it tastes great. It will be even better in a few hours. Thanks again!

  14. Thanks so much for the recipe for Hot Buttered Fluffy Pretzels. I’ve never heard of putting yeast and baking soda in the same recipe. It seems like a lot but I’m really excited to try it…Oh, I see, you just dip it in the soda wash. Well isn’t that clever!!! Well, I’m really looking forward to trying this. We always enjoy them at the mall but now I can make them at home and I’ll bet they will be much better.

  15. I have never poached anything in my life and just poached chicken breast for this salad tonight…and succeeded!! So proud of myself, even if its so minor! I made this salad with dill and walnuts, bc I had them at home, and it turned out really really yummy. So excited to bring it to work tomorrow to eat! Will def. try the apricot jam next time I make this/have jam!

    Thanks for posting this!

  16. What can I use instead of whole grain mustard? I really am working on a budget. So could I omit?

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