This autumn chicken salad has all the fall quintessential flavors of sweet potato, apple, dried cranberries and walnuts, along with a sweet and savory dressing. This chicken salad is so good, you’ll be eating it by the forkful!
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This autumn chicken salad is so delicious and easy to make, I promise you’ll be eating it all season long.
If you follow me on Instagram, it is no secret by now that I love chicken salad. It has been my saving grace go-to lunch since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
I’ve made many variations including southwest chicken salad, chicken bacon ranch chicken salad and BLT chicken salad. I can say with 100% confidence, this is the BEST variation I’ve made!
Reasons to Love Chicken Salad
- Easy to make
- Great for meal prep
- Better the next day and the day after
- Many variations, it’s hard to get bored
Chicken: canned chicken, precooked chicken or rotisserie chicken can be used.
Sweet potato: can be roasted in the oven or air fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Apple: use a crisp and sweet apple you like snacking on, such as Honey Crisp, Pink Lady or Fuji.
Red onion: for flavor and zip. Don’t worry, the onion is finely minced so it’s not overpowering.
Dried cranberries: adds a great chewy texture and tart flavor.
Walnuts: chopped and, if you have time, toasted for extra nutty flavor and aroma.
Dressing: made with mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, honey, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Roast the sweet potato
To roast in the oven: preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place diced sweet potato in a single layer, spray with oil spray and roast for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
To air fry: lay diced sweet potato in a single layer in air fryer basket. Spray with oil spray and air fry at 375 for 15 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
Allow squash to cool 5 minutes.
Make the dressing
In a small mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, plain yogurt, dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
Assemble the chicken salad
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, red onion, roasted sweet potato, walnuts, diced apple and dried cranberries. Pour dressing over chicken mixture. Toss well until everything is coated in dressing.
Taste and adjust spices as needed to your liking.
Ways to Serve
- Between two pieces of bread to create a traditional chicken salad sandwich.
- Open-faced sandwich on a piece of toasted bread.
- Atop a bed of fresh greens.
- In lettuce wraps (I like to use bibb lettuce).
- As a dip with tortilla chips (Trader Joe’s has some great festive Autumn ones) or plantain chips.
Dice up the sweet potato and apple into small cubes, no larger than 1/2 inch. This allows you to get everything in one bite.
Finely chop or mince the red onion to get the flavor in the chicken salad without getting an overpoweringly pungent bite.
Toast walnuts in a dry pan over low heat until golden to release extra nutty flavor and aroma.
Allow chicken salad to sit for one hour or overnight if possible. All the flavors enhance after having a chance to marinate together.
Use whatever apple you enjoy snacking on most. I prefer Honey Crisp or Fuji.
Sweet potato: You can use roasted butternut squash in place of the sweet potato. Cook the sweet potato the same way you would the butternut squash.
Walnuts: You can sub chopped pecans or almonds for the walnuts
Chicken: If you do not like to use canned chicken, you can use 2 1/4 cup cooked and shredded chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken.
Mayonnaise: if you do not like mayonnaise, replace half the mayonnaise with more plain yogurt. Alternatively, you can do 1/4 cup plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
More Fall Recipes
- Sweet Potato Chowder
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Apple Oat Crumble Bars
- Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
If you make this autumn chicken salad, be sure to leave a comment below and rate this recipe! If you snap a pic, be sure to tag me on Instagram @thechowdown! I love seeing your creations!
Autumn Chicken Salad
- 2 12.5oz canned chicken
- 1/4 cup finely minced red onion
- 1/2 cup apple small dice
- 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
- 3/4 cup sweet potato small dice
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Roast sweet potato in a 425°F oven for 30-35 minutes or air fry at 375°F for 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, plain Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, sweet potato, apple, walnuts, red onion and dried cranberries.
- Pour dressing over chicken mixture and mix well.