If you have never tried curried chicken salad, you need to drop everything right now. Make a grocery list, head to the store, and whip up this recipe immediately.
Curried chicken salad is a dish that I grew up on at home. Whenever I bite into a mouthful, the spicy curry flavor and the savory chicken dance on my taste buds shooting me right back to memories of school lunches.
I don’t know about you, but there were some special family recipes that I would really look forward to bringing out at the cafeteria table for lunch when I was a child, above all the rest. This was one of them.
My mom would always sandwich the salad in between two slices of bread, but when she was in a particularly good mood and wanted to spoil me, I would open up my lunch bag to find the chicken salad in between two halves of a croissant.
That’s the best way to serve up this recipe, if you ask me. A buttery croissant that’s flaky and soft really highlights the flavors of the salad.
Let’s talk about those flavors for a moment, shall we?
First off, there’s the curry that is infused throughout the yogurt-based chicken salad. It’s savory, with a tiny hint of spice, making the combo a true winner in my book.
Now, I am a firm believer that every recipe can (and should) be adapted to your own tastes. The more times you make it, as you become more comfortable with the method, you may find that you would like more curry powder, or you might like a little less.
I personally think that the curry level in this salad is spot on because it is prevalent, but not overwhelming, so you can taste each and every one of the ingredients in each savory morsel.
The second key ingredient is the red grapes. The burst of sweet, fruity flavor plays off the poultry and other savory ingredients in delicious contrast.
Finally, the celery plays a key role. You need some of that variety and crunch so that the entire dish isn’t only one note in terms of texture. I like to leave my celery a bit bigger, but if you don’t like the full pieces, you can dice them a little finer.
The beauty of this chicken salad is that you can adapt it to make it yours, simply by adding or subtracting to have more or less of the things you like.
You could even swap out the yogurt for mayo, for something a little different. Homemade mayonnaise makes it extra special, or you could even try an aquafaba version for a salad that’s egg-free and dairy-free.
Here’s a pro tip: You can also add some cayenne pepper to the mixture if you like more heat in your meals. Since I’m a heat-seeking fiend, this is something that I love to do.
Less is more, where cayenne is concerned. If you overspice your dish, you can adjust with a bit of extra yogurt.
One more pro tip? Be sure to let the curried chicken salad sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you serve it.
The more time you let it rest, the more the flavors of the dish will intensify. That’s why it makes for such a delicious recipe to eat throughout the week for lunches – feel free to make a bigger batch!Print
Curried Chicken Salad
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
You won’t be able to get enough of this curried chicken salad, made with grapes, crunchy veggies, and a spiced yogurt sauce.
- 1 cup cooked chicken, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup red grapes, halved
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 Tbsp plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, grapes, onion, and celery. Stir until well mixed.
- In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and olive oil with the lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly, then add to the chicken mixture and fold in the sauce until everything is coated well.
- Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes before serving.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Serve.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Mix
- Cuisine: Lunch
Keywords: chicken, chicken salad, grape, celery, curry, curry powder, curried
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Chop the chicken into smaller than bite-sized pieces. This is a fantastic way to use leftover rotisserie chicken, or grilled chicken.
Boneless chicken breasts can also be poached until cooked through in boiling water. Make sure chicken is cooled completely before combining with the other ingredients.
Wash the grapes well in a colander, and remove any squishy ones. Halve grapes and set aside. A seedless variety is definitely preferred here, and you can cut them into quarters if they’re on the large side.
Wash and peel the onion, and chop into a fine dice.
Wash the celery well to remove all grit, and remove the strings. Chop into a fine dice.
Measure all remaining ingredients.
Step 2 – Combine Main Ingredients
Add the chicken, grapes, onion, and celery to a large bowl.
Stir well, and set aside.
Step 3 – Make Sauce
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and olive oil with the lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Step 4 – Combine
Add the sauce to the chicken mixture and fold it in with a large spatula, making sure all of the ingredients are coated well.
Step 5 – Chill Before Serving
Place bowl in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
You can also make this chicken salad the day before you’re ready to eat it. Simply make sure you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you are chilling it longer than 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper before serving, if desired.
Combine Savory and Sweet Flavors for a Guaranteed Win
The contrasting sweet and savory flavors are a major highlight of this recipe, and the way they play against each other in this protein-rich salad is a winning combination.
The combination of curry, chicken, and sweet red grapes are the things that pop out in the recipe. It makes the entire dish full of a variety of texture and flavors so you are never bored no matter how many days you are eating it in a row.
This especially applies if you let this salad sit for an ample amount of time before serving it. Like I mentioned before, this is a fantastic salad to serve for lunches throughout the week, whether it’s for the kiddos or even the adults in the family.
Serve the salad up in between two slices of bread for a fantastic sandwich. You can even serve it up on a croissant for extra buttery flavor and pillowy softness in every bite.
If you are hoping to be a little healthier with your choices, you can serve this salad up in butter lettuce leaves for a fantastic lettuce cup dish. It’s what we do with our other tasty chicken salad: Waldorf Lettuce Wraps! We also serve our Cherry Chicken Salad on a bed of mixed salad greens.
When you try the recipe, tell us what you think in the comments below and give it a star rating while you’re at it. Did you make any adjustments that you love and just have to share? We love hearing from you!
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Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on September 1st, 2010. Last updated: June 10, 2020 at 15:11 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.
23 thoughts on “You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating This Curried Chicken Salad”
i’ve been looking for a good curried chicken salad recipe lately, ever since i ate this one in california. grapes are key; avocados are a big bonus. 🙂
mmm this sounds so good! i totally agree about ordering it in a restaurant (and NEVER do) mostly because it’s always just gloppy and gelatinous with gobs of mayo. I never thought of olive oil and yogurt but that sounds great i’m going to have to try it – good timing too because i’ve been craving chicken salad lately. (I usually make it like the one I posted way back last fall…from the chicken leftover from making chicken soup).
oh but I wanted to ask you; don’t the grapes get soggy?
mmm, chicken salad. I have to eat mine for days at a time, too (no problem) as Michael will have nothing to do with nuts + grapes together with meat. Crazy man.
i’m a fan of chicken salad, and knock on wood, i’ve never had a problem with restaurant versions, tho i rarely order it. (i think living in 3rd world countries for alot of my life has made my stomach quite strong…)
one of my all time fave chicken salads had raisins and chunks of apples in it. my first roommate in college would make it and we’d have faux-picnics in our dorm room, putting them on crackers & pretending we were at the beach and not in the middle of southern va, freezing our butts off.
here, there’s a place in the city that has a chicken salad with grapes, celery and BACON. it’s called a Bacon Whoopie and it’s divine.
i adore the addition of curry and like you, i usually use yogurt in lieu of mayo.
I would have never thought of adding curry to my chicken salad but i will definitely try that next time around. and yes grapes are the best in it. sometimes i’ll shred some granny smith apple in mine! and i also never order it from a restaurant because they always put way too much mayo!
The first curried chicken salad I had was packed with currants. It had thinly sliced almonds too and it was so good, all of the flavor and texture. I will have to try this recipe, too.
Count this among the normal American foods I’ve never eaten (I only had my first grilled cheese this weekend!). I think it was all the gloppy mayo holding me back, though…yogurt, oil, and lemon juice sound much more appetizing.
i recently dealt with an unfortunate tuna salad situation when i ordered a tuna flatbread at a restaurant. my gourmet expectations and i expected slices of seared tuna, but what i received was mayonnaise-laden tuna salad. mayonnaise actually horrifies me, and i could taste nothing but, so this was a nearly inedible meal. disappointing! that being said, your recipe looks lovely. i subscribe to the yogurt+olive oil combination as well. works with egg salad too!
Recently I tried a chicken salad recipe from Self magazine. I liked it but my hubby did not. How long does chicken salad keep? I ended up eating it four days in a row b/c I didn’t want it to go bad but got tired of eating it after awhile.
This looks yum. I like the idea of yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
Oh, chicken salad is so scary to me. But this recipe, and another one I have squirreled away, just might convince me to make it. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, avocado slathered on toast is still my lunchtime desert-island food.
Oh, this looks just delicious. Absolutely scrumptious. Mmmmmm!
Jacqui, You just said the magic word. And it so happens I bought an avocado today at the store….!
Lisa, Yeah, leftover chicken just begs to be chicken salad. : ) And oh my word, gelatinous is the perfect word to describe a bad one. Yuck. As far as the grapes, I’ve never had it leftover long enough to really see if the grapes get soggy, but we’re going three days strong so far!
Jenny, More for you! : )
Lan, Ha! Well I don’t know about bacon in it, but I am fascinated by what you said about your strong stomach. There’s definitely something to be said for being exposed to bacteria in order to build your immune system – I bet that does have a lot to do with your resilience!
Jarrelle, You’ve got to try it!
TJ, Mmmm, currants sound great!
Maddie, You’re kidding! Three cheers for bringing grilled cheese into your life – that took me a while, too. Have you ever made one with a little honey or some apples inside too? Now that’s delicious.
Leslie, Oh, I empathize completely! Now, egg salad… that’s something I still can’t get on board with. Maybe someday, especially if it were without mayo like this is!
Vicki, Thanks and so glad you got to go to Minocqua! You’re right: I did write about it for one of our classes. It’s so nice in the summer! As far as this chicken salad, I have to be honest and say I don’t know. This recipe has made enough for me for about four days, eating a little each day, and then it’s gone. Just keep your eye on it, I think.
Tim, Thanks! It gives the same overall look and texture but way better flavor.
Anne, Oh, avocado on toast was my staple for like two weeks straight, and just hearing it mentioned again is making me want some now!
Kim, Thank you! Hope you get to try it!
This is a great post, Shannalee.
Your recipe looks super yum and very inspiring! Wish I had some leftover chicken in my fridge…
I wish I had this made for lunch!
Curried chicken salad is where it’s at. I have no interest in the non-curried variety but my local sandwich shop does a fabulous version. Mmm curry powder.
I love chicken salad sandwiches but I’ve never ordered one in a restaurant. The one I make is very similar to yours….but I also add apple because apples are awesome in sandwiches.
I LOVe chicken salad with red grapes!
Jess, As always, you are so kind. Thank you!
MaryAnn, Ha! Wait, you got sick on Cheerios? That’s terrible!
Whitney, Make it for tomorrow’s!
Angharad, I know! Once you’ve had the curried kind, it’s hard to go back.
Kickpleat, I agree about apples in sandwiches, so I actually might try adding them to this sometime. Just peeled and diced, I imagine?
Heather, NEVER again! Ha!
I love the IDEA of chicken salad, but I tend to find it greasy and a little too heavy most times. I also hate mayo, so I’m glad to see it worked perfectly well with yogurt 🙂
Kasey, Yep, we are so on the same page. : )