Make Ahead Chicken Salad

This Make Ahead Chicken Salad recipe makes the best chicken salad ever!  This is the  only one that I have been making of late!

I love the chicken salad recipe from Costco but the quantity is so large that  we have to eat it quite a few times in a row to finish it all up.  It took me a while to figure out what the subtle flavour was but I think I hit the mark when I added a tiny bit of nutmeg!  Then I got fancy and added dried cranberries and toasted almonds!

You make the chicken breasts in the slow cooker with some cream cheese and tarragon.  The meat shreds beautifully.  Then you add your other ingredients and voila!  One great chicken salad!

I use about 16 oz of chicken breasts -that is about 3-4 breasts depending on how big they are. By the time you add the celery, cranberries and almonds you get enough for 4 main meal salads or 8 servings if there are other dishes also being served.

I like to chop the dried cranberries so the texture of the chicken, celery and cranberries is fairly fine.  Full disclosure- I used some extra cranberries and almonds as garnish to make them more obvious!

You can make this salad in the morning or day before serving. It needs at least 30 minutes to chill and allow flavours to meld.  You can hold it overnight as well.

Make Ahead Chicken Salad

Make Ahead Chicken Salad

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 16 oz chicken breast skinless, boneless
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon or 1Tbsp dried
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries rough chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


  • Arrange chicken breasts in slow cooker. Top with cream cheese and tarragon sprigs. Cook on high about 4 hours.
  • Remove tarragon sprigs and take the leaves off the stem. Discard the stems. Shred chicken with 2 forks while warm. The cream cheese and tarragon leaves will be incorporated as you shred the meat.
  • Add the celery, cranberries. Mix in the mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. When well combined add in the toasted almonds.
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight to allow flavours to mix.

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