The Best Curry Chicken Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Eat.

O.K. everybody calm down. It’s a bold claim, I know. But this really is a great recipe. Perhaps  the best curry chicken salad recipe in the land. Chicken, apples, mayo, curry, toasted pecans, celery and raisins. I know.  You don’t like raisins, right? You can use cranberries if you want. 

Chicken salad bright with apples celery and raisins, served on a crisp lettuce leaf on a white plate.

The first time I made this curry chicken salad, I dreamed about it for the next 3 days. The same way I dream about french fries and having a big toe that isn’t plagued with a bunion.

I originally got the recipe years ago from a guy who was a Crossfit super-enthusiast. And by Crossfit super-enthusiast I mean any person who has ever done more than one Crossfit class. If a person takes one class and THEN they think it’s a good decision to go back for a second Crossfit class, they’re automatically a deranged Crossfit enthusiast who will commit to it with a cult-like fervour.

The same guy is where I got my  No Cook Hippie Dippy Cookie recipe from. I took one Crossfit class about a decade ago and the best things I got out of it were these two recipes from the gym owner.

I serve this chicken salad cold on a leaf of romaine lettuce (like a leafy pita) which is a habit I got into after the crossfitting lunatic nice guy from the gym, decided limiting carbs was a great idea.

Because of how blindly I follow the instructions of someone with a 6 pack, I don’t ever eat this salad on bread. Only lettuce. Usually.

Gather your ingredients Martha Stewart-style. Get everything ready to go. You’re going to be working with apples, celery, grilled chicken, and lots of other good stuff. The full printable recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Curry Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • chicken
  • celery
  • apples
  • raisins
  • pecans
  • mayo
  • cayenne
  • curry
  • s&p

Dice ingredients laid out mise en place, with diced chicken being added to green bowl

This chicken salad is filled with everything good. Things that are crispy, chewy, sweet, tart, creamy and crunchy.

It’s the easiest recipe to make because there’s no cooking, it’s a dice and dump recipe.You dice your apple, celery, chicken and pecans then mix everything together and that’s it, it’s done.

White plate with mayo and spices on it being added to bowl of raisins, celery apples and chicken.

Adjust the spices so they’re how you like them. Love curry? Add more curry. Love heat? Add more cayenne. Like it creamier? Add more mayo. Watching calories? Add less.

Now let’s talk about raisins. Apparently some of you don’t like them. I don’t know why, but I’m not here to judge.

If you don’t like raisins use dried cranberries.

White salt shaker being used to adjust seasoning in curry chicken salad.

Add salt & pepper. You know. To taste.

Curry chicken salad with apples and pecans served on a romaine lettuce leaf on a small white rectangular plate.

Serve and enjoy.

Only 500 calories per meal if eaten on lettuce leaves.

The Best Curry Chicken Salad You'll Ever Eat

Quick and easy super-delicious chicken salad with a twist!
4 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Keyword: curry chicken salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 508kcal
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1 cooked chicken breast chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • ½ a red apple diced small
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise to start
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix.
  • Add additional mayonnaise or spices to taste.


Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 249mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg

Now before you go squinching your nose up at chicken salad wrapped in a lettuce leaf as opposed to a pita or bread, I have to say, in the lettuce’s defence, that the crunch it has makes up for the lack of carbs. I honestly prefer it this way now. Also because you’re eating this on a lettuce leaf instead of two hunks of bread, you feel full but not as grossly full after eating it. Which means you have room to eat ice cream for dessert.

Honestly. The crispness of the lettuce against the creaminess of the mayonnaise is wonderfully delicious. The flavours of the salad are all very distinct. The slight hints of curry and cayenne pepper are met with the odd sweet burst of apple and raisin. Add in the freshness of the celery and the crunch of the toasted pecans and you have the perfect Curry Chicken Salad.

Sweet dreams.

The Best Curry Chicken Salad  Recipe You\'ll Ever Eat.


  1. Janel says:

    How many servings does this make I could eat the whole bowl!

  2. GL says:

    Where did you get those fantastic white rectangular servers? They look amazing!

    • Karen says:

      GL – Thanks! Yeah, they’re fun. Great for putting out a few olives and cheese. Sadly, I can’t remember where I got them. Homesense (Homegoods) I think. They’re “Tannex”. I just looked it up and they appear to be like a restaurant/wholesale online store. And WOW do they have some great stuff! ~ karen

  3. Seul says:

    My daughter requested this for her birthday dinner. She ate seconds, and packed some for lunch the next day– thanks for sharing the recipe, this one’s going in the book. *grins* Do I put it under Karen’s curry chicken salad, or That asshole’s chicken salad?

  4. Abra says:

    I love curried chicken salad and this recipe didn’t disappoint! The only addition I made was some chopped onion and I omitted the celery and cayenne because I was out. So delicious! Thanks for a yummy meal inspiration…my six year old loved it too and even asked to try curry powder on its own. He’s my adventurous eater like his mama! :)

  5. beth stockwell says:

    Loved this BUT the cayenne totally ruined it! I can’t believe how much the cayenne overpowered it. I would 100% suggest to LEAVE OUT THE CAYENNE. And I also added more curry powder and some turmeric.

    • Karen says:

      Beth – I have to disagree. I really don’t think the cayenne ruins the salad. In fact I think it adds to it. That’s why I’ve included it as an ingredient, LOL. I had to go back and look at the recipe to make sure it was correct and it is … 1/4 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper really isn’t very much. BUT if you don’t like cayenne, or can’t handle the cayenne then by all means leave out the cayenne! ~ karen

  6. cred says:

    Okay! I tried it… I love it!

    I had to change a bit (not b/c I don’t trust you but b/c I made this when it popped up as “you might also like” under today’s post and I didn’t have everything I needed):

    My kid ate the last apple so mine was sans apple (but I know the crunch & sweetness would be perfect).
    I was going to sub cranberries b/c I only eat raisins in waldorf-ish salads so I didn’t have any on hand. But apparently I’m out of crans, too. At this point, I was going to give up but recalled some raisins I dried 3 wks ago from some Ontario concord grapes- not as plump & chewy as Cali raisins but oh so grapey.
    I only had some mesclun mix from the garden so I put the chick salad over the loose greens & it was delicious.
    Time to get my butt to the orchard as I’ve been intending for the last month- need to try this with apples.

  7. Kristy says:

    Omgsh! This looks amazing! We will be having this at our house this weekend! And I love the lettuce as an alternative to bread! :9

    • Karen says:

      Kristy – The lettuce makes it wayyyyy better for a hot, summer night. Like tonight. Or tomorrow night. Or the next 90 nights or so. ~ karen

  8. fuff says:

    okay so i’m “that” person with the weird allergy. i sense that the apples are integral for this recipe and i’m really really really wanting to make it BUT…i’m deathly allergic to raw apples (insert sad face here). i might try it without but i’m trying to brainstorm a suitable alternative in the meantime. any brilliant ideas?

    • Karen says:

      Fuff – It’s really the crispness and crunch of the apple that’s integral. Plus the bit of colour is nice. If you’re looking to substitute I’d probably try pear. Otherwise, just leave the apple out and add a bit more celery. :) ~ karen

    • Kelly m says:

      Use red grapes. My favorite curry chicken salad includes them and it’s amazing.

  9. Stella says:

    Looks amazing! I love eating with a lettuce wrap! So tasty!

  10. Caseyj says:

    Wow, gonna make this. Do you think there is a good subsitute for the pecans? My house is on a strict no-pecans-walnuts-or-cashews menu plan. Would almonds work?
    Also, I think you should check out Hungry Girl’s Greek Chicken Salad recipe. It uses mainly yogurt plus a tad of mayo for the creamy-ness (but you don’t have to), then adds chicken, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, olives, feta or goat cheese and some seasoning. It’s divine.

    • Karen says:

      Caseyj – I think you could use any nut you like. Personally if I couldn’t use pecans, I’d go with walnuts. But you can’t. After that I’d go with toasted pine nuts. When in doubt, always go with toasted pine nuts. Almonds are a good choice too. Either chop them up yourself or buy the sliced ones. Now I’m off to look at Hungry Girl’s chicken recipe! One can never have enough chicken recipes. ~ karen!

  11. Chancy says:

    Made this salad this weekend. Ohmygod is it the best curried chicken salad ever! You weren’t kidding.

    • Karen says:

      I know! (I try to only post no-fail, this is FANTASTIC recipes I’ve either found or developed) The Sweet Potato fries are probably the most complicated! ~ karen

  12. Rebecca says:

    Holy Crap, that is good stuff!!!

    • Karen says:

      Rebecca – I take it you made the recipe. It takes all the control I have not to make it every single day. :) ~ karen

  13. sarah says:

    made this for dinner last night—totally awesome!! I’m going to be making it all summer :)

  14. amy walters, aDESIGNdock says:

    LOVE curry…esp. curried chicken. I must try this ;)

  15. Nicole says:

    Awesome. I am so making it this weekend.

  16. Stephanie says:

    I do grapes instead of raisins and add sliced green onions. One of my all time favorite things to eat!!


  17. Meg says:

    <3 Curried Chicken Salad!! You should try it with golden raisins, that's how my mom always made it and it's delicious!!! Also, I adore your prep plates. They look perfect for scooping things in to bowls :)

  18. marilyn says:

    i am totally making this salad sans the apples and with the cranberries yummy!

    • Karen says:

      Marilyn – The fella says either you make it with apples or you don’t make it at all. Um. I’m O.K. with however you want to make it. I just won’t tell him. ~ karen

  19. Lauren says:

    I have a recipe identical to this with one small addition. It calls for green/red grapes. Delicious. The grapes, like the apples, makes this a very refreshing meal. Great for a hot day.

  20. Charissa says:

    I love the idea of adding curry to chicken salad…sounds absolutely divine. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Btw, I love your mantra on the side…if you don’t know it, you’ll find a way to figure it out. So cute!

  21. You may not add raisins to my cherry pie, capiche?


    • Karen says:

      Well, since you said “capiche”, clearly you’re a long standing member of some sort of organized crime unit. I will therefore heed your “advice” and not add raisins to your cherry pie recipe. Yours in servitude – Karen

  22. Donna O. says:

    I’m running home to make this on this 95 degree day. I just happen to have some chicken leftover from last night. My family recently fell in love with lettuce wraps with ground turkey, cilantro, peanuts & a few other choice ingredients. I think they’ll be swoonin’ over this one too.

    • Karen says:

      Donna – It’s a 95 degree day here too! Perhaps you’re around Toronto. Anyhow … with all the people talking about making this tonight I wanna make it too! Even though we just had it Monday. :( ~ karen

  23. Evalyn says:

    I make a chicken curry salad very close to this receipe. Sometimes I add grapes – dried cranberries work well – the tiniest bit of chopped onion is good – I sometimes add cooked rice for a full-meal-deal. I never, however, used it in a sandwich, but I will be trying the lettuce leaf version very soon.

  24. Shauna says:

    quite simply, this sounds delicious. Going into the recipe repertoire.

  25. jen says:

    I’m a HUGE fan of curry chicken salad! This looks delish. This may not be everyones cup of tea but I do the same with tuna sometimes. Add walnuts and granny smith apples or Tuscan peppers and almonds. I hate a bland tuna.

  26. Diane says:

    Gee, coulda used THAT for the ‘ex’ party !

  27. Taylor says:

    I love chicken salad. All this talk of cranberries made me think of my favorite one, which is the Trader Joe’s Wine Country Chicken Salad, so I just googled around to see if I could find a recipe and guess what!

    That page also includes the apricot chicken salad, which is pretty good too. Looks like I have some serious chicken salad testing to do :)

  28. Mindy says:

    I’m a fan of lettuce wraps. Well, depending on what’s inside, but this sounds tasty and I’m adding it my to-do list. (I shall consume a loaf of bread on the side in your honor)

  29. Laurie says:

    wait… seriously you can freeze already cooked chicken? Mind Blown.

  30. Tracey says:

    I must go and grill chicken so we can have this today!

    I am a fan of the lettuce wrap–once you go green you never go back.

  31. Cheryl says:

    At one of my recent “sans forks” dinner parties, one of my good friends brought an appetizer dip which consisted of goat cheese and onion and roasted red peppers – I forget all the ingredients but it was blissful, and she paired it with little tiny frilly lettuce leaves instead of crackers. It was one of the first things to be completely consumed by the guests. Yum yum yum.

    • Karen says:

      Cheryl – I do an dinner salad (main meal) similar to that. Maybe up put the recipe up next week. It’s GREAT. So long as you love goat’s cheese and roasted red peppers, that is. ~ karen

  32. B.J.M says:

    Yum. This looks great.
    I was going to say how much I loved the bowl and here you go and mention it anyway. Aint that somethin’?

  33. Liz S. says:

    I am imagining this in a half of a red pepper instead of a lettuce leaf. YUM!

  34. sandra says:

    I made a huge bowl of Chicked Salad two nights ago that is very similar to yours except … I made my own olive oil mayo, added two kinds of apples (grannies and gala), chopped red and green onions, and a whole bunch of red grapes. I serve with cashews sprinkled on top. Perfect meal for those of us with celiac or other dietary issues. Who needs bread?

  35. susan w says:

    Lovely salad lovely bowl lovely prose.
    I use mayo and yogurt in equal parts and add a bit of chutney to the dressing. Hmmm I haven’t made chicken salad in a long time…

    Off to look for chicken to grill(or one sitting in the store rotisserie…)
    Thanks for the inspiration as always

  36. Megan says:

    Will definitely try this — and have been making a similar version with ripe nectarines. Last night I was out of those, so I improvised with some apples and threw in some bacon. (Why not?) I love bread but am a grain-free eater — and can honestly say I prefer it on lettuce or over mixed greens. Unbelievably good.

  37. Lydia says:

    I love that the bowl is even the signature Martha “robins egg blue” color! You are so Martha :-)
    My aunt had a working dairy farm with chickens, and we had to collect the eggs. I got pecked in the forearm so many times I still have scars, and once chased out by an ornery rooster. So I eat chicken with GUSTO :-)

  38. I ususlly buy this at my local Whole Foods, but it is EXPENSIVE – like 18 bucks for a small container. I have tried making it on my own, but it never tastes as good. I am going to try yours. Thanks

    My best- Diane

  39. Elise says:

    I found a recipe similar to this one, and it’s soooo yummy! I am not really a fan of mayo so I used a recipe that called for Greek yogurt instead. OMG Delish!

  40. You make it sound so good! But I must admit, I’m still suspicious of the lettuce leaf. Plus, knowing me, I’ll buy an entire lettuce just to use one leaf, then it will end up going brown and slimy in the refrigerator. Any tips for stopping that?

  41. susan says:

    I’m going to try that recipe…sounds delicious..I get my burger on lettuce instead of a bun at In N Out burger….protein burger they call it…don’t miss the bun a bit!

  42. Sharon says:

    This looks delicious! Just curious how many servings this would make? Just so I’m not tempted to eat the whole bowl when I do make it!

    Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Sharon – Think of this as one serving with a bit left over. Basically count on a little less than one chicken breast per person. 3 chicken breasts would probably serve 4 people, but to be safe use the one piece of chicken per person rule. Any leftovers can be used for lunch! ~ karen

  43. Holly says:

    What is weird is that I woke up thinking about making a curry sauce for a vegetable mixture, and then I find that you wrote this(I don’t always wake up thinking of food). I will have to try this! I’m always looking for a good chicken salad! And I love lettuce wraps!

  44. Jen says:

    This looks delicious. Minus the raisins. Raisins alone? Yummy. Raisins jumping in on food and baked goods?!? EW!

    I’m def gonna make this….minus the raisins.

    • Karen says:

      Jen – Try what Centsational Girl is going to do … dried cranberries. If you want, that is. :) ~ karen

  45. I love how you did the bowls all Martha Stewart-ish. I wouldn’t have the patience – but it did look pretty. And I’m trying this recipe at the weekend. Food from a gym guy that’s healthy and tasty? It must be a miracle!

  46. Julie shinnick says:

    omg I love love love that bowl!

    Will try this one when the weather warms up! Glad you have archives!

  47. SK Farm Girl says:

    I covet, covet, covet your $2.00, found-on-fishing-trip-bowl! I know it’s a sin to covet thy neighbour’s bowl, but if that’s the only sin I commit, I’m doing pretty good – eh? Can’t wait to try your delish-sounding salad! Give the chickens a “peck” for me :)

    • Karen says:

      SK Farm Girl – Thanks! Oh .. and one of my chickens is turning into a real peckerhead. Must have tried to randomly bite my arm 10 times last night. And not in a cute way! ~ karen

  48. “The crispness of the lettuce against the creaminess of the mayonnaise is wonderfully delicious. The flavours of the salad are all very distinct. The slight hints of curry and cayenne pepper are met with the odd sweet burst of apple and raisin. Add in the freshness of the celery and the crunch of the toasted pecans and you have the perfect Curried Chicken Salad.”

    You could write for a food magazine, and this looks delicious! I would totally make it with lettuce too, you know, to justify my extra mayo which I’m sure to add, but would you still love me if I left out the raisins? Or could I use dried cranberries? Would that disrupt the entire physics of the universe and this salad recipe if I were to substitute them cause I really like cranberries. A lot.

    And this recipe.


    • Karen says:

      Kate – It never occurred to me to use dried cranberries. Probably because I was being led down a path of good eating, which has, in all probability caused my brain to shrink. YES add cranberries!! Good thinkin’. ~ karen

    • Alissa says:

      BRILLIANT, Kate! I do not like raisins and was wondering if I could leave them out without disrupting the delicate balance of “the best curried chicken salad you’ll ever eat”. The subbing in cranberries idea is – to reiterate – brilliant. :)

    • Alexandra says:

      YES! I was totally going to leave out the raisins (nothing against them, I just don’t like their taste and texture! :D) and either put nothing else in or cranberries. Now that I think of it, I might even replace them with dried sour cherries! :D

  49. rachel says:

    i’m not trying to incite an argument or anything…i really am just curious about your answer. i absolutely love your blog and your attitude and your humor and your art of doing stuff. so here’s my question…do you wrestle with having chickens as pets, as well as eating chickens? i mean, i know you’re not eating your own chickens, but i’m just curious what you think about this. full disclosure…i am a happy vegetarian, but i don’t care what people around me choose to eat. i just love the discussion.

    • Karen says:

      Rachel – My neighbours just asked me this very question today. And yes. It does make me ponder. However, I don’t believe in the argument that some use which is, if you’re going to eat it, you should be able to kill it. No thanks. I drive a car but certainly don’t have what it takes to build one. These chickens are exactly what you said. Pets. I have saved more animals than I can count. I raise butterflies from egg, spent 3 months and many dollars saving my pond fish and love every animal that walks the earth. But for now, I still eat them and am happy to do so. Once you make friends with animals like chipmunks and chickens though, it does give you an appreciation for the fact that all animals, even something as tiny as a chipmunk has a personality. So in answer to your question, there’s a slight wrestle, but I’m still a full fledged meat eater and don’t see that changing in the immediate future. Immediately. I don’t think. :) ~ karen

    • Ann says:

      I am in the same spot as Karen….a chicken owner/lover and I also eat chicken. I raise my hens for eggs, not meat. But if this were a different world, I could raise them and process for meat. Because to me it is more important that what I eat lives a good full proper life before becoming my food. Whether I raise the animal or another person does, I want to know that it was happy, healthy, ate what it was meant to eat, got to raise at least a baby or two….just like was intended for that animal. Otherwise if one can not come to grips with the fact that someone does have to process any animal you eat, then maybe you should actually be a vegetarian.

  50. amy says:

    I don’t quite believe you yet, but your writing is so good, I think I might have to try the lettuce wrap :)

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