Home Copycat Recipes Costco Chicken Salad

Costco Chicken Salad

Recreate the classic Costco chicken salad with just a few easy steps!

Packed with shredded chicken, creamy mayonnaise, crunchy pecans, and chewy craisins, this savory salad is hard to beat.

Chicken Salad with Celery, Pecans and Grapes
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Costco Chicken Salad 

Costco chicken salad is a well-loved classic. All the flavors and textures make it an irresistible dish.

But who has time to battle those long lines for a quick bite? Not me! 

So I created this on-point copycat recipe. It’s quick enough to become a lunch staple. And yet, so scrumptious you can bring it to a party.

Barbecues, picnics, potlucks, or book clubs, it’s great for any occasion. Plus, it stores well. So it’s make-ahead and meal prep friendly too.

What Are the Ingredients in Costco Chicken Salad?

The dressing and the chicken are the key components here.

It’s best to use leftover or rotisserie chicken, so there’s no cooking needed. I have a neat shredding technique below, too, so watch out for that!

For the Dressing

  • Mayonnaise – The key to a rich and creamy chicken salad. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – A bit of tang to contrast the rich mayo.
  • Honey – Sweet and savory always work well together.
  • Poppy Seeds – For crunch!
  • Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, and Pepper – To season and flavor.

The Protein

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts You’ll bake the chicken for this recipe, but you can also boil it on the stove.

The Add-ins

  • Pecans – For nuttiness and crunch. Toast the pecans for several minutes to bring out their flavor.
  • Dried Cranberries – For a sweet and chewy contrast.
  • Celery – For a nice color and crunch.

Tips for the Best Salad 

Costco chicken salad is so easy and delicious that you’ll want it every week.

Follow these tips, and it gets even better:

  • Make this salad a meal. Serve it on croissants, dinner rolls, baguettes, crackers, or even white bread. For a low-carb dish, make lettuce wraps. Or, serve it on top of sliced cucumbers and bell peppers for a healthy snack.
  • Swap out the mayo. A creamy blend of pureed avocado and sour cream is super delicious and more nutritious. For an even healthier option, substitute the dairy with Greek yogurt.
  • Add some zing with BBQ sauce. Replace some of the mayo with 2-3 tablespoons barbecue sauce to make chicken BBQ salad.
  • Give the dressing a flavor boost. Add spice like paprika, mustard, cayenne, or curry powder. I also like it with a splash of lime juice for a citrusy tang.
  • Save time with make-ahead dressing. You can prepare the salad dressing up to 2 days in advance. It also lets the ingredients meld for a better flavor.
  • Let the chicken cool. It’s tempting to rush, but let the meat cool completely before dressing. Warm chicken will absorb too much of the dressing, resulting in a dry salad.
Chicken Breast Salad with Celery, Chicken and Grapes

What Type of Chicken is Best for Shredding?

Boneless skinless chicken breast is most commonly used. I also like chicken thighs, though, because they’re really moist. 

You can also use leftover or rotisserie chicken so there’s no need to cook. It also adds a nice flavor to your salad.

You can also use canned chicken in a pinch. 

There are two ways you can shred chicken.

First is the traditional fork method, where you place the chicken on a plate and separate the meat with two forks.

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My preferred method, though, is much easier and faster. Just pop the chicken in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Beat it with the paddle attachment for 15 seconds, and voila! It’s perfect especially when you’re shredding a lot.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer works well, too.

If you’re okay with chunks instead of shredded chicken, use the food processor.

It yields small chicken chunks that give your salad a nice texture. Use the dough blade attachment for the best results. 

Add-Ins For Chicken Salad 

There is a wide array of things you can add to the classic chicken salad to make it more colorful and flavorful. Here are some of my favorites:

  • For crunch: Add chopped roasted walnuts, almonds, or cashews.
  • For flavor and color: Mix in scallions, olives, pickles, diced carrots, or bell peppers.
  • For a sweet, fruity twist: Try mandarin oranges, diced peaches, seedless grapes, or dried fruits.

How to Store Costco Chicken Salad 

Wondering what to do with leftover chicken salad? Want to make this copycat Costco chicken recipe ahead of time? No problem!

Just follow these steps:

  • To Store: Transfer the salad to an airtight container and refrigerate. You can also keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To Freeze: Prepare the salad without the dressing to avoid splitting when thawed. Instead, freeze the ingredients minus the dressing for up to 3 months. For more tips, check out my how to freeze chicken salad guide.

Costco Chicken Salad



Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 5 teaspoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • Seasoning salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3/4 cups pecans, toasted

  • 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries

  • 3 stalks celery


  • For the dressing, stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, garlic and onion powders, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Refrigerate the mixture until the salad is ready to dress.
  • For the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour water into a shallow baking dish. Place the chicken breasts in the baking dish in a single layer and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove it from the pan and cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate it to cool completely.
  • Once cooled, dice or shred the chicken and place it in a large bowl. Toss in the pecans, dried cranberries, celery, and dressing. Enjoy!
Costco Chicken Salad

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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