Recreate the classic Costco chicken salad with just a few easy steps!
With savory shredded chicken, creamy mayonnaise, crunchy pecans, and chewy craisins, this chicken salad has a mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures.
Served cool with croissant and dinner rolls, it’s a hearty yet refreshing dish.
This recipe is a pretty on-point copycat, but you’re also free to make it your own. There are endless add-ins and dressing options to choose from.
Because it’s such a breeze to make, you can enjoy it any day of the week.
It keeps well, too, so you can whip up a big batch, refrigerate it, and serve it on busy days.
Ready to give Costco a run for its money? Let’s get started.
Costco Chicken Salad
Costo chicken salad is a well-loved classic. There’s nothing spectacular about the ingredients, but together, they create an addictive, irresistible treat.
Apart from the savory and sweet flavor, the texture contrast is also a winner.
It’s soft, creamy, moist, and crunchy all at the same time. You’ll also get a bit of chewiness from the cranberries.
This salad is perfect for barbecues and picnics, but because it’s such a snap to make, you can serve it any day.
What Are the Ingredients in Costco Chicken Salad?
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.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – You’ll bake the chicken for this recipe, but you can also boil it on the stove.
You can also use leftover or rotisserie chicken so there’s no cooking needed. I have a neat shredding technique below, too, so watch out for that!
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
- Serve chicken salad on croissants, dinner rolls, baguette, crackers, or even white bread. For a more wholesome, low-carb dish, make lettuce wraps. You can also serve it on top of sliced cucumbers and bell peppers for a healthy snack.
- To make it a meal, serve chicken salad sandwich with a side of corn on the cob or a colorful salad with vinaigrette.
- Instead of mayo, use a blend of pureed avocado and sour cream. It’s so good, and the green hue makes it extra appetizing.
- For a healthier dressing, opt for Greek yogurt instead of mayo.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce to replace some of the mayo to make chicken BBQ salad.
- Give a unique flavor to the dressing by adding paprika, mustard, cayenne, or curry powder.
- Add a splash of lime juice for a bit of a citrusy tang.
- Prepare the salad dressing up to 2 days in advance. It’ll give time for the flavors to marry.
- Let the chicken cool completely before dressing. Warm chicken will absorb too much of the dressing, resulting in a dry salad.
- If using, dice the vegetables in the same size for easier eating.
- You can serve the salad right away, but give it time to refrigerate if you can. Chicken salad tastes great when chilled.
- Store the salad in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
- If you’re planning on freezing the salad, don’t add the dressing yet. It’ll break once you thaw it. Just freeze the ingredients minus the dressing. Undressed salad will keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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.
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: chopped roasted walnuts, almonds, or cashews
- For flavor and color: scallions, olives, pickles, diced carrots, bell peppers
- For a sweet, fruity twist: mandarin oranges, diced peaches, seedless grapes, dried fruits
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