Apple Tarragon Chicken Salad Recipe


  • Chicken: 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (rotisserie, grilled, poached, or baked all work well)
  • Apple: 1 large crisp apple (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady), diced
  • Celery: 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • Nuts: 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • Onion: 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped (optional, for a flavor boost)
  • Fresh Tarragon: 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • Mayonnaise: 1/2 cup mayonnaise (start with less, add more to your liking)
  • Lemon: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Dijon Mustard: 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper: To taste


  • Toast the nuts: In a small skillet, toast the pecans or walnuts over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside.
  • Prepare the chicken: If you haven’t already, cook the chicken by your preferred method and let it cool slightly. Shred or dice into bite-sized pieces.
  • Prep the veggies and herbs: Dice the apple, chop the celery, mince the red onion (if using), and chop the fresh tarragon.
  • Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard (if using), salt, and pepper.
  • Combine the salad: In a large bowl, gently combine the cooked chicken, apple, celery, toasted nuts, red onion (if using), and fresh tarragon.
  • Add the dressing: Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and toss everything together until evenly coated. Start with less mayonnaise and add more if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  • Chill: Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. This can also be made ahead of time and stored overnight.
  • Taste and adjust: Before serving, give it a taste and adjust any seasonings (lemon, salt, pepper) if needed.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Sandwiches: Serve on your favorite bread or rolls. Add lettuce or sprouts for extra freshness.
  • Lettuce wraps: Use large lettuce leaves as wraps for a lighter option.
  • Crackers: Serve with crackers or crostini for a satisfying snack or light lunch.
  • Salad topper: Add a scoop to a bed of mixed greens for a complete salad.


  • Chicken options: Rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut, but feel free to use any cooked chicken you have on hand.
  • Make it creamy: For a creamier version, add in a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Add-ins: Consider adding dried cranberries, grapes, or other fruits and vegetables for different flavor variations.


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