This Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe is an easy and delicious lunch! It has celery, apples, walnuts and poached chicken breast in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing.

Chicken Waldorf Salad on a blue plate with lettuce

I originally shared this recipe on September 28th 2011. I have updated the images and some of the text today. 

Why We Love this Waldorf Chicken Salad

If you’re not familiar, Waldorf salad is a classic creamy salad of apples, celery and walnuts. A lot of times you see variations with diced turkey or chicken added in with the apples and walnuts. Or you may see grapes added too. 

And if making healthy lunches is on your radar for important parts of wellness, then you are in good company. I love a great high-protein lunch like this Waldorf Chicken Salad. Some others here on the blog are this Mediterranean Tuna Salad, this Chickpea Salad or Healthy Egg Salad.

Recipe Highlights

  • It’s high in protein and fiber so it really fills me up but each serving is under 300 calories!
  • A chicken Waldorf salad is great to serve for a luncheon or to make ahead for several days of easy lunches.
  • It only takes 40 minutes to make.
  • It’s a great make-ahead recipe.

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

  • Chicken Breast: You start with raw boneless skinless chicken breast. I find the easiest way to cook it is to poach it. If you happen to have leftover cooked chicken, that is totally fine. You will need about two medium chicken breasts.
  • Tarragon: Tarragon is so good in creamy chicken salad. It has a slight anise or licorice flavor.
  • Seasonings: salt, white pepper and granulated garlic or garlic powder.
  • Apple: Use any large red apple with a crisp texture. Granny Smith or green apples are great but will taste more sour.
  • Greek yogurt: Plain non-fat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt is good here. This provides the bulk of the creamy texture in the dressing so we can get away with less mayonnaise.
  • Mayonnaise: Use some mayo for classic flavor, but not too much since it is so high in calories.
  • Walnuts: Buy pre-toasted walnuts or toast them yourself.
  • Vegetables: Celery and minced red onion or shallot.
Waldorf Chicken Salad on a place alongside an apple

Step-by-Step Instructions To Make Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad?

cutting chicken
Whisk the dressing in a large bowl.

Step 1: Cook chicken

Place the chicken in a large saucepan and cover it with water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (depending on thickness.) Transfer it to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized cubes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Make Dressing and Add Mix-ins

Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, tarragon, white pepper, granulated garlic (or garlic powder) and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in apple, celery, walnut and onion (or shallot.)

apples and the remaining ingredients in the bowl
Stir to coat

Step 3: Combine chicken & yogurt

When the chicken is cool, stir it into the yogurt mixture. Either chill or serve immediately.

FAQs and Expert Tips

How to make this recipe ahead and store leftovers?

Make this Walford chicken salad a day in advance and store in the fridge overnight in an airtight container.

Any leftovers will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. Stir well before serving again as the apples may let off a little liquid. 

What to serve this chicken Waldorf salad with?

Serve the Chicken Waldorf Salad over fresh lettuce for a light and easy lunch. You could also pair it with my Cream of Cauliflower Soup for dinner. Or if still seasonally available, make these Cheddar Roasted Tomatoes.

You could also make a chicken salad sandwich with a homemade Whole Wheat Bread. And for dessert, make these Apple Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

Can I freeze chicken salad?

I do not recommend freezing this salad. The apple and celery will break down and will let off a lot of liquid when it is thawed making the dressing runny and watery.

What are some variations and substitutions to try?

As mentioned above, some people add grapes to their chicken salad which I think is delicious. You could also play around with different herbs, or add a curry powder to make it a curried chicken salad.

Also, if you don’t have mayo, use only Greek yogurt instead.

More Chicken Salad Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad, an easy gluten-free lunch that is high in protein but under 300 calories! It has celery, apples, walnuts and poached chicken breast in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing. #healthy #glutenfree #lunch #highprotein #chicken #chickensalad #apples #celery #walnuts #cleaneating #GreekYogurt #healthyseasonal

Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad


  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

Healthy Waldorf Chicken Salad, an easy gluten-free lunch that is high protein but under 300 calories! It has celery, apples, walnuts and poached chicken breast in a creamy Greek yogurt dressing.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1.25 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt plus a generous pinch for poaching liquid
  • 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons dry tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 large apple, finely diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery with leaves
  • 1 cup toasted walnut pieces, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion or shallot

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the chicken is no-longer pink in the center, 12 to 16 minutes (depending on thickness.) Transfer to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized cubes and let cool 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, tarragon, white pepper, granulated garlic (or garlic powder) and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in apple, celery, walnut and onion (or shallot.)
  3. When the chicken is cool, stir into the yogurt mixture.

Notes

Cooking Tip: Some people add grapes to their chicken salad which I think is delicious. You could also play around with different herbs, or add a curry powder to make it a curried chicken salad.

Also, if you don’t have mayo, use only Greek yogurt instead. 

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 268
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 298 mg
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 21 g

Keywords: waldorf chicken salad,healthy chicken salad,healthy waldorf chicken salad