Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd

by Alli

Chunky Chicken Salad is a huge favorite at my house. Apples, red onions, pecans (or walnuts), and celery add flavor to the shredded chicken. 

There's a reason that my chunky chicken salad is requested over and over. It's the best I've ever tasted plus it's my husband's favorite. Click the photo to get the recipe or save for later.

Whenever we head to North Myrtle Beach for our family beach trip, my husband always asks me if I’m making my chicken salad. No worries. I’ll have it whipped up in no time.

If you’re planning a big weekend pool party,  a family reunion, or a trip to the beach, try my Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd. It feeds 18-20! And if you need more than that, just double it!

Chunky Chicken Salad

I usually prepare this the night before we hit the beach for our family vacation. I put it in a large freezer bag and stick it in the cooler just before leaving for our road trip to the beach. It’s nice to have something ready to eat when we arrive.  Serve with crackers or make sandwiches. It’s all good!

Helpful Hint: If I need to make a chicken salad in a hurry, I use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I must always be in a hurry because I use a rotisserie chicken just about every time I make this.

When I’m preparing it for guests, I just use the breast meat and save the dark meat for another use. Southerners would never use dark meat in a chicken salad!

Don’t tell anyone, but when it’s just my immediate family, I use the whole thing!  My family loves dark meat! šŸ™‚

Ingredients At A Glance For Chunky Chicken Salad

Keep scrolling to find the full, printable recipe.

  • boneless chicken breasts (or prepared rotisserie chicken)
  • chopped apples (gala or fuji)
  • red onion, chopped
  • chopped celery
  • walnuts OR pecans
  • mayonnaise (I always use Duke’s Mayo)
  • brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tips on Making Chunky Chicken Salad

If you’re using chicken breasts, let them cool completely before chopping.

Chunky Chicken Salad

Place chicken in a large bowl and add all the ingredients and toss with the mayo and mustard. Store in the fridge.

Chunky Chicken Salad

How long does chicken salad last in the fridge?

Chicken Salad can be stored for 3-4 days in the fridge. Make sure you store the salad in an air-tight container. We rarely have leftovers and I think chicken salad is best eaten the day it’s made, after chilling in the fridge. 

Yield: 20 servings

Chunky Chicken Salad for a Crowd

Chunky Chicken Salad

Chunky Chicken Salad is creamy and crunchy and full of flavor.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (or prepared rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 medium apples (gala or fuji), chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you're using boneless chicken breasts, place chicken in a large stockpot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  3. Cook for 20 minutes or until no longer pink.
  4. Chop or shred chicken.
  5. In a large bowl, mix chicken with apple, onion, celery, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Toss with mayonnaise and mustard.
  6. Store in the fridge.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving Calories 251Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 62mgSodium 177mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 22g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Facebook

My chunky chicken salad is also delicious served in croissants for a bridal luncheon or a brunch. The crunch of the apples and nuts combined with the creaminess of the mayo/mustard mixture takes a ho-hum chicken salad to a whole new level.

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Sara-Jayne September 5, 2016 - 6:15 am

You know, I’ve been wondering all week what I can do to liven up the boys’ sandwiches and this is it! They would LOVE this salad!

Matthew September 5, 2016 - 6:31 am

Looks extremely good! I just had salad for lunch, but its nowhere visually tantalizing as yours!

Maureen September 5, 2016 - 7:18 am

Oh wow this looks so delicious and so easy to make! I bet this will go perfect with pita bread or wrap too. Must try your recipe soon. Off to pin it now šŸ˜€

Stephanie Jeannot September 5, 2016 - 9:39 am

Sounds delicious on a croissant. That’s my favorite sandwich bread. Never made this recipe yet yum!

VICTORIA E TABLIZO March 23, 2021 - 7:50 pm

How many cups of chicken salad does this make?

Alli March 24, 2021 - 5:15 am

I’ve never actually measured to see exactly how many cups of chicken salad this recipe makes. It makes enough to feed 18-20 people.

Jeanette September 5, 2016 - 10:04 am

You’ve got my mouthwatering! I love chicken salad sandwiches, this one looks outstanding. I will be painting this one to use soon.

Heather @ Kraus House Mom September 5, 2016 - 10:40 am

My son loves when I make a giant container of chicken salad. He asked me to make it for his lunch next week. It’s one of our favorites.

Terri Beavers September 5, 2016 - 11:00 am

This looks and sounds really delish. I really like that you added apples into the recipe. We love chicken salad on croissants.

Jenn @ EngineerMommy September 5, 2016 - 3:20 pm

I love chicken salad and tuna salad. And I definitely prefer a chunky texture in the salad! Serving it on a croissant is pure perfection. I would love to have this for lunch today!

Mimi Green September 5, 2016 - 7:11 pm

Hold the nuts and I’m all the way in. I’ve not had chicken salad in years, but I loved it. I’m a sucker for a fresh croissant. Sounds like a winning pair.

Liz Mays September 5, 2016 - 9:37 pm

Oh this would be the perfect thing to serve at a party. I’m loving the apples and veggies!

Bella September 5, 2016 - 9:38 pm

I love this recipe! I make chicken salad all the time but your version sounds very refreshing with the apples in it.

Sarah September 5, 2016 - 10:05 pm

This looks like an easy way to make chicken salad and it sounds super yummy! I am going to have to try to make it right up soon.

Franc Ramon September 6, 2016 - 1:24 am

Croissant and Chicken Salad, I’m definitely gonna love that. It’s gonna be a full and tasty meal for me.

Chrishelle Ebner September 6, 2016 - 3:03 am

I love a good chicken salad. I agree it is great for a family meal and as a yummy dish at a bridal or baby shower. I have never put apple in mine. I have to try your recipe.

Jeanine September 6, 2016 - 11:28 am

This looks amazing. I saw it posted on Facebook and its all I’ve been thinking about now. I need to make this ASAP. Looks so good. Who doesn’t love a good chicken salad!

Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen September 6, 2016 - 1:37 pm

Chicken salad is one of my favorite summer or light lunch meals. I love all of the delicious add-ins in this version…pass me a croissant!

Jasmine September 6, 2016 - 2:12 pm

I LOVE a good chicken salad! We’re in florida we’re its still in the 90’s so we’re grilling for another few months. This would be perfect side dish!

LaShawn September 7, 2016 - 4:58 am

I am always looking for a good chicken salad recipe! I’ve never made one with apples!

GiGi Eats September 7, 2016 - 3:46 pm

This wouldn’t be for a crowd if I made it. It would be just for me and my big ass mouth! hahahahaha!

Alli September 12, 2016 - 12:08 pm

My family loves it too. šŸ™‚

Robin Rue September 8, 2016 - 9:56 am

This looks so super delicious! I need to give this chunky version a try.

Shavonne September 8, 2016 - 12:03 pm

Looks so Yummy!!!. I love croissants. I’ve had grapes in my chicken salad but I’ve never tasted it with apples.. hmmmm… interesting. I will definitely try this recipe

Alli September 12, 2016 - 12:08 pm

I love grapes in my chicken salad. I have another recipe that calls for grapes and it’s so good.

5 Unique Save the Date Ideas You Will Love - An Alli Event July 3, 2017 - 6:00 am

[…] there always seemed to be enough punch, cheese straws, chicken salad sandwiches, fruit, nuts and wedding cake to go around. Big catered dinners and dancing was not much of a thing […]

Lisa January 22, 2023 - 11:34 pm

If using a rotisserie chicken approximately how many do you need to equal 3 LBS of chicken breast? I would like to make this for Church brunch and Iā€™m trying to figure out my shopping list. Sounds delicious.

Alli January 25, 2023 - 9:47 am

An average size rotisserie chicken weighs about 2 pounds so I always use two. Once I debone and take the skin off, two chickens work perfectly for me.

Kathy July 13, 2023 - 6:32 pm

Can you tell me if this is enough to serve 20 people on a croissants? Thank you!

Alli July 14, 2023 - 2:10 pm

It’s according what size the croissants are and how thick you pile it on, but I’m pretty sure it will.


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