Chicken Curry Salad

Make-aheadGluten-FreeChicken SaladCurry

A great chicken curry salad recipe for potlucks or picnics. Chicken, curry powder, onion, raisins, apple, and cilantro. Mayo optional.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken curry salad is one of my favorite salads to make because it’s so easy to put together. When I was in college, a friend of mine gave me a box of assorted curry powder blends. I think I went through the whole box making this salad over the years since.

It has cubed chicken, apples and raisins for sweetness, green onions and cilantro because for this kind of salad you always want a little green.

The important thing to remember when cooking with curry spices is to “cook” the spices, or in this case the curry powder, first, in a little olive oil before stirring it in with the rest of the ingredients. The heat brings out the full flavor of the curry.

It’s also easy to make ahead, the added time just allows the flavors to blend.

Chicken Curry Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaping Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 cup raisins (soak in water while you prep)
  • 1 apple (tart or sweet, your preference), peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (just lightly packed)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise optional


1 Sauté cubed chicken breast: Heat olive oil on medium/medium-high heat in a thick-bottomed sauté pan. Add chicken breast cubes and cook, stirring frequently until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle some salt on the chicken pieces while cooking.

Check doneness by removing the thickest piece and cutting it in half. If it is still pink in the middle, keep cooking. Try not to overcook the chicken or it will be dry.

Remove chicken pieces with a slotted spoon, set aside in a bowl.

2 Sauté onion, curry, raisins: Add chopped yellow onion and cook. After a few minutes, when the onions are beginning to get translucent, add 2 heaping tablespoons of yellow curry powder. Cook a few minutes more, stirring frequently.

If the curry sticks to the bottom or the mixture gets dry, add a bit more olive oil to the pan. As you stir, scrape up the stuck curry bits.

Add drained raisins, and cook, stirring another minute. (If adding optional mayonnaise, remove curry from heat and mix in mayo.)

3 Add raisin onion mixture to chicken: Add raisin and onion mixture to chicken and mix well, coating the chicken pieces with the curry infused olive oil. Refrigerate until cool. At this point you can make the salad a day a head of time.

4 Mix in apple, green onions, cilantro to serve: When you are ready to serve the salad, mix in the apple, green onions, and cilantro.

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Showing 4 of 39 Comments / Reviews

  • Danette

    This was scrumptious! I’ve had curry salads from deli’s that seem to sit with me for too long, but this is light and not overpowering. I used sweet red apples that added an alternative flavor to the curry. The red apple skin also gave the salad a nice color. Great to make the primary ingredients ahead of time .

  • Laurie Hildebrandt

    Another variation: pineapple chunks (instead of apple), celery and sliced almonds. I always use leftover roasted chicken so have never “cooked” the curry. I will have to do that and sauté the onions, too (always used green onions instead of the yellow onion). I use some mayonnaise, with pineapple juice and Dijon mustard, to bind it together.
    I am an Elise groupie and rely on her for many, many recipes! Thank you, Elise!

  • Nina

    Hi Elise, i’ve been reading your recipes via rss-feed for quite a while now. This weekend, I finally tried two of them. The results were delicious!

    I used less cilantro than you suggest and added some parsley instead, which is more readily available here. But I would not want to omit cilantro completely, since its very distinct taste contributes a lot to the special character of the salad.

    To all of you readers: This recipe is highly recommended!

  • T

    I just tried this recipe for a potluck, and it came out delicious! I’ll definitely make this again, thanks!

  • Mark

    Great sounding recipe. My wife hates cilantro, though. What would you substitute?

    Hi Mark, try using fresh parsley. ~Elise

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