Chicken Curry Salad

SaladMake-aheadChicken SaladCurryChicken Breast

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.

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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.

Cook the Spices to Get the Full Curry Flavor

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.

This salad is 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 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pound skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons 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 tablespoon 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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39 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. 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 .


  2. 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!

  3. Claudia Kent

    Delicious. I’ve made it twice this week already. Once for company on July 4th and then again for lunches.


  4. Jana

    Another alternate to cilantro: fresh basil. Sounds weird, but try it. Basil turns up in Thai and other Asian dishes.

  5. carol schluntz


    After many, many times of viewing your website, I finally made one of the receipes, Curry Chicken Salad. Yummm, this is definitely a keeper. Maybe I’ll go a bit lighter on the raisins, but not the cilantro! What a perfect touch for the salad! We love it.


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