Chicken Curry Salad

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

  • 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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  • 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!

  • Claudia Kent

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

  • Jana

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

  • 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.

  • Liesel

    This is such a great recipe. I made a variation this weekend for my husband’s birthday party after having the salad elsewhere. I leave out the raisins and add red grapes for some color and sweetness. Fantastic!

  • Wendi

    I have made this twice now for large parties, using five pounds of chicken. I have substituted yogurt for the mayo which was great and also combined yogurt and mayo. It was a big hit both times.

  • Dorie

    I read through the comments and like all the additions people thought of.
    For those of you who can’t find much cilantro or have a spose who doesn’t like it…Try adding ground coriander. This is the seed of the cilantro plant. It is not strong but adds some depth and cilantro HATERS will never know.

    I like to use flat leaf parsley for everything that needs cilantro or basil when I’m either out or have an eater who doesn’t like cilantro ( who doesn’t like basil?). It adds some more color and freshness to the dishes.

  • Diana

    To celebrate the autumn season I’ve been making this curry with fresh pumpkin instead of chopped apple. I serve it hot, and add a dash of cinnamon. Yum!

  • Helaine

    This is similar to a recipe someone gave me years ago for a curried chicken salad. It was basically a chicken salad (cooked chicken, celery, apple) with mayonnaise flavored with curry powder, salt & pepper to taste, and added raisins, sliced almonds, and a bit of shredded coconut. We like it alot, and now I’m going to have to try Elise’s version for sure!

  • Maureen

    Hi Elise,

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it at least 6 times already this summer and I delight in it each time…. it just bursts with flavor. My pantry has been running low and I was running out of raisins – so I went half raisins, half dried cranberries – it worked beautifully with the other flavors! Last night I realized I was totally out of raisins (still hadn’t gotten to the store) and substituted a cup of chopped dried apricots. OK, but not as good. Anyway, thanks a bundle for this lovely dish.


  • Laura


    I just made this recipe and enjoyed it however I have some questions for anyone else who may have made it that can help.

    1. I only used 1 lb of chicken but kept all of the other amounts the same but felt like I may have wanted it to be a little saucier. Should I just add more olive oil and curry powder?

    2. I thought this was really spicy. I have had it from whole foods and it wasn’t spicy so am just wondering if it was the curry I bought. Any advice as to what kind of curry powder I should buy?

    3. Any suggestions to replace the cilantro as not everyone I served enjoyed the cilantro.


  • Heather

    Hi Elise, love your blog! This is a great dish. I just wanted to add a quick note to the last poster – It’s best to remove the chicken so you don’t overcook it because it will get tough.

  • Monica

    First, thank you for such a well-maintained blog. The pictures are gorgeous, and I have used several of the recipes again and again. Here’s my question: With this chicken salad, why not just add the onions, curry and raisins to the almost-cooked chicken rather than removing the chicken first? Is there a reason not to do this?

    I think pan size is the issue. But if you are using a large enough pan, sure no reason not to do it that way. ~Elise

  • M

    I made this over the weekend and added celery to the onion mixture and pistachios to the salad. Delicious!

  • Elana

    Do you use a special type of curry? I have noticed that there are different types in terms of spiciness. Does the one you use have a kick?

    These days I use plain yellow curry powder, which is pretty mild. The different curries in the original gift box mentioned in the headnotes were used up years ago. If you find a source of different curry mixes, it could be fun to experiment with them with a recipe like this. ~Elise

  • Jamie

    I picked up some curried chicken salad from New Frontiers (AZ version of Whole Foods) and it was almost $6 for a teeny little tub of it! The bf said it was delicious though, so I’ve been wanting to make some at home ever since. Thank you!

  • merd

    Mouthwatering combination of flavors, textures, and smells. Another great recipe. By the way, that Food Blog Search link turned up some really excellent recipes too. Thank you!

  • Bill

    If you’re not crazy about mayonnaise, try using a big dollop of Greek yogurt. In general, curry and yogurt work well together.

    Here’s the last no-cook curried chicken salad I made:

    1 tsp curry powder
    3 Tbs yogurt (or mayo)
    1 10-oz can canned chicken white meat from Trader Joe’s
    1/2 cup dried cranberries, from TJ
    1/4 cup apple brandy
    1 bunch scallions
    ground pepper

    Soak the cranberries in the brandy for about two hours to plump them up. Add the same time, stir the curry powder into the yogurt and refrigerate. Wash and slice the scallions, whites and greens. Drain the cranberries and discard the brandy. Toss the yogurt mix with the plumped cranberries, chicken, and scallions till the chicken chunks fall apart. Add ground pepper to taste. Use as a sandwich filling.

  • stephanie

    I’m so pleased that you’ve shared a chicken salad that isn’t clogged with mayonnaise. I ate it over salad greens, my husband had his with small slices of toasted ciabatta. With a side of chunks of canteloupe and homemade lemonade, it made the 99 degree temperature here in CT bearable! Delicious – thank you!

  • Kate

    I made this for my husband last night. He was afraid of the “salad” part of the recipe, (he wants a “real meal”) so I served it warm with a side of yellow rice instead of on a bed of lettuce. Delicious, but yes, the house smells of curry this morning. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Dragon

    Hi! I’ve been lurking here for a while now and thought I’d pop up and say hello. Hello!

    I adore curry and can’t wait to try this recipe. You haven’t disappointed me yet. :)

  • Laetitia

    I love any kind of chicken salad recipe. I’ve never tried curried chicken, even though my husband loves it. Hmmmm, he would really enjoy your recipe I think. :) And it would give me a chance to try it as well.

  • Zac Chase

    For a veggie friendly version, what would you recommend?

    I suggest checking over at my friend Heidi’s 101 Cookbooks site for all sorts of veggie friendly recipes. Or do a search for vegetable curry at Food Blog Search. ~Elise

  • Dewi

    Has anyone tried making this with cubed firm tofu as a substitute for the chicken? Any comments as to if this would work?

  • kevin

    That’s very similar to my recipe, except I add a small handful of grated, sweetened coconut.

    Hi Kevin – great idea, thanks!

  • Gretchen Noelle

    I love curry and this salad sounds incredibly tasty!

  • Estrella

    I had a delicious curried chicken salad sandwich when visiting my sister at Brown and have been looking to replicate it. This recipe looks very close though the sandwich had a touch of honey so I might try adding that into this one as well. YUM. (If you’re ever in Providence, RI check out the Meeting Street Cafe, delicious! and no trip there is completely without one of their huge cookies, ask them to warm it up for you)

  • K. Smith

    I have been searching for a recipe close to Coronation Chicken. I loved it when I had it in England a few years back and I have been dying to recreate it at home…this recipe did it! Hurray! Loved this recipe! Its a keeper!

  • kelley

    I also add slivered almonds to my curry chicken salad.

  • Erika

    This was delicious! My husband and I really enjoyed it.

  • kate

    This salad was wonderful! Very light and refreshing, I tossed with a teaspoon of mayonnaise at the end to just bring it together…i did not use much oil in the cooking process. I served it on plain couscous and it looked beautiful with all the yellows and greens. thank you for a keeper!

  • Laurel

    Looks good, will definitely try this one. As others have mentioned Coronation Chicken Salad is another version of this — sold prepared in large grogery stores such as Tesco last I was in England. I like it with celery, grapes, cashews and a hot Madras curry powder. It actually makes a nice sandwich as well.

  • Barry

    You might also like Coronation Chicken. This too is a curried salad.

    Basically a bed of lettuce topped with chopped chicken breast with sultanas and pistachios in a curried mayo sauce.


  • persis

    I think the English call this Coronation Chicken…

    Thank you for updating your blog so consistently – it’s something to look forward to everyday! Lovely pics too.

  • Santosh

    Hi Elise,

    You are fantastic…. I am sure you love Indian food too… I am going to make this chicken curry salad but since we dont use olive oil is it good to use corn oil? Will the taste change or will it be the same?

    Cooking is my favourite hobby and can cook Thai and Indian food. Chicken tandoori and chicken tikka and fish curry are my favourites apart from Thai food

    Note from Elise: You should be fine with corn oil.

  • Mark

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

    Hi Mark, try using fresh parsley. ~Elise

  • T

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

  • 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!