Smoked chicken salad is a flavorful dish that combines smoky barbecued chicken with the sweetness of dried cherries and the added crunch of almonds and celery. Great for a lighter lunch or main dish anytime!
Table of Contents
Smoked Chicken Salad
Making smoked chicken salad is one of my favorite easy lunch ideas for a lighter option. This simple recipe starts with common ingredients, makes a larger serving that is great for meal prep, and is on the healthier side.
I grew up on macaroni salad and chicken salad. It was always something quick my parents would make in a large batch to feed us for the week. My dad would make chicken salad with leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken (and even canned chicken). We would have a huge bowl of it, take it out on the deck in the backyard, and enjoy it for lunch in the Summer.
This past Summer, I was craving some of that. Then I got to thinking, I could do a smoked version of my dad's chicken salad recipe. I am so glad I did. The next time you have the smoker fired up, toss on some chicken breasts to give it a try!
|3 hours (give or take)
|Cherry, Pecan, or Blend
Ingredients Needed for this Smoked Chicken Salad Recipe
Boneless Chicken Breasts: Now in this recipe, I opted for boneless, skinless chicken breasts as they are leaner and easier to work with. Of course, you can use any leftover smoked chicken you have, too.
Chicken BBQ Rub: Using a rub enhances the flavors of the chicken. You can also use your favorite seasonings. (or sign up for my newsletter for some rub recipes!)
Green Onions: The crisp texture provided by green onions can bring balance to the dish along with subtle tanginess.
Paprika: With its distinct taste and aroma, paprika brings a touch of smokiness and mild heat. My dad always said it was for some color, but now I know it adds a touch of flavor, too.
White Onion: A little milder and sweeter than other varieties, white onions make a great additions to this smoked chicken salad recipe.
Celery: Gotta have some veggies in your chicken salad, and celery provides nutrients, flavor, and crunch.
Sliced Almonds: Health benefits, sweet flavor, and crunch proved by almonds help make this chicken salad.
Dried Cherries: Sweetness, tartness, and the chewiness of the cherries provide texture and a burst of flavor in every bite.
Whipped Dressing: This dressing is airy, light, and adds moistures and creaminess.
How to Make Smoked Chicken Salad
1. Prepare Chicken. Rinse and trim any unwanted parts from the breasts and season both sides with BBQ Rub.
2. Smoke. Transfer out to the smoker and place the chicken directly on the grates. Close the lid and let smoke for about 2-3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
3. Shred. Once chicken is cooked throughout, bring it in and shred it.
4. Mix. In a large bowl combine the shredded chicken, onions, paprika, celery, almonds, dried cherries, and the dressing. Stir it all around until well combined.
5. Serve. I love this smoked chicken salad on a brioche, wrapped up in a tortillas, on crackers, or as is.
- BBQ Rub: Use your favorite or make your own blend.
- Mayo: I personally prefer Miracle Whip because that is what my parents used, but mayonnaise or light mayo works.
- Fruit: I like dried cherries or cranberries for the contrast their tart brings to the smoky chicken. Halved grapes also complement the dish, bringing a lighter and fresher flavor.
- Onion: If white onion is too strong try red or even a shallot because they are a little sweeter.
How to Store Smoked Chicken Salad
If stored properly (sealed in the refrigerator) this smoked chicken salad recipe will be good for 3 days for the best flavor and texture. Since the chicken is smoked, you can probably get 5 days out of it if kept at the right temperature.
Can you freeze smoked chicken salad?
I don't recommend freezing this smoked chicken salad but you can. I feel that the texture just isn't quite the same after being placed in the freezer. The dressing changes consistency, you lose the crunch of your veggies, and same with the almonds. So for best results- enjoy fresh within a few day.
Smoked Cherry Chicken Salad
- 1 ½ - 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts
- 1 ½ tbsp Chicken BBQ Rub (I used Goldstar)
- 2 green onions chopped
- ¾ - 1 tsp paprika (depending on yourpreference)
- ¼ cup white onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery diced
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 1 cup Whipped Dressing (Miracle Whip or similar)
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
- Prepare your chicken breasts by cutting off and removing any unwanted parts.
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the BBQ rub and rub it in.
- Transfer out to the smoker and place the chicken directly on the grates.
- Close the lid and let smoke for about 2-3 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. This time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
- Once cooked through, bring the chicken in and shred.
- In a large bowl combine the shredded chicken, onions, paprika, celery, almonds, dried cherries, and the dressing
- Stir it all around until well combined.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve as is, on a brioche bun, or in a tortilla wrap