This is my absolute favorite way to make chicken salad croissant sandwiches, and I think it’s going to be your new favorite, too! I took the classic chicken salad recipe, added even more flavor, and gave it a slight autumn twist with dried cranberries and roasted pepitas. It all comes together when you pile it high onto a buttery croissant and the flavor is even more elevated. Let’s dig in!
To start, I create small batch recipes. This recipe makes 2-3 chicken salad croissant sandwiches (depending on how much filling you want), but you can easily double or triple the recipe as needed. Trust me, you’re probably going to want to have leftovers. 🙂 Nothing beats a good homemade chicken salad, but I’m not even kidding when I say that everyone who has tried this recipe raves about it – it’s such a keeper!
I love to cut some of the mayonnaise out of a classic chicken salad recipe, add some plain Greek yogurt, dried cranberries for sweetness (instead of grapes), roasted pepitas for crunch, and a little lemon juice for a touch of acid to balance out the flavors. I also love to throw in some quick pickled red onion (the best!) for all of that delicious red onion flavor without the harsh bite. I hope you love this flavorful chicken salad recipe as much as my family and friends do!
- ¼ cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used whole milk Greek yogurt)
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise (good quality, like Duke’s or Hellman’s)
- 1 heaping tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 ½ cups very finely chopped Rotisserie Chicken or Cooked Chicken Breast
- ¼ cup chopped Celery
- ¼ cup Roasted Pepitas
- ¼ cup chopped Dried Cranberries
- ¼ cup Pickled Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Lemon Wedge (or fresh lemon juice to taste)
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped Parsley
- Salt + freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
- 2-3 Buttery Croissants
- 2 leaves Green Leaf Lettuce
The combination of mayo and Greek yogurt not only lessens the caloric load of this chicken salad recipe, but it’s a delicious way to balance out a little of the richness of a classic chicken salad recipe, too. The rest of the ingredients add their own special touches: crunchy celery and roasted pepitas for texture, dried cranberries for a subtle touch of sweetness, Dijon mustard for a depth of flavor, pickled red onion for a little crunch and pop of acidity, and a little lemon juice to bring it all together. Don’t be afraid to season this chicken salad with a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper – the flavors will siiiiiing!
Plain Greek Yogurt
I prefer to use whole milk Greek yogurt for this recipe, as it adds more body and the best flavor. You can use non-fat Greek yogurt if preferred, but the flavor may be slightly different than if you went with whole milk plain Greek yogurt.
I know I say this a lot, but quality matters when it comes to mayonnaise. The flavors can vary a LOT depending on brand, and I always recommend Duke’s or Hellman’s for dips, dressings, spreads, and definitely homemade chicken salad.
I promise these are not hard to find – in fact, I get them from Target! Pepitas are pumpkin or squash seeds, and they’re sooo good in this recipe. They’re a seed, so this is a nut-free chicken salad recipe, too! If you don’t like pepitas or you can’t find them, any toasted nut (like almonds, walnuts, or pecans) will work.
Pickled Red Onion
I LOVE pickled red onions. My favorite recipe isn’t necessarily a small batch recipe, but we use them so often that it only makes sense to make quite a few at once. The recipe for quick pickled red onions is included in the recipe card, and I recommend making them a day or two before using them for this chicken salad. If you don’t have the time or don’t feel like doing it, just use regular red onions and soak them in ice water for 15 minutes to take away some of their harsh red onion bite. If you’re really, REALLY in a pinch on time, you can just use 1/4 cup of chopped green onions instead.
Finely chopped chicken is my personal preference for this recipe because it mixes into the other ingredients perfectly. If you prefer shredded chicken (or even larger chunks of chicken), do your thing. Recipes are meant to be a guide, and you can make them your own depending on your preferences. As far as what type of chicken to use, I recommend rotisserie chicken for the easiest route, but the chicken in these photos is actually a finely chopped cooked chicken breast that was seasoned with salt and pepper before cooking in a pan on the stove-top. Chicken thighs are also a great option, or leftover roast chicken! Or hell, use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving if it’s that time of year when you’re reading this. Just chop whatever you use into really small pieces so it mixes in with everything!
Besides the pickled red onions (which are super easy but do take a little time), this is such a quick and easy recipe to throw together for lunch or dinner. It’s a great way to use up the last of that rotisserie chicken (or whatever leftover chicken you have), and truly comes together in just minutes. It’s SO good as soon as it comes together, but like most things, it does benefit from having some time to hang out in the refrigerator before serving. The flavors blend together a little more, and it becomes even tastier.
If you want to, you could make the pickled red onions and the rest of the chicken salad ingredients at the same time (sans pickled red onions, of course). The chicken salad ingredients will have some time to hang out and develop their flavors a bit, then when the pickled red onions are done cooling, you can chop up 1/4 cup of them and fold them into the chicken salad! Just a thought. 🙂
The quick backstory on these chicken salad croissant sandwiches starts with me wanting to publish a cookbook. It’s a lofty goal of mine (that I will achieve someday), and I like to take actionable steps towards making that dream a reality. So, last year I hosted half a dozen “tastings”, where I would make 5-6 recipes, have family and a few friends over, and have everyone sample each recipe and vote on their favorite.
I made two versions of chicken salad for the second tasting, and although it was a close call, this one edged out the competition as the best chicken salad recipe! I served spoonfuls of it on crostini to make it into a party food type of situation (which you can totally do, too – people LOVE it!) It was such a huge hit, I made it again for a tasting later in the fall. The dried cranberries and roasted pepitas are a staple in a lot of my fall-inspired recipes, so it was the perfect fit. I just think the flavors are so much more fun than a classic recipe, and everyone totally agreed!
How to this Make Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches
1. Prep the onions. Make the pickled red onions first, or prep raw red onion if you don’t want to bother with the pickled version. For pickled red onions, see the “notes” section in the recipe card below! If using raw red onion, thinly slice a small red onion until you have 1/4 cup worth of slices. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and submerge the red onion slices. Let them chill for 15 minutes in the ice water, then drain the water and pat the onions dry.
2. Prep the other ingredients. Chop the celery into small pieces, about 1/8 inch in size. Roughly chop the dried cranberries, finely chop the chicken, and finely chop the fresh parsley.
3. Mix the creamy base and chicken together. Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and a little salt together in a large bowl (usually larger than you think you need). Add the finely chopped chicken, and stir to thoroughly combine.
4. Add everything else. Add the chopped celery, chopped dried cranberries, roasted pepitas, chopped pickled red onion, and chopped parsley. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the top (about 1 – 2 tsp. of lemon juice), then sprinkle in more salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Stir to combine, taste, and season with more salt and pepper as needed. If it is good but not fantastic yet, just add a touch more salt, pepper, or lemon juice until it’s delicious!
5. Pile onto flaky croissants. Lay a leaf of green leaf lettuce over the bottom half of each croissant. Pile at least 1/2 cup (up to 3/4 cup) of chicken salad directly on top, then cap with the top half of the croissant. Serve immediately. (Note: This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of chicken salad, so 1/2 cup servings would make 3 sandwiches, and 3/4 cup servings would make 2 sandwiches).
Step-By-Step Recipe Guide (I don’t know if you need it, but I made it anyway!)
Mix the creamy base and chicken together. Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and a little salt together in a large bowl (usually larger than you think you need). Add the finely chopped chicken, and stir to thoroughly combine.
Add everything else. Add the chopped celery, chopped dried cranberries, roasted pepitas, chopped pickled red onion, and chopped parsley. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the top (about 1 – 2 tsp. of lemon juice), then sprinkle in more salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Stir to combine, taste, and season with more salt and pepper as needed. If it is “good” but not fantastic yet, just add a touch more salt, pepper, or lemon juice until it’s delicious!
To Make Pickled Red Onions
To Make Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp. Granulated Sugar
- 2 tsp. Kosher Salt (or 1 tsp. Sea Salt)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 5 Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 small/medium Red Onion
- Combine one cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp. sugar, 2 tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. sea salt), 1 bay leaf, and 5 black peppercorns in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, and stir occasionally until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from the heat.
- Thinly slice the red onion. Place the onion slices into a re-sealable glass jar, then pour the warm pickling mixture into the jar directly on top of the onions. Allow to cool for about 20-25 minutes at room temperature before using.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
This is seriously a great sandwich recipe that makes a perfect lunch (Mark has taken a sandwich with him before and texted me about how good it is!), but it’s also the perfect recipe for you to make into a party food concept like I did for my tasting. Serve them on mini croissants, make them into chicken salad sliders (on slider buns OR mini croissants!), pile them onto slices of cucumber or toasted croistini, or serve them on small pieces of celery! Whatever sounds good to you, I’m sure it will be amazing. 🙂
How to Store Leftover Chicken Salad
This chicken salad recipe will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Store the croissants separately, and build the sandwiches before serving.
I know I said it’s a fall-inspired recipe, but it really is the perfect recipe for any time of year. Here are some other ones to check out, too! (Both are small batch recipes, like this one).
Other Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipes
If you ever need to increase the amount you want to make in the recipe card, there is a little slider bar near the “servings” portion on the recipe card if you’re on a desktop, or if you’re on your phone, touch the number of servings on the recipe card (it will be a number, and colored dark red). You can adjust the slider bar that way instead of doing the calculations on your own! 🙂
If you make these chicken salad croissant sandwiches and love them, please leave a comment and / or star rating below! You can also share them on Instagram and tag me, or use the hashtag #aflavorjournal so I can see them! If you have any questions about the ingredients or how to make them, send me an email so I can help out.
Favorite Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches Recipe for Two
For Chicken Salad Sandwiches:
- 1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I used whole milk Greek yogurt)
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise good quality, like Duke's or Hellman's
- 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked Chicken like rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast
- 1/4 cup chopped Celery
- 1/4 cup Roasted Pepitas
- 1/4 cup chopped Dried Cranberries
- 1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions *
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 Lemon Wedge about 2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste
- Salt + freshly cracked Black Pepper to taste
- 2 Croissants
- 2 leaves Green Leaf Lettuce or greens of your choice, optional
For Pickled Red Onions:
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp. Sugar
- 2 tsp. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt or 1 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 5 Whole Black Peppercorns
- 1 small Red Onion
Make the Pickled Red Onions:
- Make the Pickling Mixture. Combine water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, kosher salt (or sea salt), bay leaf, and black peppercorns in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring the liquids to a simmer, and stir occasionally until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
- Combine with Red Onion Slices. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to cool. While it is cooling, thinly slice the red onion (You should have about 1/2 cup of red onion slices, but a little more or less is ok, too!). Place the onion slices into a glass jar that can be sealed shut, then pour the pickling mixture into the jar directly on top of the onions. Allow the onions to hang out in the pickling mixture for about 20-25 minutes at room temperature before using. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Make the Chicken Salad Sandwiches:
- Prep the ingredients. Chop the celery into small pieces, about 1/8 inch in size. Roughly chop the dried cranberries and pickled red onions (once cooled), then finely chop the chicken and fresh parsley.
- Combine everything. Mix the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and a little salt together in a large bowl (usually larger than you think you need). Add the celery, dried cranberries, roasted pepitas, pickled red onion, chicken, and parsley. Sprinkle in more salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then squeeze a lemon wedge over the top (about 1 – 2 tsp. of lemon juice). Stir to combine. Taste a little bit, and season with more salt and pepper as needed. (If it is good but not fantastic yet, just add a touch more salt and/or fresh lemon juice until it’s delicious!)
- Pile onto flaky croissants. Place a leaf of green leaf lettuce over the bottom half of each croissant. Pile at least 1/2 cup (up to 3/4 cup) of chicken salad directly on top, then cap with the top half of the croissant. Serve immediately. (Note: This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of chicken salad, so 1/2 cup servings would make 3 sandwiches, and 3/4 cup servings would make 2 sandwiches).