Sonoma Chicken Salad

Sonoma Chicken Salad is studded with toasted pecans and dried cranberries in a lightened-up dressing including Greek yogurt & honey for scrumptious sandwiches!

Sonoma Chicken Salad with text overlay.


I love chicken salad. L-O-V-E. And of all the chicken salads I've ever tried, the nutty, fruity, honey-kissed Sonoma version is my favorite.❤️

This recipe is actually a result of my attempts to recreate the oh-so-tasty Costco Chicken Salad. That chicken salad was a staple when my group of friends was in the wedding-shower-and-then-baby-shower phase of life, and I ate boatloads of it back then. I later discovered that they have a similar chicken salad at Whole Foods, which I also grew to love. So between the two, I eventually devised my own copycat version, making a few changes to suit my family's tastes.

Sonoma Chicken Salad in croissants on plate.


So what do you need to make this delectable version of Sonoma Chicken Salad?

Aerial view of ingredients in bowl.
  • Mayonnaise + Greek yogurt. Way back when I first started making chicken salad, I always used mayonnaise as the sole base of my dressing. In recent years, however -- as I've become more health conscious and cognizant of what I feed my family -- I've started swapping out half of that mayonnaise (or even more) with Greek yogurt. I do think you need to use at least a little bit of mayo for depth of flavor, but the Greek yogurt definitely lightens things up.
  • Honey. Your dressing should be sweet, but not cloyingly so. Everyone has different preferences, though, so feel free to increase or decrease the amount of honey in this recipe to your liking.
  • Apple cider vinegar. To balance the sweetness of the honey.
  • Salt + pepper. It's important to add enough salt to the dressing to help the other flavors pop. I mix in ¼-teaspoon at a time, to taste.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Cooked, cooled, and diced or shredded. I typically poach a few chicken breasts any time I want to make chicken salad, but alternatively, you could choose to bake them, cook them in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, or use leftover/rotisserie chicken.
  • Pecans. Chopped...and I highly recommend toasting them.
  • Dried cranberries. Again, I like to chop the dried cranberries for more even distribution through the chicken salad.
Sonoma Chicken Salad sandwiches on plate.


Many versions of Sonoma Chicken Salad include celery, which I omitted in this recipe since I personally find crunching into raw celery to be a negative textural experience. 😉

I also left out the poppy seeds, since the kiddos in my house are sometimes suspicious of black specks in their food.

But you can certainly add those ingredients back if they appeal to you!

Other versions of this recipe feature halved red or green grapes instead of dried cranberries. Feel free to swap out the types of fruit and nuts you use in this recipe to make it your own!

Grapes and walnuts? Yum.

Dried cherries and almonds? Delish.

Apples and cashews? Strawberries and pecans? I've actually already done those for ya. 😉

Diced chicken, dried cranberries, pecans, and dressing combined in bowl.

How to Make Sonoma Chicken Salad

When I make Sonoma Chicken Salad, I actually whisk together the dressing ingredients first, in a bowl big enough to later hold all of the other ingredients.

I cover the bowl of dressing with some plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge, where it hangs out while I toast my pecans and poach (then cool...then dice...) my chicken.

By the time I'm ready to combine everything, the flavors in the dressing have had time to meld.

Aerial view of Sonoma Chicken Salad in bowl with croissants on side.

Ways to Enjoy It

Whether served on a croissant, sandwich bread, or scooped up with crackers, Sonoma Chicken Salad is always a hit at our house!

Seriously, y'all, my kids cheeeer when I say we're having chicken salad for lunch or dinner. In fact, I typically make a double batch to keep up with the demand!

Sonoma Chicken Salad sandwiches on plate.

Sonoma Chicken Salad is equally perfect at a picnic, a luncheon, a bridal or baby shower, or as a meal to gift a friend or neighbor.

I truly hope this recipe brings happiness (and yumminess!) to your special (and everyday!) occasions, as it has to ours.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • While it's not required to toast the pecans, I highly recommend doing so. Toasting gives nuts a deepened, distinctive flavor while helping them maintain their crunch. Keep in mind that chopped nuts will toast quicker than whole nuts. Watch them carefully once they're almost done, as they can quickly go from perfect to burned.
  • You may use plain yogurt if you don't have Greek yogurt on hand. However, keep in mind that your dressing will turn out slightly runnier.
  • Or, as mentioned above, you can make this chicken salad with all mayonnaise and no yogurt.
Close-up of Sonoma Chicken Salad in a bowl with diced pecans and dried cranberries.

More Yummy Salads

Sonoma Chicken Salad Recipe

Sonoma Chicken Salad

Sonoma Chicken Salad is studded with toasted pecans and dried cranberries in a lightened-up dressing including Greek yogurt & honey for scrumptious sandwiches!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Chilling Time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 515kcal
Print Pin Rate


For the Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain Greek
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Chicken Salad:

  • 1 cup pecan halves, chopped
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, & diced (3 to 4 chicken breasts, depending on size)
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped


  • In a large bowl, stir together all of the dressing ingredients until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, for up to two days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread out the chopped pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown, watching carefully. Allow to cool.
  • To the bowl of dressing, add the diced chicken, toasted pecans, and cranberries. Stir to combine until all ingredients are evenly coated with dressing, and refrigerate for at least an hour to chill.



  • Remember that chopped nuts will toast quicker than whole nuts. Watch them carefully once they're almost done, as they can quickly go from perfect to burned.
  • You may swap regular yogurt for the Greek yogurt, but your dressing will turn out thinner/runnier.
  • You may omit the yogurt and use all mayonnaise in the dressing, if you prefer.
  • Feel free to substitute your favorite fruits/dried fruits and nuts in this recipe.


Calories: 515kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 668mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on June 5, 2013,
the week that first began!
↓↓↓The original photo from that post↓↓↓

Sonoma Chicken Salad | {Five Heart Home}




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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I sous vide a few chicken breasts and followed the recipe. This chicken salad is so good and comes together quickly. It's my new go to!

    Thank you for posting.

  2. I loved the costco chicken salad but my costco now carries a different brand and its not the same. So you know what the brand was, i do not believe it was the Costco brand (Kirkland) correct?

    1. Hi Veronica! Back when I originally wrote this post, I believe that Costco sold their Sonoma Chicken Salad in the deli section. I don't think it had a brand label?

    1. So happy you enjoyed this chicken salad, Laurie! It's one of my favorites as well. Did you see my fall version with apples and cashews? It's kind of fun to play with the base recipe for different variations... 🙂

  3. I used Beyond Meat's Chicken Free Strips for the chicken, cut down to 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar and used Just Mayo vegan mayo blended with a little of Brianna's Poppyseed dressing. It came out fabulous. Thanks for posting the recipe

    1. So happy that this recipe turned out great with your substitutions, Janet...thanks for taking the time to come back and share that! 🙂

    1. Hi Vileena! Canned chicken should work in this recipe as long as you use an equivalent amount. Canned chicken might not taste exactly the same as if you had cooked it fresh, of course, but there should be no problems substituting it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

  4. We LOVE this Sonoma Chicken Salad!!!! Iit's become a regular meal in our cycle!
    It's fresh, oh so tasty and I love the whole sweet and nutty thing going on all over the chicken. Thanks so much for bringing us this wonderful recipe. I've shared this and your site with many. Keep up the great cooking and recipes! 🙂

    1. It makes me so happy to hear that, Kathleen! This was one of the first recipes that I posted when I first started blogging last summer, so sometimes I feel like I need to go in and update the photos. But I agree that the recipe doesn't need to be changed...I love it just the way it is! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Hope you're having a great week!

      1. You can swap regular plain yogurt for Greek yogurt, or just use all mayonnaise in this recipe instead of half yogurt. 🙂

  5. This looks delicious! I like Craisins, grapes (either color) in chicken salad. I've never had Costco chicken salad because we don't have a Costco, but I'm looking forward to trying it. 🙂 Thanks for the recipe.
    His blessings,
    Kim @ Curtain Queen

  6. Thank you so much for linking up to Weekend Potluck! I am excited to have you join our fun party, and hope you will come again and bring more amazing food!!!!! 🙂
    Hugs, Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

    1. Thanks so much for being a hostess, Tonya! And thanks for visiting me here! I really appreciate your comment. 🙂

      1. Hey friend! I am featuring your sandwich today at Weekend Potluck! Come on over and grab an "I was featured" button if you'd like. Hugs, T

        1. How exciting, Tonya! Thank you so much for the feature...I really appreciate it!