Cranberry pecan turkey salad is a quick, easy, and healthy way to dress up leftover turkey (or chicken!). Packed with nutty pecans, creamy Greek yogurt, tangy cranberries, and crunchy celery, this is one turkey salad you’ll put on repeat!
For more ways to use up leftover poultry, try my popular recipes for Chicken Salad with Grapes, Piña Colada Chicken Salad, and Lighter Apple Pecan Chicken Salad.
Happy Thanksgiving! Did I just write that? This has simultaneously been the shortest and longest year of all time and somehow we are here, in the midst of the holidays. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been looking forward to this time for months, even creating recipes with holiday flavors for months just to get a little taste of the season.
Like this salad I whipped up a while back using leftover chicken, dried cranberries from my pantry, a few pecans, Greek yogurt, celery, Dijon mustard and a few other simple spices. I’m sharing it today because I know you’ll have buckets of leftover turkey to use up and it should be destined for this cranberry pecan turkey salad.
Why this Recipe Works
I could go on and on forever, but here’s the short list of why this turkey salad rocks.
Great for using up leftovers — Putting this together is as easy as opening your fridge and using up what you have on hand. Any kind of pre-cooked turkey or chicken will work, you can swap the nuts (more on that later), skip the celery…the list goes on and on.
Easy to double — Or triple even if you have company or just want to nosh on this delicious turkey salad all week long.
Great leftovers — See above. Make up a big batch and have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. My kids love to eat it wrapped up in a tortilla too for lunch! (Just make it the morning of so that the bread doesn’t get soggy by lunch time.)
Not just for the holidays — Although I make this with the holidays in mind, this turkey salad is great any time of year, and the ingredients are easy to find year-round as well!
Here’s How you Make it
- Get out a large bowl and mix together the turkey or chicken, cranberries, pecans, and celery.
- In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing: Greek yogurt, mayo, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.
- Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and toss it all together.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve the salad sandwiches right away or cover and chill till ready to serve.
Ideas for Eating Turkey Salad
- In addition to adding this turkey salad to a croissant, roll, or wrap, you could also add a scoop or two to the top of some salad greens. Instant, low-carb lunch!
- Serve the salad alone on a plate or in a bowl with a side of crispy, salty pickle spears.
- Add a tablespoon of salad on top of slices of cucumber for a fun appetizer/finger food.
- Stuff two avocado halves with turkey salad for a yummy, heart-healthy lunch.
- Add two cups of cold, cooked pasta noodles to the turkey salad to make a delicious turkey pasta salad.
- Add chopped hard boiled eggs to the turkey salad for extra creaminess and protein.
How Bad is Turkey Salad for you?
Like any foods you eat, it all depends on the ingredients you use as to whether or not it’s good or bad for your health. The great thing about making your own turkey salad at home is that you know and have control of exactly what is going into your salad. Some chicken or turkey salad recipes call for heavy mayo or other oils. But this one just uses Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and spices.
Turkey Salad Substitutions:
- This one seems obvious but I’ll say it anyway – swap our your protein. Shredded or cubed chicken works perfectly in this recipe!
- Instead of pecans, you could use chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, or even pistachios.
- If you don’t like dried cranberries, you can substitute another kind of dried fruit, or skip it all together.
- If Greek yogurt is too tangy, you can use regular plain yogurt too, though it won’t be as thick as using Greek yogurt.
- If you don’t have Dijon, you could substitute half a teaspoon of mustard powder.
- Instead of a teaspoon of sugar, you could use a sugar substitute, honey, or no sugar.
- For the turkey, I tend to use whatever I have on hand (leftovers work great!) for this salad. About 8 minutes in the Instant pot will do, or you can cook your turkey breast on the stovetop, bake, or grill it. When cooking it myself, I like to season it generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder just before cooking.
- I’ve also been known to just use a shredded rotisserie turkey or chicken or I’ll thaw and mix in some frozen diced protein.
More Turkey Recipes to Try
Did you try this Cranberry Pecan Turkey Salad? YAY! Please rate the recipe below!
Cranberry Pecan Turkey Salad
- 1 ½ pounds diced - or shredded turkey
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 3 celery stalks - chopped
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½-1 teaspoon salt - to taste
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper - more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- bread, croissants, or wraps - for serving, optional
- In a large bowl combine turkey, cranberries, pecans, and celery.
- In a small bowl whisk together Greek yogurt, mayo, dijon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sugar.
- Pour dressing over turkey mixture and toss to combine.
- Taste, add salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately or cover tightly and chill until ready to serve.
I wouldnt change a thing! I plan to make this today with our mound of leftover turkey, since i have all the ingredients.
Converting measurements on the turkey from pounds to cups would be helpful to me!
i made this recipe two times now, once with turkey and then chicken, both were delicious. I shared the recipe with my sisters and they loved it too. Thank you.
Yay! I am so glad you loved it Suzi, it’s a go-to for leftovers in our house (and sometimes I find myself making absolute we have leftovers just so I have an excuse to make it ha!). Thank you for sharing this recipe and for your great feedback! 🙂
This sounds good but, with being vegetarian I would leave out the turkey. 😋