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Classic Pineapple Chicken Salad

This Classic Pineapple Chicken Salad is easy to make, healthy and delicious. One of the most popular summer recipes, chicken salad is perfect for picnics, barbecues or potlucks.

Pineapple Chicken Salad with white plate in the background0

Why I like this classic chicken salad with pineapple:

  • Savory ingredients go well with fruit– I am a big fan of mixing fresh or dried fruits with other savory ingredients.
  • Versatile– The salad is versatile, easy to make and ready in no time. You can make it as healthy as you want it to be. For example, instead of mayo, use Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has more than 20 grams of protein per cup! Together with the chicken meat and the pecans, this recipe is packed with nutritional value! 
  • Popular– Chicken salad is popular at picnics, potlucks, barbecues, and even brunches.
  • Can be made in advance– The salad can be made with a day in advance and refrigerated in a covered container. It also tastes better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours, and the ingredients have time to get friendly with each other. Go ahead and make it in the morning, then pull it out of the fridge for dinner time and eat it! What can be easier than that?
  • Use any cooked chicken– You can cook the chicken or you can use already cooked meat. Boiled or baked chicken breast or leftover rotisserie-style chicken work very well.
Pineapple Chicken Salad in a blue bowl0

What kind of ingredients you need for this chicken salad:

Cooked chicken

As I said before, cooked chicken is the star of the recipe. Use boiled, backed or roasted chicken. White meat is preferred in this salad, but anything works if you make the salad more casual.


Most recipes use canned pineapple, but you can definitely use fresh. If you use fresh, it is good to eat the salad the same day, as the pineapple might start fermenting in the salad, especially if you take it to a picnic and it sits in the sun.

I like to use canned chunky pineapple for two reasons. One is the convenience, the second is the texture of the pineapple. I would not use the crushed one, BUT if this is all you have in the pantry, go ahead and use it.

Make sure you drain it well before you add it to the salad. Too much liquid will make the salad watery.

Chopped green celery

Green celery brings freshness, color and texture to the salad.


My choice of nuts is pecans, but there are other nuts that would go well in this salad. Go for chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews etc.


Mayo mixed with fresh lemon juice binds the salad together. If you want to make this salad healthier, you can cut in half the amount of mayo and add Greek yogurt to it, or replace the mayo entirely with your favorite dressing.

How to make this classic pineapple chicken salad:

This chicken salad is super easy to put together. Basically, all you need to do is place all ingredients in a salad bowl, add the dressing, and stir to combine.

Chill and serve.

How to serve:

Usually served on a croissant, this salad can also be placed on lettuce leaves or a good crusty bread. I personally love bread more than croissants, especially when I make my awesome recipe that makes the most delicious loaf of bread ever.

The recipe is light and believe it or not, it is not very sweet. For this reason, most people make it for a brunch or a light lunch.

When you serve it, you can use a regular salad bowl. However, if you make the salad with fresh pineapple, you can do the following:

Use a half pineapple as a bowl, after you scoop out the fruit and use it in the salad, instead of using a can.

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Leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator, and they would last about a week, in an airtight container. If you use fresh pineapple, I would toss the salad after two days.

Chicken salad, by default, doesn’t freeze well. What you can do is to cook the chicken, dice it and freeze it. When you are ready to make the salad, combine the chicken with the rest of the ingredients for a quick lunch.


Pineapple Chicken Salad with white plate in the background0

More recipes to love:

Cranberries Pecan Chicken Salad

Spanish Potato Salad

Brown And Wild Rice Chicken Salad

Pineapple Pecans Cheese Ball Appetizer

Orzo Pasta Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Pineapple Chicken Salad

Pineapple Chicken Salad on greens square photo0

This Classic Pineapple Chicken Salad is easy to make. A popular summer recipe, chicken salad is perfect for picnics, barbecues or potlucks.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 cup canned pineapple chopped, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, pineapple, pecans, celery, basil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Add to chicken mixture, stirring until well combined.
  4. Serve it cold on croissants, or any kind of good bread.
  5. The salad can be made a day in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 465mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g

Did you make this recipe?

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Carol Anne

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

Thank you for the recipe. My mom made a similar salad. I lost the recipe, so I am grateful for this. Mom would poach the chicken breast in the pineapple juice which was delicious.

The Bossy Kitchen

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

What a great idea! I bet your mom's recipe was awesome!

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