Chicken and Wild Rice Salad

Sweet dried cranberries, crunchy carrots, and tart apples mix perfectly with a light dressing into this easy Chicken and Wild Rice Salad recipe.

Simple white serving bowl filled with wild rice salad and topped with nuts, cranberry fruit, green onions, carrots, apples and more

Wild Rice, Cranberry and Chicken Salad Recipe

Colorful with a variety of flavors each bite of Wild Rice Salad is fresh and satisfying! Shredded chicken makes this salad heartier and long grain and wild rice makes it more filling.

I like to use leftover electric smoker whole chicken or pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken. Any cooked chicken without or with very little mild seasoning can be chopped or shredded for this salad.

Ever since making our Brown Rice Salad I’ve been craving more rice salad recipes. They store well in the refrigerator for a few days to make a quick lunch or other light make ahead of time meal. This is also a great side dish recipe for a potluck or picnic.

The combination of nuts and meat make the salad more filling. We have an Almond Chicken Salad recipe, but I like how adding wild rice gives this cold salad a new dimension of satisfying flavor and texture. I also like having salad recipes without mayonnaise that also include chicken. 

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White serving bowl filled with chicken wild rice salad and topped with slivered almonds

A light homemade vinaigrette ties all of the vegetables and other ingredients together nicely. 

Ingredients Needed:

  • Package of wild rice mix
  • Cooked chicken
  • Dried cranberries
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Carrot
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Green onion
  • Sliced or slivered almonds 
Simple ingredients to make chicken and wild rice salad include shredded chicken, dried cranberries, balsamic vinegar, green onions, carrots, slivered almonds, long grain and wild rice, granny smith apple

How To Make Wild Rice Chicken Salad

Boil water and cook box of wild rice mix according to the package directions on the package.

Wild rice and packet of seasoning and pat of butter cooking in large pot

Then pour into a large bowl and allow to cool.

Pot of cooked wild rice mix

Shred and chop cooked chicken and add to rice.

Large bowl with shredded and chopped cooked chicken

Wash, chop and prepare green onions and carrot.

Wash, peel and dice apple. Add fruit and vegetables to the mixing bowl.

Dried cranberry fruit on top of chopped apples, carrots, green onions and celery in large mixing bowl

Mix together dressing ingredients if desired or just pour over top of other salad ingredients and stir well.

Stirring together wild rice salad recipe with chicken and carrots, apple, and light dressing

Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Toast and sprinkle almonds on top just before serving.

Recipe Tips & Tricks:

  • Almonds can be substituted for pecans or cashews, but do not add nuts until ready to serve
  • If you add a little extra chicken or rice and the salad tastes a bit dry then add more vinegar and olive oil to taste. Sometimes I like to double the dressing recipe if I have two heaping cups of chicken.
  • This is a versatile recipe where several substitutions work fine. 
  • Add celery, grapes, arugula, water chestnuts if desired.
  • We like to use leftover chicken breasts or a rotisserie chicken to save time. Substituting turkey for chicken also works well.
Serving spoon in bowl of colorful wild rice salad with cranberries, chopped vegetables, chicken and almonds

Can White Wine Vinegar Be Substituted for White Balsamic Vinegar

Yes, white wine vinegar makes a fine substitute for white balsamic vinegar in this salad recipe with a variety of ingredients and flavors.

In a salad dressing recipe where each flavor is more distinct with plans to be used on lettuce the substitution may not work as well.

Can Brown Rice Be Used?

Brown rice can easily be substituted for wild rice.

White rice also works fine, but will decrease the amount of whole grains and fiber in the dish.

How to Toast Almonds

I like to spread a single layer of slivered or sliced almonds on a sheet of foil in my air fryer and bake at 350F for 1 – 3 minutes until nuts are lightly browned. Toasting helps bring out the oils and enhance the flavor of the nuts.

Toasted slivered almonds sprinkled on top of rice and chicken salad

More Easy Salad Recipes:

Classic Sauerkraut Salad is perfect to serve at summer picnics with hotdogs and brats. Even people that don’t like sauerkraut enjoy this salad!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Bacon – Once you take one bite you’ll know why it’s so amazing! This salad is a great way to add more vegetables to your diet and still enjoy them!

Overnight Salad is an old-fashioned classic for picnics and holidays all throughout the year.

Printable Recipe and Instructions:

Close up view of bowl of chicken and wild rice salad with toasted almonds and dried cranberries

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad

Servings 8 servings
Author: Jennifer
Sweet dried cranberries, crunchy carrots, and tart apples mix perfectly with a light dressing into this Chicken and Wild Rice Salad recipe.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes



  • 6 ounce package wild rice mix uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken cooked, shredded & chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 medium carrot grated or diced


  • 1/3 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 1/4 cup green onion sliced
  • 2 ounces sliced almonds lightly toasted


  • Cook rice according to package directions. Cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together chicken, rice, cranberries, apple and carrot.
  • Add dressing ingredients and stir well again.
  • Cover and chill for at least 8 hours. Sprinkle almonds on top just before serving.


  • We like using a box of rice a roni wild rice mix



Calories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 7gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 93mgPotassium: 242mgFiber: 3gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1341IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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