Chicken salad isn’t usually something I plan for. Rather, it’s generally something I make when I have some leftover chicken in the fridge and I want to do something more a little more exciting than reheating it as is. And chicken salad certainly is more exciting than plain microwaved leftovers. It’s creamy and delicious and is great on a sandwich or just on its own, but this particular chicken salad takes things up an extra notch. With sweet and juicy mandarin oranges, bright green onion, and crunchy slivered almonds, it’s a chicken salad that’s well worth planning for.

While most chicken salads rely on pure mayo for their creaminess, our Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad also has some cream cheese in the mix to help things along. It lends a richer creaminess with more of a velvety feel, but thanks to the whole mandarin segments, it never feels heavy.

There’s also celery and slivered almonds for crunch, and some Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder to balance the citrusy sweetness.

You’ll want to stir the cream cheese and mayo together first, and once those are smooth, gently fold in the oranges and other ingredients so the orange segments remain intact. You want to avoid breaking them and releasing a lot of juice into the dressing.

There are so many ways to enjoy this – eat it as is straight out of the bowl, toss a scoop on some chopped lettuce to get some extra greens in, spread it onto a light and flaky croissant… No matter how you go about it, it’s a seriously tasty version of chicken salad!

Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad

Serves 4-6; 15 minutes prep, 4 hours cook time

Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the chicken, celery, mandarin oranges, almonds, and green onion, and gently stir to coat, taking care to not break up oranges.
  3. Cover and chill for 4-6 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Food Charlatan.