Tarragon Chicken Salad with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

This creamy tarragon chicken salad with golden raisins and walnuts is made with zesty lemon poached chicken and has a bit of fruitiness and nutty crunch for a satisfying lunch. 


If you’re a chicken salad fan, then you’re going to love this new twist on the classic recipe. My version is just as creamy and satisfying as traditional chicken salad, thanks to mayonnaise and mustard. However, it has a savory and herby finish from fresh tarragon and crunch from onion, celery, and toasted walnuts. The result is a well-rounded quick lunch recipe to smush between bread slices or to scoop on top of a fresh salad. 


Lemon Poached Chicken for Chicken Salad

The key to making a chicken salad that stays fresh and moist is to gently poach your chicken breasts. Poaching allows you to infuse the meat with plenty of flavor and maintain its juicy texture. It all comes down to how you season the poaching liquid. For this tarragon chicken salad, I like to use a simple lemon water solution. 


The lemon juice brightens up the chicken as it cooks. And poached chicken holds this flavor even after it’s mixed with the chicken salad ingredients. You can also make a big batch of lemon poached chicken and enjoy it on salads all week long. 



Tarragon Chicken Salad with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Golden Raisins and Walnuts

Yield: 6 cups; Serves: 6-8

This is a simple and flavorful chicken salad that accents familiar winter flavors. This recipe is great as a side dish, atop salads (great with kale!), or smeared into sandwiches. You can sub the poached chicken with leftover chicken of any variety or even turkey or around the holidays.


Lemon Poached Chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 lemons, halved
  • 6 tablespoons salt

Tarragon Chicken Salad

  • 4 cups shredded chicken
  • ½ cup yellow onion, small diced
  • ¼ cup celery, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed, toasted
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • ¼ cup tarragon, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


Lemon Poached Chicken

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium stockpot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken reaches 160°F internally, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Discard cooking liquid.
  3. Shred or dice the chilled chicken into ½-inch pieces.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and transfer to a serving vessel. 
  2. Garnish with tarragon and chopped walnuts if you like.
  3. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

After your chicken is cooked through, let it cool while you assemble the remaining ingredients for your salad. You’ll need to dice up some onion and celery, which add texture and a bitey flavor.


The creaminess comes from mayonnaise and whole-grain mustard. You can use Dijon or another favorite mustard if that’s what you have on hand. You can also substitute a dairy-free mayonnaise if you’re avoiding dairy. 


For a bit of sweetness and more crunchy texture, add golden raisins and toasted chopped walnuts. Finally, apple cider vinegar adds a bit of acidity to brighten everything up. As a result, this creamy chicken salad is light and refreshing. It’s perfect for a light lunch any time of year.

Serving Suggestions

I like to toast up two slices of gluten-free bread and make a quick sandwich with my chicken salad. You can also scoop some on top of a simple bed of greens for a filling salad. Or swap the bread for crunchy lettuce leaves for a DIY chicken salad lettuce wrap. 


If you’re digging this satisfying tarragon chicken salad recipe, come follow along on Instagram, where I share all of my favorite new recipes. See you there!

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