Turkey Salad Recipe – 10 Mins Recipe (Healthy & Delicious)

Don’t let those Thanksgiving leftovers languish in the fridge! Give that roasted turkey a new lease on life with a vibrant, flavor-packed salad that’s anything but ordinary. Imagine tender shreds of turkey, each bite bursting with the savory flavors of the holiday feast.


Turkey Salad

Now picture those succulent morsels mingling with the sweet tang of dried cranberries and the satisfying crunch of toasted pecans, all brought together in a creamy, dreamy dressing. This isn’t your average post-Thanksgiving sandwich—it’s a symphony of textures and tastes that will elevate your leftovers to a whole new level.

Why You’ll Love This Turkey Salad Recipe

  • Flavor Fusion: A delightful combination of savory, sweet, and nutty notes.
  • Texture Play: Tender turkey contrasts with crunchy vegetables and nuts.
  • Quick & Easy: Ready in just 10 minutes with simple ingredients.
  • Dietary Friendly: Naturally gluten-free, low-carb, and dairy-free.
  • Versatile: Enjoy on a sandwich, in a lettuce wrap, or by itself.


  • Turkey: This recipe is perfect for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. You can use turkey breast, meat from roasted turkey legs or wings, or even shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken if you don’t have leftover turkey on hand.
  • Vegetables: Add crunch and freshness with a variety of vegetables like chopped celery, sliced green onions, diced bell peppers, shredded carrots, or even chopped kale.
  • Dried Fruit & Sweetness: Dried cranberries add a pop of color and sweetness. If you prefer a less sweet salad, you can omit the dried cranberries or use a smaller amount. You could also substitute with chopped apples, raisins, or grapes.
  • Nuts: Add a satisfying crunch with chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts. For a nut-free option, substitute with toasted sunflower seeds.


  1. Base: Use either mayonnaise (homemade mayo or a good quality store brand) or plain Greek yogurt for a lighter option.
  2. Flavor Enhancers: Dijon mustard adds a pungent, spicy kick, while a squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens the flavors. Fresh herbs like chopped dill or parsley add a touch of freshness, while a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, thyme, sea salt, kosher salt, or black pepper enhance the overall flavor of the dressing.
  3. Customization: Feel free to adjust the amount of each ingredient to your liking. If you prefer a tangier dressing, add more lemon juice. For a spicier kick, increase the amount of Dijon mustard.

READ: Kale Chickpea Salad

Recommended Tools

  1. Glass Nesting Bowls: These versatile bowls are perfect for both prepping and serving your salads.
  2. Whisk: A whisk is a must-have for whipping up dressings, dips, and batters. Choose your favorite style and size.
  3. Wooden Salad Servers: Not only do wooden salad servers look elegant, but they also protect delicate greens from bruising.

Nutrition Facts

Fat (g)29.4
Protein (g)21.1
Total Carbohydrates (g)3.6
Net Carbohydrates (g)1.9
Fiber (g)1.7
Sugar (g)1.1

Turkey Salad Recipe

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: SaladsCuisine: American


Prep time





Give leftover turkey new life with this easy, flavorful salad recipe! Crunchy pecans, sweet cranberries, and creamy dressing make it perfect on sandwiches, wraps, or salads.


  • 3 cups cooked turkey, shredded or diced

  • 1 cup celery, chopped

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced

  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • Combine Salad Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the shredded or diced turkey, chopped celery, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and sliced green onions.
  • Whisk Dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, dried thyme, sea salt, and black pepper until smooth.
  • Toss to Combine: Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and gently stir until everything is evenly coated.
  • Chill and Serve: For the best flavor, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld and the salad to chill.


  • This salad is best served chilled. For optimal flavor, prepare the salad ahead of time and allow it to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

How to Serve Turkey Salad

  1. Sandwiches: This versatile turkey salad recipe makes tasty sandwiches when layered onto your favorite bread with crisp lettuce leaves, slices of tomato, and red onion.
  2. Lettuce Wraps: For a lighter option, use large lettuce leaves to create refreshing lettuce wraps filled with the salad.
  3. Salad: Serve scoops of the turkey salad on top of a bed of greens for a healthy, protein-packed meal. You can also mix it into a leafy green mixture, such as an arugula salad, for added texture and flavor.
  4. Appetizers: This turkey salad makes a delicious appetizer when spread onto crackers or toasted crostini. It’s a perfect holiday appetizer or party snack.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Turkey Salad Stuffed Avocados: Fill avocado halves with the turkey salad for a fun and healthy appetizer or snack.
  • Turkey Salad Pinwheels: Spread the salad on tortillas or flatbread, roll them up, and slice them into pinwheels for a party-perfect finger food.
  • Turkey Salad Melts: Top toasted bread with the salad and your favorite cheese, then broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

READ: Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad

Variations on the Classic Turkey Salad

  1. Turkey Salad Recipe with Eggs: For added protein and richness, incorporate chopped hard-boiled eggs into your turkey salad. The creamy yolks blend well with the dressing and add a new dimension of texture.
  2. Turkey Salad Recipe without Mayo: If you’re looking for a lighter or dairy-free option, swap the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt or a combination of Greek yogurt and avocado. The result is a creamy, tangy dressing without the added fat of mayonnaise.

Additional Variations:

  • Curried Turkey Salad: Add a teaspoon of curry powder to the dressing for a warm, aromatic twist.
  • Mediterranean Turkey Salad: Incorporate chopped Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil for a Mediterranean-inspired flavor.
  • Buffalo Turkey Salad: Toss the turkey with your favorite buffalo sauce and add crumbled blue cheese for a spicy, tangy salad.
Turkey Salad Recipe

Tips and Tricks:

  • Toasting the pecans: Briefly toasting the pecans before adding them to the salad enhances their flavor and adds a subtle crunch.
  • Using leftover gravy: For a richer flavor, consider incorporating a tablespoon or two of leftover turkey gravy into the dressing.
  • Adding a touch of heat: A pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce can add a subtle kick to the dressing.

Additional Ingredients:

  • Fresh Herbs: Enhance the flavor with chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, chives, or tarragon.
  • Spices: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a subtle kick, or use a combination of dried herbs like oregano and basil.
  • Veggies: Experiment with different vegetables like diced cucumbers, shredded radishes, or chopped broccoli florets.
  • Fruit: Apples, grapes, or even pomegranate arils can add sweetness and a pop of color.
  • Cheese: Crumbled feta or goat cheese can add a tangy, salty element.

READ: How to Know if Kale is Bad

Can You Freeze Turkey Salad?

While you can technically freeze turkey salad, it’s not always the best option due to the mayonnaise-based dressing. Freezing and thawing can cause the dressing to separate and become watery, impacting the overall texture and flavor. However, if you’re determined to freeze it, here are some tips:

  1. Freeze the components separately: Freeze the cooked turkey, chopped vegetables, and dried fruit separately from the dressing. This will help prevent the dressing from becoming watery.
  2. Use freezer-safe containers: Pack each component into airtight, freezer-safe containers or bags. Label and date them for easy identification.
  3. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator: When ready to enjoy, thaw the frozen ingredients overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, combine them and mix in the dressing just before serving.

Storage Instructions

To keep your turkey salad fresh and delicious, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavor and texture will maintain well during this time.

Freezing turkey salad recipes that contain mayonnaise is not recommended, as the dressing can separate and become watery upon thawing. If you’d like to freeze your turkey salad, consider preparing the salad and dressing separately, freezing the salad ingredients, and then adding the dressing when you’re ready to serve.

Health Benefits

This turkey salad isn’t just delicious, it’s also packed with nutrients. Turkey is a lean protein source, providing essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth. The addition of vegetables and fruits boosts the fiber content, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. Cranberries, in particular, are rich in antioxidants that support a healthy immune system. By opting for a lighter dressing made with Greek yogurt or avocado, you can further reduce the calorie and fat content of this already wholesome dish.


This turkey salad recipe is a testament to the versatility of leftovers. It’s a simple, flavorful, and healthy way to transform Thanksgiving remnants into a delightful dish that can be enjoyed throughout the week. Whether you’re packing it for lunch, serving it as a light dinner, or offering it as a party appetizer, this turkey salad is sure to impress. So, the next time you find yourself with leftover turkey, skip the boring sandwiches and give this vibrant salad a try. You won’t be disappointed!


Frequently Asked Questions for Turkey Salad

Can You Make Turkey Salad Ahead of Time?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s recommended to make the turkey salad a day ahead of time so the flavors have time to meld and develop.

How to Store Turkey Salad

Store the turkey salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Stored properly, it will last for three to five days.

What is turkey salad made of?

A basic turkey salad typically includes cooked turkey meat, mayonnaise, celery, and onion. This recipe adds a twist with Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and fresh herbs. You can also customize it with your favorite additions, such as chopped nuts or dried cranberries.

What is a good side dish for turkey salad?

Turkey salad pairs well with a variety of sides, depending on your preferences. Some popular options include:

  • Leafy Greens: A simple salad of mixed greens with a vinaigrette dressing.
  • Fruit Salad: A refreshing mix of seasonal fruits like berries, melon, and grapes.
  • Chips or Crackers: For a bit of crunch, serve with your favorite chips or crackers.
  • Soup: A warm bowl of soup, like tomato soup or butternut squash soup, complements the cool turkey salad.

Can I use other types of meat besides turkey?

Absolutely! While this recipe highlights leftover turkey, you can easily substitute it with cooked chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, or even leftover ham.

How do I prevent my turkey salad from getting watery?

To prevent your turkey salad from becoming watery, make sure your ingredients are well-drained. If using canned vegetables, drain and rinse them thoroughly. If using fresh vegetables, pat them dry after washing. Also, consider adding the dressing just before serving to avoid excess moisture.

Can I add other spices or seasonings to the dressing?

Absolutely! Experiment with your favorites. A pinch of curry powder or smoked paprika would add warmth, while a touch of honey or maple syrup would enhance the sweetness.

Is this turkey salad suitable for meal prepping?

Yes, it’s perfect for meal prepping! Prepare a large batch and portion it out into individual containers for grab-and-go lunches or snacks throughout the week.

Can I make this salad vegan?

Yes, simply use a vegan mayonnaise substitute and omit the eggs if you’re adding them.

How do I make the salad extra crunchy?

To add an extra crunch, try incorporating toasted nuts, chopped water chestnuts, or even crumbled tortilla chips.

What drinks pair well with this turkey salad?

This salad pairs well with iced tea, lemonade, or a light white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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