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Cape Cod Chicken Salad

Cape Cod Chicken Salad

The Cape Cod Chicken Salad is a delicious and popular dish that has its roots in the northeastern United States. This delightful salad is a symphony of flavors and textures, combining white meat chicken with a variety of ingredients to create a memorable meal. In this post, we’ll explore the intricacies of this dish, addressing common questions and offering insights into its preparation and history.

Cape Cod Chicken Salad Sandwich on Wheat bread

Origins of the Cape Cod Chicken Salad:

The Cape Cod Chicken Salad, named after the famous Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts, is deeply rooted in New England’s culinary traditions. The region, known for its picturesque landscapes and coastal beauty, has a rich history of seafood and farm-fresh produce. However, chicken salad stands as a testament to the region’s adaptability and innovation in the kitchen.

During the early 20th century, as chicken became more accessible and affordable, households in the northeast started experimenting with various recipes. The Cape Cod version emerged as a delightful blend of savory and sweet, combining the hearty texture of chicken with the sweetness of dried cranberries – a nod to the region’s famous cranberry bogs. The addition of pecans, though not native to the region, added a crunchy texture and nutty flavor, making the dish a perfect balance of taste and texture.

This salad, over the years, became a staple at family gatherings, picnics, and even upscale restaurants across New England. Its popularity is not just due to its delicious taste, but also its reflection of Cape Cod’s culture – a blend of the traditional and the new, always evolving, yet deeply rooted in its past.

The Chicken Debate: Rotisserie vs. Chicken Breasts:

While rotisserie chicken brings a rich flavor, chicken breasts are a leaner option. Some even prefer chicken thighs for a juicier result. Canned chicken can be a quick alternative, but the best flavor is often achieved with freshly cooked chicken.

The Dressing: Crafting the Perfect Blend:

The highlight of this salad is the dressing made from mayo combined with the sweet notes of orange-blossom honey. While creating it separately enhances the flavors, combining all ingredients simultaneously achieves a similar delightful result.

Enhancing the Flavor Profile with Add-ins:

Bell peppers, green onions, and red onion add a crunch. Poppy seeds, extractives of paprika, and black pepper elevate the taste. For a twist, consider adding blue cheese or turning it into a chicken Waldorf salad with the addition of apples and walnuts.

Nutritional Insights: Calorie Count and Daily Values:

This salad can be tailored to fit a medically restrictive diet. Paying attention to available nutrient data, soybean oil and olive oil are often used, but it’s essential to consider the nutritional value and the risk of heart diseases associated with certain ingredients.

Tips for the Perfect Chicken Salad Sandwich:

Layering the chicken mixture on whole grain bread is the best part! For a low-carb option, a lettuce wrap or bed of lettuce makes a fantastic base.

Common Misconceptions: Cape Cod Chicken Salad vs. Costco Chicken Salad:

At first glance, both salads might appear similar, but a deeper dive reveals the distinctions in their ingredient profiles, preparation, and flavors.

  • Ingredient Integrity: The Cape Cod variant, with its sweetened dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and orange-blossom honey-infused dressing, leans towards a sweeter profile. The Costco version, while containing similar base ingredients, often includes additional elements that cater to a broader audience, sometimes sacrificing the authentic New England touch.
  • Flavor Profile: The authentic Cape Cod Chicken Salad offers a harmonious blend of sweet and savory. In contrast, the Costco variant might lean more towards the savory side, often with a creamier texture due to its different mayo ratio.
  • Preparation: The traditional Cape Cod recipe emphasizes creating the dressing separately to maintain ingredient integrity, ensuring each component shines. The Costco version, being a commercial product, is likely produced in bulk, potentially affecting the freshness and individuality of flavors.
  • Cultural Significance: While the Cape Cod Chicken Salad is deeply rooted in New England’s history and traditions, the Costco variant is designed for mass appeal, making it versatile but perhaps less connected to regional nuances.
  • Accessibility: One undeniable advantage of the Costco Chicken Salad is its widespread availability. For those without the time or ingredients to craft the Cape Cod version, the Costco salad offers a convenient, albeit slightly different, taste experience.

Pairing Your Salad: Side Dishes and Drinks:

While the salad is a complete meal in itself, it pairs well with sweet flavors like a glass of lemon concentrate or can be complemented with a side dish like baked goods.

The Cape Cod Chicken Salad is more than just a delicious salad; it’s a journey through flavors, textures, and the rich history of the northeastern United States. Whether you’re making it for personal consumption or sharing it with others, it’s a testament to the diversity and richness of American cuisine. Dive in, experiment, and most importantly, enjoy every bite!

Large bowl of Cape Cod Chicken Salad

Cape Cod Chicken Salad

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A sweet and tangy chicken salad that works on its own, in a sandwich or on top of a bed of lettuce.


  • 4 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups mayo
  • 1/3 cup orange-blossom honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Into a large mixing bowl, add your chicken.
  2. Add in your diced celery, dried cranberries and toasted pecans.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together your mayonnaise and orange-blossom honey to create a dressing.
  4. Pour the dressing over the chicken mixture and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve!


While I like to create the dressing separately, you can just as easily throw everything into a bowl and mix together all at once, and the effect will be exactly the same.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 368Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 260mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 12g

Did you make this recipe?

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Bowl of mixed Cape Cod Chicken Salad

Top 10 cape cod chicken salad costco That Easy To Do - Món Ăn Ngon

Friday 16th of December 2022

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Tuesday 5th of January 2021

Where can you get orange blossom honey?

Katie Reed

Thursday 7th of January 2021

I've had good luck finding it at most Targets or other big stores, but in some markets it can be harder to find. Specialty grocery stores usually have it, and failing that, it is available on amazon. I really like the flavor of the orange blossom honey, but you can also use regular honey or any flavor that suits you.

Anne S.

Sunday 16th of June 2013

Looks great!, BUT, where is the recipe???? Can't make it without ingredients ;-). Just saying chicken cranberries and lettuce in your description doesn't make it a recipe to follow. Please ..... details ..... Thank You, Anne

Anne S.

Sunday 16th of June 2013

Looks great!, BUT, where is the recipe???? Can't make it without ingredients ;-). Just saying chicken cranberries and lettuce in your description doesn't make it a recipe to follow. Please ..... details ..... Thank You, Anne

Anne S.

Sunday 16th of June 2013

Looks great!, BUT, where is the recipe???? Can't make it without ingredients ;-). Just saying chicken cranberries and lettuce in your description doesn't make it a recipe to follow. Please ..... details ..... Thank You, Anne

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