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Discover the classic charm of Waldorf salad with a recipe that’s as timeless as it is delicious. Serve it as a main dish or a side dish and discover exactly why it’s been a popular classic for so long.

Waldorf salad on a plate.
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Classic Waldorf Salad

Let me introduce you to my take on the timeless Waldorf salad! It’s a classic salad that never goes out of style and if you’ve never tried it before, you’re in for a treat.

In the world of salads, Waldorf is the OG, with a flavor combo that’s as smooth as it is crunchy and as sweet as it is savory. Classics are classics for a reason, and just like macaroni salad, coleslaw or ambrosia salad, this salad is proof!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Balanced flavors: This Waldorf salad recipe is the perfect harmony of sweet and savory notes, with creamy mayo complementing sweet apples.
  • Amazing textures: The combination of crisp celery, juicy grapes, and toasted nuts creates a satisfying blend of textures, making each bite of salad amazing.
  • Versatility: Pairs with various main dishes, from roast turkey to pork chops, offering a timeless elegance that suits occasions from Thanksgiving to Christmas to Sunday dinner!

Waldorf Salad Recipe Ingredients

Let’s explore the key components that make this salad a standout:

Waldorf salad ingredients on the counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Dressing: Mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt, sugar, salt and pepper. Everything combines to make a creamy, zesty dressing with a hint of sweetness.
  • Apples: Sweet or tart apples work, I like to use one Granny Smith apple and one Honey Crisp apple.
  • Celery: Adds a satisfying crunch and a mild, earthy taste.
  • Red grapes: Cut them into quarters for the perfect bite-sized burst of sweetness.
  • Walnuts or pecans: These nuts give the salad a toasty, buttery crunch, though slivered almonds are a great alternative.
  • For serving: Consider a traditional iceberg lettuce cups, croissants, bread, or crackers to serve the Waldorf salad to your liking.

Substitutions and Variations

Feel free to customize your Waldorf salad. Add red onions or green onions, and try raisins instead of grapes. Cashews or almonds can be used in place of walnuts or pecans.

You could also use whatever apples you have on hand. Try Gala, Pink Lady Apples, Fuji, or Red Delicious. They all work well in this classic Waldorf salad recipe.

If you don’t have mayo or Greek yogurt, by all means, swap it with sour cream.

You could even add some shredded chicken similar to a chicken salad.

How to Make a Classic Waldorf Salad

Creating this classic Waldorf salad is a breeze. Get ready to enjoy one of the best salads you’ve ever tasted!

Showing how to make Waldorf salad in a bowl.
  • Make the filling: In a spacious large bowl, combine chopped apples, grapes, celery and nuts. If you want to add raisins, you can add them now.
  • Combine dressing: In a separate small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Assemble and chill salad: Pour dressing over apple mixture and stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
  • Serve the salad on lettuce leaves, bread or with crackers – the choice is yours!

Expert Tips

To ensure your salad turns out perfectly every time, consider these helpful tips:

  • Make ahead: While this salad is best served within a few hours of making it, you can prepare it components the night before and store separately in airtight containers.
  • Storage: While this has the best taste the day it is made, you can keep any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Waldorf salad recipe in a bowl.

Recipe FAQs

Can I prepare the salad without nuts for allergy considerations?

Definitely! If you or your guests have nut allergies, feel free to omit the nuts altogether or substitute them with seeds like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. The salad will still be delicious and safe for everyone to enjoy.

What’s the secret to achieving the perfect Waldorf texture?

The key to a balanced texture is chopping ingredients into uniform, bite-sized pieces. This ensures that each forkful combines a bit of creaminess, crunch, and sweetness!

How do I prevent the apples from browning?

To keep apples fresh and crisp, toss them in a mixture of water and lemon juice before adding them to the salad. The acid in the lemon juice helps slow down the oxidation process, preventing browning. Drain them well before incorporating them into the salad.

Is this considered the original Waldorf salad recipe?

Yes! When it was introduced at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, it contained the same ingredients I am using – celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes, served on a bed of lettuce leaves.

Serving Suggestions

Pair it with classic main dishes such as roast turkey breast, pork chops, or braised short ribs.

The salad versatility also makes it a fantastic side for beef tenderloin, and honey-baked ham.

Waldorf salad on a plate with apples.

More classic salads to try: Broccoli salad, Watermelon salad and tuna salad.

More Holiday Salad Recipes

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Waldorf salad on a plate.

Waldorf Salad

5 from 5 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Discover the classic charm of Waldorf salad with a recipe that's as timeless as it is delicious. Serve it as a main dish or a side dish and discover exactly why it's a must-try!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Video

Ingredients 

  • 2-3 medium crisp apples , I use a Granny Smith and Honey crisp
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice to prevent browning of apples
  • 1 ½ cup red seedless grapes , halved
  • 1 cup celery , thinly sliced
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts or pecans , roughly chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise , or Greek yogurt for a lighter version
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lettuce leaves traditionally iceberg, but any type works

Optional: dried raisins, cranberries or golden raisins

    Instructions

    • Peel and dice the apples (you can leave the skin on). Toss the apples and lemon juice in a large bowl.
    • Add the grapes, celery and nuts to the bowl. If you want to add raisins, you can add them now.
    • In a separate small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.
    • Pour the dressing over the apple mixture and gently stir until everything is well coated.
    • Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for about 30-60 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together nicely.
    • Serve the Waldorf salad on a bed of lettuce leaves.

    Notes

    Storage: Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. This dish will not freeze well. 
    Variation: You can add chicken or turkey to make it a more substantial meal.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 230mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 147IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Salad
    Cuisine: American
    Diet: Gluten Free

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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