Waldorf Salad, originally served at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1896, is a fantastic fusion of diced apples, walnuts, celery, and grapes in a simple mayonnaise dressing. Enjoy this creamy delicious fruit-filled salad recipe on a bed of crisp lettuce for a light and easy lunch or dinner.
What is Waldorf Salad?
The Waldorf salad was first created in 1896 in New York City by the Waldorf-Astoria’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, who developed (or at the very least inspired) many of the hotel’s most popular signature dishes.
Originally, the dish came with just apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Now considered an integral part of this all-American salad, it wasn’t until later, sometime before 1928, that nuts (particularly walnuts) had been added.
You will most often find Waldorf salads served on a bed of lettuce or fresh greens and as an appetizer or light lunch.
What is in Waldorf Salad
Best Apples for this Waldorf Salad Recipe?
For fresh salads, such as this Waldorf salad recipe, picking apples that resist oxidation for as long as possible is key. Why? They don’t brown as quickly. Other important factors include taste and texture. Sweet and somewhat tart apples are best as well as anything with a nice crispy crunch. I like to use,
- Pink Lady
- Honey Crisp
- Granny Smith
- Golden Delicious
- Protein: The addition of chunks of chicken breast or turkey is extremely popular and an easy way to make this light lunch or appetizer a more filling meal.
- Dried fruit. You will sometimes find dates, raisins, or even dried cranberries for extra flavor and texture.
- The creamy dressing: Classic Waldorf salads come with a simple mayonnaise dressing. Feel free to play around with this and add some plain yogurt or Greek yogurt in place of part of the mayonnaise, or even some freshly whipped whipping cream.
- Mix up the fruit: This salad is also great with pears! The key is making sure that you use pears that are ripe, but still firm. You can also add mandarins or pineapple.
- Marshmallows – yes, some variations of this recipe even include mini marshmallows.
How to make Waldorf Salad
- Combine the grapes, celery, apples, and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
- In a separate bowl combine the mayonnaise and sugar.
- Add the mayonnaise and sugar mixture to the grape mixture and gently mix.
- Best served immediately.
- Chop the apples last to prevent as much browning as possible.
- Some recipes will recommend tossing the apples in a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning. I (personally) avoid this step as I feel the lemon juice makes the mayonnaise taste a little funny.
- If you don’t plan on serving this Waldorf salad immediately, wait to add the chopped walnuts (or any other types of nuts) until just before serving. Nuts turn stale when refrigerated.
Can Waldorf Salad be Made Ahead of Time?
Yes, however, I wouldn’t recommend making it more than one, maybe two, hours ahead of time.
While it is most definitely best enjoyed the same day that it is made, it won’t go bad overnight, so feel free to enjoy the leftovers the next day if you’re up for it. Keep leftovers stored in the refrigerator in a sealed airtight container for best results.
I do not recommend freezing leftover Waldorf salad.
How to Serve Waldorf Salad
Firstly, Waldorf salad is best served chilled. A warm Waldorf salad won’t taste great and may not even be very safe to eat since the dressing is mayo-based.
I like to serve it on a bed of butter lettuce or peppery delicious arugula, but it’s also great with fresh-baked bread, dinner rolls, or even wrapped in a tortilla for an easy, on-the-go lunch or dinner recipe.
Have you tried making this Waldorf Salad Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
- 3 cups red grapes - cut in half
- 1 cup celery - chopped
- 3 medium apples - cored and chopped into bite-size chunks
- ½ cup walnuts - roughly chopped
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- Salad greens or lettuce - for serving
- Add the prepared grapes, celery, apples, and walnuts to a large mixing bowl. Gently toss to combine.
- In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and sugar until completely combined.
- Add the mayonnaise mixture to the bowl filled with the apples, grapes, and celery. Gently mix to combine.
- Serve in bowls with your favorite mixed salad greens or lettuce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Any type of crisp and sweet apple is perfect for this recipe. Examples include golden or red delicious apples, in addition to Pink Lady apples.
- If you prefer chopped pecans use those in place of the chopped walnuts.
- Ripe, yet firm, pears are a great alternative to apples.
- Some Waldorf salad recipes recommend tossing the apples in a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning. I (personally) avoid this step as I feel the lemon juice makes the mayonnaise taste a little funny. This step, however, is up to you.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)