This Waldorf salad is a delightful mix of crunchy apples and celery, sweet grapes, walnuts, and a creamy dressing. It’s unbelievably simple and flavorful — a timeless classic!
What Is a Waldorf Salad?
A Waldorf salad is a mixture of celery, apples, grapes, and walnuts tossed in a mayo-based dressing. It has a distinct crunch and burst of sweetness. Mayonnaise may seem like a strange component in a sweet salad, but it adds a rich flavor and creamy texture that complements the salad ingredients perfectly. Plus, a touch of lemon juice and honey adds just the right amount of tang and sweetness to the salad.
Waldorf salad was named after the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where the dish originated in 1893. Oscar Tschirky, the hotel manager, created the Waldorf salad for a charity ball in honor of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. The original recipe contained only apples, celery, and mayo, but other ingredients like walnuts and grapes were added over the years. Even though Waldorf salad is over a century old, it remains the most popular salad in NYC today — ordered about 20,000 times every year!
How To Make Waldorf Salad
Our Waldorf salad comes together in 15 short minutes and three easy steps. Make the dressing, combine the salad ingredients, and toss it all up!
- Make the dressing: Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl until smooth and creamy.
- Combine the salad ingredients: In a separate bowl, combine the apples, celery, walnuts, and grapes.
- Toss the salad: Pour the dressing over the salad and mix everything together until well combined. Enjoy immediately, or cover and store in the fridge.
Hot tip: For a warm, nutty flavor, toast the walnuts on the stovetop or in the oven. Let them cool completely before chopping them, then add to your salad!
Even the classics can use a revamp once in a while. Upgrade your Waldorf salad with any of these ingredients to customize the flavor to your liking.
- Dried fruit: Add craisins or raisins for a sweet and tart surprise.
- Apples: Pick your favorite crisp apples — Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Fuji, and Gala are all tasty varieties.
- Grapes: For a tangy pop, go with green grapes. If you prefer more sweetness, red grapes are the choice for you.
- Yogurt: Swap the mayo for plain yogurt to make a lighter dressing. Or, try a mixture of both.
- Protein: Get your protein in with chunks of cooked chicken, turkey, or crispy bacon.
Tips From the Kitchen
This Waldorf salad recipe is crazy easy — you’ll nail it on the first try! Keep these tips in mind to take your salad game to the next level.
- Leave the peel on the apples. Not only is the peel packed with nutrition, but it adds an amazing burst of tartness that brings life to this salad.
- Chop the ingredients evenly. Small bite-sized pieces are the best way to get all the flavors in every bite.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the chopped apples. The acidity in the lemon juice prevents discoloration of the apples.
- Garnish the salad with parsley. Fresh curly parsley adds a pop of color and a refreshing herbal flavor.
- Enjoy immediately. Serve the salad right after tossing to preserve its crispness. The longer you let it sit, the greater the chances of ending up with a soggy salad.
Ways To Serve
Waldorf salad is a delicious lunch or dinner side dish. Serve it over a bed of lettuce for a nutritious and attractive presentation — romaine and butter lettuce are great options. Add a garnish of crumbled blue cheese or parsley for extra flavor. Are you wondering what to pair Waldorf salad with? You can’t go wrong with creamy Tuscan chicken pasta, vegetable soup, and brioche buns. Or, add this classic salad to your holiday spread of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and oven-roasted asparagus.
Make-Ahead & Storage
Waldorf salad is best enjoyed immediately, but leftovers are still great. Plus — it can also be made ahead of time! Here’s a timeline to help you efficiently plan your salad prep.
- Make-ahead: To prepare the salad 3-4 hours in advance, assemble it fully, then transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Storage: To store the leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
What is Waldorf salad dressing made of?
Waldorf salad dressing is traditionally made of mayo, salt, and pepper. To add more flavor, some recipes add lemon juice, Greek yogurt, and/or honey.
Why is it called Waldorf salad?
Waldorf salad earned its name from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in NYC where it was created.
Does Waldorf salad contain celery?
Yes, celery is one of the main components of Waldorf salad.
More Salad Recipes
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad — Chickpeas tossed with veggies, feta cheese, and a red wine vinegar dressing
- Vinaigrette Salad — A flavorful mixture of root vegetables and pickles
- Roasted Cabbage Wedge Salad — Pieces of roasted cabbage topped with a garlic dill dressing
- Broccoli Cauliflower Salad — Broccoli and cauliflower mixed with crunchy bacon, sunflower seeds, and a creamy dressing
- 2 large green apples cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 cup red grapes halved
- To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and honey in a small bowl until smooth and creamy.
- In a separate bowl, combine the apples, celery, walnuts and grapes.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and mix everything together until well combined. Enjoy immediately, or cover and store in the fridge.