4.45 from 9 votes

Waldorf Salad

Are you familiar with the famous Waldorf Salad? It’s a fruit and nut salad typically made with celery, walnuts, crisp apples and grapes in a creamy dressing and served on a bed of lettuce. It’s wonderful as an easy side dish to a meal or brought to a potluck party to share with friends.

A bowl of Waldorf salad surrounded by ingredients.

It’s one of those dishes that is as fun to eat as it is to say. Created in the late 1800s at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, this classic Waldorf salad recipe is a wonderful blend of sweet, tart, and crunchy, tantalizing taste buds for over a century.

The original recipe combines apples, celery, and walnuts, all dressed in mayonnaise. Sounds straightforward, right? But trust me; there’s so much more to it. It’s all about texture, balance, and that delightful contrast of flavors. 

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Why You’ll Love This Easy Waldorf Salad

  • Classic salad that has stood the test of time over many generations.
  • Great addition to any potluck spread.
  • Pairs perfectly with almost any main dish.
  • ​A delicious way to add fresh fruit to your salads.
  • Made with a creamy mayonnaise dressing that is super easy to whip up.
  • Crowd favorite at gatherings.
  • Loads of contrasting textures and flavors.
  • Make a modern Waldorf salad by swapping ingredients to suit your family’s palate.
  • Quick and easy to make in minutes.


The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.

  • Apples
  • Celery stalk
  • Red grapes
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Salt and pepper
Waldorf salad ingredients.

How to Make Waldorf Salad

  • Step One: Add the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts to a large bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step Two: To serve, add the lettuce to serving plates. Top with the salad mixture.
Waldorf salad ingredients.

Equipment Needed

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    What to Serve with Waldorf Salad

    Pair this delicious salad recipe with a variety of dishes.

    Best Apples for Waldorf Salad

    Choosing the right apple can make a significant difference in your Waldorf Salad. When selecting the perfect apple, you want to balance sweetness with tartness and ensure a good, crisp texture to hold up in the salad. You also want an apple that won’t brown too quickly after cutting.

    Here are a few popular choices:

    • Granny Smith: Known for their tart flavor and firm texture, Granny Smith apples hold up nicely in the salad and contrast nicely with the other sweet ingredients.
    • Honeycrisp: These apples are a favorite because of their perfect balance of sweet and tart and fantastic crunchy texture.
    • Fuji: These are sweeter apples, but they’re incredibly crisp and retain their texture, adding a pleasant sweetness to your salad.
    • Gala: These are also sweeter and have a satisfying crunch.
    • Pink Lady: A great option because they have a sweet-tart taste and resist browning quite well.
    A bowl of Waldorf Salad.

    Variations and Substitutions

    • Switch out the apples. Try green apples or red apples and see what you like better. You could also use pears instead of apples.
    • Use a mixture of sour cream and mayonnaise for the dressing. Plain Greek yogurt can also be used. I prefer Hellmann’s mayonnaise, but Miracle Whip is an option, too.
    • ​Add one teaspoon of lemon zest to brighten the dressing’s flavors.
    • ​Change up the Romaine lettuce for another variety. Bibb lettuce is another yummy idea.
    • ​Try green grapes instead of red grapes or use a mixture of both kinds.
    • Include extra add-ins like blue cheese, feta cheese, mini marshmallows, or raisins.
    • Instead of the traditional Waldorf salad dressing, use a poppy seed dressing.
    • ​Add some protein to the mix. Cooked chicken or turkey is a delicious addition.
    • Instead of crunchy walnuts, use pecans, almonds or sunflower seeds.
    • Add veggies like shredded carrots or diced bell peppers.
    • Replace the apples with shredded cabbage, and you have a Waldorf coleslaw.

    Storage Instructions

    If you have leftovers or made the salad in advance, store the Waldorf Salad in a covered container in the refrigerator. Enjoying it within 1-2 days is best, as the ingredients can lose their crispness afterward. 

    If you want to prepare the salad in advance for a party, you can chop the ingredients and store them separately, then mix them with the dressing just before serving. This can help maintain the crisp texture of the apples and celery.

    Can I Freeze?

    I don’t recommend freezing Waldorf Salad. Fresh ingredients like apples and celery can become mushy once thawed, and the mayonnaise dressing can separate and become watery, affecting the overall texture and flavor of the salad. 

    How to Prevent the Apples from Browning

    The apples in your Waldorf Salad can start to brown due to oxidation. To prevent this, toss the chopped apples in lemon juice before adding them to your salad. This can help maintain their color without significantly affecting the overall flavor of the salad.

    A bowl of Waldorf salad.

    Ways to Serve Apple Waldorf Salad

    • Stuffed in Lettuce Cups: For a low-carb, beautiful presentation, serve individual portions of Waldorf Salad in crisp lettuce cups. Romaine or Butterhead lettuce works great for this.
    • On Croissants or Sandwiches: For a refreshing, crunchy sandwich filling, try using Waldorf Salad. This works particularly well with flaky, buttery croissants.
    • As a Canapé Topping: For a chic cocktail party, try serving Waldorf Salad on whole-grain crackers or slices of cucumber. It’s bite-sized perfection!
    • With Grilled Chicken: Instead of serving it on the side, top your grilled chicken breast with a generous scoop of Waldorf Salad. It adds freshness and crunch, perfectly complementing the smoky, grilled flavors.
    • In Endive Boats: Like the lettuce cups, but with a bit more crunch and a slightly bitter flavor to balance the sweet and creamy Waldorf Salad, Belgian endive leaves can make excellent ‘boats’ for serving.
    • Inside a Melon: Scoop out a cantaloupe or honeydew melon for a dramatic summer presentation and fill it with Waldorf Salad. It’s a refreshing, sweet, and savory surprise!
      Wrapped in a Tortilla: Want a quick and satisfying lunch? Roll up some Waldorf Salad in a tortilla for a delicious, refreshing wrap.

    What is a Waldorf Salad?

    So why Waldorf? There’s a meaning behind the name. The salad was created in 1896 by maitre d’hotel Oscar Tschirky for a charity ball at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. 

    Originally, Waldorf Salad was just apples, celery and mayonnaise. The nuts were added later in 1928 when the recipe was featured in The Rector Cook Book. Over the years, many variations have been created, with ingredients like grapes, chicken, turkey, or other nuts added and variations in the dressing used. However, the core ingredients—apples, celery, and walnuts—remain consistent in most versions.

    Recipe Tips and Tricks

    • Freshness is Key: Always use crisp apples and celery for a satisfying crunch. The fresher your ingredients, the better your salad will taste.
    • Prevent Browning: To keep your apples from browning after they’re cut, toss them in a bit of lemon juice. This won’t significantly affect the flavor but will keep your salad fresh and vibrant.
    • Balance Your Flavors: Waldorf Salad is all about the interplay of sweet, sour, and savory. Taste as you go and adjust your ingredients as needed. For instance, if your apples are very sweet, you might want to add a bit more lemon juice to your mayo.
    • Chill Before Serving: Waldorf Salad tastes best when served chilled. After mixing your salad, cover and refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving. This keeps it fresh and allows the flavors to meld together.
    • Toasting the Walnuts: Consider toasting the walnuts ​before adding them to the salad. This can enhance their flavor and make them even crunchier.
    • Customize to Your Liking: Don’t be afraid to add other ingredients or make substitutions based on your preferences. You could add grapes or raisins for additional sweetness, or you could add chicken or tofu for added protein.
    • Dressing Last: If you’re preparing the salad a little bit in advance, consider adding the dressing just before serving. This can help keep the apples and celery at their crispest.
    A plate of Waldorf Salad.


    Can I use another kind of dressing?

    Definitely! Try a poppy seed dressing or a honey mustard dressing instead of mayonnaise. 

    Can I leave out the nuts? 

    ​Yes, you can. Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients if there is something included that you aren’t fond of.

    Can I double or triple the recipe?

    For sure! The conversion will be on the recipe card below.

    Plates of Waldorf salad.

    Salad Recipes

    You might also like this Fruit Cocktail.

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    4.45 from 9 votes

    Waldorf Salad

    Created by Stacie Vaughan
    Servings 4
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 15 minutes
    The famous salad from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel! It’s loaded with fruit and nuts in a creamy, tangy dressing.


    • 2 apples cored and cut into chunks
    • 3 celery stalks thinly sliced
    • 15 red grapes halved
    • ¼ cup chopped walnuts toasted
    • ½ cup mayonnaise
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 head of romaine lettuce chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • Add the apples, celery, grapes and walnuts to a large bowl. Stir in mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
    • To serve, add the lettuce to serving plates. Top with the salad mixture.


    For the apples, these are great options: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala or Pink Lady. 


    Serving: 1cup | Calories: 878kcal | Carbohydrates: 127.5g | Protein: 8.8g | Fat: 44.4g | Saturated Fat: 5.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 36.7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 11.6mg | Sodium: 881.6mg | Fiber: 11.9g | Sugar: 101.3g

    The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

    Course Salads
    Cuisine American
    Keyword fruit, nuts, salad, waldorf salad

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    4.45 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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    Recipe Rating


    1. have not had one of these in years Thank you for the recipe

    2. Shelly in Sunny San Diego says:

      Thanks for sharing Stacie. I used to make this all the time and forgot about it. I used half mayonnaise and half Cool-Whip for the dressing, like Aunt Evelyn taught me when I was 15. (61 now).

    3. I love Waldorf salad and I’ve never tried it with grapes. Love that, it must make it extra juicy. Can’t wait to roast the walnuts first too. Do you add the walnuts while they’re still warm Stacie?

    4. One of my all time favorite salads. It’s one you can make year round. Love it!

    5. Peggy Anne Watt says:

      My SIL adds honey to it and its really extra nice

    6. I’ve never put grapes in mine, but that sounds good. On the other hand, have you seen Heloise’s (the famous household hints lady) recipe for Waldorf salad? This week she told a reader that Waldorf salad was made from apples,celery,nuts,whipped cream,oranges, cherries, pineapples and MARSHMALLOWS! i choked on my lemonade when I read that. I have no idea where she got such a notion. I wouldn’t even know what to call the awful thing, but I certainly wouldn’t call it Waldorf salad.

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