No need to travel to enjoy this classic recipe from the Waldorf Hotel. This easy Waldorf Salad is a refreshing fruit salad with just a handful of wholesome ingredients you’ll love.
This refreshing classic salad recipe is full of simple ingredients, crunchy texture and satisfying flavors.
It can be made at any time of the year and is perfect for a light meal in the summer or a side dish for a holiday meal.
With loads of ways to change up the original recipe you’ll never run out of great ways to make this favorite salad recipe!
Why is it called Waldorf Salad?
This fruit and nut salad is named for the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It was originally created in March of 1896 for a charity ball honoring St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.
The hotel’s Maitre d’Hotel at the time, Swiss immigrant Oscar Tschirky, is credited with the original recipe. He’s said to have personally developed, or inspired, many of the iconic hotel’s well known dishes.
The original Waldorf Salad recipe appeared in ‘The Cook Book‘ penned by ‘Oscar of the Waldorf’ in 1896.
Tschirky’s original salad recipe only contained apples, mayonnaise and celery. It was iterated to include the nuts when the recipe was featured in 1928 in ‘The Rector Cook Book‘. And the rest is history.
This classic version remains a favorite today!
The elegant Waldorf-Astoria hotel closed for renovation in 2017 but you can make this delicious refreshing salad at home any time!
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Apples. Granny Smith apples are a perfect choice for this salad. Granny Smiths are tart and crisp with beautifully color. No peeling of the apples required.
Celery. You’ll need two stalks rinsed with ends trimmed then chopped.
Mayonnaise. Typically full fat mayonnaise is used. Feel free to experiment with lighter mayonnaise for a slimmed down version.
Walnuts. One half cut walnuts chopped are used. You can use pre-chopped crunchy walnuts for a timesaving short cut too.
Grapes. White juicy grapes are halved for traditional salad. Make sure they are seedless.
Lemon juice. The apples will be tossed with the lemon juice both for flavor and to stop browning of the cut fruit.
Iceberg lettuce. Cool and crisp iceberg lettuce makes a bed of greens to place the Waldorf Salad on. If desired the lettuce can be torn or chopped instead.
Salt and black pepper. The only seasoning needed in this classic recipe.
For those who love a base recipe that can be changed up depending on your mood or what you have on hand, Waldorf Salad is perfect for that!
Toss the apples with orange juice. Instead of using lemon juice, toss the cut apples in freshly squeezed orange juice. It will keep them from browning and add some orange flavor.
Toast the nuts. Instead of adding raw nuts to the salad, toast them in a dry skillet first. Allow them to cool before adding the salad ingredients. Toasting adds a warm rich flavor.
Use pecans instead of walnuts. Walnuts are traditionally used but pecans are delicious too.
Add some dried fruit. Raisins, dried cranberries (sweetened) or chopped dates are a great addition.
Sweeten the mayonnaise. For a sweeter creamy dressing mix a little bit of honey into the mayonnaise before assembling the salad.
Add some orange zest or lemon zest. For a brighter citrus flavor!
Substitute yogurt for the mayonnaise. If preferred make a yogurt swap. We recommend Greek yogurt which is thicker and richer.
Add some lean meat. Chopped or shredded chicken or turkey goes great in this salad and adds some protein. It’s a great use for leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken.
Blue cheese. Blue cheese became a popular spin on the classic salad recipe and adds a great pop of flavor that works well with the other ingredients.
Serving it for a holiday meal? Make the classic Waldorf salad with red and green apples. It’s a perfect side dish for Christmas dinners.
How to Make Waldorf Salad
Toss the apples in the lemon juice.
In a large bowl combine the crisp apples, celery, walnuts and grapes with the mayonnaise. Toss to combine.
Divide the lettuce between the serving plates and mound the salad on the bed of lettuce.
How to store leftovers
Leftover salad can be stores in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
More recipes you’ll love!
- 2 green apples rinsed, cored and chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 1 cup white seedless grapes halved
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ head iceberg lettuce rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
- Toss the apples with the lemon juice.
- Remove the apples from the bowl with the lemon juice with a slotted spoon. Place in a In a large bowl.
- Add the celery, walnuts, grapes and mayonniase. Toss to coat.Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the lettuce between two serving plates or bowl. Add half of the salad mixture to each plate on top of the lettuce.
- Keep leftover in the fridge for up to three days.