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Classic Waldorf Salad


Full of tart green granny smith apples, juicy grapes, crunchy walnuts, and a tangy dressing, this Waldorf Salad is perfect over a bed of lettuce or in a lettuce cup!

lettuce cups with waldorf salad in it on a plate

Created over 100 years ago in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the original Waldorf Salad recipe has become a crowd favorite for healthy eating.

Over the years it has evolved to include interesting ingredient combos like apples, grapes, crunchy nuts, and Waldorf chicken salad.

Waldorf Salad Recipe

This Apple Waldorf Salad is a great addition to any holiday menu, and is as big of a hit now as it was when it was invented in 1893.

When it comes to healthy recipes, this one has unique flavors, with crisp apples, juicy grapes, and crunchy nuts.

My family loves this salad because it’s completely different from the traditional garden salads that you always see and brings a ton of flavor to the table.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
labeled picture of waldorf salad ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Mayonnaise – Switch the half cup mayonnaise with sour cream or plain greek yogurt.

Walnuts – If you can’t find walnuts, replace them with almonds or cashews.

Celery – Substitute with additional green or red apples.

Green apples – This recipe calls for green apples, but you can use other kinds, including red delicious apples, honey crisp, fuji apples, or gala apples.

Seedless grapes – White grapes taste best or use seedless red grapes or green grapes based on preference.

Lettuce – I recommend Bibb lettuce, but you can swap for the salad mix of your choice.

Pantry staples – Salt and fresh lemon juice.

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How To Make Waldorf Salad Recipe 

First: Cut up apples, celery and grapes into bite-sized pieces and roughly chop walnuts. Add chopped apples, walnuts, and all other ingredients aside from lettuce into a large bowl.

Second: In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt to create your Waldorf salad dressing. Pour creamy dressing over the mixture of apples, celery, grapes and walnuts. Toss to coat.

Third: To serve, place a few lettuce leaves on the bottom of four different bowls. Divide salad mix evenly. Enjoy!

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

blend of apples and grapes in a bowl

What is Waldorf salad dressing made of?

Make Waldorf salad dressing by whisking mayonnaise with a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Other recipes suggest using a combination of greek yogurt and mayonnaise for their different flavors, along with some honey to add in sweetness.

Personally, I prefer mayonnaise since this is in the classic recipe, but the choice is yours.

Why is it called a Waldorf salad?

The classic Waldorf salad recipe, invented in 1893 for a charity ball, which is first event ever held at the Waldorf hotel. It happened to be the grand opening.

The traditional Waldorf salad recipe was created by Oscar Tschirky, the maitre d’hotel and a Swiss immigrant, and Edouard Beauchamp, the executive chef.

The first Waldorf salad had just 3 ingredients – mayonnaise, diced red-skinned apples, and celery.

This original recipe for a classic American salad is adapted hundreds of times. Using different blends of apples, swapping the mayonnaise for other condiments, and adding in flavors like grapes, nuts, lemon zest, and blue cheese.

close up of grapes and apples with walnuts

What are the 5 types of salads?

There 5 different types of simple salads, which are: 

  • Fruit salad, which contains any fresh fruit of your choice in a variety of different colors, for a beautiful presentation. This salad is ideal for any warm time of year, when fruits are in season. 
  • This easy Waldorf salad is one of the most popular inventions here in the U.S. and has become notorious as the perfect side dish.
  • Macaroni salad is a controversial one to include on the list, since it isn’t traditionally made of only vegetables and fruits. 
  • Broccoli salad is usually made with broccoli, bacon, sunflower seeds, and cranberries, making it a good idea if you’re looking for easy recipes with very few ingredients.  
  • The last simple salad is your traditional garden salad, filled with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and any other vegetables that you like. This salad is perfect for holiday meals because its muted flavors can blend well with a variety of main courses. 

Can I make it in advance?

Yes! You can make this salad up to two or maybe even three days before you need it. In fact, the combination of flavors really comes together overnight in the fridge.

How to Store Leftovers

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

Can I freeze it?

I do NOT recommend freezing this salad. All the crunch will turn soft and the dressing will turn very watery.

three cups of salad

Other Mix-ins to Try

What is great about this Waldorf salad recipe is that it is so versatile. You can really add any combination of sweet fruit and crunch and enjoy it! Some of my favorite additions are

  • cranberries
  • red onion
  • marshmallows
  • raisins
  • shredded carrots
  • different types of apples or grapes
  • different nuts like toasted pecans
  • grilled chicken breast or shrimp
close up of salad with apples and grapes

Tips for No Leftovers

  • To store leftovers of Waldorf salad, place in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Adjust the dressing to your liking by slowly adding in a teaspoon of lemon juice at a time to your recipe, stirring and taste testing before adding more until it has the perfect flavor. 
  • Make sure to peel your celery and remove any of the stringy parts before chopping up for your salad to make it easier to eat. 
  • I personally like green apples for this apple salad because of their more bitter taste, but you can combine a mixture of apples for a sweet taste. 

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

lettuce cups with salad in them and text

This traditional Waldorf salad recipe is classic and has been around for so long for one reason – it’s absolutely delicious! With so many variations to make, I recommend trying this salad a few different times and swapping out the ingredients until you find your favorite flavor combinations. This easy Waldorf salad is about to become your new go-to! 

waldorf salad in lettuce cups

Waldorf Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This classic Waldorf Salad is full of flavor and texture. Perfect for any occasion!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup walnuts (toasted)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 green apples (diced medium)
  • 1 cup white seedless grapes (halved)
  • ½ iceberg lettuce head (leaves separated)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon

Instructions

    1. Chop the apples, celery, and grapes into bite-size pieces and roughly chop the walnuts.
    2. Add all the ingredients of the salad, except lettuce leaves to a salad bowl.
    3. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl to make the Waldorf salad dressing.
    4. Pour the dressing over the apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Toss to coat.
    5. When ready to serve, place a few lettuce leaves on the bottom of the bowls. Divide the apple mixture evenly between the four bowl.
    6. Enjoy!

Notes

  • To store leftovers from this recipe, place in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 
  • Adjust the dressing to your liking by slowly adding in a teaspoon of lemon juice at a time to your recipe, stirring and taste testing before adding more until it has the perfect flavor. 
  • Make sure to peel your celery and remove any of the stringy parts before chopping up for your salad to make it easier to eat. 
  • I personally like green apples for this apple salad because of their more bitter taste, but you can combine a mixture of apples for a sweet taste.

(Originally published 05/03/2021 - photos and notes updated 11/06/22 to improve reader experience)

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This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 salad
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 482mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 6gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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(Originally published 05/03/2021 – photos and notes updated 11/06/22 to improve reader experience)

LeftoversThenBreakfast.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

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Kathy Metlika

Sunday 7th of November 2021

This is one of my favorite fruit salads ever!

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