Waldorf Salad

First presented at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1893, this all-American Waldorf salad recipe includes chopped apples, celery, grapes, and toasted walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise (or yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half (or 1/4 cup of raisins)
  • 1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped, slightly toasted walnuts
  • Lettuce

Method

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise (or yogurt) and the lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Mix in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce.

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Comments

  • Rocanna Angelica Contreras

    Waldorf Salad I add crab meat , yellow raisins and chopped onions . Add all ingredients together and combine to Ina Gardens superb recipes. I watch all her fabulous cooking shows . She is professional and has such grace.

  • dianne miller

    Does anyone ever add mini marshmallows

    • Linda

      I have eaten with marshmallows , also with shredded coconut.

    • Betty Brown

      Yes and the marshmallows are a nice contrast to the apples if they’re a little tart and another texture combination..

  • Laura

    Will definitely try this. Love all he ingredients. Elise, where do you get the scalloped bowls? They make for a lovely presentation.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Laura, thanks! I picked up a couple of these bowls at a sale of a homewares store. They’re a limoge pattern. Bone china.

    • Dianna Brint

      crate and barrel stores are fabulous

  • Pat LaRock

    I’m from the Pacific NW, so I add filberts (hazelnuts) instead of walnuts (even tho’ our farm raises both nuts). Yum…

  • Bruce Alan Wilson

    If you want a one-dish meal, you can add some cold cooked chicken or turkey.

  • Cynthia

    I used dried cranberries instead of grapes/raisins when I made a Waldorf salad for Thanksgiving. It was pretty fabulous.

  • J.Smith

    I use plain non fat Greek yogurt, tub cream cheese, vanilla extract, fresh grated nutmeg, and a bit of orange or apple juice to sweeten and thin. I came up with this after my son-in-law said he didn’t like it made with mayo. I don’t really either. This is always a hit. And I use pecans instead of walnuts, as I have a few allergic to walnut. And always toast the pecans – the flavor is amazing.

  • karenemi sugihara

    this salad is a family favorite starting in October, learned from my mom (including it’s history)…with a large family, for many many years I was in charge of this salad making. here’s what I did a few times: I cut red apples, with skin on, and immediately lightly squeeze either lemon,lime or orange juice, this makes tangy and keeps apples from starting to ‘brown’. use chopped celery an chopped walnuts, as in most recipies. my trick, now gently fold in mini-marshmallows. make a dressing using mayonnaise AND plain yogurt and mix in. then sprinkle with cinnamon. arrange salad on large lettuce or other large green leaves. ‘dress’ with small tangerine wedges along outer edge of bowl!! it’s a basic classic-with 3 sweet flavors mixed with the savory and tartness of the celery and walnuts. optional – one last addition=white raisins.

  • Chila-Keeli

    Thanks, Elise, for providing the simplified, classic-style recipe! I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to recipe appellations (e.g., all the versions with other fruits and marshmallows is more of a creamy fruit salad in my book), but I also enjoy trying new tastes. A gastropub in my area serves a delicious salad with the basic Waldorf ingredients, and adds grilled chicken, bleu cheese, and a raspberry dressing, without referencing Waldorf. Oh, and some of the reader comments were LOL hilarious (“Trashy Waldorf” was probably my favorite so far—props to “K” for the laughs).

  • Carla

    Hi,
    Could you tell me how far in advance I can make a Waldorf Salad? Do the apples brown if I make it the day before a party?

    • Elise

      Hi Carla,
      Good question! I haven’t made this salad far in advance but I’m guessing that the dressing will help keep the apples from turning brown. Apples turn brown because they are exposed to oxygen in the air. If they are coated with dressing, the air doesn’t reach the apples.

  • Alicia

    One of our families favorite dishes is my grandmother’s version. It is similar to the above recipe but includes poached chicken and fresh pineapple. The dressing is always Miracle Whip loosened with a bit of milk and sweetened with a touch of sugar. My mother started a tradition of serving it in the hollowed out pineapple with warm croissants. It is a perfect summer supper that we have several times a year.

  • georgia

    I have always made Waldorf salad with red delicious apples, crisp celery chopped half inch, and red grapes, halved, and walnuts. I cut the apples in about half inch cubes and put them in lemon water, then drain well. Mix all together. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar over and mix again. I use only Miracle Whip and only enough to coat everything lightly. I am tempted to add the pineapple tidbits but if I changed this in any way the family would be very unhappy. And no way would I add marshmallows.

  • Jacqueline

    Alright, dumb question, but this is a Thanksgiving emergency! ;-) What is the best kind of lettuce to use? Looks like maybe butter lettuce? Please help! Thanks!

    Whatever lettuce you like. Red leaf or butter lettuce would probably work best, though we often use iceberg because that is what we have on hand. ~Elise

  • Jilly

    Great blog. I guess I am a Waldorf Salad snob or something, isn’t it interesting how so many are married to their version of this side dish. So am I. I make it minutes before dinner is served, and I use the following, all chilled, every single time I make it, I’ve been known to send someone to the store for a missing ingredient:
    any crisp red apples, freshest celery, chopped walnuts, raisins, and cold mayo, gotta be Best Foods. I toss it all lightly. I am bringing it this year and am going to a dinner at someone else’ house for a change. I chop everything about 1/2 inch pieces, so you can have a couple of tastes in each bite. My Mom made this every Christmas and by the time I was 12 I was in charge of making the “Waldorf”. Now I am retired and I still enjoy it very much. A holiday must.

  • Cathy

    I make the traditional recipe; apples, golden raisins (sweeter and plumper), walnuts, celery and Miracle Whip. In our family it’s the Miracle Whip that gives it the savory, sweet, familiar flavor!

  • carrie

    the way my family always made it was:
    3 red apples
    3 green apples
    green grapes
    red grapes
    mini marshmallows
    chopped walnuts
    mand. oranges
    sour cream
    mayo
    cool whip
    mix all the cut up fruit, marshmallows and nuts, then add the wet ingredients to taste. pour a tiny bit of the juice from the mand oranges. save some cool whip and marshmallows for rigth before serving..it is delish!!!!!We always serve at special family get togethers, and it has always been a hit, so enbjoy!!!

  • Dianne Hawkins

    I love waldorf salad with a passion. For my money, the Walorf Astoria makes the most unbelievable version of this salad I have ever eaten. I live in Australia, and we are returning to NYC next week. Guess where I’m headed. ? Their apples are wafer thin and the walnuts are caramelised and sit only around the edge of the plate. I can’t wait to re-aquaint myself with this little gem of a salad and the Waldorf. !

  • Andrew

    My Mom used dried cranberries for us when big brother ate all of the grapes she bought. My sister does not like walnuts, so Mom toasted some slivered almonds in a dry skillet for her salad. I like the green apples better, so Mom tries to have the red grapes available. I like it when she uses alot of good crisp celery. I like to cut the apples.

  • Jeanne

    I make my Waldorf salad similar to the way my mother, who was a professional chef, made it, and that is with the apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, lettuce and a squirt of fresh lemon, but to the mayo or Miracle Whip, although it contains high fructose corn syrup, which I prefer to avoid) I add a bit of sour cream and a bit of whipped cream (the real stuff). It is fine to customize to suit one’s own taste, such as substituting (or adding) raisins for the grapes. No need to peel or slice the grapes – just toss them in whole – delicious and nutritious! It’s also okay to add cut up pieces of chicken or turkey. It’s especially elegant and beautiful when served on a separate salad plate on a bed of lettuce with a lemon slice as a garnish.

  • Ken

    I may have made a mistake somewhere along the way, but can that amount of salt be correct? It made for a salty batch.

    We use Kosher salt which has bigger crystals than table salt, so that may account for it. Or maybe something else is going on. If you like the salad less salty, then use less salt. ~Elise

  • Jimena Aliaga

    Greetings from Peru!

    It’s summer here so it’s time for salads. I decided to look for a recipe that used ingredients that could be found here and after checking them all, I decided to make this one. I confess that at first I was skeptical but I’m most decidedly converted now. It was very good. Thank you for sharing this, Elise!

    Jimena

  • debra abate

    All sounds delicious, but we ALWAYS used dates instead of raisins or grapes – guess that’s because we grew up in California?!

  • MaryLou

    This salad is great the day after Thanksgiving. I add cubed turkey and curry powder for a different taste. I may try adding some scallions as well this year.

  • Julie

    Something went wrong. I sub’d 1/4 t celery seed for the celery, and raisins for the grapes and it’s just awful! I think it’s the salt & pepper. None of the other recipes I looked at mention salt & pepper. Maybe it’s the celery seed. Maybe after it sits in the fridge a while it’ll all blend in. Maybe I’ll stir in a little sour cream & sprinkle it with sugar.

    Uh, you substituted celery seed for the celery? Completely different taste and texture than celery. It does not belong in this salad. ~Elise

    • Gabi

      I would NEVER add salt as it would ruin the taste. I don’t even add pepper. I use half and half mayonnaise (Hellmans) and full fat Greek yoghurt as base for the dressing, with just a teaspoon full of horseradish and just a a knife tip of mustard, I am one of those mad people who cannot resist putting garlic in just about everything, so a crushed garlic clove has to join the party. As to the ingredients, I stick to thinly sliced Braeburn apples, celery and walnut halves as skeleton, with thinly sliced chicken and grapes.
      It is yummy and can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • arlene

    Hi. Tried this recipe last weekend. It was just perfect! My kids and friends love it. So easy to prepare and refreshing. Thanks!

  • Sussie Due

    This is the classic salad I remember from England. With one exception. Cut the salt in the recipe by half. 1/2 teaspoon makes it way too salty.

  • Olly Carhart

    I personally enjoy the Fawlty Towers recipe, seriously – have any of you tried a “Ritz Salad”? It’s DELICIOUS! Anyway, back on the subject of the Waldorf Salad, I enjoy Celery, Apples, Walnuts and Grapes in a Mayonaise sauce. Simple. No addidtions. But try and reduce the amount of walnuts you use, it spoils the taste.

    ~Olly

  • MelVas

    Great recipe! I did it for christmas dinner and it was great! I feel unconfortable with mayo, so I decided to use yogurt(apple yogurt) and everyone loves it. This was my first time so I can say well done! Try it and taste something different.

  • Lillie Brown

    I used the above recipe without the celery and lettuce. I also used raisins instead of grapes. This was a taste that brought back memories of my childhood holidays.

  • Tuannee

    All of the variations sound wonderful. I didn’t grow up eating this salad, however, my first encounter was from the kitchen of a co-worker. She prepared it this way, but added cubes of mild cheddar. It was oddly wonderful!!

  • Kate

    To be honest, at 19 years old, I wasn’t even aware that a traditional Waldorf salad was made with mayo! My mom has always made it with sweet whipped cream (I know I know, this is no longer a salad, more like dessert).
    Two types of apples, raisins, celery, two kinds of grapes and a couple handfuls of chopped pecans, all mixed into fluffy goodness.

    Topped with a few mandarin orange slices. Perfection.

  • Shantal

    I usually soak my apples in iced sugar water for an hour and then add the rest of the ingredients.

  • MEGZ

    Mine was perfect.

  • katie

    In my salad I prefer to use a low fat vanilla yogurt. It gives the salad a sweeter taste compared to a more bitter taste with regular yogurt. The “low fat” yogurt works well because it doesn’t have that thick of a consistency, yet still holds the ingredients together nicely. I also add a bit of cinnamon when using the vanilla yogurt. :)

  • Mary in Indiana

    I use pecans because my dad has at least a hundred pecan trees so pecans are readily available. I add a dash of nutmeg and sometimes one drop of walnut extract to the salad dressing/milk mixture. I also added the craisins this year. Wonderful addition.

  • Pat in Arizona

    Great ideas.

    I’m making “Holiday Waldorf” today. Heavy cream whipped and folded with some mayo, plus a little honey and lemon juice. A package of “dried cranberries mixed with golden raisins” and a few black raisins, all soaked to plump. Gala apples, cut into lemon juice to save the color, celery, and toasted pecans. Maybe I’ll sugar them.

    Easy on the dressing, so the pieces will show up as jewels.

    Now, I’m thinking that’ll be festive.

    Pat

  • Fran

    I am 70 y/o and have eaten “Waldorf Salad” all my life. The recipe I learned as a young girl is …diced apples, red or green grapes, pineapple tidbits, small marshmallows, and walnuts. Mix mayo with reserved pineapple juice and when all ingredients are mixed add sliced bananas just before serving.

  • Mary in AR

    I got my first recipe for Waldorf salad from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook in the 1950’s. It calls for apples, celery, 1/2 cup nuts (I like walnuts and 3/4 cup). It calls for whipped topping but I still prefer mayo.

  • Socal Scott

    I would like to say thanks for the recipe. I had never tasted it with grapes before (raisins only) but they had some nice holiday seedless reds at the store so I got some and used them. Excellent flavor. I think the salad will be a big hit at dinner tomorrow. Thank you everyone and happy Thanksgiving.

  • Sunny

    I had a Waldorf salad today at a work potluck. It was so yummy. Not sure why I have never made it. The gal that made the salad used apples, celery, grapes and walnuts (need to ask her if she toasted them) she used sour cream and mayo for the dressing. She added some cinnamon for a different touch….. was such a yummy addition,

  • Lillian

    I made a Waldorf salad for the first time today and I’m hooked! I used English cucumbers, Macintosh apples, cranraisins, sour cream, sugar, parsley and chopped walnuts. It was amazingly good!

  • Wisconsin

    Anyone else add fresh pineapple? It keeps the apples from browning.
    Our family version is: Apples, red grapes, pineapple, celery, walnuts or pecans, M-whip mixed with a little pineapple juice. Some of us like marshmallows others are fruit purists.

  • B-Notable

    Here is my family’s version. In a large bowl combine 6 unpeeled golden and red delicious apples, cored and cubed, 1/2 bag mini marshmallows, 2 sticks of celery cut into 1/4″ slices, 1 cup raisins, 1 lb. green seedless grapes cut in half and 1/2 cup chopped pecans.(I don’t like walnuts)to this mix add one cup Miracle W**p (not mayo) fold in gently until all is covered. Optional: 1 1/2 cup mandarin orange pieces.

  • Rhonda F.

    Try adding a little cinnamon (about 1/2 tsp….hmmm,hmmm!

  • Pamela

    I always use red and green apples for color and yogurt instead of mayo–healthier that way. As far as adding marshmallows and whipped cream, that’s fine I guess, but it’s not “Waldorf salad” then. Just call it “Waldorf dessert”.

    Depends on how you define “healthy”. Mayo is basically eggs emulsified with vegetable oil. Yogurt is cultured milk. I find that yogurt makes a Waldorf salad too acidic for my taste. ~Elise

  • linda

    I was running late and didn’t have time to get my dressing together. I had some TMarzetti’s cream cheese fruit dip which I poured over the other ingredients… now everyone wants my recipe.. and I have to recreate it ;-)

  • LaurieB

    I started by botching this recipe. I put my walnuts in the oven to “lightly toast” and started chopping my apples. In a little while I noticed a funny smell – cajun walnuts – into the trash with them!

    Onward and forward! I decided that I wanted my salad a little sweeter than I remembered a traditional Waldorf being, so I added about a 1/2 c. sugar to the mayo/lemon blend. Then I added a little extra lemon juice. Didn’t add salt and pepper. It is soooooo good! I am tempted to pour the mixture in a cup and drink it. :-0

    Yummy, yummy salad for a hot afternoon. Add some crusty bread or muffins and some sweet green iced tea and you’ve got a tasty hot weather meal.

    Laurie

  • Lillie

    Hi, I was going to make Waldorf salad for the first time at some point this week, it’s hot and I don’t want to cook, but I was wondering if anyone has tried putting in some thinly sliced (or chunked?) pieces of candied ginger in it? I am going to use yogurt in mine, maybe grapes if their cheap, but anyone have any input on ginger? Thank you!

    • Norma Olday

      Finely chopped stem ginger and adding a little of the syrup into the mayo/yoghurt dressing. Yum.

  • Carol

    I love your recipe, try sprinkling with dried salted sunflower seeds.

  • willy

    I’ve tried and experimented what were already suggested, adding blue cheese and caramelized walnuts made my experimented waldorf salad unforgettabe to my guests.

  • Rachel

    My family has been making Waldorf for years and, after introducing it to my husband’s family, they’ve begun to request it!
    I’ve been using gala apples lately, but dream of trying honeycrisp (missed the season this year though…).
    I’m not a huge mayo fan, so I do one part mayo, three parts heavy cream (whipped till it peaks, then some more for good measure). This way it’s really more desert like. I love it cold out of the fridge.
    Really interested in trying the yogurt suggestion! Thanks! (forehead smack!)

  • Juliana Andrea

    My recipe is from the Hotel “Oesterr. Hof” in Salzburg/Austria, because I got this salad quiet often as a treat from my grandparents. ! They used julienne-cut celery roots (sligthly steamed and cooled) instead of celery stalks and there was cooked chicken added. After mixing every ingredient let stand in the fridge for 45 Min. to emulgate.

    Guten Appetit ! Enjoy !

  • Lynn

    I have just “discovered” your blog. Love the recipes. I make Waldorf salad exactly like this except use some Granny Smith and some Gala apples – leave the peel on for color. A really good alternative to the mayo dressing is poppy seed dressing – I use LaMartinque. But of course this makes it sweeter. I go back and forth between the two.

  • Renee

    Last night, I made a similar salad. I used slivered almonds instead of walnuts, no celery (my family doesn’t like it), and added little tomatoes! I used celery salt for seasoning. The result was loved by everyone!

  • Barbi

    I’ve been looking for a good Chicken Salad recipe for some time and I thought this sounded delicious, but made a few changes to make this a bit heartier. I guess you can call it my version of a Chicken Waldorf Salad. I added a can of chicken meat, drained, used glazed walnuts, sliced green grapes, and used about 2/3 cup of mayo so that the mixture was nice and creamy and rich. I added about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice because I love the taste. Spread a generous amount on whole grain wheat bread. Oh my gosh, what a delicious sandwich! Way better than any overpriced sandwich from a deli. Thanks for the recipe Elise, this one is going into my regular rotation.

  • ron

    Any holiday meal in my family contains something similar to this. We use granny smith apples along with a few macintoshs. Add mayonaise and raisins and you’re good to go!

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    Isn’t it amazing that a dish could remain as popular as Waldorf salad for well over a century? I’ll admit, I’m in the yogurt camp, and I’ve even made it with dried cranberries, which adds some zing as well.

  • libby

    I made this today for lunch and added a poached chicken breast and substituted a bit of dijon mustard since I was out of lemon. Absolutely delicious!

  • Susie

    We always made Waldorf Salad with a small can of Manderine Oranges (well drained)and just before serving added sliced bananas. The dressing was made with a half pint of whipping cream beaten to stiff peeks and Miracle Whip. Absolutely no salt or pepper. But our recipe was with 3 lbs of Macintosh apples, so you know it was a BIG salad. We prefered the grapes to rasins, although I’ve had both ways and I think they are equally good. The rest of the recipe is the same. Always a family favorite. :)

  • Tracy27

    Waldorf Salad has always been my dad’s contribution to family holiday meals. Your recipe is pretty similar to his, although we add marshmallows, too. When I make it now, I prefer using dried cranberries or cherries instead of raisins, and pecans instead of walnuts.

  • Deanna

    Barret,
    …and telling him they were all out of Waldorfs. The standing joke now for my boyfriend and I is asking him to pick up some waldorfs. :)

    • Nan

      OK, I love waldorf salad, although my family and my friends all enjoy bananas in it too. I made it tonite just using what I could remember went in it and it ws great. THEN I looked it up to see if I remembered right….wow lots of new things to try! Can someone tell me what the “Ritz” salad consisted of? I’d be curious to taste it….

  • natasa

    I adore it in all versions. I usually make it using whipped cream mixed with some greek joghurt instead of mayo, since these I usually have in the house and it is great. as for the size, I like to cut the stuff to about a size of larger beans. I also use white grapes and sour apples instead sweet apples and red grapes. The idea for me is, to have sth sweet, sth sour, sth juicy, mixed with sth crunchy, salty and fat :D
    Have fun!

  • Nabeela

    I marked your Waldorf Salad recipe a few weeks ago to make it….and then came across a Williams Sonoma recipe for it. Now I’m torn between the two :)

  • Eve

    I use cream cheese in place of the Mayo — yummy.

  • Anonymous

    Has anyone tried greek yogurt? or perhaps the tzatziki (cucumber yogurt)sauce? Just a suggestion.

  • kochen

    That is my first time that I make an English recipe, delicious and simple great salad recipe, now I bookmark this site. I will come back more. Thanks Elise

  • MaKe, the American in China

    My mother always made waldorf salad for the holidays and I guess she didn’t read a recipe as she put sweet cream in the salad instead of the mayonaise. Consequently, substituting lightly sweetened yogurt for the cream or mayonaise doesn’t bother me a bit. I also omit all of the pepper and all but a pinch of salt. Granted not per the recipe, but I find my variant better than the ‘kosher’ variety with the mayonaise, salt and pepper.

  • Jim

    A couple of years ago I ran across an interesting variation using a mixture of the mayo and sour cream, which made the binding less tart. I tried it once with unsalted peanuts, and that was a hit. I’m making a variation for tomorrow with pine nuts and walnuts and 5 or 6 different types of apples. We’ll have to wait and see how that one goes. Thanks everyone for some great options.

  • Jim B.

    The mini marshmallows were the best part when I was a kid, turning something I wouldn’t have eaten into a favorite! Also try adding diced pears to the classic recipe. Fantastic!

  • Lady Amalthea

    You inspired me to make a Waldorf Salad tonight and it was great! Unfortunately, my partner hates mayonnaise, so instead I did a combination of a fruit-flavoed mustard and aioli. While not a “traditional” Waldorf salad (and I am usually in favor of traditional recipes), it was delicious.

  • Peggy Gould

    I had planned to add honey to the plain yogurt, but being out of honey, I added pure maple syrup. Tasted good to me…..

  • K.

    Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete with my mother’s Waldorf Salad. She has completely bastardized it over time, however, and if we don’t make it precisely this way, my brothers have a howling fit, even at age 40+. Take the above recipe, and, for the moistening agent, use equal parts mayo and non-dairy whipped topping. To the apple-celery-walnut-raisin base (grapes? heavens no, you need raisins), also add the zested rind of an orange, a couple squirts of the orange juice, and pretty much an entire bag of mini-marshmallows. There you have it. Trashy Waldorf.

  • Elise

    Hi Pickles – I don’t know, medium I guess. Not too fine, not too big. This is one of those things that you make to taste. So if you want the ingredients chopped finer, then go ahead.

  • pickles

    Elise, do you have any idea how finely chopped the ingredients should be in a traditional Waldorf? I think you chopped them fairly fine, right? I have had it sometimes with huge chunks of apple and somehow the flavors just don’t blend.

  • Elise

    Sue – blue cheese and pomegranate, what an interesting combo! Thanks for the suggestion.

    Barrett – I can just picture John Cleese now…

    Marie – Thanks! ;-) OMG, I can’t believe that someone sub’d potatoes for apples, what was he thinking?

  • Marie

    Once at an office potluck, a guy brought the salad. He introduced it as Mock Waldorf. He substituted new potatoes for the apples. My tastebuds cried that day.

    P.S. Elise, you are the coolest blogger of all.

  • Sue Young

    I add crumbled blue cheese and pomegranate seeds to Waldorf Salad; sometimes I substitute a mustard-based vinaigrette for mayo.