Waldorf Salad is a classic salad with loads of wholesome crunch and natural sweet and citrusy flavors thanks to the addition of chopped fruit, crunchy nuts and creamy citrus dressing. A lovely addition to holiday get togethers or a sweet addition to any party!
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What Is Waldorf Salad?
Waldorf Salad is a is a classic salad with an interesting backstory, super creamy creamy classic that is full of apples, grapes, walnuts all tossed together with a sweet, creamy dressing.
Serve this Waldorf salad as a side dish to grilled meats, Sunday roasts or as a lovely addition to your holiday meal celebrations. It’s easily customizable and can even be enjoyed as a nutritious main meal when incorporating chopped ham or cooked chicken.
If you’re looking for an all-round everyday delicoius salad, then this Waldorf Salad is just the thing!
Where Does Waldorf Salad Come From?
If you’re unfamiliar with the backstory of the Waldorf salad, you may be interested to learn that this delicious salad was named after the Waldorf hotel which first opened in the 1890’s. The hotel catered a charity ball for it’s very first event and it’s rumored that this salad was on the menu. It’s been a staple ever since!
What You’ll Need
Let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need to make this easy Waldorf Salad recipe and, as always, you can find the full, printable recipe card at the end of this post.
For the Salad
- walnuts or pecans – these nuts should be toasted for the best flavor. I’ve included easy instructions on how to do that below and in the recipe card.
- apples – I like a blend of Honey Crisp and Granny Smith apples for a combination of sweet and tart.
- red seedless grapes – cut the grapes in half. Green grapes can be used but they are definitely tarter.
- pineapple chunks – give the pineapple a chance to drain well.
- celery – roughly chopped or sliced, you’ll need about one cup.
Waldorf Salad Dressing
- sour cream – plain Greek yogurt can be used instead
- granulated sugar – gives this easy dressing a slight sweetness that pairs beautifully with the fruit.
- poppy seeds
- chopped parsley
- lemon zest and lemon juice
- lettuce cups – but these are totally optional. This salad can be enjoyed on it’s own.
How To Make Waldorf Salad
There are three basic components to this easy salad. The toasted nuts, the dressing, and the main salad ingredients. Let’s see how it all comes together:
Toast the Nuts
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts or pecans onto a small baking sheet and bake for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let them burn! Let nuts cool, then roughly chop before adding to salad.
Prepare the Dressing
In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, granulated sugar, poppy seeds, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
Assemble the Salad
- Combine the chopped apples, halved grapes, pineapple chunks and celery in a large bowl
- Next, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Then, gently stir in half of the toasted nuts and then sprinkle the rest over the top just before serving.
- Finally, serve salad in lettuce cups or by itself.
Chicken Waldorf Salad
To prepare a Chicken Waldorf Salad, simply add 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken to the recipe and double the dressing ingredients.
Most salads don’t fare well in storage for much time, especially when containing ingredients such as lettuce and other leafy greens.
With that said, this salad can be assembled a couple of hours prior to serving if you store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Any longer than that and you risk the ingredients wilting and becoming soggy.
Should this salad be served as a side dish or main dish?
Well, that’s pretty much up to you. Yes, most leafy green salads are enjoyed as sides to a main meal but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this salad as a filling meal either! Simply add in some shredded chicken, or boiled eggs and serve your salad with some freshly made dinner rolls…delicious!
Variations To Try
As the Waldorf salad has grown in popularity over the years, the ingredients to this classic salad have changed. The original salad actually only included celery, apples, and mayonnaise. Nowadays you’ll find various Waldorf salad recipes online that call for many other add-ins (including mine) such as nuts, marshmallows, raisins, and tropical fruit.
Feel free to adapt this salad with your favorite ingredients – that’s the beauty of a salad …it’s so versatile. Ideas of added ingredients could include the likes of carrots, berries or other kinds of nuts. You could even add in some cranberries (fresh or dried) as a holiday Waldorf Salad!
- The lemon juice in the salad dressing will definitely help to keep the apple pieces from browning but you could also submerge your apple pieces in some lemon juice prior to assembling the salad and dressing as extra precaution against browning.
- To make this Waldorf salad completely vegan, make sure to use vegan mayonnaise and a good vegan substitute for the yogurt or sour cream.
While this salad should be sitting in storage ahead of serving for too long, it’s not a bad idea to allow the assembled salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This chilling time with the dressing will help all those delicious flavors of the dressing infuse beautifully with the salad ingredients!
More Apple Recipes To Enjoy
The apple shine in this easy Waldorf Salad recipe! Here are some more of our favorite easy apple recipes:
How To Make Waldorf Salad
Waldorf Salad Recipe
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1 ½ cups chopped apples
- 1 ½ cups red seedless grapes halved
- 1 cup pineapple chunks make sure to drain well
- 2 stalks celery chopped or sliced, about 1 cup
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream plain Greek yogurt can be used instead
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Lettuce cups optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the walnuts or pecans onto a small baking sheet and bake for 7 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently. Don’t let them burn! Let nuts cool, then roughly chop before adding to salad.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, granulated sugar, poppy seeds, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the chopped apples, halved grapes, pineapple chunks and celery.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Gently stir in half of the toasted nuts and then sprinkle the rest over the top just before serving.
- Serve in lettuce cups or on it’s own.
Cookie Carrie says
LOVE me a waldorf salad!! My favorite ever is at Disney CA Adventure at Boudin’s. They serve it in a sourdough bread bowl. I’m definitely adding this to my “make ASAP” list!
Trish Rosenquist says
Speaking my love language with Disneyland lol! Those Boudin bread bowls are SO.GOOD.