Waldorf Salad

There’s a reason why this Waldorf salad belongs on every holiday dinner table. It’s a symphony of crisp apples, celery, grapes, and crunchy walnuts, tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing that adds the perfect refreshing touch.

Waldorf salad in a large white bowl.

Complete Your Holiday Menu with This Waldorf Salad

Technically, a Waldorf salad can be a year-round salad with how simple and refreshing it is (like my ultimate chicken salad). But many of us hold this salad near and dear to our hearts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Well, it brings back a sense of childhood nostalgia, and it’s a delicious way to add fresh, seasonal fruits and nuts to a holiday table.

There’s a classic way to make this salad (which I’ll talk about below), but the newer version is even better, with additional grapes, toasted nuts, and fresh herbs, with a touch of lemon and honey to the dressing.

This salad is the perfect complement to a holiday turkey, honey baked ham, beef tenderloin, or prime rib in every way!

Ingredients for a Waldorf salad on a table

Waldorf Salad Ingredients

Created in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York (during the 1800’s), the original recipe was made up of only apples, celery, and mayo. This simple combo lived on for quite some time. But as usual, adaptations are made as time goes on.

Here’s the breakdown of what’s in this Waldorf salad recipe.

  • Greek Yogurt: Any Greek yogurt will work, whether it’s dairy or dairy-free.
  • Mayonnaise: There’s typically mayonnaise in this salad. But if you’re not a fan, you can sub it with more Greek yogurt.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh lemon juice is preferred!
  • Apple: While you can use either red or green apples, I prefer green apples for a super crisp and tart bite.
  • Honey: Just one tablespoon is needed to give the dressing a hint of extra sweetness.
  • Grapes: You can use any color of grapes. I like red grapes for a nice contrast with the green. But choose green grapes if you want a stylishly monochromatic salad.
  • Celery: A few ribs of celery add to the fresh, crisp texture of the salad.
  • Nuts: I’m using walnuts today, but both walnuts and pecans are great – choose your favorite!
  • Herbs: A little chopped parsley gives it a fresh touch.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How To Make The Best Waldorf Salad Recipe

Like any salad, most of the work comes from prepping each ingredient. My pro tip is to toast your walnuts first for just a few minutes on the stovetop. Then they’ll have time to fully cool while you make the dressing and chop everything else up – the apples, grapes, walnuts, and parsley.

It really is a super simple salad to make. Just follow the steps below!

  • Toast the nuts. You can toast them in a small pan on the stove or in the oven, until they’re lightly golden and smell amazing.
  • Make the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and honey. Set aside.
  • Chop up the ingredients. Dice the apples and celery, slice the grapes in half, chop the cooled nuts, and finely chop the parsley.
  • Toss it all together. In a large bowl, add the green apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, parsley, salt, and mayo dressing. Stir it all together until everything is evenly coated.

A note on serving: You can serve this salad as-is on a plate, or you can serve it on top of romaine, bibb, or butter lettuce leaves.

Close up of Waldorf salad

Customize Your Waldorf Salad

  • Add dried fruits. The choice is yours here – add dried cranberries, raisins, apricots, dates, etc. Just make sure to slice them into smaller pieces if they’re on the bigger side.
  • Switch up the fresh fruits. Apples are a must, but you can mix in diced pears instead of grapes.
  • Switch up the nuts. Instead of walnuts, you can use pecans, almonds, or even pistachios!
  • Pack in some protein. When I want to make this salad more of a meal, I add diced baked chicken or shredded chicken. And if you’ve got turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving, turn this into a turkey Waldorf salad. It’ll taste so good!
Waldorf salad on lettuce cups

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This salad tastes best fresh. But if you have leftovers, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
  • Make-Ahead Tips: For maximum freshness, I would stick to making this 3 to 4 hours in advance. Then keep it chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. But, you can dice up the fruits (except apples), herbs, and toasted nuts beforehand and store in a separate container.

Waldorf Salad Recipe Video

Although this is salad is pretty simple, it never hurts to have a visual tutorial! Watch how this comes together in the video below.

More Holiday Salad Recipes

Amongst all the warm and savory side dishes, a refreshing, holiday salad is always welcome. This Waldorf salad is great for a fruit-forward option. But if you’re looking to add more seasonal veggies, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.

Be forewarned, this Waldorf salad is pretty addicting. And if you’ve got more than 5 people at your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner – double the recipe. Let me know how everyone enjoyed it in a comment below!

A large white bowl of Waldorf salad

Classic Waldorf Salad

5 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
This Waldorf salad belongs on every holiday dinner table! It's a symphony of apples, celery, grapes, and walnuts, tossed in a tangy-sweet, creamy dressing. Watch the video above to see how I make it!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt (dairy or dairy-free)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 green apples, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • 1 cup whole walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional: butter lettuce leaves for serving

Instructions 

  • Make dressing. In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and honey. Set aside.
    Making dressing for Waldorf salad in a glass bowl
  • Toss it all together. In a large bowl, add the green apples, celery, grapes, walnuts, parsley, salt, and mayo dressing. Stir it all together until everything is evenly coated.
    A big bowl of Waldorf salad with a spoon

Lisa’s Tips

  • Make sure that the toasted nuts have fully cooled before you add them to the salad. Otherwise they’ll melt the yogurt-based dressing. 
  • You can use any tart and crisp apple in this recipe, I just prefer Granny Smith’s. 

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 363mg, Potassium: 401mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 367IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 66mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Holiday Recipe, Waldorf Salad, Waldorf Salad Recipe
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18 comments on “Waldorf Salad”

  1. It’s not often you can even find a Waldorf salad on the menu, but this recipe is my favourite by far. Lisa does it again, with a simple, fresh healthy salad that is so tasty!5 stars

  2. Can I make the day before or will it get to runny? 

  3. Waldorf salad sounds amazing.
    Just thought pineapple would also
    Give a Gr8 flavor.

  4. We had our first Thanksgiving meal of the year on Sunday.  I made the Waldorf Salad recipe and it was delicious.  I used pecans.  Creamy, crisp, sweet, tart and tangy,  what a wonderful dish to contrast all the heavy foods we tend to celebrate with.  We had a traditional Polish meal with fresh Polish sausage, pierogi, etc.  Its a winner Lisa.  Happy Thanksgiving.  5 stars

  5. Can you make a recommendation for subbing out the Mayo? 

  6. Made this yesterday and it is delicious.  I didn’t have grapes so used raisins.  Loved the dressing.  So glad I found your web site.  Can’t wait to get your cookbook.  5 stars

  7. I’d like to prep the ingredients in advance and assemble before serving. But, how do you prevent the apples from browning? Thanks for your advice!

  8. I needed an idea for something to bring to my son’s Thanksgiving gathering this year. Everyone else already claimed the usual fixings and I was struggling for a unique idea. This Waldorf salad will be perfect and I’m excited to try your recipe. You saved the day ;o) !!!5 stars

  9. This recipe sounds delightful and I haven’t had this salad in years. It’s time to bring it back to the table! It’s also perfect for children to help make. I love that I can make it ahead of time for a party and any left overs can still be enjoyed at a later time. Thank you!5 stars

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