Waldorf Salad


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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.

A Waldorf salad can be enjoyed year round 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.

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 19 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
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 below to see how I make it!



  • 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


  • 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. 


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
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I added green & red grapes, as well as the celery, green apples, and the remaining ingredients! So easy!!! Made. It with a side dish for baked haddock & rice! Everyone said it was delicious! Thank you so much! Lisa5 stars

  2. Super yummy as usual!
    Didn’t have any grapes so skipped those, but I think it had the right level of sweetness nonetheless.
    Can’t wait to try it with some form of protein (I think your shredded chicken would go fantastic with it!).5 stars

  3. Hi Lisa,

    Oh, I loved this recipe!

    Loved the way that you changed the sugar for honey (all hail the honey bees). I changed the mayo to the light version and the Greek yogurt to the zero % fat (or strained) version.

    As I don’t like Granny Smiths, I used two regular organic apples and added an extra tablespoon of lemon juice for that necessary zip and zing.

    I had the Waldorf Salad on the side with some baby potatoes jacketed (with wee dots of half fat butter), steamed Tenderstem™ broccoli, and a lightly seasoned turkey stake. The absolute business.

    Thank you for the receipe and the inspiration, Hon.🦋☀️🧡5 stars

  4. I found this Waldorf salad recipe before Thanksgiving, and it was a hit at the family gathering. I have made it three times since then, and it was a hit each time. When others ask me for the recipe, they easily remember Downshiftology. When I told my sister where I got the recipe, I found out that she also goes to Downshiftology for recipes. So now it’s a family thing.5 stars

    1. Oh wonderful! That’s so fun to hear. Thanks for spreading the Downshiftology love and I’m thrilled you all love this Waldorf Salad. Happy holidays!

  5. I have made this Waldorf salad twice now. The first time, exactly as written, and it was delicious. The 2nd time I forgot to purchase fresh parsley and couldn’t find red grapes so used green ones and dried parsley instead, and it was still really delicious. It was a big hit at our Thanksgiving table this year!5 stars

  6. Excellent and fresher take on the classic with mayonnaise AND double cream. Sadly not one bit of leftovers.5 stars

  7. 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

    1. I prepared everything the night before except the apples, put in fridge, cut up apples in the morning and mix all together.

      1. Took the words right out of my mouth! I love a recipe you can prep ahead. Haven’t made this in years, so thanks fir rhe reminder and inspiration!
        I used my favorite , MacIntosh.
        This is delicious!!5 stars

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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!

    1. Hi Grace – I would prep everything except the apples, because as you mentioned they will brown. Hope you enjoy!

  11. 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

    1. Yay, then it was meant to be! Haha. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the Waldorf salad Valerie. :)

  12. 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