Waldorf salad is a traditional favorite made with sweet fruits like apples, grapes, and raisins. There are many variations of this delicious salad recipe so you can use this as a base and add your own signature style to it.
Original Waldorf Salad
This is a favorite fruit salad throughout the year. It’s delightful in the summer due to its light texture. In the fall months, once the apple harvest starts, it’s a welcome balance to some of the heavier fall meals. Waldorf salad is so festive it’s also perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Waldorf salad is named after the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City when it was created for a charity ball in honor of St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in 1896. The original version of this salad contained only apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Other delicious ingredients have been added over the years.
WALDORF SALAD INGREDIENTS
mayonnaise – I prefer regular mayonnaise in this recipe, but if you like a sweeter, tangier taste like Miracle Whip as your favorite salad dressing, give it a try!
white sugar – The sugar will help to sweeten up the taste of the mayonnaise. If you are using Miracle Whip for the mayonnaise, you can omit the sugar here.
lemon juice – lemon juice prevents oxidation, or browning, in the apples making the salad look more appetizing. It also helps to make the mayonnaise-based dressing creamier.
apples – crunchy, sweet apples are best in this recipe. I love the Pink Lady or Granny Smith varieties.
seedless grapes – seedless grapes are available in green, red, or black. Make your salad colorful! I also love grapes in this Grape Salad.
walnuts – you can choose to use chopped walnuts as they are, or toast them lightly about 8 to 10 minutes
raisins – if your raisins are very dry, you can plump them by putting them in a bowl with a little water and putting them in the microwave for 20-25 seconds. Dry them of any excess moisture before adding them to the salad.
HOW TO MAKE WALDORF SALAD
STEP 1. MIX THE DRESSING
Create the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, sugar, and salt. The texture should be light and creamy. Set aside.
STEP 2. CHOP
Core and chop the apples. Leave the peel on for extra color (and fiber). Place them in a bowl with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Chop the remaining grapes, celery, and walnuts to a uniform size.
Add to the bowl with the apples.
STEP 3. COMBINE
Stir the dressing mixture with the fruits, celery, and nuts. Add the raisins, if desired.
Chill until ready to serve.
TIPS AND VARIATIONS
My favorite variation of this is probably the chicken Waldorf salad. Some chopped, grilled chicken makes this a light but filling meal. Another suggestion is using leftover turkey if you are serving it around Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Feel free to experiment with other additions or substitutions: pears along with the apples; dried cranberries along with or instead of the raisins; pecans instead of walnuts. The choice is yours!
I’ve attended pot-lucks where some families have made a much sweeter version of this salad. They’ve used 1 cup of whipped topping instead of the mayonnaise. With this dessert-like version, I’ve seen people add pineapples, coconut flakes, pecans, and mini-marshmallows.
If you liked this recipe, you will LOVE these other easy salad recipes:
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 apples cored and chopped
- 1 cup seedless grapes halved
- 1 cup celery chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
- Make the dressing with the mayonnaise, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
- Core and chop the apples. Toss in the lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
- Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined.
- Chill until ready to serve. This recipe is best served within a day of preparation.