Waldorf Salad, made with apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, and a tangy dressing, is a classic side dish recipe that is perfect for fall and winter!
This traditional side dish is also a great addition to holiday dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Serve alongside Oven Roasted Turkey, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans for a complete meal!
I know what you’re thinking… Waldorf Salad is made with mayonnaise. Not to worry. It works. I promise! If you can’t quite wrap your head around that, you can always use Greek yogurt as a base for your dressing.
What is Waldorf Salad?
If you’re like me, you’ve heard of this recipe but had no idea what was in it or where it came from.
The main ingredients in the classic version of this recipe are apples, celery, mayonnaise, walnuts and grapes. You can make it unique by adding diced chicken or turkey, raisins and other vegetables.
Waldorf salad, which only contained apples, celery, and mayonnaise, is named for the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where it was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children back in the late 1800s. The nuts and grapes made their entrance a few decades later.
What kind of fruit works best?
As far as the apples go, I recommend using varieties that are sweet, crisp and juicy. Because the mayo and lemon juice add an element of tartness, you want the fruit to be sweet. Honeycrisp is my favorite but Fuji is a great choice too.
As far as whether to use green or red grapes, that’s completely personal preference. Some people like the green so that the entire salad is pretty neutral in color, but honestly I just recommend using firm sweet grapes, regardless of the color.
Make ahead directions:
Because Waldorf Salad contains a lot of fresh fruit that will release liquid as it sits, I recommend serving this salad on the day it’s made. If you need to make it ahead of time or are wondering about leftovers, however, it will keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Just be sure to give it a good stir before serving to redistribute any liquids or juices that were released. This salad definitely needs to be served chilled.
- 6 Tbsp mayonnaise or plain yogurt
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 apples cored and chopped into cubes (Sweet apples like Fuji or Honeycrisp recommended)
- 1 cup green seedless grapes quartered
- 1 cup celery thinly sliced
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 6 leaves butter lettuce for serving
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise (or yogurt), honey, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts.
- Pour dressing over salad and gently toss to combine.
- Serve on a bed of fresh butter lettuce.
- The best apples are crisp, sweet, juicy apples like a Fuji, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp. I prefer to leave the skin on for extra color and flavor.
- Plain greek yogurt can be used in place of the mayonnaise, however you may need to add more honey to compensate for the tartness.