Crunchy with crisp apples, celery and toasted nuts, this easy Waldorf salad is a classic recipe perfect for a crowd any time of year.
With yearnings coming on strong for the good old days, I feel like there’s a retro resurgence coming to home cooking. Or is it already here?
The comforts of familiar family recipes have been making their way back into the main stream for a while and classic potluck and picnic salad recipes are some of the quickest to rebound. Who needs fancy or fussy when you crave soothing and satisfying? And you guys agree, because the recipes for the best potato salad, macaroni salad, and creamy coleslaw are always at the top of the most popular recipes here on FoodieCrush.
This classic Waldorf salad recipe is from my Grandma Mary Jane. Like her Parmesan crusted chicken and classic lemon bars, I discovered it while digging through her recipe cards that are now mine, and also now yours.
What’s In Waldorf Salad
The Waldorf salad is said to have originated over 100 years ago at the Waldorf hotel in New York City. Starting out as a simple salad of apples, celery, and mayonnaise—ingredients that are in season all year long—over the years its flavor was tweaked with the addition of grapes and nuts added to the mix.
My grandma’s recipe pretty much follows course with these ingredients and the addition of whipped cream to add extra fluff:
- Tart apples
- Walnuts or pecans
- Lemon juice
- Whipped cream (her secret ingredient!)
How to Make the Classic Waldorf Salad
This simple salad takes doesn’t require any cooking, just a little chopping, and only takes minutes to mix together.
Use the crispest varieties of apples. Grandma said to use tart green Granny Smith apples, but for a little variety in color, I used one green apple and one crunchy Fuji apples. Red delicious, honey crisp and gala are also good options.
Chop the ingredients the same size. Chopping the apples, celery, and grapes about the same size ensures you’ll get crunchy and sweet tastes in each and every bite.
Sprinkle the cut fruit with the lemon juice and sugar. Cut apples can quickly e discolor. Tossing with the lemon juice retards oxidation while sprinkling the fruit directly with sugar enhances it’s sweetness.
Mix the wet ingredients before adding to the dry. Whisk the mayonnaise and whipped cream together before adding to the fruit. This ensures a homogenous, creamy dressing.
Toast the nuts for deeper flavor. Toasting the nuts before adding to the salad intensifies their nutty flavor by releasing their natural oils, eliminating their raw taste.
Add Greek Yogurt to Waldorf Salad’s Dressing
The dressing for Waldorf salad always starts with mayonnaise. In fact, you could get away with using only mayo, but because this salad deserves a topping that’s more than just one note of flavor, I add my grandma’s secret ingredient.
Grandma’s secret ingredient for this dressing isssssss…whipped cream.
Now, you could go ahead and sub the whipped cream with plain Greek yogurt or even sour cream, and I have. But, I encourage you to try both ingredient combos and decide for yourself which you prefer.
If you prefer, use 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream instead of the suggested 1/2 cup whipped cream.
More Ingredients to Add to Waldorf Salad
Keep this salad basic or jazz it up with these complimentary ingredients:
- Mini marshmallows
- Dried cranberries
- Diced pineapple
- Dried dates
- Chicken or turkey
- Red onion
- Broccoli or caulflower
- Sunflower seeds, pecans, or pistachios
What to Serve With Waldorf Salad
- The Best BBQ Chicken
- The Best Grilled Chicken Breast Recipe
- Juicy Roast Turkey Breast
- Grilled Skirt Steak
- Juicy Grilled Pork Chops
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Classic Waldorf Salad
- 2 cups diced tart apples , or 2 apples
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup grapes , halved
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans , roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup whipping cream , whipped
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the diced apples to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add the celery, grapes, and nuts.
- In another bowl, whip the whipping cream until peaks form, then gently fold in the mayonnaise. Fold into the apple mixture and season with the kosher salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Chill for 1 hour or overnight. Serve by itself or on a lettuce leaf.
More Classic Salad Recipes
- Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
- How to Make THE BEST Potato Salad
- Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
- Classic Blue Cheese Wedge Salad
- How to Make Classic Macaroni Salad
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