Classic Waldorf Salad

Classic Waldorf Salad: A Timeless Symphony of Crispness and Creaminess

Embark on a culinary journey back in time with the Classic Waldorf Salad – a timeless creation that has graced tables for over a century. Originating from the iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, this salad is a harmonious blend of crisp apples, crunchy celery, succulent grapes, and walnuts, all enveloped in a creamy dressing. Join us as we explore the art of crafting this enduring culinary masterpiece, perfect for every occasion.


For the Salad:

  • 3 large apples, cored and diced (use a mix of sweet and tart varieties)
  • 1 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • Fresh lettuce leaves for serving

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Dressing:
    • In a mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Ensure a smooth and well-incorporated dressing. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Toast the Walnuts:
    • In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts for 3-5 minutes until they become fragrant. Be attentive to avoid burning. Once toasted, let them cool before chopping.
  3. Prepare the Ingredients:
    • Core and dice the apples, thinly slice the celery, halve the grapes, and chop the toasted walnuts.
  4. Assemble the Salad:
    • In a large salad bowl, combine the diced apples, sliced celery, halved grapes, chopped walnuts, and optional raisins. Gently toss the ingredients to create an even distribution.
  5. Add the Dressing:
    • Pour the prepared dressing over the salad ingredients. Thoroughly coat the fruits and nuts with the creamy dressing, ensuring each element is enveloped in flavor.
  6. Chill Before Serving:
    • Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld, and the salad to attain its optimal crispness and creaminess.
  7. Serve on Lettuce Leaves:
    • Just before serving, arrange fresh lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Spoon the Waldorf Salad onto the leaves, creating an inviting presentation.

Cook Notes

  • Apple Selection: Use a mix of sweet and tart apples such as Granny Smith and Honeycrisp to achieve a balanced flavor profile.
  • Toasting Walnuts: Toasting the walnuts enhances their nutty flavor. Be cautious not to over-toast, as it can lead to bitterness.
  • Dressing Consistency: Adjust the dressing’s thickness by adding more sour cream for creaminess or lemon juice for a tangy kick.
  • Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare the salad ingredients and dressing in advance, storing them separately. Combine just before serving for optimal freshness.


Chicken Waldorf Salad:

  • Add diced cooked chicken breast to turn this classic into a hearty meal. The protein addition complements the fruit and nut medley.

Greek Yogurt Twist:

  • Swap out some or all of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt for a lighter and tangier dressing.

Curried Waldorf Salad:

  • Infuse an exotic twist by adding curry powder to the dressing. This variation introduces a layer of warmth and complexity to the salad.

Keto Versions

Cauliflower “Apple” Swap:

  • Replace apples with small, bite-sized cauliflower florets for a low-carb alternative while maintaining the salad’s crunch.

Avocado Mayo Dressing:

  • Create a keto-friendly dressing by substituting traditional mayonnaise with avocado mayo.

Low-Carb Versions

Berries and Nuts Ensemble:

  • Reduce the apple quantity and introduce a mix of berries like blueberries and strawberries for a lower-carb fruit profile.

Greek Yogurt and Olive Oil Dressing:

  • Opt for a low-carb dressing by combining Greek yogurt with olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard.

In the realm of timeless salads, the Classic Waldorf stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of simple yet sophisticated flavors. With its crisp apples, crunchy celery, sweet grapes, and toasted walnuts, all elegantly dressed in a creamy concoction, this salad is a celebration of contrasts. Whether served as a refreshing side or a satisfying meal, the Waldorf Salad continues to captivate generations. Embrace the tradition, savor the innovation, and relish each delightful bite of this culinary masterpiece. Cheers to the enduring legacy of the Classic Waldorf Salad!

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