Waldorf Salad Recipe (2024)

By Lidey Heuck

Published Jan. 25, 2024

Waldorf Salad Recipe (1)

Total Time
25 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Read community notes

Crunchy, creamy, sweet and sour, this classic salad has only slightly evolved from the original recipe that was first published in 1896. Oscar Tschirky, the chef at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, developed the recipe using just three ingredients — apples, celery and mayonnaise — and this one closely mirrors that version. Besides the three staples, walnuts and grapes provide additional texture, and a splash of lemon juice brightens up the creamy dressing. Feel free to improvise, adding other crunchy ingredients like chopped raw broccoli, sunflower seeds, raisins or sliced pitted dates. This salad can be made a few hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator before serving. Serve as a side salad, or add cooked chicken to the mix for a satisfying lunch.

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Yield:4 servings

  • cup mayonnaise
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1teaspoon honey
  • ½teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal)
  • ¼teaspoon black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 2crisp red or green apples, such as Granny Smith or Fuji, or one of each
  • 1cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 1cup thinly sliced celery (2 to 3 ribs), plus optional leaves for serving
  • 1cup walnuts or pecans, toasted (see Tip)
  • 3tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide


  1. Step


    In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper.

  2. Step


    Core and dice the apples into ¾-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl, along with the grapes, celery, nuts and parsley.

  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Garnish with parsley and celery leaves, if using, along with a pinch of black pepper. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.


  • To toast the walnuts or pecans, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the walnuts on a sheet pan and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until toasted. Set aside until cool, then coarsely chop.



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Cooking Notes


Basil Fawlty could have used this recipe.

Stella Luna

It is all a matter of taste, but the Waldorf I grew up with was a wonderful “adult” mix of bitter and sweet, that is, apples and walnuts. Not grapes or pecans, which have none of that familiar edgy balance that was merely heightened by the lemon juice and mayo.


This is exactly my grandmother’s recipe except she used twice as many grapes. In the 70’s, grapes had seeds and it was my job to seed all those grapes. I hated that job but was always proud of my contribution to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Name Pam

This is ‘the’ recipe. I don’t use honey myself but no quibble some use miniature marshmallows instead. I typically use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice and if I’m being ‘fancy’ add a dollop of creamy peanut butter like Skippy.It’s not a pretty salad really but very tasty and refreshing. Pantry friendly, kids enjoy, not fussy relatively inexpensive what’s not to like? Thank you for publishing this old time recipe.

Kay Wilkins

I have been making Waldorf Salad for many years. No grapes, just apples, toasted walnuts, celery, mayonnaise, salt, and in recent years a few splashes of KAF Boiled Cider.

winter version

I like my winter version of the recipe - haven’t bothered with dressing it -Ingredients are:AppleCeleryWalnutsDried tart cherries(Try it you’ll like it!)


My mother and her mother before her always prepared this for Thanksgiving and Christmas, many decades ago. My mother's beautifully handwritten recipe recommends tokay grapes, seeded. Sugar and vinegar provide the sweet and sour elements. Always walnuts, sometimes celery seeds sprinkled in, no parsley. A wonderful dish anytime and a cherished holiday memory.


Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of white vermouth to provide a special flavor to a very pleasant, rewarding salad that goes great with almost any meal.


I also add 1 T of pomegranate molasses to the dressing to infuse an extra zing, as well as topping the salad with 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds for color


I have used a mix of plain yogurt and sour cream instead of the mayo. Still creamy, with a bit of tang.

sweet kitty

In 1964, when I was 13, my Dad took me to NYC for the World's Fair. Also my first ride in a jet plane instead of a prop. When there, he took me to the Waldorf Astoria, and insisted I order this salad. In upstate NY I had NEVER tasted anything like it! For some reason I remember there were golden raisins in it, and I felt VERY sophisticated. I will try this version and see how it measures up. ; ) Sounds yummy!

Shannon Elaine

Love this recipe. Sometimes i add curry powder and chicken....


To make this be a full meal, Waldorf, I will add a cup each of diced Jarlsberg and roasted turkey breast. I add currants, dates or raisins (whatever I happen to have) and call turkey Waldorf salad. If I wanna be really fancy I serve it in butter, lettuce cups.

Nancy G.

My favorite way to use a supermarket rotisserie chicken is to shred the meat and add it to this very salad. It's so easy to do, and you then have a delicious chicken Waldorf salad.


I used to add a few drops of angostura bitters to my waldorf for complexity. Try it!

Linda Meems

I use a mix of yogurt and mayo and it's tasty!


Since I don't like mayo at all, I use crème fraiche instead. And just a great Fuji or Pink Lady apple, celery, and walnuts, full stop.


This is a salad that has been a life-long pleasure. I have always made it with raisins, as did my mother, in lieu of grapes. This may have been because in days gone by, fresh grapes weren’t available year ‘round. We are so spoiled nowadays by having fresh fruit and vegetables in our stores any time we want them!

Barry Dressel

Just an historical note: when this recipe was concocted in the late 19th century what made it chic was that celery was, at least in the U.S., a novel and exciting ingredient that people had to learn how to prepare and eat. The idea of serving raw celery stalks at dinner was racy and sophisticated. Waldorf salad has thus evolved from avant garde to quaint.


I used to improvise by adding shredded chicken and rice to the mix and increasing the dressing a bit. It became more central to a salad supper. I guess it would be called Chicken Waldorf Salad.


For those wanting a version without mayo, substitute Greek yoghurt, honey, and a dash of cinnamon with the apple/fruit/nut combo mentioned in the recipe or the reader's cooking notes. This version provides a different, updated set of sweet, crunchy, tangy notes. I grew up with the mayo version but prefer the Greek yoghurt for the gut health benefits and taste.

Cook in Chicagoland

My mom made this in the 1960s and ‘70s for our family. No grapes, no honey, but a sprinkle of celery salt. Just made it (my mom’s way) for my 30 yo daughter and her family and they loved it. Used Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples. Also, we chop the celery rather than thinly slice.

Krishna Saha

I substituted fennel for celery and dried cranberry for grapes. A little more tart than sweet.


Just made this for the first time and followed the recipe exactly.Delicious!

Unca Bobby

This was phenomenal. The one change I made was to double the mayo, honey and lemon, as well as add a bit of heavy cream. That ensured that there was sufficient sauce to thoroughly coat the fruits and nuts. This recipe is a keeper.


Haven't had this since my mom made it in the 1970s - which means it was probably published in Family Circle magazine. I think it was raisins instead of grapes, but that tracks with that era and that magazine. I'll make this version for Easter!


I have used a mix of plain yogurt and sour cream instead of the mayo. Still creamy, with a bit of tang.

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Waldorf Salad Recipe (2024)
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