This super simple and delicious Waldorf Salad is full of sweet and crispy apples, crunchy celery and a rich and creamy dressing. It’s an easy side dish that makes a great addition to holiday meals, backyard BBQs or just when you’re craving a fresh fruit salad. One thing’s for sure, this is one salad the entire family will love.
Easy Waldorf Salad
One of my favorite things to take to a potluck or holiday gathering is a really tasty fruit salad. This Honey Lime Rainbow Fruit Salad is an awesome way to use fresh summer berries and this Cranberry Jello Salad is a classic during the winter holidays.
What makes this Waldorf salad so great is you can make it any time of year! It pairs really well and helps lighten up heavier main courses. It’s a gorgeous and vibrant colored salad that tastes even better than it looks with a wonderful blend of flavors and textures.
Why We Love This Recipe
- Easy Recipe: This is a dice and mix recipe that takes very little prep work using simple ingredients.
- Creamy and crunchy texture: One of the things that make this salad recipe so great is the amazing combination of texture. From crunchy celery, juicy grapes crispy diced apples with a slightly sweet creamy dressing, it is always a crowd pleaser.
- Perfect any time of year: From a perfect accompaniment to your Christmas dinner table, to packing it for a picnic lunch, this classic Waldorf salad recipe is a great side served any time of year.
Classic Waldorf Salad Ingredients
For the Salad
- Crisp apples – we used Gala apples
- Celery – add a crispy savory crunch
- Raisins – add a nice chewy texture and a little sweetness. You can use regular raisins or golden raisins
- Maraschino cherries – adds beautiful color sweet juicy flavor
- Walnuts – you can use toasted or untoasted walnuts for added crunch
For the Creamy Dressing
- Mayonnaise – Use a good quality mayonnaise (not salad dressing) since it’s the main ingredient in the dressing
- Confectioner’s sugar – Sweetens up the dressing and works great with the tartness of the apples
- Lemon juice – Wakes up the flavors in the dressing and gives it the perfect about of tanginess
- Cherry juice (from maraschino jar)- Add a little color to the dressing and adds a nice cherry flavor
How to Make this Traditional Waldorf Salad Recipe
In large bowl combine apple, celery, raisins, cherries, and walnuts and toss.
In separate, small bowl make the dressing. Add mayonnaise, confectioners sugar, lemon juice and cherry juice and whisk until smooth.
The dressing will turn a beautiful light pink color.
Pour the dressing over the apple mixture and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For best results store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to a couple of days.
Why is it Called Waldorf Salad?
In 1986, Oscar Tschirky, the maître d’hôtel at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York city created the first Waldorf salad recipe for a charity ball benefiting a children’s hospital. It was such a hit; the recipe has been shared for generations since then.
While the original recipe supposedly did not contain nuts, later versions included crunchy walnuts to add extra texture and crunch to the salad.
What to Serve with Waldorf Salad?
You can serve this classic recipe as an appetizer on a bed of lettuce. It’s also the perfect side dish when you are serving heavier entrees, to help lighten things up. You can serve it with anything from BBQ ribs and pulled pork to chicken and dumplings. It truly goes with just about anything main course.
Is Waldorf Side Salad Healthy?
While the apples and celery used in this recipe are high in fiber, vitamin c and antioxidants that are associated with many health benefits. You can read more about those benefits in this article on Healthline.com.
For those on a low calorie diet, you can use a sugar substitute instead of the sugar and a light mayonnaise in place of the regular mayo.
Tips and Variations for the Best Waldorf Salad:
Fresh apples: A standard ingredient in classic salad are crisp apples. You can use all variety of apples. Pink lady, honey crisp are other great red apples. But if you want to add a green apple, granny smith apples are excellent in this recipe.
Grapes: Unlike the original salad recipe from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, we didn’t include grapes in our recipe. But seedless grapes work really great in this recipe. Seedless red grapes or green grapes are equally tasty in this salad.
Make it a light meal: If you are a chicken salad fan, you can easily make this recipe a chicken Waldorf salad for a light lunch or dinner. Just add a chopped up cooked chicken breast and mix in well with the other ingredients,
Dressing: If you want to make the dressing a little more tangy than sweet, you can substitute some of the mayonnaise with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt with a little lemon zest for freshness.
Make it a dessert: Of course, the original Waldorf salad recipe doesn’t include them, but if you want to serve this a dessert salad, you can add some mini marshmallows. The kids will love them!
Want More Tasty Side Dishes?
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pineapple Casserole
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Carrot Souffle
- Easy Deviled Eggs
- Green Bean Casserole
- 2-3 large crisp apples Gala, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup Maraschino cherries chopped
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
For the dressing:
- ¾ cup mayonnaise not salad dressing
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp cherry juice from maraschino jar
- In medium sized mixing bowl combine apple, celery, raisins, cherries, and walnuts and toss.
- In small mixing bowl make the dressing. Add mayonnaise, confectioners sugar, lemon juice and cherry juice and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the dressing over the apple mixture and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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