Classic Waldorf Salad Recipe

This is a great apple Waldorf salad recipe. Perfect for dessert, potlucks or even a light lunch.

  • 3 or 4 apples, unpeeled, cut from the core, and chopped into bite size pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Don’t bother peeling the apples unless their skins are really unattractive. Cut up 3 or 4 of them, until you get about 2-1/2 or 3 cups of chopped apples. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples. The acid in the lemon juice prevents the apples from turning brown. The raisins will taste best if you plump them first. Do this by measuring them into a cereal bowl and adding enough warm tap water to cover them completely. Allow them to sit for a few minutes, absorbing the water, and softening up. Drain them very well when you need them. I actually squeeze them to make sure they are very dry. Chop up the celery, it should take about 2 stalks or so. I add black walnuts because I get them for free, but you can use regular walnuts or omit them completely if you don’t have any handy. Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl with the mayonnaise and sugar, coating all of the ingredients with the mayonnaise. It is now ready to serve, or you can chill it overnight and serve it tomorrow instead. This is so crunchy and chewy, it is perfect contrast for a meal which is soft, or easy to chew. This recipe serves 6.

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  1. says

    I bought waldorf salad from the store last week and it was very expensive. I liked it so much, that I decided to try to make it at home. Now, with your recipe I can have waldorf salad anytime I get the desire.
    Thank you for providing the recipe. I will be sure to pass it along to others for this summer.

  2. Sue says

    My DD just gave me a lot of apples that were given to her,so I am so glad that I found this recipe. I’ll be trying it out tomorrow. Thanks!

  3. Kathleen Catlin says

    I wonder how this would come out with plain yogurt instead of mayo.
    I really must try this easy recipe.

  4. says

    you can do a LOT with the basic waldorf recipe. add grapes for pretty color (instead or along with raisins/craisins), add shredded cheese, crushed peanuts or chopped pecans or walnuts, or a handful of roasted sunflower seeds, and some shredded chicken to make it a one dish cool meal. this is one of my favorite summer dishes. if you want to go really ‘crazy’ you can add some frozen mixed veggies. crumbled bacon goes well too. i like any cheese shredded in it, but especially like blue, gorgonzola, or feta crumbles. be flexible and use what’s in season as well as what your family likes to eat. my ‘basic’ version always includes cheese and some kind of nuts.

    jd in st louis

  5. Laura says

    I like to make a dressing for my waldorf using light mayo, honey, a spoon of frozen concentrated orange juice, salt, and a sprinkle of onion powder. We like ours with apples, celery, and pecans.

  6. Donna says

    Try adding bananas to your Walfdorf salad, my Grandma made this when I was young, used apples, bananas, celery, grapes and walnuts and mixed with mayo. Yummy!

  7. Dahart says

    My mama made this every Thanksgiving and Christmas and I try to do the same Depending on the prices…she didn’t add the raisins though. but everything else is the exact same…I love it.

  8. Diana Montgomery says

    I love the Waldorf Salad recipe. I will try the bananas. I have always made the salad and added tiny marshmallows to all of the ingredients. It is a really healthy salad.

  9. jbpota says

    I just made this recipe for pot luck, exactly as stated in the recipe. I added 1 ingredient..CINNAMON…to your taste. Delicious!
    Will make it again for Thanksgiving. Thaks much!

  10. Lassie says

    Apples, celery, walnuts, and mayo is the classic combination from eons ago. But really, you start with apples and nuts (pecans are good), plumped raisins or red seedless grapes, dried plumped apricots, maraschino cherries, and fold mayo or lemon yogurt in and I can’t keep it in the house!

  11. Beans says

    Love Waldorf salad (well, without the celery, which I can’t stand). My mom makes it for Thanksgiving. I believe she uses Gala and Golden Delicious apples, which makes for pretty color; chopped pecans instead of walnuts; and she throws in some mini-marshmallows, which are another good optional add-in.

  12. MINNIAH says


  13. Jessica says

    We make ours a little different, the dressing is 1 cup marshmellows, 1/2 c sour cream, and 1/4 cup mayo, mix and then add apples (usually about 3, we use red and green) celery and chopped pecans. Mom used to garnish with marichino cherries (I skip those) We have it every Thanksgiving!! Yummy!! I almost died when I found out what was in it, as I don’t like either sour cream or mayo!

  14. Janice says

    Has anyone made it using Miracle Whip? My grandmother always made it but there was a bit of a “tang” to it. Not sure if it was from lemon juice or if she used Miracle Whip or maybe sour cream. She passed away last year and I would really like to make it for my dad.

  15. CharlieAnn says

    My Mom has always made it with Miracle Whip. My Dad always liked it better with the zip it gave the salad. An to make a whole meal out of just the salad she would add left over chicken or ham cubed up.

  16. says

    I love Waldorf Salad. I just made this within 10 minutes of reading it. I do not use any form of mayonnaise so I always make a substitute for it based on what I have on hand or what type of meal it is. I used a 5.3 oz. container of Greek Yogurt, some Agave, and some Apple Cider Vinegar. It turned out very well and had the texture of mayonnaise.

  17. Phyllis Jeans says

    My mother made this often and if she had them, she would also add a few cut up marachino cherries to the mixture for color and extra flavor. We all loved it that way. At Christmas time you can add a few red and a few green cherries for that special Christmas look!

    • Sandra M says

      My mother used to make this all the time. She used 2 Granny Smith apples and 2 very crunchy red apples, kept skins on; 1 cup of mini marshmallows, 1 cup raisins or craisins, 1 cup walnuts, 1 1/2 cup celery, and 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/4 cup yogurt, any flavor. She and my dad honeymooned in New York City, when that was the place to go in those days, and had this at the Waldorf Astoria, and tried to replicate it. We all loved it!

  18. says

    Very good recipe! My family loves it. Every time I make it I double the recipe, otherwise it only lasts a couple hours around here! Though I would recommend to not omit the walnuts.. It is cheaper, but not very good without them.

  19. says

    I come from lowell mass and now i live in ca. and i have not found any waldorf salad taste like back east now im going to get back to you at a time when i can try your recipt thank you barbara

  20. Joey Pena says

    My aunt used to make this, now I do. The only difference is she mixed cool whip in with the mayo for the dressing.

  21. Tone Laudal says

    I live in Norway and here the Waldorf salad is always made with half wipped cream and half mayonnaise, that is if you use about 3 apples, three stikcs of sellery, a couple of slices of pineapple, 200 gr. of blue grapes! And of course the juice from the lime and some pinapplejuice and the walnuts makes it all very lovely! Bon Apetit!

  22. says

    We use this basic recipe, but crasins instead of the rasins then add lemon zest and use plain Greek yogurt and marshmallow cream, cinnamon and lemon juice YUMMY with chicken poached in ginger tea and slivered almonds

  23. Betty says

    I want to make this for a family reunion…Has anyone ever tried it with Ranch Dressing instead of Mayo? Just a thought…of course the dressin is thinner than Mayo but could use Ranch Dip…Will use Splenda instead of sugar but trying to maintain quality while cutting out as much fat as possible! Please help!

    • The Hillbilly Housewife says

      I have used the dry packets of Ranch Style Dressing to flavor either sour cream or yogurt. Low fat mayo often has added sugar, so I usually don’t buy it. An option I like to use instead of regular mayo is Olive Oil Mayonnaise. There is a lot less fat and calories, and in my store it’s the same price as the regular mayo. You can even do a mixture of half Olive Oil mayo and sour cream or yogurt, then stir in the Ranch Style Dressing dry mix packet to taste. Let us know what you find out.

  24. Doris says

    My Mom made Waldorf Salad very often and I continue to make it any time of year. I make it the way you presented it except that my mother and I both added some cinnamon for more flavor. It is a wonderful concoction that I find hard to keep in the house – and it is just me and my hubby. It is great with meals and also as a snack, good and healthy. A big bowl of it doesn’t last long in this house.

  25. Sharon Franklin says

    I like to use the cran-raisins instead of regular raisins…and I find it has a totally different flavor by using pecans instead of walnuts.

  26. Dawn Smith says

    I have been making this using golden delicious. I put a can of mandarin oranges in it and instead of raisins I use craisins. I love this stuff!

  27. Pam says

    My mom has always made this for holidays. It’s a family tradition. I’m now married with a family of my own and everyone is scared to try it. They think the mix sounds absolutely gross. They don’t know what they’re missing.

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