Salad Recipe: How To Make American Waldorf Salad

A Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad typically made of fresh celery, apples, walnuts, and grapes. It is covered in mayonnaise and traditionally eaten as an appetizer or a light meal on a bed of lettuce. The apples, celery, and grapes can all be white, harmonizing the dish’s color palette.

Waldorf salad was immediately a hit at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in 1896, not by a chef but by the maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, otherwise known as the dining room manager. The original version of this salad featured apples, celery, and mayonnaise only.

Later the chopped walnuts became an integral part of the platter. Waldorf salad is usually served with lettuce. The celery is substituted by cauliflower by a version known as an “emerald salad.”

American Waldorf Salad

  • Author: Romae Chanice Marquez
  • Recipe Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American

You can prepare this Waldorf salad in under 15 minutes. This recipe makes enough for five servings.

Photo credit: @talexanderphotography /

American Waldorf Salad Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. plain yogurt (Greek or regular)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. halved red grapes
  • 1 c. chopped apples
  • 1 c. sliced celery
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. walnuts, toasted
  • Lettuce, for serving

American Waldorf Salad Instructions

Step 1: Whisk the yogurt, cream, and lemon juice together in a big cup. Note, if you are using Greek yogurt, you may want to skip the lemon juice since it is already quite tart.

Step 2: To the yogurt mixture, add the grapes, apple, celery, and parsley and fold. Season with pepper and salt. Serve over lettuce and sprinkle the walnut on top.

American Waldorf Salad Additional Information

  • Some prefer their yogurt-made Waldorf salad instead of mayo, as seen in this recipe. 
  • It will only take you about 15 minutes to prepare this recipe. 
  • This recipe will make enough to feed five people.

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About American Waldorf Salad Recipe

Waldorf salad is named after the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City, where it was first created for a charity ball held in 1896 in memory of St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital. The maître d’hôtel of Waldorf-Astoria, Oscar Tschirky, has created or influenced many of the signature dishes of the hotel and is widely credited with developing the recipe for this salad.

The original recipe was nothing more than apples, grapes, celery, and mayonnaise. It did not include nuts, but by the time the method appeared in The Rector Cook Book in 1928, they had been added. The dish is featured prominently in a BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers episode of the same name.

Other ingredients such as chicken, beef, and dried fruit are often added. Modified salad versions often change the dressing into a seasoned mayonnaise or yogurt dressing. Modern Waldorf salad can include orange and/or lemon zest, too.

“Millions who have never visited the Waldorf owe him a debt,” wrote The New York Times in 1950, following the death of Oscar Tschirky. Mr. Tschirky, a Swiss immigrant who became known as the “Waldorf Oscar,” is credited with creating this timeless dish whose fame has spread well beyond the closed doors of the Waldorf and into the kitchens of the home. 

As time has passed, many modern ways to make the Waldorf Salad have also been invented. 


A yogurt or mayonnaise citrus sauce, pine nuts, and Cajun seasoning were changed to standard apple, walnut, and chopped celery salad. Try it out at home for a quick snack or entree for a light meal. Click here for more international recipes. 

Featured Image: @jackofalltrades0005 /, @livgreen_._  /