How To Make Waldorf Salad


The Waldorf salad I grew up on was peeled red delicious apples, raisins and mayonnaise. Or maybe Miracle Whip, I don’t remember. (UPDATE: I just got an email from my mother confirming that she does not like Miracle Whip, so it would have been mayo that I grew up with.) Of course I had no idea it had a name. It was always just, “That apple and raisin salad.”

According to

Created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 not by a chef but by the maître d’hôtel, (dining room manager) Oscar Tschirky, the Waldorf salad was an instant success.

The original version of this salad contained only apples, celery and mayonnaise. Chopped walnuts later became an integral part of the dish. Waldorf salad is usually served on top of a bed of lettuce.

So it turns out the one I grew up on was pretty close to the “classic” version. Who would have guessed?

The one you see here is my wife’s take on it, with a few more ingredients and a completely different texture than I’m used to. And it’s delicious. (And I’m not just saying that because she might read this.)


8-10 apples
juice of 1 lemon (~1/4 cup)
2 cups grapes
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts


1 pint heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Don’t get too hung up on precise amounts for this salad. As long as it’s mostly apples, the ratio of mayo to cream is pretty close, and you like all the other ingredients, it’s probably going to be pretty good.

Start by peeling and dicing the apples. (Same process as when making the applesauce.) But since this isn’t going to be cooked, you don’t want it turning brown. To preserve the color after you dice them, squeeze in a little lemon juice and give it a quick toss. The lemon will prevent oxidation.

Next up, turn the cream into whipped cream by … whipping it.

What, you thought whipped cream meant they abused the cows or something? Wierdo.

While the mixer is going on the cream, cut the grapes in half lengthwise.

Add the sugar to the cream when it starts forming soft peaks.

Then add the mayonnaise and beat again until just combined.

Add the cinnamon and beat one last time.

Now back in the first bowl, stir the grapes raisins and walnuts into the apples.

Now add the mayo/whipped cream mixture and stir it in gently. You don’t want to beat it and deflate the cream.

You can serve scoops of this on a bed of lettuce, like the note up top suggests. Or just put it all in a fancy bowl and sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top to make it look nice.

And that’s it.

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad


  • 8-10 apples
  • juice of 1 lemon (~1/4 cup)
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


Peel and dice the apples. Toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Slice the grapes in half lengthwise. Chop the walnuts. Mix all fruit and nuts together in a large bowl.

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar, cinnamon and mayonnaise and beat until just combined.

Fold the dressing in with the fruit and nuts. Be gentle, careful not to deflate the whipped cream.

Serve individual portions on a bed of lettuce, or serve buffet-style in a decorative serving bowl.


  1. Talk about an oldie but a goodie! I love Waldorf salad. I like your wife’s alterations–esp the grapes, but for me, the celery kind of makes the dish. Plus, adding in a fair dose of salt brings out all the flavors rather nicely. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a salad to make… :)

  2. We make a version of this as our fruit salad for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We include bananas as well as the apples, grapes, raisins and nuts. Sometimes my brother gets wild and throws in cut up oranges or tangerines. We’ve always used Miracle Whip though. 😉 I haven’t ever used whipping cream, just the Miracle Whip and sugar. I didn’t know until this year that this was a version of Waldorf salad.

  3. Alecia Edwards says:

    another handy substitution for the mayo adverse: Use plain or vanilla yogurt. Mmmmm….

  4. When you look at the recipe card version of this recipe it says to slice the raisins in half lengthwise. Ugh!! I think this is a typo. It should say to slice the grapes in half lengthwise.

  5. I wonder if my grandboys would eat this… I know I always loved it… will have to make this soon. Thanks, Drew.

  6. Barbara, just don’t tell them what’s in it first. I make my own mayo. I like mayo. And even I still think the ingredients for this don’t sound immediately like a winner.

  7. ok, you are really nice to actually slice the grapes, makes the “whoops” factor go way down, i’m just too lazy. i love this recipe, especially the fact that you used REAL whipped cream.

  8. Is this the same thing as Watergate salad? I remember it being a staple of potlucks and family dinners while growing up in the midwest in the 70’s…

  9. Blaine, Watergate salad was pistachio pudding, fruit (usually canned) and whipped cream (usually Cool Whip … bleurgh). According to Wikipedia:

    Kraft Corporate Affairs said, “We developed the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight. It was in 1975, the same year that pistachio pudding mix came out.” Kraft, however, didn’t refer to it as Watergate Salad until consumers started requesting the recipe for it under the name. “According to Kraft Kitchens, when the recipe for Pistachio Pineapple Delight was sent out, an unnamed Chicago food editor renamed it Watergate Salad to promote interest in the recipe when she printed it in her column.”

    Adding the whipped cream does make this a bit closer in texture, but without the pistachio flavor I don’t think the flavor would be all that similar.

  10. My mom makes a version of this every year at Christmastime. In hers, she uses granny smith apples, walnuts, miracle whip, whipped cream, and marshmallows. Also a little lemon juice to stop the apples form discoloring. Compared to yours, I’m sure hers it much sweeter, but your version sounds delicious too!

  11. Our Waldorf has celery in it much like the original. Your version sounds delicious and reminds me of a salad my Aunt Eleanor always made. Hers had dates, grapes, bananas, pecans and whipped cream, the bananas were dipped in lemon juice to keep them from browning … sort of. It didn’t matter because it never stayed around long enough to turn. It’s nice to find a place where real food is celebrated. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing! Robin

  12. I’d also recommend Waldorf-style chicken salad. I use celery and omit the raisins (I hate raisins in things) and use just enough mayo to hold it all together, along with lots of cracked pepper. I don’t even think of making chicken salad sandwiches any other way.

  13. Marilyn Hogan says:

    I grew up in Worcester MA, and my mother got the original recipe for Waldorf Salad from a family member, so that is what I grew up on…here it is with the history :)

    WALDORF SALAD (original)

    1 bag Macintosh Apples cubed to ½ inch cubes (as you are cutting them spray with lemon juice in a LARGE bowl or pot.

    1 plastic squirt lemon OR real lemon juice (for spraying the cubed apples while preparing so they don’t get brown)

    1 box (1 ½ cups) Raisins

    1 large stalk fresh celery (peel the strings on outside off each stem and slice into THIN slices)

    1 bag chopped walnuts

    1 cup mayo (NOT MIRACLE WHIP)

    1 cup soured cream

    1 cup whipped cream (this means after it is whipped, not 1 cup of cream before whipping)

    2 Tablespoons of sugar (or sweet and low to equal it)

    1. Mix cubed apples, sliced celery, raisins and walnuts in a large bowl or pot.

    2. Mix mayo, soured cream, whipped cream and sugar or sweet and low together.

    3. Mix mayo mixture with apple mixture and refrigerate overnight. (it doesn’t taste right until it has been refrigerated at least 12 hours)

    4. If you want to add more dressing, do so just before serving.


    Waldorf Salad {WAWL-dorf}: Created at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 not by a chef, but by the maître d’hôtel Oscar Tschirky. The Waldorf salad was in instant success. Waldorf salad is usually served on top of a bed of lettuce. The secret was the Mayo Mix.

  14. Charles says:

    very good ,but so long


  1. […] To Cook Your Like Your Grandmother on making a waldorf salad. The picture above doesn't do this particular recipe justice, so make sure you go to the site […]

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