This delicious Waldorf chicken salad is a breeze to put together. Packed with juicy chicken, refreshing grapes, and crisp celery and apples, it’s a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors that’s sure to please!

Refreshing salad with chicken, fruits, and vegetables in white bowl
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

I used to love the Napa Waldorf chicken salad at Specialty’ when I used to go there for lunch when I was working at my tech job. And I have been craving that for a long time. So why not make it at home?

This recipe is super simple and might even be the best chicken salad you have ever had. It’s a classic Waldorf chicken salad with juicy chicken, crisp apples, sweet grapes, and crunchy celery and walnuts.

All these delicious ingredients are lightly coated for a perfect balance of textures and flavors. Guess what? It is easy to make and is nutritious with all the healthy ingredients.

Looking for more salad recipes? You will love this avocado egg salad and wild rice salad recipe!

Watch How to Make Waldorf Salad

What is Waldorf Salad?

It is a delicious combination of sweet and crunchy flavors. Juicy apples and grapes bursting with flavor, balanced by the refreshing crunch of celery and nuts. All these ingredients are tossed together in a creamy dressing, making for a delightful and refreshing salad perfect for any occasion.

gluten-free chicken salad in sandwich

How did Waldorf Salad get its name?

This classic salad is named after the world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. They first served this delicious combination of flavors back in 1893, making it a true culinary staple that’s been around for over a century. So, not only is the Waldorf Salad tasty, but it also has a rich history!

The next time you enjoy a Waldorf Salad, you can impress your friends with this fun fact!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Chicken Breast: You can use any cooked chicken that you prefer. You can use poached, roasted, or grilled chicken breast. It’s also delicious with rotisserie chicken.
  • Apples: Gala or Fuji apples are great choices for this recipe. If you prefer sour, then go for green Granny Smith apples.
  • Grapes: Red seedless grapes are classic, but feel free to pick your favorite kind.
  • Celery: Adds a nice crunch to the salad.
  • Mayonnaise: This is the base for the dressing. You can substitute with half mayo and half green yogurt if you like. Primal Kitchen brand mayo is a great option.
  • Lemon Juice: A little bit goes a long way. You can use apple cider vinegar instead if needed. It also helps keep the apples fresh!
  • Walnuts: If you don’t like nuts, you can skip them and make it a nut-free salad. You can also use pecans if you prefer them over walnuts.
  • Garlic Powder, Salt, and Pepper
Ingredients you'll need

Best Apples for Waldorf Salad

When it comes to the Waldorf salad, the “best” apple depends on your personal preference, as both sweet and tart options work well. You can even try a combination of sweet and tart apples for a diverse flavor experience.

  • Sweet Apples: Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp – These add a touch of sweetness and juiciness to the salad, balancing the tartness of other ingredients.
  • Tart Apples: Granny Smith – It gives a refreshing tartness, contrasting the creamy dressing and other elements.

Pro-Tips & Variations

Turkey Waldorf: Use cooked and shredded turkey breast instead of chicken for a delicious variation.

Waldorf with Yogurt: For a tangy, protein-packed twist, swap out the mayo for plain Greek yogurt. Or use half mayo and half yogurt for a lighter, creamy dressing.

Don’t have walnuts? Feel free to experiment with other chopped nuts like pecans or almonds. You can even leave them out entirely for a nut-free version.

You can customize your salad! Experiment with different fruits like diced pears or cranberries, or add a sprinkle of dried cherries for a touch of sweetness.

Add onions: I did not add red onions, but they are a great way to add extra crunch to this Waldorf salad.

Vegetarian Waldorf: Omit the chicken altogether for a vegetarian option. You can add more chopped celery or other vegetables.

How to Cook Chicken for Salad?

You can use chicken breasts cooked in any way:

  • Poached Chicken: I like this method for salads. It is easy and always gives tender, juicy chicken breast.
  • Roasted Chicken: Season chicken breast with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then roast in the oven until cooked.
  • Grilled Chicken: You can also use grilled chicken for this salad.
  • Skillet Chicken: You can pan-fry seasoned chicken breasts in a skillet. Be careful not to overcook, and cook only until the chicken reaches 165 °F at the thickest section.
  • Rotisserie Chicken: this salad also works well with rotisserie chicken breast.

How To Make?

Toss the Salad Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, chopped celery, juicy grapes, crisp apples, and crunchy walnuts.

Make the Dressing

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Here’s the key: Use closer to ½ cup of mayonnaise for a lighter dressing. If you prefer a creamier salad, feel free to use up to a full cup.

Combine and Serve

Gently fold the dressing into the chicken mixture until everything is evenly coated.

You can enjoy your Waldorf salad immediately or cover and chill it in the refrigerator for a bit more flavor to develop.

Gluten-free chicken salad with apples, grapes, celery, and walnuts.

How to Make Ahead, Store, and Meal Prep?

Planning: Simply cook your chicken in advance using your preferred method. Chop the chicken, celery, and apples and store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

This Waldorf chicken salad is best enjoyed the day you make it. It will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Storage Tip: Avoid adding the dressing to the entire salad until you’re ready to eat, as this can make the salad soggy over time.

Meal Prep: This salad is perfect for meal prepping! Here are some additional tips:

  • Portion it Out: Divide the salad into individual containers for easy grab-and-go lunches or snacks.
  • Add-Ons: Pack separate containers with additional toppings like crackers or dried fruit.

Can you Freeze Chicken Waldorf Salad?

Freezing this salad isn’t ideal. Mayonnaise separates, and fresh ingredients get mushy when thawed. It’s best enjoyed fresh.

What to Serve with Waldorf Salad?

This chicken salad is so good that I enjoy it straight from the bowl! But if you’re looking for some fun ways to serve it up, here are a few ideas:

  • Build-Your-Own Sandwiches: Toast some bread or buns, and let everyone add their favorite toppings like lettuce, tomato, cheese, or sprouts.
gluten-free chicken salad in sandwich
  • Lettuce Wrap Wonders: Turn this salad into a fun and healthy finger food by using lettuce leaves as wraps. Simply fill each lettuce leaf with a scoop of chicken salad and enjoy!
  • Simple and Satisfying: Serve the chicken salad in a bowl with some gluten-free crackers for scooping. It’s a quick and easy lunch or snack that everyone will love.

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love

5 from 1 vote

Waldorf Chicken Salad

This delicious Waldorf chicken salad is a breeze to put together. Packed with juicy chicken, refreshing grapes, and crisp celery and apples, it's a delightful combination of sweet and savory flavors that's sure to please!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups Cooked Chicken, Diced
  • 1 cup Celery, Small diced
  • 1 cup Grapes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup Apple, small diced, Fuji or Gala
  • 1/2-1 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 cup Toasted walnuts, chopped, or pecans, optional

Instructions 

Toss the Salad Ingredients

  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, chopped celery, grapes, apples, and walnuts.

Make the Dressing

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, and garlic powder. Use closer to ½ cup of mayonnaise for a lighter dressing. If you prefer a creamier salad, feel free to use up to a full cup.

Combine and Serve

  • Gently fold the dressing into the chicken mixture until everything is evenly coated. You can enjoy it immediately, or cover and chill it in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

Turkey Waldorf: Use cooked and shredded turkey breast instead of chicken for a delicious variation.
Waldorf with Yogurt: For a tangy, protein-packed twist, swap out the mayo for plain Greek yogurt. Or use half mayo and half yogurt for a lighter, creamy dressing. This will make the salad to not be dairy-free. 
Don’t have walnuts? Feel free to experiment with other chopped nuts like pecans or almonds. You can even leave them out entirely for a nut-free version.
You can customize your salad! Experiment with different fruits like diced pears or cranberries, or add a sprinkle of dried cherries for a touch of sweetness.
Add onions: I did not add red onions, but they are a great way to add extra crunch to this Waldorf salad.
Vegetarian Waldorf: Omit the chicken altogether for a vegetarian option. You can add more chopped celery or other vegetables.

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 44gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 448mgPotassium: 541mgFiber: 2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 203IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Low Carb
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

You May Also Like

Get new recipes sent to your inbox!
Don't miss out! Subscribe and get all the new recipes first.
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating