If you have been a reader for a while, you know that I am a big fan of chicken salad recipes like Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad, Southwest Chicken Salad, and Sesame Chicken Salad recipe.
But I like to think of this salad as a celebration of all things sweet and savory, kind of like this apple salad. When mixed with lean protein like baked bone-in chicken breasts, it becomes a good recipe you can serve in different ways.
Got some extra spring mix? Also, try the La Scala Chopped Salad and Spring Salad.
Why Should You Try This Recipe?
This classic Waldorf salad is a sensational salad recipe. I know you’ll love it because:
- An easy recipe that’s whisked and mixed in one bowl: Both the dressing and salad contain simple ingredients that come together in one bowl, making for easy prep and clean-up.
- Made with my lightened up dressing: The original Waldorf chicken salad recipe is made using mayo as the base of the dressing. In my version, I substituted some of the creamy mayo with greek yogurt to lighten it up.
- Easy to make ahead: Serve it right away or make this classic American salad ahead of time for quick lunches and easy meals.
The chicken Waldorf salad ingredients come in two parts – the dressing and the salad.
- For the dressing, you will need mayonnaise, plain yogurt, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.
- For the salad, gather together a chopped apple, seedless red grapes, celery, chopped walnuts, pomegranate arils, salad greens, and cooked chicken.
Ingredient Substitutions & Additions
- Mayo: Vegan mayo (aka Vegannaise) would be a great alternative.
- Apple: Go for green Granny Smith apples for more sour notes or red apples such as Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala.
- Grapes: Red and black grapes are sweet grapes, but green grapes are traditional.
- Nuts: Crunchy walnuts are part of the original Waldorf salad recipe, but you can use any nut you have on hand such as pecans, almonds, or even pistachios.
- Greens: Use a mix of baby greens, arugula, or spinach. Rather than mixing in the greens, feel free to serve it over a bed of greens or butter lettuce cups instead.
- Chicken: I used baked and cubed bone-in chicken breasts, but you can use leftover rotisserie chicken or poached chicken breasts instead.
- Pomegranate Arils (optional): Omit, if desired, or swap out for raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries. Red onions also offer a nice pop of color and savory flavor.
- Red Onion: Although not traditional, you can add in a half of a thinly sliced small red onion.
How to Make
This recipe for chicken Waldorf salad comes together in three easy steps. Simply:
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
- Toss: In a bowl mix, salad greens, diced apple, grapes, celery, walnuts, and cooked chicken. Drizzle it with the dressing and give it a gentle toss to combine.
- Serve: Transfer to a shallow salad bowl for serving. Enjoy!
How to Serve
I cannot tell you how many compliments I get on this salad. Some of my favorite occasions to serve include:
- Brunch: Nothing beats a salad recipe that pairs well with Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Brioche French toast and spinach feta frittata.
- Outdoor Picnics: My friends go crazy for this chicken salad whenever we plan an outdoor picnic or party. Just make sure to keep it on ice or in a cooler before and after serving. Transform it into Waldorf salad wraps or sandwiches, too.
- Holidays: Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day – the options are endless with this one.
How to Make Ahead, Store, and Meal Prep:
Due to the mayo and yogurt-based dressing, this chicken Waldorf salad recipe must be kept refrigerated, on ice or in a cooler.
- To make ahead: Make the chicken Waldorf salad dressing and cook the chicken a day in advance. Store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Prepare the rest of the ingredients on the day you are planning to serve the salad.
- To store leftovers, the Waldorf salad recipe with chicken will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Meal Prep: If planning to make the salad ahead of time for meal prep, I would omit the greens and walnuts and mix in for an extra crunch just before serving.
- A great way to use leftover chicken or store bought rotisserie chicken. If you have some cooked chicken this Chicken Waldorf recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning. You might not need any salt or less depending on how salty your mayo is and how the chicken was seasoned. If it’s too salty, a squeeze of lemon will brighten it up.
- Keep it cool. Since the dressing contains mayo and yogurt, make sure to keep it covered in a fridge or cooler. Serve it over ice if enjoying outside.
The dressing for Waldorf salad is made of mayonnaise and a touch of sugar, but I like to lighten it up with a combo of mayo and yogurt. A squeeze of lemon juice adds a nice, tangy bite. Feel free to add a teaspoon or two of honey, if you’d like it sweeter.
A Waldorf salad is a salad made of apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, and mayonnaise. It is typically served over a bed of lettuce for an appetizer or light meal.
The original Waldorf salad recipe was first served at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in 1896. It was a simple combination of apples, celery, and mayonnaise.
The Chicken Waldorf Salad recipe below serves 4 dinner portions and each portion is about 505 calories.
Other chicken recipes you might like:
- Creamy Avocado Chicken Salad
- Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos
- Roasted Chicken Pita Wraps
- Healthy Chicken Fricassee
- Yogurt Marinated Greek Chicken
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our easy chicken recipes
If you try this Easy Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe
For the Dressing:
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For The Salad:
- 1 apple cut into small cubes (I kept the skin on)
- 3 cups salad greens washed and spin dried
- 1 cup seedless red grapes halved
- 1 cup 2-3 medium size celery stalks, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 2 cups cooked chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
- Make the dressing: In a large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Toss: Add the diced apple, grapes, celery, walnuts, pomegranate arils (if using), salad greens, and chicken. Toss to coat with the dressing.
- Serve: Transfer to a shallow salad bowl for serving. Enjoy!
- As you can see in the pictures, I used fresh seedless grapes, but if you can’t get your hands on them, you can use raisins as a substitute.
- As long as it is kept covered in the fridge, this salad is good on the next day. I usually put it in between two slices of toast and make it a Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich.
- As you can see in the recipe below, my version of the dressing is a combination of mayonnaise and yogurt. I wanted to cut down on the calories by mixing mayo with yogurt, but feel free to play around with it. If you want, you can make the dressing with only mayo or only yogurt.
- The nutrition values below are approximate values and should not be used as medical advise.
I had a version of this salad in PV on the malecon
I made your version…
excellent! Brings back fond memories. Love Mexico the people and the food. Thx G
Thanks Gretchen, I am happy to hear that you liked it.
It’s amazing how walnuts and fruit go together with mayo, and with chicken! I’m always on the lookout for things to do with cooked chicken leftover after making chicken broth – this time I made this salad. My husband and I enjoyed it a lot! I sure will be back for other recipes <3
That’s great to hear. I agree with you; nuts, fruit, and chicken mixed with mayo is a super delicious combo!
Thanks for coming back and taking the time to leave a review, Jadzia.
This was a pretty good recipe. It was simple yet flavorful. I will make it again. Thanks for sharing.
Yay! So happy you liked it Joy.
This salad is simply perfection. My sister in law made it for us this weekend and it was so good. The only difference was that we grilled the chicken instead of roasting it in the oven. I plan on making it on 4th of July for our friends. Thanks for sharing .