Waldorf Chicken Salad

February 19, 2016 By Cathy — 4 Comments
This Waldorf chicken salad combines leftover roast chicken, grapes, apples, celery, pecans and cranberries with a creamy dressing to make one tasty lunch.

Waldorf Chicken SaladAny chance you have leftovers from this week’s roast chicken? Well if not, you just might have to roast another so you can make this Waldorf chicken salad. This is a twist on the classic salad that originated at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in the late 1800’s. The original salad consisted of apples and celery dressed with mayonnaise and has seen many variations over the years, most notably the addition of walnuts, raisins or grapes.  

Waldorf Chicken SaladMy relationship with the Waldorf salad began as a child and got off to a rocky start. Thanksgiving was the holiday that we spent with my mom’s side of the family, the non-Italian side. The menu was traditional and we always started with Waldorf salad…a classic version with apple, celery, walnuts and grapes mixed with mayonnaise. And I hated it. It’s just didn’t make sense to me that the condiment I would use later on my turkey sandwich could also be called a salad dressing. I would take a tiny spoonful, eat a grape or two, and push the rest around my plate to make it look like I had eaten it.

But there it was, year after year, the one dish that was not like the others. My most favorite meal, kicked off with this odd salad. It’s one of those cases where I like all of the ingredients on their own, but tossed together, eh, not so much. That is until some of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey was mixed in…now that was a dish I could get behind. Leftover turkey or roast chicken pair beautifully with the apples, grapes, celery and creamy mayo in the original and I’ve added some different ingredients over the years to jazz it up. I add a splash of vinegar and a spoon of dijon mustard for zing, swap toasted pecans for walnuts, and whisk Greek yogurt into the dressing.  I round it out with a scoop of dried cranberries and some freshly chopped chives.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

Waldorf Chicken SaladThis dish has got it all: crunchy, creamy, sweet and savory. Scoop it onto sliced multi-grain bread and top it with a few soft Bibb lettuce leaves and you’ve got yourself one tasty sandwich. The Waldorf salad of the 1800’s in NYC or the 1980’s Roma/Manning Thanksgiving table it is not, but sometimes even the classics need an update. Case in point, I think we can all agree that it would be a travesty if I was still rocking my classic 80’s style…

Cathy lost in the 80's

5 from 1 vote
Waldorf Chicken Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
This Waldorf chicken salad combines leftover roast chicken, grapes, apples, celery, pecans and cranberries with a creamy dressing to make one tasty lunch.
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 cups
Author: Cathy Roma | whatshouldimakefor.com
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 3-4 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 medium apple peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted pecans chopped
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes chopped
  • 1/3 cup chives minced
  1. Whisk together the mayo, yogurt, dijon, vinegar, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and toss well to combine.
Waldorf Chicken Salad

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Filed Under: Main Dishes, Recipe, Salads, Sandwiches


4 responses to “Waldorf Chicken Salad”

  1. Maureen, Milwaukee says:

    I make something so close to this recipe as to make no difference in taste-but I’m going to try subbing some mayo as you’ve done. This bread looks delicious in your photos -what is it?

  2. I absolutely LOVE chicken salad Cathy with Waldorf Chicken Salad at the top of my list! I also make an easy chicken salad with tarragon, but the Waldorf has so many different textures, so I find it much tastier! Your photos are leaving me wishing I could grab that sandwich right off the screen!

  3. Nice recipe! My family was surprised tomorrow on during our small road trip 🙂 Thank you

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