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Chicken Waldorf Salad

Say hello to salad season with the supreme crunch of kale, apples, celery, and chicken in our chicken Waldorf salad.

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waldorf salad with grapes, celery and grilled chicken

Welcome to the Waldorf

With warmer weather around the corner, we’re officially entering salad season. And for us, that always means Waldorf salad. The original Waldorf salad recipe was first served at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1896 as a simple combination of apples, celery, and mayonnaise. But in the century since, it’s seen countless adaptations—like that version grandma used to make with iceberg lettuce and mini marshmallows. For our chicken Waldorf salad recipe, we combine the sweet and savory flavor combo that we all know and love, but with a few “grown-up” substitutions that make it even better than the original. And no marshmallows (sorry, grandma). For more chicken lunch goodness, try our classic Chicken Salad.

ingredients laid out for waldorf salad: grilled chicken, grapes, apples, celery, candied walnuts

Why We Love This Waldorf Salad Recipe

From Easter brunches to springtime picnics, our Waldorf salad recipe is the perfect accompaniment to the warming weather—just remember that since the dressing is mayo-based you’ll want to keep it on ice when it’s not in the fridge. Here’s when we serve it:

  • Brunch! With its not-so-subtle sweetness and big, bright crunch it’s a great addition to a tableful of French toast and egg casseroles.
  • Picnics in the park. The addition of cooked chicken truly makes this a complete meal. Pack it in your cooler and head out to the park.
  • Neighborhood potlucks. Save neighbors from one more bowl of potato salad and take this refreshing, crisp Waldorf salad, instead. Plus, they make inflatable ice trays, so there’s no worry in not being able to keep this salad cold.
candied walnuts, grapes, apples, grilled chicken and celery in a bowl for a waldorf salad

Waldorf Salad Ingredients

What’s in Waldorf salad? Get ready to bring the crunch.

  • Kale. Grandma used iceberg, which we’re not opposed to, but do like the grownup-ness kale brings to our version.
  • Apple. Go for something tart (like a Granny Smith) to bring a bit of sour to each bite.
  • Celery. Little flavor, big crunch.
  • Grapes. Be sure to halve them if you’re going to serve the salad to the littles.
  • Candied Walnuts. Our recipe for these little gems is pretty addicting—may want to consider doubling your batch.
  • Cooked Chicken. Add a protein and boom—instant meal.
chicken waldorf salad in a bowl with grapes, apples and celery

How Do You Make Waldorf Salad Dressing?

Whisk together these key ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise. We’ve also tried this with Vegannaise and it’s equally delicious.
  • Olive Oil
  • White Balsamic. Or, you can substitute apple cider vinegar in a pinch.
  • Fresh lemon juice + zest of a lemon
  • Honey
  • S&P
chicken waldorf salad with lettuce, chicken, grapes and celery

How to Make Waldorf Salad

This salad totally comes together in a flash, and you can even preassemble everything ahead of time and dress it right before serving.

  • Chop. Our chicken Waldorf salad is heavy on the crunch. The most amount of prep will be chopping, dicing, and slicing kale, apples, celery, and grapes.
  • Candy. So, our candied walnuts aren’t completely necessary, but we love both their candy-coated sweetness and added coat of crunch.
  • Cook. Use any type of cooked chicken you fancy—leftover roast chicken, fresh-from-the-grill, or even poached. For this recipe, we prefer ours grilled, but really the choice is yours.
  • Coat. Perhaps the best part of this salad? It’s creamy dressing. Drizzle it atop your assembled salads and toss to coat. Use any leftovers (if you have any!) at the center of a crudite for dipping.
chicken waldorf salad with lettuce, chicken, grapes and celery
chicken waldorf salad with lettuce, chicken, grapes and celery

Tools to Make Waldorf Chicken Salad

You don’t need much to make our Waldorf chicken salad, but we have found a few specific tools that come in handy!

  • Salad spinner. You’ll want your kale as dry as possible before you dress it, and a salad spinner is the best tool for the task.
  • Sharp knife. There’s a lot to cube and dice in this salad, so you’ll want to be sure your knife is good and sharp before you get started.
  • Microplane zester. This handy little zester skims just the top layer of zest off your citrus, leaving any bitter white pith behind.

It’s Crunch Time!

Ready to crunch down on more mega salads? Here are some other crunchy faves:

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Chicken Waldorf Salad

  • Serves: 5
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 686

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast (about 1½ pounds total)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup Candied Walnuts
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup halved grapes
  • 1 whole apple, chopped
  • 5 cups spring lettuce mix

Creamy Dressing

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF with a rack in the center position. Place the chicken in a baking dish and season all over with the salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF on a meat thermometer. Allow to cool completely then slice.

  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper.

  3. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, walnuts, celery, grapes and apples with the dressing.

  4. To serve, place the lettuce on a serving platter and top with the chicken mixture.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories686
  • Protein32 g
  • Carbohydrates50 g
  • Total Fat44 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol65 mg
  • sodium315 mg
  • Total Sugars26 g

Chicken Waldorf Salad

Questions & Reviews

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  • Heidi

    I love this recipe, especially the dressing. Thank you for sharing it :)

    Oh good. Glad it tuned out!