Waldorf Chicken Salad
This Waldorf Chicken Salad is packed with grapes, apples, toasted pecans, and celery for a delicious healthy lunch recipe!
Of all the variations of chicken salad out there, the ingredients in the Waldorf version might be the best.
I do get hankerings for Curry Chicken Salad or this classic Cranberry Chicken Salad, but there’s something about juicy grapes, crunchy bites of apple, toasted pecans, and celery that makes for one of those holy grail combinations that’s wildly delicious.
It hits so many texture notes and flavor notes, and is bursting with freshness. It’s so good!
If you’re not familiar, Waldorf Salad is a really old school recipe from the late 1800s that is basically this recipe minus the chicken.
You’ll see variations of what’s included, like walnuts instead of pecans, or a little yogurt in place of some of the mayonnaise, but it’s basically a mayonnaise-dressed salad of apples, grapes, nuts, and celery.
Plain Waldorf Salad is a bit sweet to me, so bringing it together with chicken salad is the perfect combination for making a protein-packed meal that’s also really delicious.
This particular version has a higher “goodies ratio” than your usual chicken salad, but you can play with the ratios as you want. I personally love having lots of bites of grapes and apple throughout, as it goes so nicely with the chicken.
How to Make Waldorf Chicken Salad:
For the dressing, combine mayonnaise, freshly squeezed lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper:
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a good mayonnaise here, since it’s a dominant flavor in any chicken salad, and coats every bite.
I either make my own mayonnaise, or use my favorite store-bought brand, Sir Kensington’s (I’m not affiliated with them).
Whisk the dressing ingredients to combine, then add chopped chicken breast, chopped apples, halved red grapes, chopped toasted pecans, and chopped celery to the bowl:
I always use my Crockpot Chicken Breast for chicken salad, and it makes for the most wonderfully tender chicken ever, no brining required!
While it’s not as fast as the Instant Pot or roasting in the oven, the results are worth it. Once you try it, you may find yourself keeping a few cooked chicken breasts on hand in the fridge for adding protein to salads and other meals.
Toss all the ingredients together, until everything is coated in the dressing:
Taste the chicken salad and make any necessary seasoning adjustments. Sometimes I’ll add a little more salt, pepper, or lemon juice.
Then, ideally you want to let the chicken salad chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. But you can certainly enjoy the chicken salad right away too.
Waldorf Chicken Salad
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cooked chicken breasts (1.5lbs if cooking from raw)*
- 1.5 cups red grapes halved
- 1.5 cups chopped apple (Fuji, Pink Lady, and other firm, sweet apples recommended)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Chop the chicken breasts into small, bite-sized cubes, and add it to the dressing.
- Add the grapes, apples, celery, and pecans, and toss well to combine.
- Taste the chicken salad and make any seasoning adjustments according to your tastes. Sometimes I add a bit more black pepper or another squeeze of lemon juice.
- Ideally, let the chicken salad chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving, but the chicken salad is now ready to enjoy!