Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe

Created in the late 1800s by Oscar Tschirky, a maître d'hôtel at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Waldorf salad started as a simple, three-ingredient dish made up of celery, apples, and mayonnaise (via Food52). The unusually sweet-and-crunchy salad has since taken many forms, most notably with the addition of chopped walnuts, but always with the original three ingredients. Still considered the most popular dish on the hotel's menu, the salad is a classic, no matter the preparation.

This Waldorf-meets-chicken-salad recipe by developer Michelle McGlinn starts with freshly cooked chicken breasts, coated in mayonnaise, and then incorporated in with the classic celery and apple combo. This recipe also adds halved grapes for a burst of flavor, and poppy seeds for a touch of texture. Instead of walnuts, this Waldorf salad opts for almonds for its signature crunch, adding a subtle, nutty flavor to balance out the sweetness in the fruits.

This chicken salad is easy to pull together, and keeps for 7 days, making it the perfect meal to prep on Sunday to use for lunches throughout the week. This salad is delicious on its own, but becomes a meal when sandwiched between bread, or piled onto greens. You can also serve this chicken salad with crackers for a healthy midday snack. 

Gather your Waldorf chicken salad ingredients

This chicken salad starts with the classic Waldorf ingredients, including apples, celery, and plenty of mayonnaise. Use your favorite mayonnaise and any red apple, such as Fuji or Macintosh varieties. For this recipe, we are cooking cubed chicken breasts on the stove, but you can also use a prepared rotisserie chicken for easier prep. You'll also need oil to cook the chicken, as well as salt and pepper to taste. While fresh chicken is preferred, you can also use drained and dried canned chicken in a pinch.

To jazz up the recipe, add in grapes, sliced almonds, and poppy seeds. Be sure to buy seedless grapes, and opt for a red variety. You can also swap the almonds for walnuts, pecans, or even pine nuts if preferred; we like almonds for their neutral, nutty flavor, and big crunch. For easy prep, buy your almonds sliced and toasted. 

Finally, grab some Dijon mustard. You'll only need a spoonful or so, but this ingredient packs a flavor punch that can't be missed. If you don't like mustard, try adding a touch of paprika for spice, instead.

Cook the chicken

Generously season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper, then heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toss the chicken into the hot skillet, until all sides are deeply browned and chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes. Because the chicken pieces are small, the chicken cooks quickly, so just be sure to stir the cubes often to brown on all sides. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the heat, and let cool completely. You can even cook the chicken a day in advance, and cool in the refrigerator overnight.

Assemble the salad

Add the chopped celery, peeled and diced apples, halved grapes, sliced or slivered almonds, poppy seeds, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard to a large bowl. Add in your cooked and cooled chicken, and stir well to combine. Add more mayonnaise as desired, or for a bit of tang, add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream. The seasoned chicken will flavor the salad, but if needed, add more salt and pepper to taste. If the taste of mayonnaise is too strong for your liking, add 1 additional spoonful of Dijon mustard to balance the taste.

Serve on bread or crackers

While this can be eaten on a bed of greens like a traditional Waldorf salad, you can also treat it like a classic chicken salad, and serve it on bread or crackers. We love to toast our bread before loading it up with a full cup of this chicken salad, and serve with soup or homemade potato chips. Store this salad for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and do not freeze.

Waldorf Chicken Salad Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
This classic Waldorf salad gets a unique twist, transforming into a Waldorf-inspired chicken salad that includes grapes and almonds.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken salad in bowl
Total time: 15 minutes
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper, plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup grapes, halved
  • ¼ cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chicken to skillet, and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and let cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the celery, apples, grapes, almonds, poppy seeds, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and cooked chicken together, until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on bread or crackers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Calories per Serving 749
Total Fat 67.4 g
Saturated Fat 12.0 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 101.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Total Sugars 9.3 g
Sodium 631.7 mg
Protein 23.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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