About This Recipe
Waldorf salad was first created at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City in 1893. It was a simple side dish salad made of apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Since then, the salad has expanded to include chopped walnuts and raisins. And sometimes, chicken, as in this delicious recipe for Waldorf Chicken salad.
I just love this salad recipe because it has so many wonderful textures and flavors. I substituted pecans for the walnuts and added dried cranberries. And the dressing now includes mustard. The tender chicken, crisp and tart apples, crunchy pecans, and tart and sweet cranberries in a tart, creamy, and sweet dressing is simply fabulous.
This chicken salad is great for lunchboxes, for dinner, and for snacks for hungry kids home for summer break. It feels so luxurious to have a big bowl of delicious chicken salad in the fridge on hot summer days. You don’t even have to think about dinner because it’s ready and waiting for you! And it’s perfect for hot summer days because if you use a rotisserie chicken, it’s a no cook recipe!
This Waldorf Chicken Salad will keep in the fridge for four days after you make it. And start with rotisserie chicken for best results. I absolutely swear by that ingredient because it provide reliably tender, perfectly (and safe) cooked chicken every single time.
You can vary this recipe by using raisins or currents or even grapes instead of the dried cranberries, using walnuts or cashews instead of the pecans, and eliminating (or increasing!) the honey mustard in the dressing.
Enjoy every bite of this delicious salad and make it often this summer.
Tips for making the best Waldorf Chicken Salad
- First make the dressing, then try to break down the chicken while it’s still really warm, but cool enough to handle comfortably. Cube the chicken while it’s still warm and add it to the dressing so it will absorb the flavor and stay really tender.
- You can toast the pecans before adding them to the salad, but that step isn’t necessary.
- Use small whole pecans instead of chopped pecans for better texture.
- Tossing the apples in lemon juice before you add them to the salad ensures they won’t brown and adds another layer of flavor.
Why this recipe works
- The combination of textures and flavors in this fabulous chicken salad recipe are classic and time tested.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, salad dressing, honey mustard, and lemon juice and mix until combined.
Add the chicken, celery, pecans, and dried cranberries and stir to coat.
In a small bowl, toss the apples with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then add to the salad and mix. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.