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Sweet Waldorf Salad

The Sweet Waldorf Salad is a simple but sophisticated dessert or side dish you’ll be proud to serve in any gathering!

Sweet Waldorf Salad

Some salads are homemade, while others are invented as happy little accidents, like in the case of the Caesar salad. However, there are some salads that are specifically made to celebrate an occasion, like the Sweet Waldorf Salad.

It was in 1896 that the classic Waldorf salad was conceptualized for a charity ball held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York — hence its name. The original recipe was quite simple, with only three ingredients: celery, apple, and mayo. However, just as recipes typically evolve, so did this one. For this Sweet Waldorf Salad, candied pecans, grapes, and sour cream add more panache and elegance to the apple’s sweetness and the celery’s distinctive earthy, slightly salty crunch. Honey helps, too.

On their own, pecans already have a sweet and buttery flavor, but they’re made richer and more delightful when candied with unsalted butter and light brown sugar. The bright and juicy goodness of grapes (seedless for easy eating!) have their own degree of sweetness and succulence that’s both recognizable, but not overpowering enough to draw your attention away from the apples. Soft yet firm, fresh grapes provide a nice contrasting texture to the crunch of the apples and the celery stalks.

Adding some sour cream to the mayo gives the dressing more depth and a pleasant tartness, which balances out the sweetness of the fruits and pecans, at the same time enhancing the subtle grassy taste of the celery.

This Sweet Waldorf Salad only goes to show that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make a fancy salad! Serve chilled in a bowl for scooping, you’ve got yourself a simple but sophisticated dessert or side that will certainly please a crowd!

Classic Waldorf Salad

Sweet Waldorf Salad

The Sweet Waldorf Salad is a simple but sophisticated dessert or side dish you’ll be proud to serve in any gathering!

  • Author: Addie Gundry
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Salads & Dressings


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 red apples, cored and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Optional: Large lettuce leaves, for serving


  1. To make the candied pecans, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Once melted, add the pecans. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes, until coated. Transfer the pecans to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet to cool. Use a fork to separate the pecans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the apples, celery, grapes, candied pecans and honey.
  3. Fold in the mayonnaise and sour cream. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Have you made this version of the Sweet Waldorf salad? Do you like the addition of the candied pecans?


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