waldorf salad

Mom’s Waldorf Salad

Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, grapes and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise. The name comes from the fact that the Waldorf salad was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on March 14, 1896 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City.

The original recipe was just fruit, celery, and mayonnaise. It did not contain nuts, which had been added by the time the recipe appeared in The Rector Cook Book in 1928. The other thing traditional recipes did not include is miniature marshmallows, but my Mom, faced with trying to get a fussy kid (who might that be?…) to eat fruit and vegetables got creative and always added them.

For decades, I thought she was the only one who ever did that, but lo and behold, I was going through an old cookbook with recipes from the Coal Region and found my Mom’s exact combo of ingredients for Waldorf Salad in it, including those little marshmallows.

Maybe adding the mini marshmallows is a Coal Region thing, I don’t know, but to this day, there is not one batch of Waldorf Salad made in my kitchen that does not contain those mini marshmallows! Mom never added the traditional grapes, therefore, I do not, either.

Just typing this recipe out takes me back to memories of me as a kid, sitting at our chrome and yellow vinyl covered chairs  kitchen table set, chowing down on a bowl of Waldorf Salad while my Mom puttered around the kitchen doing what Moms do so well — showing you how much they loved you.  Miss you so much, Mom. This one’s for you.

Mom’s Waldorf Salad

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: Appetizers, Salads, DessertsCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy

Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise.


  • 3 cups eating apples, peeled and cored, diced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch cubes

  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • Mayonnaise or “salad dressing” (like Miracle Whip)


  • In bowl, combine apples, marshmallows, celery, and nuts. Toss with enough mayonnaise or salad dressing to moisten well.
  • Chill.
  • Add additional mayonnaise or salad dressing if needed before serving.