Apple Salad

published Jul 24, 2021
Apple Salad

This summertime BBQ staple is the perfect mix of tart and sweet.


Makesabout 6 cups

Prep20 minutes

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Apple salad made of diced apples, grapes, celery and other ingredients diced and tossed together with a dressing, in blue bowl, on a yellow table with colorful glassware nearby
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni
Apple Salad

The most famous apple salad is certainly the timeless Waldorf. With its signature combination of sweetness and crunch, the creamy salad is a classic American dish. The original introduced back in the late 1800s was a simple combination of apple, celery, and mayonnaise, but today’s apple salads have been updated to include a variety of toasted nuts, dried fruits, or even miniature marshmallows.

I like to think of a creamy apple salad as a springboard for creativity while also being easy enough to throw together with items you have on hand. In the end, it is always a great go-to side dish on a warm summer day or something easy to pack for a picnic in the park. Here, I used a sweet-tart combination of honey and lemon juice in the creamy mayonnaise dressing. Along with dried cranberries and chopped walnuts, halved grapes add additional texture and brightness. The salad can be simply enjoyed on its own or served on a bed of lettuce for classic presentation.

How to Pick Apples at the Store

  • Ripe apples are crisp and firm to the touch.
  • They should feel firm with no visible nicks or bruises.
  • If you rub your finger on the skin and it feels waxy to the touch, the apple is overripe.
Credit: Photo: Eric Kleinberg; Food Stylist: Kristina Vanni
Apple Salad

What Are the Best Apples for a Salad?

This all depends on your personal tastes as well as how quickly you plan to enjoy the salad after cutting the apples. Granny Smith apples are the classic choice because of their firm texture and tart flavor. However, they do tend to brown quickly. For fresh salads, an apple that resists oxidation is key. Pink Lady apples also have a wonderfully tart flavor, but their bright white flesh is slower to brown. Opals — a cross between Golden Delicious and Topaz apples — are another great choice to add to a salad because they are naturally low in polyphenol oxidase, making them resistant to browning long after slicing.

What to Serve with Apple Salad

Apple salads are a staple for summertime cookouts and potlucks. Serve alongside grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, or even slow-roasted fare like barbecued ribs. The cool, crisp texture is the perfect contrast to something hot off the grill.

Apple Salad

This summertime BBQ staple is the perfect mix of tart and sweet.

Prep time 20 minutes

Makes about 6 cups

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1/3 cup


  • 1 tablespoon


  • 1 tablespoon

    lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2

    medium Pink Lady apples

  • 1

    medium Opal apple

  • 1 cup

    seedless red grapes (about 6 ounces)

  • 3 stalks


  • 1/2 cup

    dried cranberries

  • 1/3 cup

    chopped walnuts

  • 6 leaves

    Boston lettuce, for serving


  1. Place 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of dressing as you complete them: Core and cut 2 medium Pink Lady and 1 medium Opal apples into 1/2-inch pieces. Halve 1 cup seedless red grapes.

  3. Add 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Toss well before serving. To serve, spoon about 1 cup of the apple salad into a Boston lettuce leaf.

Recipe Notes

Apples: Pink Lady and Opal apples work well because they don’t brown as quickly as other varieties. Gala or Fuji apples can be substituted for the Pink Lady, and Golden Delicious is a great substitute for the Opal.

Storage: This salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.