It's quick and easy to make thick, creamy, zesty, Homemade Thousand Island Dressing using just a few basic ingredients. This recipe is perfect for jazzing up your favorite salads and sandwiches!
With a variety of salad dressing recipes here at Five Heart Home, it recently came to my attention that (*gasp*) I was egregiously lacking a recipe for Homemade Thousand Island Dressing. And since no dressing collection can be complete without creamy, zippy, yummy Thousand Island, I knew I had to remedy that STAT!
Ways to Enjoy Thousand Island Dressing
You may already be familiar with Thousand Island Dressing thanks to beloved Big Macs (helloooo, secret sauce!).
You might know and love it as a topping for your favorite Reuben sandwich.
Or you may just enjoy it as a creamy, hearty dressing to drizzle over salad greens or a crisp wedge of iceberg.
Why Make Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
As with any and every salad dressing flavor, I always maintain that homemade is best!
- You control the ingredients. When you make your own salad dressing, you can use fresh, high-quality ingredients with no artificial additions, icky preservatives, food coloring, etc. In other words, you know exactly what you're eating!
- You can tweak the ingredients. Whether you really love a particular flavor or don't care for a specific ingredient, you can customize the recipe to your liking!
- Economical. It's typically a fraction of the cost to make a homemade salad dressing with quality ingredients as compared to buying it at the store.
I developed this Homemade Thousand Island recipe using all staple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry and fridge:
- Mayonnaise. For a lot of my salad dressing recipes, I regularly substitute half of the mayo for plain yogurt or Greek yogurt to lighten things up a bit. However, Thousand Island Dressing is supposed to be decadent, and I feel like if you're going to indulge, using real mayonnaise really does yield the tastiest, richest results for this particular recipe.
- Ketchup. Swap in tomato sauce if you don't have ketchup on hand (although that may necessitate that you increase some of the other seasonings) or chili sauce for a little extra zing.
- Apple cider vinegar. I love the tang of apple cider vinegar in a salad dressing, but you may substitute white vinegar or lemon juice, if you wish.
- Sugar. Just a bit of sugar is necessary for adequate sweetness in this decidedly sweet-and-tangy dressing.
- Pickle relish. Unlike other Homemade Thousand Island Dressing recipes out there, I actually prefer using a combo of sweet relish and dill pickle relish in my version. This dressing is traditionally supposed to be on the sweet side, which is obviously enhanced by the sweet relish. But I also enjoy the combination of sweet relish and dill relish (as in my Tuna Pasta Salad) for its salty pop of contrast. That being said, if you prefer to stay safely on the traditional side, feel free to double the amount of sweet relish in this recipe and omit the dill relish altogether.
- Onion powder. If you prefer, you may substitute 1 tablespoon finely minced (red, white, or sweet yellow) onion for the onion powder.
- Garlic powder. I like adding just a touch of garlic powder to this recipe as well, but you may omit it if you're a purist.
- Worcestershire sauce. A little bit goes a long way! But just a splash adds depth of flavor.
- Salt + freshly ground black pepper.
How to Make Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
(The below photos are intended to be helpful, but please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for FULL DIRECTIONS.)
In addition to all of the homemade salad dressing benefits mentioned above, yet another plus is that this Thousand Island Dressing is amazingly quick and easy to make!
- Measure all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor.
- Blend or process until smooth and combined.
And that's it!
Just be sure you allow time to refrigerate your dressing for at least eight hours before enjoying it, which allows the sugar to melt and the flavors to meld. And then stir well before serving!
It should be noted that I like a smooth Thousand Island Dressing, which is achieved by employing the method above. If you, however, prefer a chunkier dressing, feel free to simply whisk the ingredients together in a bowl instead.
Your decision for smooth vs. chunky may very well depend on how your plan on using your dressing!
If you're a Thousand Island Dressing purist, you may also choose to mix half of a hard-boiled egg (grated or finely minced) into your dressing. The attribution of Thousand Island Dressing's creation may be debated, but both of the supposedly original versions included hard-boiled egg.
Keep in mind, however, that incorporating an egg into the recipe will reduce how long this dressing stays good in fridge (down to two or three days instead of 7-10), which is why I chose not to include egg in my recipe. I like to whip up enough dressing to enjoy multiple times over the course of a week or so!
So what's going to be your preferred vehicle for enjoying this Homemade Thousand Island Dressing? A salad? A sandwich or burger? A dip?
However you choose to enjoy it, I hope it's a hit! 🙂
More Homemade Salad Dressings
- Greek Salad Dressing
- French or Catalina Dressing
- Champagne Vinaigrette
- Honey Mustard Dressing
- Blush Wine Vinaigrette
Easy Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons dill relish
- 1 ½ teaspoons sweet relish
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For a smooth Thousand Island Dressing, add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend/process until smooth. For a chunky dressing, whisk ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and well-combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight, to allow flavors to meld and sugar to fully dissolve. Stir well before using. Leftovers may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.
- Substitute white vinegar or lemon juice for the apple cider vinegar.
- Omit the dill relish and increase the amount of sweet relish to 1 tablespoon in its place.
- Substitute 1 tablespoon finely minced (red, white, or sweet yellow) onion for the onion powder.
- Omit the garlic powder, if you wish.
- Stir in half of a hard-boiled egg that's been finely minced or grated. If doing so, however, the dressing will only keep in the fridge for up to three days.