Homemade Salad Dressings

We mostly eat homemade salad dressings.  If you’ve never made your own dressings,  you’ll be so surprised at how easy they are to make and how inexpensive most are compared to store bought bottles of dressing.  There are lots of varieties for all recipes so make any changes you want to make to suit your family.  When Vince is home and life is normal, I’ll usually make a couple of different dressings a week.

For Asian salad, use a mixture of greens, toasted almonds, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, edamame beans and whatever else you like on your Asian salad.

You can see from the photo that I don’t always use everything from scratch.  There’s ginger in a tube because I can’t always get fresh ginger here and there’s minced garlic in a jar.  I’m out of rice vinegar and not buying anything like

Asian Salad Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. fresh ginger, minced
3/4 c. olive oil
4 T. sesame oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/2 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 T. honey
1 T. Mirin (optional)
Black pepper to taste

In a jar or large glass cup, add olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce and honey.  Microwave just til the honey melts and can be stirred into the other ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients.  Pour into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours before serving and keep remaining dressing refrigerated.

Note:  If you leave off the Mirin, taste to see if more honey is needed.

Because the Thousand Island dressing has mayonnaise, I only keep it one week.  We also use it on sandwiches so there’s rarely any to toss out after a week.

Thousand Island Dressing:
1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. ketchup
2 boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
2 T. cider vinegar
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper
pinch of paprika

Mix all ingredients. Pour into a container with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  A great restaurant in Louisiana added just a few small pieces of cheddar cheese to their 1000 Island dressing and it was so good.  You get the same result by adding a few small pieces of cheddar to your salad though.

Note: Once the dressing has chilled completely, if you like your dressing a little thinner, add a few tablespoons milk to get to desired consistency.  Since we use our dressing on sandwiches, we usually leave it thick and then I add a little milk to a small portion when we’re going to use it for actual salad dressing.

The recipe we use for French dressing is a recipe for spinach salad dressing my mom shared with me many years ago.  This recipe is good to add a bit of pineapple juice or crushed pineapple and use as a marinade for chicken breasts.  When I do this, I pour about half of the marinated mix over the chicken and save the other half for brushing on the chicken right before it’s done.

French Dressing:
1/2 c. oil
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/2 small onion, chopped
3/8 c. sugar
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 c. ketchup

I use the stick blender so I stick 1/2 an onion (not chopped) in a wide mouth jar, add the remaining ingredients and stick the blender in there and blend til everything is blended.

Chill at least 8 hours before using.

Words of Wisdom from me:  No matter how much you think you’re going to remember, label everything!


  1. 1


    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing! And I will take your advice…label everything! I hate to think how often I ask myself “how long ago did I make this?” I’m going to make the Thousand Island today. Toni

    • 1.1


      I used to didn’t have to label everything but I spend more time now trying to figure out what’s in those jars and how old it is so it’s much easier to label it and not have to guess.

  2. 3

    Marilyn S says

    I make 99% of my dressings. I usually keep 1bottle of Girard’s Champagne dressing on hand for emergencies. We have green, spinach or caprese salad, sliced tmoato etc. every night. It is certainly the California way. We also frequently have salads for lunch with chicken, turkey, leftover sliced beef or shrimp. I toss a green salad with a vinegarete dressing. Anything calorie laden I serve on the side. I use very little that way and DH can pour it on!

    We love our salads.

  3. 4

    Cindy M says

    And if you are in a decadent mood, make your own bleu cheese dressing.
    2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
    3 tablespoons buttermilk
    3 tablespoons sour cream
    2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    In a small bowl, mash blue cheese and buttermilk together with a fork until mixture resembles large-curd cottage cheese. Stir in sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and garlic powder until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  4. 5

    Ruth says

    Mirin is the secret ingredient for a great teryaki sauce too! Try soy sauce, mirin, garlic and ginger from the tube.

  5. 6


    thanks for the reminder to label… that is what I’ve sometimes forgotten… and then things all start to look the same in the fridge!

  6. 8


    I’m so grateful you shared these recipes with us! We’ve got supersalads on the menu for tomorrow night. I’ll be making my own thousand island to go on it! Thanks, Judy! 🙂

  7. 9


    Just an aside. Fresh ginger root can be frozen until needed. Just take it out and grate it frozen. It is not always available here so I keep it in the freezer.

  8. 10


    I too make all my own salad dressings–the store bought stuff has too many things listed on the label that I have no clue what are! I use the recipe you posted for spinach salad dressing a lot now, my husband really likes it.

    • 10.1


      Exactly! If I can’t pronounce it and don’t know what it means, I try to avoid it . . and that isn’t always easy.

  9. 12

    peggy says

    Don’t forget whisked balsamic and evoo mixed 2 parts oil to one part vinegar. It’s good, and it’s healthy.

  10. 13

    JoAn GODFREY says

    my mom used to make a french style dressing that started with cooking oil, water, vinegar and sugar to a boil. mom invariable boiled the first batch over—all over the stove and then started over. someone asked her for the recipe and i asked her if she included to “boil over and repeat watching closely.” she didn’t appreciate that, but we teased her for years about it.