12 Famous Salad Dressings You Need To Try

Salad dressings usually come under one of two categories: creamy dressings or vinaigrette dressings. Creamy dressings typically use sour cream, yogurt, or mayonnaise as the base along with herbs and spices to flavor it.

Vinaigrette dressings commonly use oil and vinegar as the base along with fruit juices, herbs, and spice combinations. 

In this article, we are going to take you through the most popular salad dressings for you to try along with some inspiration on what you can pair them with for a delicious meal.  

1. Honey Mustard Dressing

Mustard is considered to be quite an acquired taste, however, the flavors from the mustard aren’t overpowering with a honey mustard dressing.

The honey helps to balance the flavor, bringing a layer of sweetness to counteract the sharpness. Any type of mustard can be used to create this dressing and it usually comes down to personal preference. 

With a number of different recipes out there, the ingredients for a honey mustard dressing can differ slightly.

Typically it contains one type of mustard, honey, garlic cloves, cider vinegar, oil, balsamic vinegar, and a little salt and pepper to taste.

If you’re looking for a honey mustard dipping sauce, this often has a mayonnaise base for the added creaminess that you’d expect from a dip. Substitute with dairy-free mayonnaise to suit alternate diets. 

What To Eat It With?

The oil-based dressing works perfectly with a warm root vegetable salad or even as a coating to go on vegetables before roasting them in the oven for a beautiful layer of flavor.

As a dipping sauce, honey mustard dressing is perfect for breaded chicken, french fries, or wings. 

2. Blue Cheese Dressing

Blue cheese dressing as you might expect is a salad dressing based around blue cheese. Lover or hater of smelly cheese, a creamy salad dressing might be enough to change your mind.

Typical combinations of blue cheese, and mayonnaise, with other creamy ingredients such as yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk are mixed with vinegar and spices.  

A good blue cheese dressing is thick and creamy with punches of bold flavors from the cheese which is balanced by hints of garlic and tangy sensations from the vinegar.

It’s hugely popular in the US where it was created. 

Although it’s a common salad dressing, many manufacturers and restaurants across the US have produced a dipping variety which is usually served with Buffalo wings or vegetables.  

What To Eat It With?

Blue cheese dressing is commonly paired with a Cobb salad as it compliments the flavors of the bacon and egg.

The dressing works nicely alongside a more simple iceberg wedge salad or even some raw vegetables such as carrot battens.

Other than wings and vegetables, a blue cheese dressing turned dip can be used to serve alongside any type of fried food, a big juicy steak, or even on a charcuterie board. 

3. Russian Dressing

Traditional Russian dressing is made from mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, horseradish, and dill relish.

This creamy dressing is similar to Thousand Island and is mentioned in sources as early as 1900, despite the name it wasn’t actually invented by Russians. 

It may not be the healthiest of dressing but it remains to be a popular dressing throughout the US and many other parts of the world.

With the combination of ingredients, the dressing is known for its characteristic piquant flavor with tangy elements. 

Typically used in more old-fashioned dishes such as Reuben sandwiches (see also ‘Want Great Sandwich Wraps? Try These 28 Recipes!‘), as it’s quite a heavy dressing and works well as a spread on various carbohydrate sources. 

What To Eat It With?

As the dressing is so thick and creamy, it’s perfect for dipping with savory treats as well as serving over a salad.

It works well with meat, vegetables, potatoes, and seafood so is a welcome addition to any big family meal or barbecue. 

4. Wafu Dressing

Wafu dressing is a popular Japanese dressing made from vegetable oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.

To describe how the dressing tastes, it can often be thought of as having a rich, nutty flavor similar to that of sesame oil. Roasted sesame seeds can be added if desired.

It is similar to a vinaigrette and is a staple in Japanese cuisine. 

Homemade dressings will differ quite a bit from supermarket options as they don’t contain MSG or preservatives, you can also adjust the flavors to suit your tastes.

The dressing works with any type of salad due to the blend of tangy, savory, and sweet flavors. 

What To Eat It With?

The dressing works with any kind of salad, vegetable-based salads are an important part of Japanese cuisine so replicating these light and fresh salads will produce a delicious result.

Other ways to use this dressing include dipping in tempura, drizzling over tuna, or some moist teriyaki chicken. 

5. Olive Oil And Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

Vinaigrettes are a healthier salad dressing option compared to creamy dressings. For a balsamic vinaigrette, the main ingredients are a simple mix of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. 

The primary taste of vinegar comes through when eating foods with vinaigrette on them, but spices and herbs are added to the mixture to balance out the flavors.

Vinegar can be an overpowering taste and ruin the flavor of food, when making your own vinaigrette use it sparingly. 

As balsamic vinaigrette varies by brand and type, it can vary in taste. Some have particular herbs and spices added to them, while others may use different types of oil which can alter the flavor. 

What To Eat It With? 

This dressing pairs perfectly with any type of salad as well as a glaze over roasted vegetables. One that you might be very familiar with is a classic vinegar and oil dip for some delicious crusty bread.  

6. Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing (see also ‘12 Of The Very Best Store-Bought Ranch Dressings Available Today‘) is considered to be the most popular salad dressing in the US.

Made from buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, herbs, and spices mixed into mayonnaise (see also ‘16 Amazing Mayonnaise Substitutes‘) this thick yet light dressing has a herbal punch of flavor along with a hint of garlic.

Making ranch dressing at home is quick and simple; it can also be a healthier option than store-bought. 

You know you’ve got good ranch dressing when it tastes mainly of buttermilk, along with a fresh taste from the garlic and fresh herbs rather than dried.

Hints of black pepper should also be working their way through without being too present. 

What To Eat It With?

Ranch dressing is super versatile and is used on more than just a salad, as it’s a thick dressing it usually is served on the side of salads rather than drizzled over. 

Pizza, wings, and fries are common uses for ranch dressing if you’re not feeling like a salad. For a healthier option, the dressing can be used to dip vegetables or potato skins with creamy goodness. 

7. Caesar Salad Dressing

Sometimes you just can’t beat a nice caesar salad, but only if you have good dressing. A traditional caesar dressing is made from olive oil, egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, lemon, mustard, garlic, and black pepper.

It is a thin dressing that is slightly thicker than a vinaigrette. Occasionally, anchovies are also added to the dressing. 

The dressing is rich and creamy with salty and tangy flavors coming through from the mustard and lemon juice.

Although not overpoweringly fishy, you can leave out the anchovies if you dislike them when making it from scratch. You’ll know a good caesar dressing from a bad one if it is overly oily.  

What To Eat It With?

As you can guess, this dressing pairs perfectly with a caesar salad. A classic mix of chicken breast, lettuce, parmesan cheese, and croutons can be a light and refreshing meal.

Caesar dressing can also be used as a type of condiment such as dipping bread in it or spreading it on a carbohydrate source. 

You can also try using the dressing as a marinade for meat or to coat vegetables in before roasting. There are so many possibilities with this dressing. 

8. Creamy Italian Dressing

Creamy Italian salad dressing gets its name from some of the herbs found in it such as oregano, basil, and garlic.

The dressing is made of a variety of Italian herbs, honey, garlic, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, and a little salt and pepper to taste. 

This rich and full salad dressing has the perfect balance between creamy and tangy from the vinegar and lemon juice.

Honey is used to add sweetness, but you can leave this out or replace it with sugar if you prefer. A blend of aromatic Italian herbs creates an earthy, piney flavor with hints of pepper. 

What To Eat It With?

The primary use of a creamy Italian dressing is obviously a nice garden salad. Other uses include marinating meats such as chicken for a characteristic Italian flavor.

It also works really well as a dip with chips or nachos, or even as the base of a taco or tortilla. 

9. Sesame And Soy Dressing

Sesame and soy salad dressing is an Asian vinaigrette dressing that can be poured on everything.

Made from a few simple ingredients, this vibrant nutty, and slightly sweet dressing is a staple in many Asian cuisines.  The vinegar adds a tangy layer whilst the honey or maple syrup contributes a little sweetness. 

The ingredients are easily found at a well-stocked supermarket such as rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.

Simply combine all the ingredients into a jar with an airtight lid and shake to pull the dressing together. 

What To Eat It With?

Asian salads tend to be vibrant and full of nutrition with things like carrots, celery, onions, purple cabbage, and bean sprouts.

A sesame and soy dressing works perfectly drizzled over this kind of salad. It is also commonly added to rice bowls and noodles.

Spring rolls, gyozas, and various types of meat can all be dipped in this delicious sauce. 

10. French Dressing

A classic French vinaigrette is made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, shallots and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Traditionally, it is mixed together in the bottom of a bowl to which the salad ingredients are added to evenly coat them in the light, fresh dressing. 

Less acidic and tangy than some vinaigrettes, sometimes they can contain ketchup which adds a tomato element to the dressing.

Ketchup is added in a more commercial American setting than based on French cuisine. 

What To Eat It With?

French vinaigrette can be used to coat any type of green salad. 

11. Tahini Dressing

Tahini dressing is a belnd of rich, creamy, and tangy flavors which is typically drizzled on vegetables or used as a salad dressing or dipping sauce.

Originating from the Middle East, the dressing is made from tahini, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and a sweetener such as honey.

Water can be used to alter the consistency of the dressing to your liking. 

What To Eat It With?

Tahini dressing can be used over bowl meals such as couscous bowls, roasted vegetable bowls as well as over any type of roasted vegetable. Other uses include as a french fry dip or a sandwich spread (see also ‘20 Tasty Open-Faced Sandwich Recipes For Lunch‘). 

12. Greek Salad Dressing

To serve with a traditional Greek salad, this tangy and bright dressing can help to make a Greek salad pop with more depth of flavor.

The dressing is made from olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano, red wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with some salt and pepper and you’ve made a rich, aromatic and sharp dressing. 

What To Eat It With?

This dressing works perfectly with a Greek salad as well as trays of roasted vegetables. 

Final Thoughts

A good salad dressing can be the make or break of a salad. Finding the perfect dressing for you might even mean that you eat a more healthy and varied diet!

We hope you found this article interesting and informative, giving you some fresh new inspiration on what to pair with your next yummy salad. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Healthiest Salad Dressing?

The most common answer is a balsamic and oil and vinaigrette. Creamy dressings tend to use mayonnaise as a base which is high in fat and calorie-dense which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. 

A balsamic vinaigrette is high in sodium, which also has negative impacts on one’s health if consumed in large quantities.

Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, and heart disease and increase the risk of having a stroke. 

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