This Homemade Thousand Island Dressing recipe comes together in 5 minutes with just 5 ingredients! It’s thick, delicious, and perfect on your next salad.

Thousand Island Dressing is so easy to make, you no longer have an excuse to buy it at the store.

In fact, just 2 days ago I meant to buy it but forgot. I remembered in the parking lot, but I realized it would be easier to just go home and make it rather than wander through the store again and buy it.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing being poured onto lettuce in a white bowl.

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Some salad dressings require specialized ingredients that go bad fast. AKA, buttermilk or blue cheese. But Thousand Island Dressing can be made with the most fundamental pantry ingredients known to home cooks everywhere.

And just 5 of them at that.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing in a white bowl.

I like Thousand Island on a bed of romaine. Or, if I’m feeling wild, iceberg lettuce. (Yes, I have already heard that iceberg has no nutritional value. I was just trying to get you riled up.)

I also like it in Reuben Dip and on Reuben Sandwiches and on burgers. Hello, Special Sauce.

Reuben dip in in a blue skillet with some being scooped out on a cracker.

During my recipe testing, I discovered that some recipes use ketchup and some use chili sauce. I prefer the taste of ketchup, but chili sauce seems to be a popular ingredient.

So, try whichever one sounds better to you, or use some of each, or use whichever you have on hand.

It’s Thousand Island Dressing, There are no bad endings here.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing being poured onto lettuce in a white bowl.

Thousand Island Dressing

This homemade Thousand Island dressing comes together in 5 minutes with just 5 ingredients. It's thick, delicious, and perfect on your next salad.
4.89 from 18 votes
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 1 min
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 12 servings (2 tablespoons each)
Course Pantry
Cuisine American
Calories 136


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup bread and butter pickles finely chopped (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Salt optional


  • In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pickles, ketchup, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste (I like ½ teaspoon). Use immediately or refrigerate up to 4 days.


  1. Pickles: Sweet pickle relish sounds like an easy substitute, but it's too heavy and wet in this dressing. Not recommended.
  2. Ketchup: Some recipes use chili sauce (such as Heinz chili sauce), so feel free to substitute that if you prefer.
  3. Yield: This recipe makes 1 ½ cups dressing or 12 servings, 2 tablespoons each.
  4. Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. More mix-ins: If you love an extra-chunky dressing, stir in 4 minced green olives (with pimientos) and/or 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley.


Calories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 179mgPotassium: 25mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 62IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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  1. How do restaurants keep their lettuce so crisp? In many steakhouses they serve a “mixed” salad, the ingredients are chopped finely…what ingredients would you suggest to make this type of salad?

    1. Hi Barclay! So in some restaurants, they keep cut Romaine in water in the walk-in fridge and bring out smaller amounts for service. At home I just rinse, pat dry, and store in a ziplock with a paper towel. If it’s in a container, I put a damp paper towel in there. Hope this helps! – Meggan

  2. I’d almost forgotten about Thousand Island dressing, seems it used to be way more popular than now, but anyway, needed some for St. Patrick’s Day reubens I’m making, so tried this, and it was better than any I remember tasting in the past. I’d not have thought to put it on burgers, but I have some left, so will try that next. Thanks for a great recipe.5 stars

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