Make It Yourself...Salad Dressings

There is a lot of supermarket shelf space devoted to prepared salad dressings.  But you’re paying big bucks for those little bottles, and they are full of additives and preservatives.  Even a famous-name “olive oil” dressing’s first ingredient was canola or soybean oil, with olive oil waaaay down the ingredient list, which was extensive, and full of preservatives.
When my husband’s medication eliminated soybean and canola oil from his diet, I simply had to start making our own, and was amazed at how much cheaper and more delicious homemade ones are!  I make 8-12 ounce recipes, and they last us several days, and we eat salad every day.
Making your own dressing can save money, as well as refrigerator and pantry space, since you won't need to buy or store all those bottles of prepared dressing. And you probably already own everything you need to make your own homemade versions.
Homemade salad dressings don't require special equipment; a mixing bowl and a whisk are ideal for most dressings.
You can also vigorously shake the ingredients for a dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. This is convenient for many vinaigrettes, but they won't emulsify as well as one whisked in a bowl. The jar is not recommended for most creamy dressings.
A blender or food processor is useful for creamy dressings that are smooth rather than chunky. They also work for vinaigrettes. For the best emulsion; keep the motor running while adding the oil in a slow, steady stream.  Most machines have small holes in the lid just for this purpose.
Grandma made a lot of her own cooked salad dressings too… as an inexpensive substitute for mayonnaise, for Cole slaw, and for special fruit salads.  Miracle Whip is just a commercial version of Grandma’s “cooked” or “boiled” dressing.  A simple double boiler, a heavy-bottomed saucepan or a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan and a whisk are all you need for cooked dressings.
After a year or so of entirely homemade salad dressings, I bought a well-known brand for a blog recipe, and neither my husband nor I liked it anymore…it simply didn’t taste fresh, instead it tasted of chemicals to us.  We threw it away, as neither of us wanted to eat it.
Here’s the simplest dressing I know…one my dad and Bonnie’s mom made for new lettuce every year.  It’s excellent with any simple salad.
Cream Dressing
¼ cup sour cream or heavy cream
¼ cup Sugar or Splenda
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons minced onion or chives (optional)
  • Stir dressing together until sugar or Splenda dissolves and dressing is creamy. Pour over salad just before serving.

2015 Cost: 30¢ for about ¾ cup


  1. Sue, I totally agree with you on this. My favorite salad dressing is something I just add right to my salad before I eat it: a chopped hardboiled egg, some parmesan cheese or sometimes just shredded cheddar, about a tablespoon of salted sunflower seeds and a splash of lemon juice. No sugar, no fat except what's in the sunflower seeds and cheese. My mom's go to recipe for cole slaw was just mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and sugar. But then, she didn't make her own mayo. I do love ranch dressing and have not found a homemade recipe that I like. Hubs loves Thousand Island and he hasn't liked any homemade recipe I've presented to him instead. So if you have recipes for either or both, that you've tried and liked, I sure wish you'd post them.

  2. Ilene, If you search on the blog for Thousand Island dressing I posted a recipe back in 2011. It is very good, at least we think so, and that is my favorite dressing. Maybe try a small amount on your husband. Even Bettie and Lyle who are not fans of it like this version.


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