Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

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So I have to ask… Have you ever made your own Thousand Island dressing from scratch?

If not, you should!

For the past several years I have been making my own salad dressings from scratch. I cannot stress to you how much better a salad dressing is when you make them with fresh ingredients. Besides, have you looked at the back of a dressing label from the store? Better yet, don’t even bother! It will ruin your appetite just reading the list of weird preservative crap they put into those bottles.

The History of Thousand Island:

Thousand Island dressing and I go way back. My first memory of Thousand Island dressing was probably as the “secret sauce” on The McDonald’s Big Mac. Although they say it really is a “secret sauce”. I was eating Big Mac’s at about 7 or 8 years old. This was also my salad dressing of choice when eating from the salad bar. I always chose it when eating at my favorite seafood restaurant growing up.

Where Did Thousand Island Dressing Come From?

The history of how the dressing came to be has a much richer history. Created in the 20th century, Thousand Island dressing was named in honor of where it was first prepared: Thousand Islands, New York. Thousand Islands is located along the US-Canadian border.

Besides that fact, there are many tales as to how it first came to be. However, the most popular tale is that a fishing guide’s wife, Sophie Lalonde made the condiment for her husband’s dinner. George was a fishing guide and served the sauce to guests. One day they just so happened to serve it to actress Mary Irwin. She took the recipe back with her to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. There, George Boldt used it in tossed salads and so that’s how Thousand Island Dressing was born! 

[Read more about the history here]

the classic reuben sandwich
The Classic Reuben Sandwich

You may know Thousand Island best as a creamy and tangy spread on your Reuben sandwich piled high with smoked pastrami, cheese, and sauerkraut. Perhaps you reach for Thousand Island dressing to top your burgers, use it as a creamy salad dressing or zippy dipping sauce.

thousand island ingredients in bowl

Thousand Island dressing is made of a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, and a few other ingredients. It just a few minutes, you will be shocked to find out just how much better Thousand Island dressing when it is homemade! Whether you use it as a spread, dressing or dipping sauce, this homemade recipe will outperform the store-bought version every time!

thousand island in jar read to eat

This recipe for Thousand Island dressing has David’s seal of approval. I know this because when I told him about this blog post he says: “oh, that sh*t is good!!” He sure has a way with words sometimes…

David is anxiously waiting for me to make it again so that he can try it on a cheeseburger.

What will you put it on? Comment below!

Whether you use Thousand Island dressing as a spread, dressing or dipping sauce, this homemade recipe will outperform the store-bought version every time!
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Thousand Island Dressing

Whether you use Thousand Island dressing as a spread, dressing or dipping sauce, this homemade recipe will outperform the store-bought version every time!
Course Appetizer, Condiment, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword dressing, homemade, salad, spread, Thousand Island, topping
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 207kcal


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup yellow onion minced
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt to taste


  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl using a whisk. Mix well!
  • Transfer to a jar or airtight container with a lid. Store in the refrigerator until needed.


For best flavor, make ahead and wait 24 hours. The onions will soften up and the flavors will meld and become richer.
For a sweeter dressing, add a little more pickle relish.
The dressing will keep for about a week.
Recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 274mg | Potassium: 36mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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