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The Best Homemade Thousand Island and Ranch Dressing Recipes

Updated on December 5, 2019
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Lani enjoys providing in-depth summaries of books she has read on psychology, relationships and self-help.

Homemade Thousand Islands Dressing in re-purposed pickle jar
Homemade Thousand Islands Dressing in re-purposed pickle jar | Source

Thousand Island:

Thousand Island is no question one of my favorite dressings for salads and dipping. Its hearty, tangy and works well with a variety of salad ingredients. When I first began to "do-it-myself," this was one of the first things I tried. It worked out well the first time, and it just got better after that. Now, not only is it my favorite salad dressing, but my 4-year-old absolutely demands it on all his salads.

What you will need:

  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 reclaimed jar or any other container you can stand to dedicate to salad dressing for the next month or so.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Minced garlic and sweet pickle relishCostco sized white vinegarKetchup and Mayo YoMayo and empty pickle jar
Minced garlic and sweet pickle relish
Minced garlic and sweet pickle relish | Source
Costco sized white vinegar
Costco sized white vinegar | Source
Ketchup and Mayo Yo
Ketchup and Mayo Yo | Source
Mayo and empty pickle jar
Mayo and empty pickle jar | Source


  • 1/1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 3 tbsp pickle relish (dill or sweet, I like both)
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder

All ingredients combined in a large bowl
All ingredients combined in a large bowl | Source

How it's done:

There really is no unique trick or extra steps needed for this dressing. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Check for taste and add more of what you like until the dressing is perfect for your next salad adventure. Also, if you find the mixture to be too runny can add another 1/3 cup mayonnaise to thicken it up. When it comes to Thousand Island, I prefer mine to stick to everything in my bowl, so I try to make sure my dressing is not runny at all. When I scoop it up in a spoon and drop it on my salad, I have to slap the dressing off with force or slide it off with my finger....its glorious!

Finished product after whisking to my heart's content.
Finished product after whisking to my heart's content. | Source

Hulk Ranch!

My ranch dressing was greatly influenced by my six-year-old, who, unlike myself and his brother, prefers ranch over all others. It was my six-year-old who gave this dressing the name "Hulk Ranch." In my effort to incorporate as many natural ingredients as possible when making food for my children, I decided to modify popular ranch dressing recipes to be a little less fatty and calorically heavy and include something green. I have experimented at least three times with different "green" ingredients to make the final product appear green, and all have been successful.

What you need:

  • 1 Large Bowl
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 reclaimed jar or any other container you can stand to dedicate to salad dressing for the next month or so.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise or sour cream (optional)
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or 2 cups if opting out of mayonnaise/sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tbsp (fresh cilantro (optional), and dried dill)
  • Green Options:
    • Avocado
    • spinach (chopped)
    • Fresh Basil (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

Ranch dressing ingredients in bowl
Ranch dressing ingredients in bowl

Homemade Buttermilk

If you would like to make your buttermilk yourself, it is absurdly simple. You will need a 1 cup measuring cup, a tablespoon, white vinegar, and milk. To do this, your milk must still have some milk fat. Two percent is the lowest I've gone, and it is borderline successful, obvious whole milk would be best but work with what you got. Add one tablespoon white vinegar to your 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the measuring cup with milk until you reach the 1 cup line. Let sit for at least 15 minutes and you are done.

Milk and white vinegar siting to make buttermilk substitute
Milk and white vinegar siting to make buttermilk substitute | Source

Making the dressing

First, prepare your "green" ingredient. I like to add my "green" ingredient to a food processor with a tablespoon of oil and make a paste then add it, along with all the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and whisk till smooth. After your initial whisking, check for taste and add ingredients as you see fit. This dressing is best if allowed to blend in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

Just So Easy and Tasty!

These are my two most frequently used salad dressings, and I absolutely adore these recipes. I find the flavors to be better in the homemade version because the recipe is without sugar and preservatives. Though this recipe is without added preservatives, it is not without a healthy refrigerator life. The ranch dressing does not last as long as the thousand island because of the dairy products so that dressing must be eaten pretty quickly. The Thousand Island dressing, however, has an excellent refrigerator life well over a month. My favorite part about these recipes is neither of them require any special ingredients. Every ingredient I've listed is a staple in my house so I rarely have to worry about if I can whip some up or not. And in the end its all just so tasty!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Lani Morris


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