Home Recipes Homemade Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

Dress up your favorite dishes with Thousand Island dressing. It’s a creamy, tangy, and sweet delight that danced its way onto salads, sandwiches, and more.

Whether you’re team “drizzle over salad” or “slather on a sandwich,” there’s no denying the universal appeal of this classic condiment.

Thousand Island Dressing with Ingredients - Onions, Ketchup, Tomatoes and Pickle Relish
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With this simple recipe, you can create your homemade version with just a few simple ingredients. 

Once you try it, you’ll never return to the store-bought version again!

What is Thousand Island Dressing?

Thousand Island dressing is a popular American salad dressing and condiment. 

Its creamy texture and flavor profile is characterized by a mix of sweet, tangy, and savory tastes.

The origin story of this fab dressing is a bit of a mystery. Some say it comes from the beautiful Thousand Islands region between the U.S. and Canada. 

And it’s not just for drizzling over your greens. Slather it on a Reuben sandwich or even dunk your fries in it. Go wild, and let your tastebuds set sail!

A Jar of Thousand Island Dressing with Ketchup, Pickle Relish, Onions and Other Ingredients


Each ingredient plays a unique role in creating the classic flavor profile of Thousand Island dressing:

  • Mayonnaise – It acts as the base, providing a rich texture and mouthfeel.
  • Ketchup – It contributes a hint of sweetness and vibrant color to the dressing.
  • Pickle Relish – You can use sweet or dill, adding crunch and a tangy-sweet flavor.
  • Onion – It adds a subtle sharpness and depth of flavor.
  • White Vinegar – It provides tanginess to balance the richness of the mayo.
  • Seasonings – A mix of sugar, salt, and pepper elevates the flavor profile of this dressing. Taste and adjust based on your preference.

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing

This dressing is an all-time favorite: classic, creamy, and just the right mix of tangy and sweet. With just three simple steps, you can make it in an instant:

  1. Prepare the ingredients and mix everything. Whisk the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Adjust it to taste.
  1. Chill before serving. Cover and refrigerate it for at least an hour. Stir it well before serving.
  1. Pair it with your favorite dishes and enjoy! 

Recipe Variations

Thousand Island dressing is so versatile. I’ve been experimenting in my kitchen, and I have some delicious variations for you to try!

  • Spicy Thousand Island. Add a little hot sauce or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes when you want an extra kick. 
  • Herbed Thousand Island – Fresh herbs are everything! I love adding some chopped parsley, dill, or even chives. It’s like spring in a bottle.
  • Avocado Dream – Swap half the mayo for some lush avocado. So creamy and oh-so dreamy!
  • Light and Low-Fat – Watching your waistline? Opt for low-fat mayo or even try Greek yogurt. It’s tangy and delightful.
  • Mustard Twist – Add a hint of Dijon or classic yellow mustard. Trust me, it’s a game-changer!
  • Lively Citrus Zest – Grate some lemon or lime zest for a bright burst of flavor.
A Person Holding Pouring a Thousand Island Dressing Over a Garden Salad

Ways to Use Thousand Island Dressing

You can use Thousand Island dressing in many dishes beyond the usual salad drizzle. Here are some tasty ideas:

  • Top a Burger – Use Thousand Island as the secret sauce for burgers. It adds a burst of flavor that complements the meaty patty.
  • Sweet Potato Fries – Switch up the usual ketchup routine and use Thousand Island to dip your crispy fries.
  • Classic Patty Melt – The dressing adds moisture and an extra layer of flavor to the patty melt.
  • Coleslaw – Take the flavors of your regular coleslaw recipe with this dressing recipe.
  • Ground Beef Taco Salad – Drizzle it over a taco salad for a creamy dressing to contrast the spiciness of taco seasoning.

How to Store

Storing Thousand Island dressing properly will help maintain its flavor and freshness and prevent spoilage.

To Store: Place it in an air-tight container. Transfer the dressing to an airtight container once you’ve prepared the dressing. Always store Thousand Island dressing in the refrigerator, especially if it’s homemade.

Homemade Thousand Island dressing lasts 5-7 days in the refrigerator. Always give it a quick sniff or taste to ensure it hasn’t gone bad.

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Shake and stir the dressing before serving to let the flavors meld.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing Recipe



Prep time





Top salads and sandwiches with this homemade Thousand Island dressing recipe! Made with just 6 simple ingredients, it’s so much better than store-bought.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

  • 1 tablespoon white onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper until well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Cover and refrigerate it for at least an hour. Stir it well before serving.
  • Enjoy!


  • Let the dressing rest overnight for the flavors to marry.
  • Customize the dressing by adding minced garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce.
  • Try using dill pickle relish for a different flavor.
  • Drizzle dressing over salads, use as a spread, or enjoy as a dip.
  • Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using it again.
Thousand Island Dressing

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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