Simple and easy homemade Thousand Island Dressing with mayo, sour cream, ketchup, relish, onion, and vinegar. Homemade dressings are lively, delicious and fun to customize; you’ll never go store-bought again!

Much like our ranch dressing, you can slather Thousand Island sauce generously on burgers, sandwiches and wraps, dip it with veggies, or use to top a green salad!

A cup with homemade Thousand Island Dressing with a spoon lifting some out.

The Thousand Islands, birthplace of the eponymous dressing, is a region on the upper St. Lawrence river between New York and Ontario, Canada. Local boat guides recount the most romantic of the many legends of its origins.

They would have it that millionaire George Boldt was on a river cruise with the love of his life, Louise, for whom he had built a castle on an island shaped like a heart. Salad was on the menu but the chef had forgotten the dressing. The indomitable saucier whipped up ersatz dressing from what was onboard: mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle relish, Worcestershire sauce and a hard-boiled egg. 

George loved the impromptu condiment and forthwith annexed it to the menu at the world-famous Waldorf-Astoria hotel, of which he was the proprietor. Now-a-days variations of the original dressing appear on everything from Reuben sandwiches to Big Macs!

What we LOVE about this recipe:

  • From scratch: When we talk about “tastes better from scratch,” there’s nothing more applicable than homemade dressing.  It takes just minutes to make and tastes SO much better than what you’ll find at the store.  Plus, you get to avoid any added preservatives, colors, or flavors.
  • Serve it with everything: Thousand Island Dressing is an American staple found at salad bars across the country!  It’s a popular sauce for sandwiches, burgers, and even used as a dip.

Ingredients:

Thousand Island dressing is made with a mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, red onion vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt and pepper.  All ingredients are combined by hand to make a perfect, thick, and creamy dressing, dip, or sauce.

The ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing in bowls, labeled.

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing:

1. Combine: add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

2. Chill for several hours or store in refrigerator for about a week.

3. Serve on just about anything!  See a list of ideas below.

Two process photos for mixing the ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing in a bowl.

How to Serve Thousand Island:

A green salad in a bowl topped with thousand island dressing.

Other Variations and Adaptations:

  • Russian dressing: omit the pickle relish and sugar and add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 3 teaspoons horseradish, a dash of sweet paprika.
  • Add pimientos.
  • Add chives.
  • Make it spicy: add 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce or cayenne.
  • Vegan Thousand Island: substitute ¾ cup vegan mayonnaise in place of mayo and sour cream.

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Recipe

A cup with homemade Thousand Island Dressing with a spoon lifting some out.
Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tablespoons red onion , finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • salt and pepper , to taste

Instructions
 

  • 1. Combine: add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
  • 2. Chill for several hours or store in refrigerator for about a week.
  • 3. Serve on just about anything!  See a list of ideas below.

Notes

How Serve Thousand Island:
Other Variations and Adaptations:
  • Russian dressing: omit the pickle relish and sugar and add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 3 teaspoons horseradish, a dash of sweet paprika.
  • Add pimientos
  • Add chives
  • Make it spicy: add 1 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce
  • Vegan Thousand Island: substitute ¾ cup vegan mayonnaise in place of mayo and sour cream

Nutrition

Calories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 7gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1506mgPotassium: 212mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 675IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 1mg

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HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Photography by Nikole from The Travel Palate.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Hey, Lauren!

    I made your Thousand Island Dressing last night and it is just delicious! I’ve made many other recipes that you’ve posted and they were all a big hit. Tonight is your taco salad🍸🌮🥙🥙. You do a great job, Lauren. I look forward to more!

  2. 5 stars
    I would never have thought to make my own Thousand Island Dressing, but decided to give it a try as we were making reuben’s for dinner. I was so pleasantly surprised, it turned out so yummy! We all (my kids included) loved it!