This homemade Thousand Island Dressing recipe has mayo, sour cream, ketchup, relish, onion, and vinegar. It’s delicious and fun to customize; you’ll never use store-bought again!

I will always love homemade sauces and condiments! Try my Ranch Dressing, BBQ Sauce, or Pico de Gallo!

A bowl of homemade Thousand Island Dressing with a spoon next to it.

What we LOVE about this sauce:

  • From Scratch: Takes minutes to make and you get to avoid added preservatives, colors, or flavors.
  • Versatile: 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.
  • Pantry Ingredients: Just normal ingredients you already have in your kitchen! You won’t regret spending the 5 minutes to whip this up!

What Is Thousand Island Dressing?

Where It Came From: This famous sauce originated in The Thousand Islands, a region on the upper St. Lawrence river between New York and Ontario, Canada. Story has it that millionaire George Boldt was on a river cruise where salad was on the menu, but the chef forgot the dressing and was forced to whip up something from what they had onboard.

George loved this sauce and added it to the menu at his hotel, the world-famous Waldorf-Astoria hotel (the same one that produced the Waldorf Salad!). Since then, variations of the original dressing appear on everything from Reuben sandwiches to that famous Big Mac sauce!

Thousand Island Ingredients: It’s 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.

All of the ingredients needed to make Thousand Island Dressing.

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing:

Combine Ingredients: Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

Two process photos showing the ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing being mixed together in a bowl.

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

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

How to Serve Thousand Island:

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions

To Make Ahead: Make it up to 2 days ahead of time and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.

To Freeze: This sauce isn’t recommended to freeze because of the mayonnaise and sour cream. If you need to freeze it, place in a freezer safe bag without the mayonnaise. Let thaw completely, then stir in mayonnaise. Just know, the texture will be a little different.

Variations:

  • Russian Dressing: Omit the pickle relish and sugar and add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 3 teaspoons horseradish, a dash of sweet paprika.
  • Add Ins: Try adding pimientos or chives.
  • 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 bowl of homemade Thousand Island Dressing with a spoon next to it.
Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins
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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 to Serve:
Make Ahead Instructions: Make it up to 2 days ahead of time and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week.
Freezing Instructions: This sauce isn’t recommended to freeze because of the mayonnaise and sour cream. If you need to freeze it, place in a freezer safe bag without the mayonnaise. Let thaw completely, then stir in mayonnaise. Just know, the texture will be a little different.
Variations:
  • Russian Dressing: Omit the pickle relish and sugar and add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire, 3 teaspoons horseradish, a dash of sweet paprika.
  • Add Ins: Try adding pimientos or chives.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 7gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 1597mgPotassium: 281mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 677IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 1mg

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I originally shared this recipe June 2020. Updated July 2022 with new photos.

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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. Hi.. I’m a vegetarian… so will you please send me vegetarian meals.. All of your recipes sound delicious and look fantastic!! Thank you

  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!

  3. 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!