Sweet Onion Salad Dressing

strawberry salad on wooden table
Marju Randmer/Moment/Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
99 Calories
2g Fat
20g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 179mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 47mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sweet onions can make you forget all about how pungent the rest of the onion family can be, because they don't pack the punch that raw yellow, white, or red onions can. Some people even eat sweet onions raw out of hand, believe it or not.

However, for this homemade sweet onion salad dressing, the onions are grated and cooked briefly. And when cooked, they become even sweeter, especially because they're combined with sugar and other ingredients you are likely to have on hand to make a versatile dressing. You can also use this as a marinade for chicken, pork, or fish, or as a dipping sauce for french fries, chicken fingers, or fried fish.

This sweet onion salad dressing recipe is fast, easy to make, and can be served warm or cool. Try it on a basic tossed salad or even a dinner salad with grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp. This onion viniagrette would also taste great on a salad with kale, too, to offset some of the green's bitterness.


  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed

  • 1 medium Vidalia onion, or other sweet onion, grated

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Steps to Make It

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt, mustard, and celery seed.

  2. Add grated sweet onion, oil, and vinegar. Heat until sugar is melted.

  3. Cool and refrigerate, or serve as a warm dressing.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


This dressing would taste great in a number of salads. Try it on any of the following.


  • If you don't have ground mustard, feel free to use 1 to 2 teaspoons of prepared grainy mustard or a Dijon mustard.
  • Add a clove of finely minced garlic to the pan with the onions.
  • Puree the entire salad dressing in a high-speed blender.
  • The recipe specifies vinegar, but we found that white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or apple cider vinegar all work well in this recipe. Red wine or balsamic vinegar will be too overpowering.
  • Reduce the sugar (you can go as low as 1/2 cup) or use 1/2 cup honey instead.
  • You can use any neutral vegetable oil such as canola or even straight olive oil if you like, but if you use extra virgin olive oil the taste of the oil will be more pronounced.