Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

thousand island dressing and salad

The Spruce / Pete Scherer

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
54 Calories
5g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 123mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*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.)

Both a salad dressing and a condiment, Thousand Island dressing is—to put it bluntly— mayonnaise dressed up with whatever's around. A sort of uber-condiment, it has many variations. Besides mayonnaise, it may include onions, sweet pickle relish, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hard-boiled egg, bell peppers, parsley, green olives, pimento, garlic chives, and even nuts. It also boasts a colorful name and history, complete with competing origin stories dating back to the late 1800s. While the specifics may never be known for sure, it seems clear that Thousand Island hails from the Upper Midwest region of the United States.

It has come a long way from its humble origin. Thousand Island dressing now sits atop three of the most famous sandwiches in the world: the Reuben, Big Mac, and the In-N-Out burger. It is also, of course, a popular choice for salads.

This version here has been pared down to the basic flavors. Feel free to dress it up with any of the ingredients above. Bear in mind that ingredients like fresh chopped onions, peppers, parsley and so on will shorten the shelf life of the dressing. If you want to make a batch to keep on hand, and you aren't sure what you're going to use it for, it's better to go for a longer shelf life. That way you won't have any of this precious stuff go to waste.

If, on the other hand, you want more texture in your dressing, and you don't mind a shorter shelf-life, then chopped onions, sweet pickle relish, and pimentos make great additions to the recipe below. The onions add a bit of crunch and the relish and pimentos add some depth. For a spicy kick, try adding a dash of crushed red chili pepper.

Try giving your Thousand Island some international flair. For a fusion feeling, add a bit of Sriracha, miso, hoisin, wasabi, or garam masala. Seriously, put anything you want in your homemade Thousand Island. It's a mayo meta-condiment. Improvise, have fun, and use whatever is around. Maybe someday your version will make it onto a famous sandwich with a catchy name.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Optional Add-Ins:
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pimento
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and lightly whisk to combine.


  • Use on burgers, Reuben sandwiches, and salads of all kinds. It also makes a great dip for French fries.
  • Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two months.