In less than 5 minutes, you can make a jar of dressing that is better than any store-bought variety.

Toss a little creamy sweet tanginess into that salad with this easy and flavorful Thousand Island Dressing recipe.

And with only a few simple ingredients (which you likely have on hand), this homemade dressing is so simple to toss together.  It is best for adding to basic salad greens or use as a dip for all kinds of recipes!

Thousand Island Dressing being scooped out of a jar

Homemade Salad Dressings are SO easy!

As a kid, this was the dressing I always picked when we had salad (and probably the reason I used to love salads so much!). Once I started making homemade dressings, I’ve never looked back.

  • They’re so easy to make, this dressing takes about 3 minutes.
  • It tastes so much better than bottled dressing (with fewer additives and preservatives).
  • I love that it uses ingredients I have on hand so I can put it together anytime.
  • Add a bit of milk to thin it out or keep it thick as a dip for veggies or a spread for burgers!

What is Thousand Island Dressing?

So, what is thousand island dressing? This dressing is named for the Thousand Islands region which is located between Canada and the US and while there are a couple of theories as to who actually created it, I’m glad they did!

It’s a quick creamy dressing with a bit of sweetness and some tang. A bit of ketchup (or tomato paste) adds zest and color while a spoonful of sugar and some sweet pickle relish balance the zing. So good!

Thousand Island Dressing Ingredients

Ingredients & Variations

THE BASE The sour cream and mayonnaise are the base of this dressing. The sour cream adds tang while mayo makes it right can creamy.

THE TANG Vinegar and ketchup that give this dressing a little tangy zing.

THE SWEET Sugar and sweet pickle relish are both sweet options that add the final touch to this addictive dressing. (Dill pickle relish is great too).


  • Add some lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, finely chopped black olives, garlic, or horseradish to change up the flavor profile.
  • Swap ketchup for chili sauce or tomato paste. Add a little smoked or sweet paprika.
  • Make it low carb by swapping the sugar for sweetener and the relish for finely diced dill pickles.

Thousand Island Dressing ingredients being mixed in a bowl

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing

This light dressing is so quick and easy to make!

  1. Combine all ingredients (per the recipe below) in a bowl.
  2. Mix & serve or store in a mason jar.

This dressing is nice and thick, great as a dressing, spread or dip. For a thinner dressing, add a splash of milk or buttermilk.

Tips & Serving

  • Homemade thousand island dressing will keep up to a week in a container with a tightly fitted lid or a jar (as long as your sour cream is fresh). A mason jar is the easiest option.
  • Thin it out with milk or buttermilk if desired.
  • Serve it over a tossed salad or a classic wedge salad or as a veggie dip. (We love it in our Big Mac salad too!).
  • Use it as a secret sauce on hamburgers, Reuben sandwiches in place of Russian dressing, or in wraps.
  • Serve it as a dip for French Fries or other favorite appetizers.

Thousand Island Dressing mixed in a bowl

Homemade Dressings

Did you make this Thousand Island Dressing? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Thousand Island Dressing prepared in a jar
5 from 34 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Thousand Island Dressing

The best Thousand Island Dressing has a few simple ingredients like mayonnaise, ketchup, and sweet pickle relish. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup or chili sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish or 1 ½ tablespoons very finely diced dill pickle
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • salt & pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Refrigerate for up to one week.


Nutrition information is for 1 tablespoon of dressing. 
Make it low carb by replacing sugar with sweetener and using finely diced dill pickles in place of sweet relish.
  • Homemade thousand island dressing will keep up to a week in a container with a tightly fitted lid or a jar (as long as your sour cream is fresh). A mason jar is the easiest option.
  • Thin it out with milk or buttermilk if desired.
Serve it over a tossed salad or a classic wedge salad or as a veggie dip.
Use it as a secret sauce on hamburgers, Reuben sandwiches.
Serve it as a dip for French Fries or other favorite appetizers.
5 from 34 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 62 | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 13mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dip, Dressing
Cuisine American
A jar of Thousand Island Dressing with a title
Thousand Island Dressing being whisked in a bowl with a title
A jar of homemade Thousand Island Dressing with a title
Top image - Thousand Island Dressing prepared in a jar. Bottom image - Thousand Island Dressing ingredients in a bowl with a title.


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I have never liked Thousand Island Dressing – it was always way too sweet for me. I am making Reuben Sandwiches today and needed some. I looked on your website because lately it’s been my go to website for recipes. OMG – this was really good! I omitted the sugar and added a touch of horseradish and a little smoked paprika but otherwise followed your recipe. I love it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!5 stars

  2. Wonderful sauce for hamburgers! We follow “No Sugar No Grain” so used your suggestion for dill pickle instead of sweet relish, omitted the sugar and used Primal ketchup. It was still delicious! Thx!!5 stars

  3. I just made this recipe and it’s the best I’ve ever made! And I have tried 4 different kinds.
    It tastes exactly like the restaurant.5 stars

  4. Sorry, this is not Thousand Island dressing. I was born and raised in the Thousand Islands in Northern NY. The dressing was originated at the Wellesley Island hotel. The ingredients consist of Mayo, Ketchup, worcestershire, relish, and the secret ingredient is hard boiled egg.

    1. Thanks for sharing Jon! This is our take on a Thousand Island Dressing, hope you enjoy it!

  5. This is similar to my mom’s recipe I’ve made for years. Ours has 1cul mayo, no sour cream and what makes it so good, it had 1 hard boiled egg chopped finely

      1. I really dislike mayo. can Miracle-Gro whip be subbed in, I find it has a slightly more tangy taste
        and already creamier anyways- would something in the recipe need omitting or modifying if I used it?

      2. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Julie. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!