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

With only a few simple ingredients, this homemade dressing is so easy.

jar of Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island dressing is a favorite and one I’ve loved since I was a kid

So, what is Thousand Island dressing? This dressing is named for the Thousand Islands region, which is located between Canada and the US on the east coast near New York. This creamy dressing has a bit of sweetness (from sugar) and some tang. The color comes from ketchup (or tomato paste) while vinegar adds some zing.

You’ll Love This Dressing Because…

  • It’s so easy to make, ready in about 3 minutes.
  • Homemade Thousand Island dressing tastes so much better than bottled dressing (with fewer additives and preservatives).
  • It uses ingredients you likely have on hand.
  • It’s a great addition to burgers too.
Thousand Island Dressing Ingredients

Ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing

Creamy Base – Sour cream and mayonnaise are the base of this dressing. You can replace the sour cream with Greek yogurt.

Tang – Vinegar and ketchup give this dressing a little tangy zing.

Sweetness – Sugar and sweet pickle relish balance the tang in this dressing.Dill pickle relish is great too.


  • Add some lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, finely chopped black olives, garlic, or horseradish to change 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

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 wraps.
  • Serve it as a dip for French fries or other favorite appetizers.
Thousand Island Dressing mixed in a bowl

Our Favorite 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 44 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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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
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  • 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 44 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
jar of Thousand Island Dressing with a spoon and title
whisking Thousand Island Dressing to add to salad with writing
whisking ingredients to make Thousand Island Dressing with writing
Thousand Island Dressing in the bowl and in a jar with a title


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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5 from 44 votes (36 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    1. You could certainly try a non-dairy or vegan sour cream. Most mayonnaise brands do not contain dairy.

  1. Love all your dressings, but this one hits it out of the park.
    I bought more half pint jars just for dressings.5 stars

  2. I gave this dressing five stars because it delivers a true thousand island taste. I had always put minced onion in mine, but the powder sped things up and I actually like it better than using fresh. The description said it was thick, but I disagree. I do, however, think it is of appropriate consistency for dressing…definitely not thin. I made this for Reuben sandwiches, with leftover for salads.
    Thank you for sharing.5 stars

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!