Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Five minutes and a little chilling time in the fridge, and you’ve got a tangy, zesty, “secret” sauce that’s equally at home on a piled-high burger as it is atop a nice, simple bed of greens. It’s far less expensive than store-bought and it tastes, well, a thousand times better.


Total Time: 5 minutes

5 / 5 (2 votes)

Pure class, baby. This post is pure class. Today I’m mixing mayonnaise and ketchup and calling it a recipe.

Except, actually, I actually do consider it a fairly legitimate recipe. And there are a few other things in there too. And it’s really, really (really) tasty.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing | Kitchen Treaty

It’s homemade thousand island dressing. Thousand island, you’ve come a long way, baby. I mean, from the store-bought version, that is.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing | Kitchen Treaty

It is so easy to make thousand island dressing that I’m sort of kicking myself for ever buying it ready-made. Five minutes and a little chilling time in the fridge, and you’ve got a tangy, zesty, “secret” sauce that’s equally at home on a piled-high burger as it is atop a nice, simple bed of greens. It’s far less expensive than store-bought and it tastes, well, a thousand times better.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing | Kitchen Treaty

I don’t know why they call it thousand island, but I could probably come up with at least 1,000 ways to enjoy this stuff.

P.S. You know I had to Google it as soon as found myself typing that I didn’t know the origin of the name. Turns out “the name presumably comes from the Thousand Islands between the United States and Canada in the St. Lawrence River. In the Thousand Islands area, one common version of the dressing’s origins says that a fishing guide’s wife, Sophia LaLonde, made the condiment as part of her husband George’s shore dinner.” Thanks, Wikipedia! And thanks, Sophia.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Yield: 3/4 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

5 / 5 (2 votes)
View comments/reviews »
Five minutes and a little chilling time in the fridge, and you've got a tangy, zesty, "secret" sauce that's equally at home on a piled-high burger as it is atop a nice, simple bed of greens. It's far less expensive than store-bought and it tastes, well, a thousand times better.


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise*
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely diced onion (I use red onion but yellow or white would work just fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic (about half of a small clove)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)


  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix well. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Serve.
  2. Keeps refrigerated for 3 - 4 days (probably longer, but for us it's long gone by then).

*Vegan option:

Use a vegan mayo such as Vegenaise.


October 3, 2015 - I've just added a star rating system to this recipe so if you have tried it, please be sure to rate it to let others know how you like it - 5 if you love it, 1 if you don't (but hopefully you love it!) Just click on the stars below the "Print Recipe" button above. Thank you!
Adapted from Food.com

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.

39 Responses to “Homemade Thousand Island Dressing”

  1. This looks amazing!! Definitely need to try it on some burgers :)

  2. I had no idea Thousand Island Dressing was made with ketchup and mayo. I learned something new today!

  3. Oh yum! This was my very favourite dipping sauce when I was a kid. I still love it, but don’t like to buy pre-made dressings. Cannot wait to make this and re-live my childhood addiction! *hehe* :)

  4. How simple!! For some reason I never thought it would be that easy.

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  6. Can I use normal table salt to replace kosher salt?

  7. This dressing really works with anything, especially Reuben sandwiches

  8. just looked at the ingredients on our bottle of thousand island. blah!! poison! this looks wonderful and easy! can’t wait to try it!

  9. This recipe is indeed etter than store bough. I tasted it efore refrigerating it for the recommended time and WOW – did leave out the Tabasco but didn’t even notice. This one is definitely a keeper.

  10. Tried it and loved it!!!

  11. This is a great recipe, don’t have to buy dressings ever, just get the basics, ketchup, mayo, mustard and if you need sour cream, just use yogurt. All of these have a lot less chemicals and you can make cheaper, great tasting dressings from them. Now what I did rather then use sweet relish, I grated a small pickle and added about 2 tsp of honey to the dressing and instead of Tabasco sauce a big pinch of cayenne pepper. Delicious, can’t wait to have it on our chicken salad tonight.

  12. Thanks. My kid can’t eat eggs, which are in almost all 1000 Island store-bought dressings. Now I can make it for her without the eggs.

  13. Can anyone recommend how to make this without the pickles, but substitute something to get that briny taste? I am allergic to cucumber, thus, no pickles for me. But I LOVE thousand island dressing. Any suggestions?

  14. This was perfect and came together in just a few minutes. I didn’t have any onion or Tabasco so I subbed in onion powder and cayenne. Thanks for the great recipe!

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  16. Just wanted to let you know that Thousand Island dressing comes from the Thousand Island area of up state NY. Where are over a thousand island in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Fishing guides would take them out to fish and then cook them a “shore dinner” One of there wives came up with the recipe. They lived in Clayton NY and who can still go there and get the original dressing..I grew up there and when I moved I realized most of the country had no idea that’s how it originated. Kathy

  17. This was just amazing!! Made meatless Monday a delight. We had meatless Reuben’s for lunch and a big salad for dinner with this beauty on top! Will continue to use this in many recipes in the future. Thank you!!

  18. Just made this. Tasted it before putting in the fridge and it tastes great. I forgot to buy dressing when I was at the store this morning. Dreaded going back out although the temperature is climbing and is up to 2° now. Making rye bread now for our Reubens tonight. Can’t wait for dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

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  20. Made this today & posted it on my blog. Delish! Thanks for sharing!

  21. I think the onion is a bit much :-( Maybe onion powder to taste instead?

  22. this looks so good, I am trying to use less processed foods and just made mayonnaise, I bet it would be great in this dressing~thanks!

    • Hi Jenna, I’ve actually been thinking recently about this recipe and wanting to come up with a truly homemade version! I would imagine homemade mayo will definitely beat the pants off of any store bought option. :)

  23. Try substituting worsticire (not sure if I’m spelling it right) sauce for the vinegar and adding 1/4-1/2 tsp real horse radish and a couple squeezes of lemon. Probably not authentic but it really jazzed it up as the original is a little bland for my taste.

  24. Hi what do you mean in the last sentence “Keeps refrigirated for 3-4 days?”
    Do you mean keep refrigiratated for 3-4 days before we eat it? or will it only last up to 3-4 days even if refrigerated? It would probably take me a week to finish this.

  25. oops *refrigerated haha :)

  26. oh ok I get it I guess I skipped the part (probably even longer)…so you mean it might only last 3-4 days in the ref. :) Thanks. Can’t wait to try this out!
    God bless you more.

  27. I made today with our Reuben sandwiches and excellent!

  28. Loved the taste right after making it…Thousand Island times 1,000. After refrigerating for two hours, the ketchup flavor was overwhelming. I think next time, I will reduce the ketchup by half and add a bit more vinegar. 

  29. I always heard it’s just Russian dressing without the pickle relish. The pickle relish makes the islands in thousand island. My secret to awesome Thousand Island is adding a little cocktail sauce–the horseradish in it really gives it an extra kick.

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