This homemade French dressing has lots of tang, lots of sweetness, and good savory flavors, just like the stuff from the bottle, but way better.
Store-bought French dressing can be too sweet for me. So when we decided to make our own version of French dressing we knew we had to make it better somehow. And we did.
This creamy French dressing has a great balance of flavor and is quick and easy to blend up at home to use on salads and more.
What Is French Dressing?
Despite it’s name, this sweet, tangy, and sometimes creamy salad dressing is actually American. Different versions will range in color from pale orange to a bright red.
Classic French dressing is somewhat similar to Catalina dressing, but Catalina is thinner and less creamy and almost always quite red. While it’s commonly used for green salads, you can also use creamy French dressing as a sandwich spread.
French Dressing Ingredients
French dressing often has paprika in it, which is partly why it has its distinctive color. We decided to switch out the regular paprika for some hot Hungarian paprika. This stuff is not super spicy but does have way more flavor than regular paprika. What it does in the dressing is balance out some of that sweetness with a touch of heat.
Don’t be tempted to use smoked paprika here. Or if you do, only use it for a partial amount. Maybe just 1/4 teaspoon at most and the rest regular paprika or the hotter stuff. If you used the smoked for the full amount it would be way too overpowering for this dressing recipe.
The other ingredients in this dressing are mayonnaise, ketchup, oil, cider vinegar, and some seasonings. If you prefer your French dressing a little more tomato forward, you can add a little tomato paste to yours. You can also definitely swap out the mayonnaise for yogurt. But know that the excessive vinegar will sometimes make it curdle. We found that adding mayonnaise and blending again smoothed it back out.
Making Homemade French Dressing
I find it easiest to make this salad dressing in a blender in order to get it fully emulsified with minimal effort. You could mix everything except the oil in a bowl and then whisk continuously while drizzling in the oil. Or perhaps even shake it together in the jar you plan to store it in. But if you have a blender, I definitely recommend using it!
If you aren’t using it all immediately, you can store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp. hot Hungarian paprika
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable or grape seed oil
- Measure the mayonnaise, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper into a blender. Blend until will mixed.
- Stream in the oil while continuing to blend.
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This post originally appeared in April 2016 and was revised and republished in January 2024.