Different Kinds of Salad Dressing

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Demystify your bottled salad dressings, and learn how to make them yourself. It's surprisingly easy! Use fresh and wholesome ingredients from your pantry and kitchen, and forgo the industrial oils, sugar, preservatives and thickeners in store-bought dressings. Best of all, you'll realize how lackluster those dressings taste compared to what you can whip up at home.

(Image: Kathryn Phillips)

Ranch Dressing

You've tried countless brands of ranch dressing; now it's time to make your own. This cool, creamy and tangy dressing is remarkably simple to make, and its ingredients are pantry staples. You'll be drizzling this easy ranch dressing on all your favorite accompaniments in less time than it takes to run to the store and buy some.

Since 1992, ranch has been America's best-selling salad dressing.
Since 1992, ranch has been America's best-selling salad dressing. (Image: Amy Morris/Demand Media)

Italian Dressing

Add some zing to an otherwise boring salad with a drizzle of your own homemade Italian dressing. Play around with red wine, white wine or cider vinegar and a variety of herbs like oregano, thyme, basil and marjoram to customize your own perfect Italian dressing.

Add some minced garlic for deeper aroma and flavor.
Add some minced garlic for deeper aroma and flavor. (Image: Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

Thousand Island Dressing

About 10 minutes is all it takes to whip up homemade Thousand Island dressing from scratch. Many fast-food restaurants and diners use this sweet and tangy dressing as their "secret sauce" to jazz up salads, sandwiches and burgers with a basic base of mayonnaise, ketchup and pickle relish. You can add Worcestershire sauce, paprika, eggs and other ingredients to create your very own "secret sauce."

A sprinkle of paprika in your Thousand Island dressing adds smoky depth.
A sprinkle of paprika in your Thousand Island dressing adds smoky depth. (Image: Laura Beth Drilling/Demand Media)

Russian Dressing

Don't confuse Russian dressing for Thousand Island. While both have a base of ketchup and mayonnaise, Russian dressing has a spicy kick that gets its heat from horseradish or your choice of hot sauce. Put a dollop this creamy, zesty dressing on salads or as a spread in sandwiches and burgers.

Turn up the heat with this creamy dressing.
Turn up the heat with this creamy dressing. (Image: Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

Garlic Avocado Salad Dressing

If you're a guacamole aficionado, this garlic avocado salad dressing will hit your sweet spot. This avocado-based dressing isn't as thick as guacamole, but it retains that fresh and creamy piquancy that makes it so delicious. Try it on a salad with black beans, grilled corn and crumbled tortilla chips for a Southwestern flair.

Garlic avocado salad dressing is wonderful over a salad or as a dip.
Garlic avocado salad dressing is wonderful over a salad or as a dip. (Image: John Dryzga/Demand Media)

Basic Vinaigrette

A basic vinaigrette only requires a few ingredients -- oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt and pepper -- to create a sweet and savory vinaigrette in under 5 minutes. Choose from a wide range of vinegars and oils, from extra virgin olive oil to hazelnut, to mix and match all year with different and memorable results. It's truly an easy salad dressing with endless possibilities.

Try a classic balsamic vinaigrette with minced garlic and fresh herbs.
Try a classic balsamic vinaigrette with minced garlic and fresh herbs. (Image: Jennifer Farley)

Roasted Strawberry Vinaigrette

Roasted strawberry vinaigrette is an exquisite way to use up those ripe to overripe strawberries in your refrigerator. Roasted strawberries simply burst with concentrated sweet juices, while balsamic vinegar balances it out with its own sweet and acidic character. This is a wonderfully rich and bright vinaigrette that will go perfectly on any summer salad.

Roasting strawberries lends a richer and more complex flavor to this favorite summer fruit.
Roasting strawberries lends a richer and more complex flavor to this favorite summer fruit. (Image: Jennifer Farley)

Real Caesar Salad Dressing

Unlike its store-bought counterparts, real Caesar salad dressing made with whole ingredients is a rich explosion of flavor. Raw egg yolks make a creamy emulsifier, and the brine from the anchovies gives it a sea-salty complexity. If you don't want to use raw egg yolks and anchovies, you can substitute other common ingredients, but it won't be quite as good as the real deal.

Try using anchovy paste to make your Caesar dressing.
Try using anchovy paste to make your Caesar dressing. (Image: Ashley Manila)

Honey Mustard Sauce

Whether for dipping, basting or as a salad dressing, honey mustard sauce boasts a versatile array of culinary uses. This sweet, tangy and spicy dressing is always tasty with chicken and salad, or use it to marinate pork chops before grilling. All it takes is a few ingredients and 10 minutes.

This sweet, tangy and spicy honey mustard sauce makes a bold salad dressing.
This sweet, tangy and spicy honey mustard sauce makes a bold salad dressing. (Image: mariha kitchen/iStock/GettyImages)
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