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Thousand Island Dressing

Simply put, this bright and creamy thousand island dressing is what’s missing from your favorite sandwiches and salads.


a bowl of thousand island dressing made with mayo, ketchup, relish, paprika, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt & pepper
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

Our recipe for thousand island is the punchy, slightly sweet, creamy dressing (or sauce!) here to fulfill all your desires! We’ve perfected it – a delectable combo of mayo and ketchup, bright lemon, hints of onion and garlic, sweet paprika, and fresh cracked pepper are just some of the ingredients that make this recipe almost identical – but better – to the original thousand island dressing recipe! Homemade thousand island dressing takes only 5 minutes to pull together and lasts for about a week in the fridge (although, we doubt it’ll be around for that long since we eat it on everything!) A thousand times better than store-bought (see what we did there!), we’re happy to report that not only do our families love this recipe, but we also feel good about serving it to them, too!

mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, paprika, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in bowls to make thousand island dressing

What's In Thousand Island Dressing

We’re big fans of making dressing at home – it not only saves money but also is a healthier option! Plus, most of the ingredients you likely have in your pantry or condiment shelf! So, what is Thousand Islands dressing made of?

Our thousand island dressing ingredients:

  • Mayonnaise

  • Ketchup

  • Sweet relish

  • Sweet paprika

  • Fresh lemon juice

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Salt + Pepper

We also get the confusion around the differences when it comes to Russian dressing vs thousand island. While Russian dressing is supposedly more complex in flavor, with rumors of it once containing caviar, the real difference for the mayo-ketchup base sauce is a spicy kick from horseradish! Thousand island, on the other hand, is a bit sweeter from the relish and sometimes includes chopped hard-boiled eggs! Nowadays the two dressings could be interchangeable even though true russian dressing is practically non-existent (except for the occasional Reuben Sandwich). And if you’re wondering if Thousand Island dressing is the same as Big Mac saucethey are very similar but overall they are slightly different. Try our Classic Cheese Burger with Secret Sauce to find out for yourself.

mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, paprika, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl for thousand island dressing

What Is Thousand Island Dressing Good On?

Short answer: everything! The 1950s popularized the now comeback condiment, and for good reason! We like to enjoy this homemade thousand island dressing slathered onto sandwiches like The Perfect Grilled Cheese, a Patty Melt, Reuben Sliders, or a good old fashion turkey club. Another great use is as a dip! Pair it with Grand Aioli or alongside Homemade Ranch Dressing on a veggie tray. Drizzle it over your favorite salads – swap out the buttermilk dressing in a Classic Cobb, and try it on a Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Salad or Chopped Salad. We also couldn’t forget our favorite way…as a sauce for Homemade French Fries!

How to Make Thousand Island Dressing

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions for how to make the creamiest, dreamiest best thousand island dressing:

  1. Grab a small bowl and add all the ingredients. Mix until combined. Taste for salt and pepper! Pro Tip: this is a super easy way to get the kids involved and teach them how to cook!

  2. Serve with fresh veggies, over salads, on sandwiches, and more! Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Pro Tip: although this tangy, irresistible thousand island dressing is ready to eat after you whisk it up, the longer you allow it to sit, the bolder the flavors will be as they marry together!

homemade thousand island dressing made with mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, paprika, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt & pepper

Simple Tools You’ll Need For Easy Thousand Island Dressing

Our Favorite Salad Dressings!

While we love thousand island salad dressing (and it makes a stellar sauce too!), we like to switch it up and use a variety of different salad dressings:

a bowl of homemade thousand island dressing being spooned over a green salad

Thousand Island? More like a Thousand Ways to Devour!

How did you use your homemade thousand island dressing? Show us by tagging us in your photos on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. We love to see it! Happy eating!

Thousand Island Dressing

  • Serves: 14
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 122


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup sweet relish
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, paprika, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, until combined. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Yield: 1 ¾ cups

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories122
  • Protein0 g
  • Carbohydrates2 g
  • Total Fat11 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol6 mg
  • sodium183 mg
  • Total Sugars1 g

Thousand Island Dressing

Questions & Reviews

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    Need to change up some ingredients? Unsure about a step in the method? Click the Ask a Question button above. We’re here for you.

  • Kay

    Yum! Much better homemade!

    Thanks Kay!