5 Salad Dressings to Know by Heart

Essential Recipes from The Kitchn

Pin it button big

Here at The Kitchn, we don't like to think of ourselves as food snobs. We bear semi-secret loves for boxed mac and cheese and Velveeta. We keep frozen pie crust in the freezer (and maybe a pizza or two). But there is one packaged product most of us here at The Kitchn have ditched completely, and that is the bottled salad dressing.

Pin it button big

Making salad dressing from scratch is nearly as fast and easy as shaking up a bottle, and the taste is phenomenally better than even the most "gourmet" jar of blue cheese dressing. (And can I just say that homemade ranch is reason alone to eat a salad tonight?)

It's easier, though, to quit buying bottled dressings when you don't even need to consult a recipe before shaking up tonight's salad. So here, from us to you, are five salad dressings that we love and know by heart.

But before we dive into our five favorites, let's talk about dressing a salad with no recipe whatsoever. The most basic way to make a salad taste really, really good is to toss it lightly with good olive oil, then squeeze a little lemon or drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it. Toss with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, which are often all too neglected in salads, and you have yourself a delicious side salad. Herbs will just make it that much better.
Read more salad philosophy here: How To Make a Better Side Salad
But if you'd like to move past the ultra-simple and classic method of dressing a salad, here are five dressings we think everyone should know.
  1. Quick Ranch Dressing - Simple and creamy. Mayonnaise and buttermilk, and chives and mint, if you're inclined.
  2. Italian Salad Dressing - More Italian-American than Old World, this dressing replaces that bottle of Kraft we grew up with.
  3. Eggless Caesar Dressing - A Caesar salad is a treat, especially with romaine (fresh or grilled) and this easy eggless dressing.
  4. Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing - That luscious blue cheese taste, all homemade, but just as good for dipping celery and wings as dressing salad.
  5. Balsamic Vinaigrette - The classic balsamic vinaigrette, the one we like to shake up in a jar and leave in our refrigerators for fast and easy salads.

Are these the dressings you gravitate towards most frequently? Or are there others you like to use on your salads?

(Images: Faith Durand; Nealey Dozier; Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan; Anjali Prasertong; Emma Christensen)