French Dressing

published Jul 16, 2021
French Dressing

A perfect balance of sweet and sour, this homemade French dressing calls for easy-to-find fridge and pantry staples.


Makes1 cup

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
french dressing, which is reddish-orange in color, in a clear glass jar with a spoon being dipped into it
Credit: Perry Santanachote
French Dressing

Don’t be fooled by the name: This reddish-orange salad topper is as American as dressings get. Big, bold French dressing actually comes from Pittsburgh and not its namesake European country — it was invented in 1925 as Kraft’s very first pourable dressing flavor.

While the store-bought variety can sometimes be too cloying, this homemade version has just the right amount of sour to balance out the sweet. The best part is you can whip up this classic French dressing in minutes with ingredients you probably already have in your fridge and pantry. The star ingredient? Ketchup. If you want it even creamier, feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of mayo.

What Is French Dressing Made Out Of?

French dressing is a food defined by the Food and Drug Administration, which means there’s an official recipe of sorts. It’s defined as a blend or emulsion of vegetable oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and any of the following optional ingredients:

  • Salt
  • Spices and/or natural flavorings (usually paprika, onion powder, and sugar)
  • Tomato paste, tomato purée, or ketchup
  • Eggs or mayonnaise

What’s the Difference Between Catalina and French Dressing?

Catalina dressing is similar to French dressing, but has less fat and more sugar. Catalina is a bolder shade of red and runnier than French dressing. Unlike French, there’s no creamy version of Catalina.

What to Serve with French Dressing

While French dressing is traditionally served on iceberg or romaine salads, it’s sweet and sour flavor works well with more bitter greens, too, such as watercress and endive. And it doesn’t need to stop at leafy greens — use it to dress green beans or glaze cooked meatballs.

French Dressing

A perfect balance of sweet and sour, this homemade French dressing calls for easy-to-find fridge and pantry staples.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1 cup

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1/2 cup

    neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola, or grapeseed

  • 1/4 cup


  • 3 tablespoons

    apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon


  • 1/2 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Place 1/2 cup neutral oil, 1/4 cup ketchup, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a blender. Blend until emulsified and creamy.

Recipe Notes

Making by hand: If you don’t have a blender, place all the ingredients in a 2-cup Mason jar or other small container with a tight-sealing lid. Cover and shake vigorously until the dressing is emulsified.

Storage: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Give it a good shake or whisk to recombine before each use.