How To Make Thousand Island Dressing


Every now and then when I stop to think about it I wonder why ketchup is so much more popular than thousand island dressing. As far as I’m concerned thousand island is much more flavorful, and works on just about everything ketchup works on.

Any fast food place that brags about their “secret sauce” is really talking about thousand island. (Oops, now it’s not a secret any more.) One of my favorite uses — and the one that gets the strangest looks — is to use it instead of duck sauce with egg rolls. Mmmmmmm.

If you look carefully and shop around you may be able to find a brand that isn’t mostly canola oil and corn syrup. But if you can’t find a good one, this recipe is just what you need. It’s way better than any bottled brand I’ve had, and only takes a couple of minutes to make a batch.


2 cups mayonnaise


2 extra large eggs
1½ cups olive pomace oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced pickle (sweet, dill, or combination)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 extra large egg, hard boiled (optional)


Dice the onion.

Dice the pickle. If you have small ones, cut them in quarters …

… and chop several at once.

For larger pickles, you may want to cut out the seeds before dicing the rest.

Set the onion and pickle aside. This is for your mise en place.

Mince the garlic

If you’re making the mayonnaise from scratch, put the eggs, white vinegar, mustard powder and oil in your mixing cup in that order. Put the stick blender all the way to the bottom, turn it on and slowly pull it up to the top. Don’t worry if it’s not thick enough for a sandwich, this is going to be in dressing.

Rather than get the food processor dirty, add the onion, pickle, garlic, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar to the cup the mayo was in.

Process it with the stick blender — it doesn’t have to be very smooth — then add it to the mayo and stir.

Check the taste and add black pepper if needed.

And that’s it. You could eat this by itself, it’s so good.

One extra touch is to add a diced hard-boiled egg.

Regular readers might notice I did lettuce yesterday and salad dressing today. You might think that means I’ll be doing some kind of salad in the next day or two. That’s very observant of you. But I’ll be you don’t expect taco salad.

Okay, now you expect taco salad. This is another one of those “delicious but not pretty enough for company” recipes. Why do we do that? Have favorite recipes that we won’t serve to guests? I’ve never understood that. If you have any recipes that you like, but you won’t serve to guests — or your wife won’t let you serve it to them — post it in the comments. I’m thinking about doing a collection of “Too Good for Company” recipes.

Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island Dressing


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup diced pickle (sweet, dill, or combination)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 extra large egg, hard boiled (optional)


Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in a food processor and pulse several times. Stir together with the mayonnaise and chill.


  1. Kristin says:

    I’ve been reading for awhile, but am just de-lurking to give you my favorite family-only recipe: Lentils with sausage. It’s SO good, and SO easy, but it looks kind of like dog food. Plus, it only has a total of like 5 ingredients, so it seems like it’s just too easy to make when we have to show off for other people.

    Was I supposed to actually write out the recipe? Brown a tube of breakfast sausage (we only have homemade, but there are some good store brands, I think), saute a medium diced onion in with the sausage, add a bag of (washed and sorted) lentils and water or stock enough to cook the lentils, but not make it soupy, cook till done. Check for salt, serve over rice.

    And that’s it. :-)

  2. Kristin, that put the biggest grin on my face, seriously. I’m definitely going to include that recipe when I get around to doing the collection.

    I wandered over to your blog, and it’s freaking hilarious. Anyone else still reading down here, go check her blog out. I haven’t recommended anyone else’s like this, so you know I must mean it.

    (Oh, and I see you picked up on my tag line. I used to use “Bam!” but that Emeril dork ruined it for me.)

  3. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Drew. And may I return the compliment by saying that I very much admire your wholesale use of bacon fat? We used to always have a little bowl of bacon fat on the stove, but then the cat started licking it at night and we sort of gave up on it. Now we mostly give any leftover fat to the dogs, who seem to appreciate it.

  4. I’m new to your blog and I am really enjoying it so much, so thanks.
    1000 Island? I’ve never been a big fan, but yours looks tasty! My dad loves, loves, loves the stuff, how great a daughter will I be if I whip up a batch for his fathers day dinner?
    So thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Just a cooking gurl says:

    Most of the stuff my husband won’t let me serve is actually delicious and looks ok… it just SOUNDS weird and he doesn’t want to make them uncomfortable.

    For example: Sauerkraut soup. Taste’s nothing like sauerkraut, just tangy and deliciously beefy.

    Or Pizza with caramelized onions and walnuts. Again, tastes great, but he’s afraid our guests will be put off by the combination and he’s just too dang polite for that.

    Which makes us a perfect pair: I say “this is what I’m serving. Eat it or go hungry”. :)

    ps… I tagged this recipe to … I am so going to try it tonight!

  6. nica ha says:

    Looks great! Do you think it would work well if I used miracle whip instead? I’ve never been a huge fan of real mayo, but I’m sure you can’t taste the difference when it’s mixed up with everything else, so I may try it anyways :)

    So far the only thing I can think of that I make that I haven’t served is Poor Man’s Chocolate cake, or I just call it chocolate cake if I have some left over I’m going to serve. It’s pretty much just because I don’t think them thinking I have nothing better to serve, since the name sounds like it’s not made with good things or something.

    My grandmother gave me the recipe, I don’t know if she came up with it, or where it came from. But it’s basically just a chocolate cake with old coffee for the liquid. It gives it a nice rich dark chocolately flavor, you can’t really even taste the coffee. My grandfather especially likes this cake because we don’t usually frost it (he doesn’t like frosting), it doesn’t really need it. But it is good with cream cheese frosting if you really enjoy frosting, or even just a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

    I like your blog so far :) Definitely an easy read when I’m in the mood for some cooking info.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Poor Man’s Swiss Steak – so good, but I’d never serve it to guests!

    Plop four hamburger patties in your large skillet. Combine a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of tomato sauce and mix real well. Pour it over the patties. Cook covered until the meat is done, lightly stirring occasionally to keep the beef from sticking and to incorporate the hamburger grease into the sauce (see why I don’t serve it to company?). Serve over mashed potatoes. As a variation, I’ve also formed the hamburger into meatballs too. Oh, I’m getting hungry just writing this!

  8. Stephanie, you can make that if I ever come over, it sounds great.

  9. Drew, I just came upon this recipe as I wanted Thousand Island dressing to place on my Reuben sandwich. I didn’t have a stick blender but my “chunky” dressing came out really well. Thanks for this recipe, I’ll be sure to check for more recipes on your site.

  10. Drew,
    Was browsing the web for a good thousand island dressing to use for my po-boys. I love making fried oyster, catfish, and shrimp po-boys and think i will try your thousand island with some horseradish to umphh it up a bit. Should make quite a nice compliment to the sandwich. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. That sounds like a good addition. Sort of like a cross between thousand island and cocktail sauce.

  12. So crazy how it looks and tastes pretty much identical to thousand island from a bottle! Love it, thank you for saving my mother and I a trip to the store!!

  13. We had a Reuben night planned, and this dressing is so good. I used regular mustard in the mayo–and it thickened up just fine with the stick blender. My first time making mayonnaise and I don’t think I can eat the stuff out of the jar every again. Is that abnormal to want to keep tasting the mayo with a spoon? I almost didn’t want to make it into the Thousand Island. :-)

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