Thousand Island Dressing Recipe

Heather Dessinger

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thousand island dressing recipe

There are one-thousand reasons to try this recipe. Or actually, one-thousand eight-hundred and sixty-four.

In a delicious twist of fate, this special homemade sauce made its way from beachside feasts all the way to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where it made its world debut. Unfortunately, just like with ranch dressing, ketchup and other family favorites, store brands usually contain notoriously unhealthy ingredients – soybean and/or canola oil, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors to same a few.

No problem, though: It’s incredibly simple to make at home, and oh-so-much tastier, too.

Where Did The “Thousand Island” Name Come From?

Ahh, good question. The Thousand Islands are a collection of 1,864 little gems along the U.S./Canada border. Some are 40 square miles while others are just a few square feet. All have at least one tree.

thousand island dressing recipe history

Chances are you and I would have never heard of the creamy goodness that is Thousand Island if it weren’t for a well-known New York actress named May Irwin. Although she didn’t invent this creamy delight, she did “discovered” it on a New England tour of the islands with fishing guide George LaLonde, whose wife Sophie served it up with the day’s catch.

May raved about the sauce, so Sophie sent her home with the recipe. May named the recipe and gave it to the owner of the Waldorf Astoria, who immediately put it on the menu. The rest, as they say, is delectable, savory, mouth-watering, Thousand-Island-on-everything history.

thousand island dressing recipe homemade
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4.34 from 15 votes

How To Make Thousand Island Dressing

Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 0kcal
Author Mommypotamus


  • mixing bowl



  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more relish if desired.


Calories: 0kcal | Carbohydrates: 0g | Protein: 0g | Fat: 0g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 0mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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43 thoughts on “Thousand Island Dressing Recipe”

  1. Thanks for posting this recipe! I’m actually originally from Upstate NY and the 1000 Islands region and I have missed this dressing since starting my real food journey!

  2. Ohhh, yum. Thank you! I love Thousand Island dressing, and haven’t had it in years; I’ll have to remedy that this week. Just this summer I’ve been branching out from ye-olde vinegar/lemon juice + oil + mustard formula, and salads are much more exciting again:0)

    • I made this last night, and it was so tasty, my 3yo daughter wanted to literally eat it with a spoon! Used my homemade mayonnaise, which I’d myself be happy to eat with a spoon, but commercial organic ketchup–next time I’ll try it with the homemade version, which I bet makes it even better. Thanks, Heather!!

  3. I wish you would post your recipes in a “printer friendly” format… have so many great ideas! It is so much easier if I can print it off & take it to the kitchen. πŸ™‚

  4. You called May ‘Mary’ once. πŸ˜‰

    Question, are those sweet or dill pickles? I’m assuming sweet, but one never knows. Do you have a recipe for fermented sweet pickles? Thanks for posting this!

  5. Fantastic! My mom was making Rubens while camping this weekend, so I’ve been craving one for a few days! So glad that I can make most of the ingredients at home now πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks for sharing this recipe. My daughter and I love 1000 island dressing. I would like to start making my own dressings.

    • Since I started making my iwn dressings (usually blue cheese and ranch) I know I’ll NEVER EVERRRRRRRR go back to “shelf bottled” not even the fresh one in the refrigerated section. The thing is I know people are not aware of just how EASY it is to make them. I know before I started making my own, I THOUGHT it would be a big culinary “to do” but it’s not,it TRULY IS “easy PEASY”

  7. I LOVE you blog Heather and this recipe is definitely something I want to try. Your blog was one of the very first ones I started following. Great information, so thank you!

  8. I live 15 miles from the St. Lawrence River where the 1000 Islands are located. I am also friends with the granddaughter whose grandmother invented the 1000 Island Dressing.

    • Candice,
      Hiw does this compare to her grandmother’s original recipe?

      I just made 2 small batches. 1 with honey and 1 with maple syrup. They are in the fridge chilling, I will use them tonight to make Rubens

  9. Do you mean 1 teaspoon onion powder in the ketchup recipe? 1 tablespoon doesn’t sound right for the amount of other ingredients. I haven’t actually tried it yet, but I will try with 1 teaspoon first.

    • I honestly don’t know – ours never lasts more than a few days because the family likes it so much! I would guess about a week, though πŸ™‚

  10. I didn’t see where you had the recipe for the homemade Mayonnaise, was just wondering if I missed it somewhere would love to have the recipe, thank you.

  11. Dear Mommypotamus,

    You need to stop making recipes and posting them πŸ™‚ Seriously I’m gonna get fat! Hehe I can’t stop eating this stuff on reubens and making it a little bit thicker with more mayo and dipping it with butternut squash chips!!! Not to mention salads or reuben bowls (i.e. deconstructed reuben sandwiches). Love it!!!!!!!

    Thanks for all of your awesome recipes!

  12. Some old school 1000 Islands have used chopped hard boiled eggs in their dressing. I was wondering when that changed. I usually use egg myself and have been making for 50 years or so.

  13. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday to put on a salmon Louie salad and it was so good! I’ve been craving a Louie and this totally satisfied my craving! Today I’m having steamed broccoli drenched in the dressing with my lunch. I’m just looking for 1000 island vessels. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. 5 stars
    Quick easy and tastes better than most store bought brands. And of course peace of mind you are using all natural ingredients!

  15. 5 stars
    Made this today and I really like it. The use of dill pickles as the recipe calls for vs other recipes that use sweet relish is a key. I made just like the recipe called for but did not have onions so used dry minced onions. Also added a bit of sugar after tasting but overall great recipe.

  16. You say, about the islands, “Some are 40 square miles wide”. hmmm. You can have “40 square miles” or “40 miles wide” but not both.
    Yours pedantically,

  17. 5 stars
    Very happy I finally attempt making my own thousand island dressing, we go through so many bottles at home it just doesn’t make sense to not make my own at this point! Your recipe was very simple and to my liking, and even more important our kids liked it! And they’re picky eaters! Also, I used Bubbie’s pickles for this recipe and it worked really well, thanks for sharing!

  18. 5 stars
    Oh wow. My husband LOVES thousand island dressing …. And yours is the winner! How can I ever thank you!!??
    It’s the perfect dressing!