Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (2024)

This homemade Catalina dressing recipe is so easy and so tasty that you will want to make it over and over again. Use it to brighten up any fresh garden salad. You could even use it for another simple dish that needs a great tangy sauce, such as taco salad.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (1)

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Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe

Catalina Dressing is a deliciously tangy dressing that is somewhere between a French Dressing and a Russian Dressing. While very similar to Russian Dressing, Catalina is more of a sweet and sour version from the addition of apple cider vinegar and sugar. Catalina dressing is sometimes used for other meals besides a basic salad such as Taco Salad.

I love making homemade dressings because they make my salad taste so fresh, no matter what time of year it is! I think I especially love it in winter because a fresh salad in the middle of winter always reminds me of warmer, sunnier summer days. How about you?

Summer, winter, spring or fall, this Catalina dressing can be made and enjoyed any time of year just by combining a few simple pantry ingredients. And it always tastes like it was just fresh-picked from the garden!

— Love simple recipes like this one? You may really enjoy my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life. It’s filled with over 130 mix and DIY recipes and projects that are easy to make.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (2)

Ingredients for Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing

  • Ketchup. This will provide the tomato base for this dressing. If you don’t have any from the store, you can always use Homemade Ketchup.
  • Sugar. This dressing is a little sweeter so it needs some added sugar. If you’d prefer not to use white sugar, you can sub out honey instead.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. This is a staple in this recipe because it will help to balance out the sweetness and give it that trademark tang. I buy my vinegar by the gallon from Azure Standard. Many recipes call for red wine vinegar but my recipe uses apple cider vinegar instead because that’s what I usually have on hand.
  • Onion Powder. This is something I always have on hand! I buy it in a one pound bulk quantity like most of my spices.
  • Paprika. I don’t tend to use as much paprika around our home so I just pick this up in a small container when I need it. Paprika will also help give this recipe just a hint of a bite.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. If you don’t want to go to the store and buy this ingredient you can use Homemade Worcestershire Sauce.
  • Salt and Pepper. These are optional but they give a great little boost to the flavor. Use as much or as little as you’d like.
  • Vegetable Oil. For this recipe, and for most salad dressing recipes, try and use a mild tasting olive oil. I usually have Safflower Oil on hand for recipes just like this. You could also use grapeseed oil or maybe even avocado oil. You can use olive oil, but the flavor will be slightly different.

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FAQ About Catalina Dressing

What’s the difference between Catalina dressing and French dressing?

French Dressing has celery seed and Creamy French Dressing has the addition of half and half or cream which give it a different flavor profile. Catalina Dressing uses Worcestershire Sauce to give it a different depth of flavor.

What is a good substitute for Catalina Dressing?

Dorthy Lynch would make a great substitute for Catalina Dressing. The next best substitute would be French Dressing, followed by Russian Dressing.

Why do they call it Catalina Dressing?

Catalina Dressing has many origin stories, just like many recipes. But most believe it originated in the Catalonia region of Spain, giving it its trademark name.

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What to Serve With Homemade Catalina Dressing

  • Chef Salads. A big chef salad is the best with Catalina Dressing! You can make a full meal out of the salad depending on the toppings you select.
  • Taco Salad. This was one of my favorites when I was growing up! Basically, all you need to do is put all your taco toppings (lettuce, cheese, crushed chips, chicken, etc) in a large bowl, and toss it with Catalina Dressing. So good!
  • Pasta Salad. This dressing would be great on a cold pasta salad.
  • As a Burger Sauce. Mix with mayo for a tangy, creamy sauce for burgers!
  • Use as a Dip. You could use this recipe (or most salad dressing recipes) as a veggie dip as well!

Why Make Homemade Catalina Dressing?

One bottle of store-bought Kraft Foods Catalina Dressing currently costs $2.12 at Walmart. While they do claim that it has no artificial flavors, the ingredients do contain several colors of dye (including red #40), soybean oil, EDTA, and some other items I’m not sure how to pronounce.

Homemade Catalina Dressing costs roughly $1.10 per recipe and contains only ingredients that you can control. Plus it tastes much fresher!

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Instructions to Make Homemade Catalina Dressing

This recipe is as simple as they come. Just place all the ingredients together in the blender. Pulse until everything is mixed together. If you don’t have a blender or don’t want to pull out your blender, you can blend the recipe together by using a whisk instead.

Store the dressing in a container or a jar in the fridge and use over salads or any of your favorite meals. This dressing will stay good for at least a week when stored in the refrigerator. You could freeze extras of this recipe if you make too much to use at one time. Just thaw and reblend it when you remove it to use it again. These Reditainers are my favorite for freezer storage.

I like to store my homemade dressings in a pint-sized mason jar. They even make these really cool Mason Jar Pouring Spouts to make the pouring even easier.

Need to print this Homemade Catalina Dressing recipe to put it in your Recipe Binder? Grab it below!

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (6)

4.72 from 7 votes


Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing

This Catalina dressing recipe is so easy and so tasty that you'll want to make it over and over again. Use it to brighten up any fresh garden salad, taco salad or pasta salad!



KeywordCatalina dressing

Prep Time 2 minutes

Total Time 2 minutes

Calories 1270 kcal

Creator Merissa


  • ¼cupKetchupcan use Homemade Ketchup
  • ¼cupSugar
  • ¼cupApple Cider Vinegar
  • ½teaspoonOnion Powder
  • ½teaspoonPaprika
  • ½TablespoonWorcestershire Sauceyou can use Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½teaspoonSalt
  • ½teaspoonPepperoptional
  • ½cupmild-tasting Oil


  1. Place all the ingredients together in the blender. Pulse until everything is mixed together.

    Store the dressing in acontainer or a jar in the fridge and use over salads or any of your favorite meals.

Recipe Notes

This dressing will stay good for at least a week when stored in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing

Amount Per Serving

Calories 1270Calories from Fat 1008

% Daily Value*

Fat 112g172%

Saturated Fat 8g50%

Trans Fat 0.4g

Polyunsaturated Fat 32g

Monounsaturated Fat 71g

Sodium 1823mg79%

Potassium 322mg9%

Carbohydrates 70g23%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 64g71%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 831IU17%

Vitamin C 7mg8%

Calcium 30mg3%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More Homemade Salad Dressings

  • Homemade Dorthy Lynch Dressing
  • Homemade French Dressing Recipe
  • An Easy Dressing Recipe
  • Russian Salad Dressing Recipe
  • Homemade Ranch Dressing
  • Easy Salad Dressing Recipes

Have you ever made your own Catalina dressing before? Is your recipe the same or different?

Did you make this recipe and enjoy it? Be sure and leave a star rating on the recipe card and share with your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and through Email using the sharing buttons below.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (7)Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to the 100-acre farm on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from theContact Page.

This Catalina Dressing Recipe was originally published on Little House Living in Dec 2014. It has been updated as of June 2023.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch (2024)


What are the ingredients in Catalina salad dressing? ›

Most Catalina dressings are made with a blend of ketchup, vinegar, sugar and oil. This recipe gets its zippy flavor from the addition of Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard and a dash cayenne pepper.

What's the difference between catalina and French dressing? ›

French dressing tends to contain more oil and spices, while Catalina has a higher proportion of ketchup. As a result, French dressing is usually lighter in color and a bit creamier than Catalina.

Is Russian dressing the same as Catalina? ›

Russian dressing typically contains mayonnaise and horseradish. Together, these two ingredients give Russian dressing a much more decadent creaminess than Catalina Dressing. In contrast, Catalina Dressing contains vegetable oil and vinegar, which thin the dressing and make it less rich and more pourable.

What dressing is the same as Catalina dressing? ›

Catalina is often considered a subset of French dressing, with most of the same ingredients — ketchup, oil, vinegar, sugar, and other seasonings — but in different proportions. French dressing tends to contain more oil and spices, while Catalina has a higher proportion of ketchup.

What's the difference between Catalina and Western dressing? ›

Catalina is thinner in consistency while Western is thick and rich. Even the color of Western is better, it's a rich reddish color while the Catalina has an orange tinge to it.

Why did they stop making French dressing? ›

FDA revokes rules on manufacture of French dressing after 70 years. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday agreed to revoke the decades-old standard of identity for French salad dressing, saying in part that the outdated requirement “no longer promotes honesty and fair dealing.”

What is sweeter Catalina or 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 does classic Catalina dressing taste like? ›

It's a little like comparing the taste of co*ke to the taste of Pepsi! You have to! Catalina dressing is tangy and sweet…just like French dressing. But it's not as creamy or spiced.

What is the most popular salad dressing in us? ›

Ranch Dressing

The ranch is hands down America's most beloved salad dressings. It is made from a number of ingredients such as buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, onion, chives, salt, and pepper. A creamier and richer version often features sour cream or yogurt for enhanced taste.

Does Ken's make Catalina dressing? ›

Ken's California French Dressing is a classic red Catalina-style French. Moderate-bodied with a vivid red color. Sweet tomato notes are combined with a mild vinegar tang and subtle spicing. Brightens up lush green salads, wedge salad, veggie plates—adds tang to coleslaw too.

What is Olive Garden's dressing called? ›

The signature Italian is a vinaigrette, but instead of olive oil and balsamic vinegar as you might expect, it's made with soybean oil and distilled vinegar.

Is a reuben better with Thousand Island or Russian dressing? ›

The Reuben sandwich is a traditional American grilled sandwich made with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. While Russian dressing is the time-honored dressing of choice, it is extremely common to find thousand island dressing being used as well.

What is Thousand Island Dressing made of? ›

Thousand Island Ingredients: It's mixture of mayonnaise, sour cream, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, red onion vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt and pepper. All ingredients are combined by hand to make a perfect, thick, and creamy dressing, dip, or sauce.

What is the origin of Catalina dressing? ›

Where does Catalina Dressing Come from? Most will say that Kraft Foods initially invented Catalina Salad Dressing, however, some say that it originated in Catalonia region in north east Spain, where they're known for for their sweet and savory foods.

Can diabetics eat Catalina salad dressing? ›

Italian salad dressings and vinaigrettes have about 3 grams of sugar per serving size, honey mustard dressings contain around 7 grams, and Catalina dressings have about 8 grams of sugar. People also tend to use more than the recommended serving size of two tablespoons, which increases the sugar content of the salad.

Is Catalina dressing high in sugar? ›

French or Catalina dressing contains 1048 calories per 250 g serving. This serving contains 98 g of fat, 2.2 g of protein and 47 g of carbohydrate. The latter is 44 g sugar and 6 g of dietary fiber, the rest is complex carbohydrate.

Do Catalina and French dressing taste the same? ›

Catalina dressing is tangy and sweet…just like French dressing. But it's not as creamy or spiced.

What is the main ingredients in salad dressing? ›

A classic recipe that everyone enjoys, made with oil and vinegar. This is the solid foundation of the salad dressing world. To make, whisk 1 tsp Dijon mustard with 2 tbsp white wine vinegar, 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper in a small bowl or shake together in a jam jar.

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