Thousand Island dressing is something you should keep around if you like making Reuben sandwiches or if you like creamy and sweet toppings for your salad. If you find yourself out of it, there are quite a few good alternatives. Here are some of the best Thousand Island dressing substitutes.
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Your best bet: Make Thousand Island dressing from scratch
Once considered an exotic condiment for the super-wealthy, Thousand Island is pretty basic by today’s standards in terms of the difficulty of finding its ingredients and assembling them. In other words, you can make it at home without too much trouble.
The ingredients are all common American kitchen staples like mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickle relish. Along with the basic three ingredients, the traditional version includes Worcestershire sauce and a hard-boiled egg. The rules for putting them together can be loose — you can go on taste or appearance — or you can follow one of the many simple recipes online.
Homemade Thousand Island dressing has the significant drawback of taking time to make. It lacks the convenience of the commercial bottled product. It may also be more expensive since bottled Thousand Island dressing can be found pretty cheaply these days.
A decent second choice: Russian dressing
Despite its name, Russian dressing is not Russian. Its actual place of origin is possibly New Hampshire but no one is certain. It is often confused with Thousand Island dressing because it has some of the same ingredients and a similar appearance.
Russian dressing’s main ingredients are mayonnaise and ketchup, both of which it has in common with Thousand Island dressing. Original versions were said to contain caviar, which is where the Russian part of the name is sometimes said to have originated; however, this is probably incorrect.
The ingredient that gave the dressing its supposed Russian heritage was most likely pickles, a popular ingredient among Russian immigrants. Pickles are another ingredient that Russian dressing has in common with Thousand Island dressing.
The drawback of Russian dressing as a substitute for Thousand Island dressing is the fact that Russian dressing is often slightly spicier because of ingredients like horseradish or chili pepper. It can also contain celery seed, which is not among the traditional ingredients in Thousand Island dressing.
In a pinch: Ranch dressing
Ranch is a newer salad dressing than Thousand Island dressing, but it has some of the same properties. Ranch dressing is known for its tanginess, which comes partially from mayonnaise. The mayonnaise also helps to give it a creamy mouthfeel similar to that of Thousand Island dressing.
Ranch dressing does have seasonings that you won’t find in most versions of Thousand Island dressing. Also, most ranch dressing recipes don’t contain sugar, so it doesn’t have the sweetness that is a major part of the Thousand Island flavor profile.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative to Thousand Island dressing, ranch dressing probably isn’t it. Classic recipes contain both sour cream and mayonnaise resulting in a pretty high saturated fat content.
French dressing can be a decent Thousand Island dressing substitute as long as you use the commercial bottled version. Bottled French dressings will have the same kind of thick consistency and sweetness that you would get from Thousand Island dressing.
Green goddess dressing is another creamy and tangy salad dressing from the early part of the 20th century. It includes mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce both of which show up in Thousand Island dressing recipes.