Thousand Island Dressing – Life Above the Cafe

Thousand Island Dressing

A dressing recipe that will continue to be passed down through generations!
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Thousand Island Dressing

Thousand Island Dressing
Mar 01, 2021




5 mins.

0 mins.


This recipe for Thousand Island Dressing is one that changes based on what I have available. I love that it’s super easy to make and that if I don’t have chili sauce, I can always substitute it for ketchup. The photo of the Pork Salad topped with Thousand Island Dressing, is the recipe made with ketchup since I didn’t have chili sauce.

Pork Salad topped with Thousand Island Dressing is a popular choice at our local BBQ Restaurants, and it’s easy to make at home. To a large bowl, add your favorite greens, a scoop of shredded pork roast, shredded cheddar cheese and carrots, diced cucumber, tomatoes, and purple onions. It’s always served with buttery club crackers, that I love to crush up and sprinkle across the top of my salad.

My granddaddy loved Thousand Island Dressing, so it was always being whipped up by my grandmother. She learned to make it at a restaurant that she worked at in the 1950’s and eventually taught all of us the recipe. He loved his salad topped with the dressing and loads of black pepper, which is how I still enjoy my salad topped to this day.

This is such and easy recipe to make that as a child I was given this job from the age of 7 or 8. I wasn’t taught to measure it out, but rather go by sight and to taste it to make sure the ratios were correct. A little of this and that has always been the way that my family measures.

The only thing that I’ve changed about my family’s recipe is to add a little white vinegar to thin my dressing out slightly. Use or lose the vinegar since the flavor will still be the same without it. You can even thin the dressing out slightly with a little water if you prefer a thinner consistency. Don’t go crazy thinning it out since this dressing is meant to have a thicker consistency.

I hope that you’ll try this recipe out today and leave a comment below. For daily updates, follow @lifeabovethecafe on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest using the social media icons found on this page.


  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup of chili sauce or ketchup
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. of sweet pickle relish
  • 1 – 2 tsps. of white vinegar or water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper to taste


In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients.  Taste and adjust the pickles, vinegar, and salt and pepper.  I make my dressing the night that I plan to serve it.  The ingredients are already cold so it can be served immediately.  Leftovers should be covered and refrigerated.  For best flavor, use within a week.

Note – optional addition – 2 Tablespoons of grated onions for a stronger flavor or dried minced onion flakes.  Some people also add diced hard boiled egg, but my family doesn’t.

You can use 1 & 1/2 cups of mayonnaise for a milder flavored dressing if the chili sauce/ketchup makes it too strong for you.

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