A healthier homemade Russian Dressing perfect for sandwiches (reubens of course!), burgers, salads and more! Made with avocado oil mayo, Greek yogurt, and all the classic flavorings, this creamy and savory dressing will become a staple in your refrigerator. 

This homemade Russian Dressing is an easy and delicious version that’s both healthier and tastier than the store-bought varieties.

small bowl filled with an orange-hued sauce and topped with pepper

What is Russian Dressing

We know Russian Dressing is savory, delicious and great on a burger. But how many of us really know what goes in to this pale orange sauce?

Russian Dressing is a creamy pink-hued mayonnaise-based dressing flavored with horseradish, chili sauce, paprika, minced shallot and sometimes Worcestershire. 

Contrary to popular belief, Russian Dressing actually originated in America. It’s believed to have gotten its name due to the addition of caviar in early versions of the recipe.

How to Use Russian Dressing

Most notably used on the beloved reuben sandwich—a griddled corned beef and Swiss cheese sandwich. Russian Dressing is great on burgers, drizzled over salads, or used as a dip for chicken, fries, roasted potatoes, and chips. 

Reuben sandwich halves stacked on a parchment-lined baking sheet

How Russian Dressing is Different from Thousand Island

It’s not a surprise that Russian Dressing and Thousand Island Dressing are often confused for one another! Both feature a mayonnaise and ketchup or ketchup-style chili sauce base which causing them to take on a light ruby hue. 

Their similarities end there however, Thousand Island dressing tends to be a bit sweeter commonly features pickle relish. In contrast, Russian Dressing is more savory and gets its spicy flare from horseradish and hot sauce. 

Thousand Island Dressing is a creamy mayonnaise-based salad dressing flavored with chili sauce and finely chopped green olives, pickles or pickle relish, onion, bell peppers and/or hard-boiled eggs. Like Russian Dressing, Thousand Island dressing is often used on sandwiches and burgers. 

Also a creamy mayonnaise-based dressing, Russian dressing is flavored with chili sauce, paprika, prepared horseradish, minced shallot and occasionally pimientos. Russian dressing is less sweet and more savory and spicy than Thousand Island Dressing. 

Prepared Horseradish

What is prepared horseradish? Prepared horseradish is grated horseradish root combined with vinegar. It can be found in small glass jars in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It’s often by the deli meat and cheese, smoked fish, or prepared salads and sandwiches.

Avoid using the creamed variety sold near the unrefrigerated condiments like mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Chili Sauce

Chili sauce is a ketchup-style burger/fry sauce flavored with onion, garlic and spices. It’s sold in a tall glass ketchup-style bottle and is commonly found near the ketchup and barbecue sauce. Chili sauce is traditional in Russian Dressing and is very similar to regular ketchup, which means either can be used.

It’s important to point out that both chili sauce and ketchup contain corn syrup. For a more natural, lower-sugar option I recommend using unsweetened ketchup and a dash of honey if needed.

small bowl filled with an orange-hued sauce and topped with pepper

Dietary Specifications

The notes below specify how to adapt this recipe to fit various diets.

Paleo: Be sure to use avocado oil mayonnaise (I prefer Sir Kensington’s) and replace the chili sauce with a combination of unsweetened ketchup and additional hot sauce. I recommend this unsweetened ketchup. Replace the yogurt with additional mayonnaise.

Vegan: This recipe is not vegan. To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise in place of the avocado oil mayonnaise and the Greek yogurt. Skip the Worcestershire and add a few dashes of liquid aminos instead. 

Keto: Skip the chili sauce and use a combination of keto ketchup and red pepper flakes (or additional hot sauce). I recommend this unsweetened ketchup. 

Gluten-Free: this recipe is naturally gluten-free.

Serve this dressing with 

If you try this Russian Dressing recipe, let me know! I’d love to hear how you use it. Leave a comment with a star rating below. Snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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small bowl filled with an orange-hued sauce and topped with pepper

Lightened Up Homemade Russian Dressing

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cups dressing 1x
  • Category: Sauce/Dip
  • Method: No-cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A creamy and savory dressing flavored with shallot, horseradish, and Worcestershire. Classically served on Reubens, it’s also great on burgers, with chicken, potatoes and fries. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ cup avocado oil or olive oil mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup whole-milk Greek yogurt 
  • ¼ cup Chili Sauce, ketchup, or unsweetened ketchup*
  • ¼ cup grated shallot (1 small shallot)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • A few dashes Tabasco 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until combined; season with salt, pepper and additional hot sauce to taste.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.

Russian Dressing will last up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 


Notes

*Chili sauce is traditional in Russian Dressing. It tastes incredibly similar to regular ketchup and can be used interchangeably. Both do contain corn syrup. For a more natural, lower-sugar option I recommend using unsweetened ketchup. Add a dash of honey if needed.

Low-fat: for a lower-fat option replace a ¼ cup of the mayonnaise with an additional ¼ cup Greek yogurt. The texture and flavor will will be slightly altered. I do not recommend using this lower-fat version for griddled sandwiches as it will release too much liquid. It will work nicely as a dip for crispy chicken, fries and/or potatoes. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 125
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 241mg
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Cholesterol: 16mg

Keywords: russian dressing, homemade russian dressing

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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