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Homemade Catalina Dressing [video]

This easy Homemade Catalina Dressing is perfect for salads and tastes so much better than the store-bought version. Perfect for dipping, cooking, marinades, and salads, and I am not kidding when I tell you that it can be made in less than five minutes! All you need is a few simple ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen. And it is way better than store-bought salad dressings.

Easy Catalina Salad Dressing Recipe

As stubborn and I am, I always make sure that a recipe is perfect before I share it with you. Take this salad dressing, I have tasted many store-bought version, and diligently made notes, about what I like and dislike. Then, I have tested it at home a dozen of times, to get the measurements worked to perfection!

Now I can throw the towel and say, maybe Kraft brainstormed this dressing, but mine is better, cheaper and healthier! With the tangy flavors of red wine vinegar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce mixed with sweet honey and some rich soy sauce and seasonings, this recipe goes with just about anything.

I love making my own salad dressing! Not only is it fresher and healthier than store-bought dressing, but I can also make it to my tastes. So, if you want more sweetness, you can add more honey or you can make it spicy with a bit of red pepper flakes. All salad dressings are pretty easy to make with just basic ingredients you may already have in the kitchen.

Add a spoonful of this delicious dressing to a sub sandwich to make it unique or try it as a dip for chopped fresh veggies. I like to use it as part of an appetizer spread with carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and apple slices. Since it is both sweet and savory, Catalina dressing goes great with all your favorites.

If you are serving a crowd, try making my other homemade dressings like Italian Dressing with lemon, parmesan, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs and spices. Creamy Parmesan is another tasty dressing you can use for salads, sandwiches, and dips.  Made from Greek yogurt, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard with parmesan cheese, this is one of my family’s favorites!

Ingredients

You only need a few basic ingredients, some oil, and a few herbs for this easy-to-prepare Catalina dressing. The sauces mix with the onion, garlic, and paprika to give it a burst of flavor in every bite. Then, the oil gives it some texture to help it stick to the salad ingredients perfectly.

Sauces

The tangy dressing gets its flavors from two kinds of sauce, a couple of condiments, and vinegar.

  • Red wine vinegar – Gives your dressing that zing of tangy freshness.
  • Worcestershire sauce – A salty and rich taste with notes of celery, vinegar, and anchovies.
  • Soy sauce – The famed ingredient in most Asian dishes, soy sauce gives Catalina dressing a rich taste that is umami, salty, sweet, and bitter.
  • Ketchup – This popular condiment is important in making this dressing sweet with hints of brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon.

Seasonings

Every recipe has to have seasonings like herbs and spices. Catalina dressing only has three in the recipe, but you can always add your own favorite flavors.

  • Garlic powder – Adds pungent and savory taste with a rich undertone for a robust flavor. The powder is more concentrated than the fresh stuff, so you don’t have to use it as much.
  • Onion powder – When you don’t feel like chopping onions or when you just need a little bit like with this Catalina recipe. One-half tablespoon of powder gives you ½ cup of fresh onion flavor.
  • Smoked paprika – Just like regular paprika with a spicy smoke flavor added. It is not too sweet or too spicy, so it is perfect for all kinds of recipes, including this one!

Oil

The oil in salad dressing is essential to add smooth texture and body and to hold all the flavors together. In this recipe, I use olive oil, but you can use grapeseed oil or avocado oil.

How to make homemade Catalina dressing?

  1. Mix: To begin, put your onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, soy sauce, Worcester sauce, honey, ketchup, and vinegar into a blender or food processor. Blend thoroughly.
  2. Add grapeseed oil: With the blender running on low speed, open the vent in the lid and slowly add grapeseed oil until it is combined.
  3. Season and serve: Finally, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Then, use it on your salad or another recipe.
  4. Refrigerate: This homemade Catalina dressing will last for up to a month in the fridge in an air-tight container.

We usually make a larger batch at once and store it in the fridge for weeks to come. This way, it is available whenever we please. Apart from salads, you can use it as a garnish on burgers, cold pasta salads, meatloaf, steaks, or even ribs. The dressing can really be used on anything and anytime.

Expert tip

Making a homemade salad dressing is no big deal, however, remember that the key to a great one is BALANCE and quality ingredients!

Thats why make sure you measure the ingredients, don’t just eyeball it, especially when the recipe contains more ingredients. Another secret is to choose a GOOD OIL. While you may love your robust and flavorful olive oil, it can be over powering in this salad and compete with other ingredients. Use a milder or, or opt for an oil that is more neutral in terms of flavor.

Another important moment is when adding the oil, this step should NOT be rushed, but take your time and pour it little by little with the blender running on low, or whisking it by hand. This will allow it to emulsify.

Recipe variations/add-ins:

  • Herbs and spices: Experiment with more herbs and spices like dill, oregano, nutmeg, rosemary, cloves, and thyme.
  • Make it spicy: I like a bit of spiciness in my salad dressing, so I add cayenne pepper. You can also use red pepper flakes, chili powder, or wasabi.
  • Sweet: For a sweeter taste, try adding more honey, some white sugar, brown sugar, or maple syrup.
  • Crunchy: Add some toasted sesame seeds to your Catalina dressing for some crunchiness.
  • Different vinegar: If you don’t have or don’t like red wine vinegar, you can use a different kind like apple cider, balsamic, or white vinegar.

How to serve:

Because it is so easy to make it, there is no excuse not to have some available in the fridge at all times. You can use it on so many things besides just salads. The whole family will love this delicious salad dressing on many other things. Here are some great ideas to try:

Frequently asked questions

What is Catalina dressing made of?

My Catalina dressing recipe calls for ketchup, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and honey with onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Then, oil is added to hold it all together and help it stick to whatever you are using it on. Some recipes also call for ground mustard, cayenne pepper, or lemon juice.

What is the difference between French and Catalina dressing?

Both of these delicious salad dressings are a deep orange color with a tangy and sweet flavor. But French dressing has more oil and spices than Catalina sauce, which is mostly ketchup. In fact, the ingredients are the same, but the proportions are different. French dressing is lighter in color and creamier. It also has a wider range of flavors from more spices including parsley, mustard, and salt.

Is Catalina the same thing as Russian dressing?

Russian dressing surprisingly actually did not originate in Russia at all, it was invented inNashua, New Hampshire, by James E. Colburn in the 1910s. It is a mayonnaise based recipe, and at first, it used to include part of the ingredients caviar, which is a staple in Russian cuisine. Hence, the name or Russian dressing.

These two dressings are also similar but Russian dressing is spicier, it has more of a kick. It has horseradish and chili sauce in it to give it a more robust taste. Russian is often used as a spread for sandwiches like the Reuben with sauerkraut and corned beef. Many Russian dressing recipes also include mayo and sour cream for extra creaminess, dill, and minced shallots.

Many believe that Catalina dressing was first created in Catalonia, Spain, which is where the name came from. Others believe that the Kraft Company came up with it first. Kraft bought the Milani Company in 1925 and Catalina was their version of a spicy French dressing. This dressing has less mayonnaise, a bolder color, and its a balanced combination of sweet, sour, savory, and just a bit of spicy.

Storage:

  • Refrigerate: Keep your Catalina dressing refrigerated in a glass jar with a lid. It will stay fresh for two weeks.
  • Freeze: I like to make extra and freeze it. Just put it in canning jars and it will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 90 days.
  • Defrost: Put your frozen dressing in the fridge overnight to thaw before serving.

More salad dressing recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • If you do not have a food processor or regular blender, you can use a handheld blender or mix the ingredients in a bowl using a whisk.
  • Go easy on the salt until you taste it because the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are both salty.
  • Preferably, do NOT serve this Catalina Dressing immediately, but allow the flavors to meld together by refrigerating it for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe

Homemade Catalina Dressing is perfect for salads, tastes so much better than the store-bought version. Flavorful and ready in 5 minutes!

Homemade Catalina Dressing
  • Prep Time5 MIN
  • Cook Time
  • Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil or olive oil

Instructions

  • Add the vinegar, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to a blender. Cover and puree.
  • With the blender running on low speed, open the vent in the lid and slowly add the oil and blend until combined. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to a month.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(52)
Roxanne

Roxanne

Perfect flavor!

Terre Lee

Terre Lee

Thank you for bringing salad back to my life! This recipe is perfect just the way it is! I also love your homemade blue cheese dressing and use them both on my salad. Amazing!!


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy, thank you for the feedback

Jenna

Jenna

So good! I used apple cider vinegar because it’s what’s I had and oh mannnnn 😍


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy, thank you for the feedback

Jaimie

Jaimie

Authentic homemade version. Simple steps, quick and easy to make. Great recipe

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