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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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
- ¼ cup Ketchup can use Homemade Ketchup
- ¼ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce you can use Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Pepper optional
- ½ cup mild-tasting Oil
Place all the ingredients together in the blender. Pulse until everything is mixed together.
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.
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?
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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 the Contact Page.
This Catalina Dressing Recipe was originally published on Little House Living in Dec 2014. It has been updated as of June 2023.