Homemade Catalina Dressing Recipe From Scratch

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 Salad Dressing Recipe

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.

Pouring Catalina Dressing Recipe

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.

Lettuce


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.

Taco Salad


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!

Dressing Recipe


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!

Dressing Recipe
4.72 from 7 votes
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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!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Catalina dressing
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Calories 1270 kcal
Creator Merissa

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 

Recipe Notes

This dressing will stay good for at least a week when stored in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Catalina Salad Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1270 Calories from Fat 1008
% Daily Value*
Fat 112g172%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 0.4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 32g
Monounsaturated Fat 71g
Sodium 1823mg79%
Potassium 322mg9%
Carbohydrates 70g23%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 64g71%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 831IU17%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More Homemade Salad Dressings

Have you ever made your own Catalina dressing before? Is your recipe the same or different? 

merissabioThis Catalina Dressing Recipe was originally published on Little House Living in Dec 2014. It has been updated as of September 2022.

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Recipe Rating




42 Comments

  1. I look forward to trying this! We use Catalina dressing to make Catalina meatballs – first saute about 2 onions in a pan, and get them nice and carmelized. Then put some meatballs on top of the onions (frozen – either store brand or homemade) and pour over your Catalina dressing. Cover and let simmer until the meatballs are nice and hot. I like to serve this with some egg noodles, but you can serve it with rice, too. I also top my portion with sour cream. So yummy!

      1. You’re welcome. 🙂 And I just want to tell you that I absolutely love what you did to makeover your home, it looks fantastic! It’s really an inspiration. I would love to have a farm homestead. Maybe someday…

  2. Hi Merissa,
    Is this salad green(s)that you are growing in your Aerogarden device and are you satisfied with them or totally impressed?? Those greens look great w/ homemade any kind of dressing!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. This is a mix of greens, some from the store and some from the garden. I’m really more of a fan of romaine type lettuces so I like that in my salad and I’m not sure I could grow that in the areogarden. I plan on planting some in a plastic tote though were it can grow a little bigger.

  3. If I wantes to make honey Catalina that they have on grocery store shelves, how would I factor in the honey.

  4. We just enjoyed this dressing with a salad at our family Christmas Eve dinner- it was a big hit! Thanks- Merry Christmas!!

  5. I love making my own salad dressings! So far I haven’t come up with a good catalina or French version, but this one looks promising. Can’t wait to try it!

  6. Your homemade Catalina Salad Dressing sounds delicious. Thank you so much for sharing this with Foodie Friends Friday party this weekend. We’ve pinned/shared and look forward to seeing you again soon with another delicious recipe.

  7. Hi Merissa, Just popped by to let you know your salad dressing recipe was featured at the Inspiration Spotlight party! & pinned to our features board.

  8. Catalina’s one of our favorite dressings! I use it for all sorts of things, including as a marinade. You’re featured today on Inspire Me Monday. Congrats! 🙂

    1. Personally I use olive oil in this recipe. It has a little more of a robust flavor than other vegetable oils but it’s usually what we have on hand.

  9. Marissa,

    Here’s a recipe for you that sounds really weird but is fabulous. That said, it is not for everyone but try it, you may like it.

    Chicken and Sauerkraut – (I know – really weird and What?)

    4 boneless chicken breast – tried chicken thighs and it wasn’t the same
    1 bag of sauerkraut – drained (if only cans are available use 1 1/2 – 2)
    1 bottle Catalina Salad dressing
    Swiss Cheese – sliced or shredded

    Take a casserole dish that will hold your chicken in a single layer and grease it. Put the chicken in the dish, cover with the sauerkraut evenly. Pour the dressing over top making sure to cover the entire layer of sauerkraut. Cover with Swiss cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about an hour until chicken is cooked through.

    I serve this with buttered noodles and green beans. Personally I have tried this with other side dishes and vegetables but these two were the best. Hope you enjoy!

    Maureen

  10. We are not ketchup people so never have it in the house. I’m thinking about subbing it with tomato paste, maybe a bit of extra water or oil and some agave to sweeten it up. What do you think?

  11. I made it for the first time and it tastes pretty good. To me it was a little to vinegary for my taste. How much should I reduce the vinegar? Or should I try a different type of vinegar? I’ll probably reduce the sugar just a little bit. It was very good and very close tasting to the store bought Catalina. Thanks for the great recipe.

      1. I used the apple cider vinegar. I did finish the first batch and made it again and reduced the sugar and vinegar to 1/8 cup. It came out so delicious and just right. So I’m gonna make a double batch to fill a whole bottle. ?

  12. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it is delicious! I added about half a teaspoon of hot honey mustard and poured the oil into the blender slowly while it was running to ensure a good emulsification. Definitely exceeded my expectations.

  13. Your recepie seems yummy. I haven’t bought any dressing the last 10 years. I make the traditional kind with oil, vinegar ,pepper and French provincial spices or a simple recepie I use when I make a salad: 3 parts hony; -clear kind- and 1 part scharp French mustard. I keep it in a glass jar in the fridge: it keeps Ok for 6 months. Sometimes I eat raw spinach(don’t like it cooked) with a little of my honey-mustard mix. I also apply a tiny bit on my slice of Dutch cheese when I eat it on bread for lunch.

  14. I believe my mother used this dressing as her go to. I have tried to duplicate, y all know moms use a pour of this and a pinch if that, haha.
    This one sounds like its IT! Can’t wait to try it.
    Gotta give a shout out to your Fur Buddy. My gosh what beautiful coloring and markings.
    Gorgeous down to the ear stripes..
    Thanks for keeping it real

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you very good.I reduced the sugar to 1/2 added a little more white vinegar as I like it tangy will be making this again🤗

  16. Absolutely delicious! Have made it twice this month already and have passed it on to friends. Only suggestion would be to make it a day ahead – that way all the flavors meld together!

  17. 4 stars
    Great recipe. Didn’t have ACV replaced with lemon juice, worked fine. Problem was only had virgin olive oil which overpowered the rest. Will do this with a lighter oil next time. Ended up doubling homemade Paprika. Would like to try it with smoked paprika next time too. Definitely will be a go to recipe from now on.