The Best Italian Dressing (Light and Low Fat Italian Dressing, Too)

The best Italian dressing is a real refrigerator workhorse. It’s great on salads—duh—but it also works as a marinade for meat, lubrication for a tangy pasta salad, or as the dressing on an Italian sub. Italian dressing adds tangy, herby luxury to anything you drench with it, and that’s why we love it. 

Salad dressing is all about the proper ratio of ingredients, so we looked for that perfect balance in the Italian dressings we tasted. We want tang, richness, herbs, and seasoning—and that goes for low fat Italian dressing, too. Over the course of two separate taste tests, we tried more than two dozen Italian dressings to find the best tasting Italian dressing at the grocery store. Marinate on this for a minute.


best gluten free italian dressing

Best Dairy Free

Yo Mama’s Creamy Italian Dressing & Dip

Yo Mama’s Creamy Italian is absolutely stacked with herbs, so much so that it’s almost chunky. Most creamy Italian dressings typically involve some sort of dairy (usually parmesan cheese), but not this one. Yo Mama is gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free, but it tastes really fresh and cheesy all the same. You might think it has too many herbs, which I would understand, but if you want a fragrant, herbaceous Italian dressing that’ll last in the refrigerator, this will do just fine. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

best italian dressing

Best Comforting

Marzetti Italian Salad Dressing

Marzetti makes one of the best Italian dressings if you like it sweet. When Italian dressing isn’t sweet at all, I think you could better categorize it as a vinaigrette. Italian dressing is an American construct, and Marzetti fully leans into that. The ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, garlic, onion, bell pepper, and soybean oil. Overall, the flavor is comforting and good. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best italian dressing

Best Regional

Zia’s Sweet Italian Oil & Vinegar

I’ve often been critical of food in St. Louis (see: Imo’s pizza, provel cheese, etc.), but I really love this Italian dressing, which hails from the Lou. It’s made with red wine vinegar, cane sugar, and olive oil, which gives it a nice, rich flavor. There’s something super comforting about a sweet Italian dressing. Maybe I’ll go to Zia’s one day, because this Italian dressing really won me over. The only downside is you’ll probably have to buy it online, unless you live in the Midwest and they sell it near you. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best creamy italian dressing

Best Creamy

Ken’s Steak House Creamy Italian Dressing

Creamy Italian fans rise up! Ken’s Creamy Italian has a dynamic creamy and tangy quality that makes it the best creamy Italian dressing we tried, plus it’s loaded with herbs and seasoning. Personally, I like mixing ranch and Italian dressing together to create an Italian dressing that is actually creamy, but this one is pretty dang good. It could use some cheese, but hey, just add some Romano cheese to your salad to achieve that. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

olive garden italian dressing review

Best Low Fat

Olive Garden Light Italian Dressing

I didn’t taste this light version of Olive Garden’s signature salad dressing head to head with the full-fat version. But my colleague Jordan Myrick and I agree: If you aren’t tasting them head to head (why would you be?), you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two. Much like the Olive Garden Italian dressing you know and love and dunk those oily little breadsticks into, this low-fat Italian dressing is salty, tangy, and a touch nutty from the bits of Romano cheese you’ll find suspended in the opaque liquid. In each two tablespoon serving, there’s only 30 calories and 2 grams of fat, while the original Olive Garden Italian has 80 calories and 8 grams of fat. If you’re looking for a low sugar or low carb Italian dressing, this works, too—there’s only 2 grams of sugar per serving. If you like Olive Garden Italian, you should totally give this a try. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

olive garden italian dressing review

Best Restaurant

Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing

There’s no lemon listed in this Italian dressing’s ingredients, but it’s citrusy all the same. That’s probably just a good helping of white vinegar and maybe some garlic. There’s a sweetness present here (high fructose corn syrup), and the only knock on the flavor is that it could use some herbs. A great thing about Olive Garden’s dressing is that it’s really viscous and homogenous; the oil isn’t separated at all, so you don’t need to shake the bottle. This dressing is thick and creamy and the tang is sensational. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best lite italian dressing

Best Lite

Ken’s Steak House Lite Northern Italian with Basil & Romano

If you like an Italian dressing with a lot of stuff in it (Italian dressing is just better with a lot of stuff in it) and you’re watching your fat and cals, this is the best Italian dressing you can buy. It has 60% less fat and 55% fewer calories than “regular dressing.” I’m not willing to do the math, but I assume “regular dressing” means Ken’s Italian dressing you’ll read about in the next entry. Either way, the stats are pretty good: 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving. You’re probably curious about that “stuff” I mentioned earlier, huh? Well, this dressing is positively packed with herbs and cheese, as well as little bits of peppers and garlic. It’s also quite oily, but I think that’s one of its best qualities considering it’s low cal. You have to shake this well and constantly, but it’s worth it if you want the best light Italian dressing. —Gwynedd Stuart

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best italian dressing

Best Marinade

Ken’s Steak House Italian with Aged Romano Dressing

This dressing is herby, funky, cheesy, and delicious. The Romano cheese adds a really good salty bite. There’s a sharpness and a complete lack of sweetness that I found quite refreshing. This one labels itself as a marinade, too, and it’s definitely the best Italian dressing for soaking some chicken breasts. This dressing is what I think of when I picture Italian dressing. You could do much, much worse than Ken’s. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best garlicky italian dressing

Best Garlicky

Whole Foods Market Organic Italian Romano Vinaigrette

Whole Foods Romano Italian dressing is sharp, savory, and garlicky. It’s got the most garlic flavor of any dressing on this list. It’s really robust because it’s made with olive oil (which also means it’ll congeal in the fridge), and overall just has a wonderfully complex flavor. The combo of garlic, cheese, more garlic, vinegar, and good olive oil makes for a phenomenal dressing. This is the best Italian dressing for a nice antipasto salad. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best italian dressing

Best Surprise

Girard’s Olde Venice Italian Vinaigrette

This Italian dressing surprised the hell out of all of us. Girard’s has MSG in it, so it’s really savory. The ingredients include mustard seed, corn cider vinegar (a mixture of corn vinegar made from corn sugar and apple cider vinegar), and white wine vinegar, which make it stand out among the other Italian dressings on this list and certainly makes it among the best tasting Italian dressing on the market. It’s just got everything we want: richness, umami, piquancy, and bite. Maybe it could use some herbs or a little cheese, but it’s also fine as is. Girard’s may not be a traditional Italian dressing, but it brings flavor in a big way. Make sure to shake it often (the oil separates), but it’s definitely worth buying. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best italian dressing

Best of the Best

Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese

This is a prime example of perfect salad dressing alchemy. Trader Joe’s Organic Italian dressing has great acidity, good oil-based richness, and a healthy amount of herbage (a tasty trio of rosemary extract, basil, and oregano). Additionally, the salty and pungent bite of the Romano cheese elevates this Italian dressing to elite status. There’s a hint of sweetness here too, probably from the bell pepper. Trader Joe’s makes the best Italian dressing—probably better than what you could make at home. —Danny Palumbo

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other products we tried: Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian, Wishbone Creamy Italian, Kroger Zesty Italian, Kraft Deluxe Supreme Italian, Kraft Zesty Italian, Walden Farms Italian, Signature Select, Simple Truth, 365 Italian, Drew’s, June Moon Spice Company, Great Value Light Zesty Italian, Great Value Fat Free Italian, Wishbone Fat Free Italian, Skinny Girl Sugar Free Italian, G Hughes Sugar Free Italian, Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian, Newman’s Own Light Italian


About the Author

Sporked Staff

The Sporked Staff tastes everything and anything. They are obsessive about groceries and finding the best of any type of food or drink, from frozen fried shrimp to Dijon mustard to gummy candy. And they're always on a hunt for the best new products. When they aren't eating professionally, they're eating recreationally. And often they're browsing grocery store aisles, just for fun.