Salads get a bad rap, but, personally, I don’t think they deserve it. I think the onus is not on salads to be good, but on us to make them good. Yes, boring salads are often bad, but throw in a protein, cheese, fruit, some crispy carbs, and a bangin’ dressing, and salads can be one of the most delicious, refreshing, texturally interesting, and customizable dishes out there. But the first step to S-tier salads is figuring out a theme to center around, and that’s often…drumroll…the dressing! Here’s a rundown of the best salad dressing we’ve tried during our taste tests.
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- Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing
I feel like everyone remembers when they first realized that salads aren’t all the worst, and, at least in the U.S., a large percentage of those leafy green awakenings involved Hidden Valley Ranch. What makes Hidden Valley Ranch great besides, you know, everything about it? In their ranking of the best ranch dressing, Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick pointed out that it is “perfectly balanced: It’s a little herby, a little sweet, and a little tangy. You can’t pick out any one ingredient because everything is so beautifully homogeneous.” Whether you’re putting it on your pizza, your salad, or straight in your mouth like Mythical Chef Josh, ranch is a garlicky, herby delight.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- Cardini’s Original Caesar Dressing
Fun fact, Caesar salad was not invented in the U.S. or Italy but in Mexico by an Italian immigrant (named Caesar Cardini). Well, guess what, our pick for best Caesar happens to bear the Cardini name. As Jordan said in their ranking of the best caesar dressings, it makes a lot of sense that the inventor of Caesar salad’s brand was our top Caesar dressing pick. This dressing is “acidic, garlicky, perfectly creamy” and Jordan said that “after trying this Caesar dressing, I will never buy another Caesar dressing again.” Alright, I’m not even a huge Caesar person and I’m sold.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- Ken’s Steak House Creamy French Dressing
For those of you who have never tried French dressing, it can range from violently orange to violently red and tastes like a creamy mix of sweetness, tang, and salt. This particular French dressing is on team orange, and, according to Jordan, has the “perfect balance of tart and sweet.” They also like the creamy thickness and pointed out that this would be good on lettuce, yes, but also on some piping-hot nuggs.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart
- Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Dressing with Romano Cheese
Y’all already know I love Trader Joe’s (or maybe you don’t, in which case: Hi, I love Trader Joe’s). Why? Because many of their products are unique, cheap, and generally high quality, and this Italian dressing with Romano cheese is no exception. In fact, in his ranking of the best Italian dressing, Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo called it the “prime example of perfect salad dressing alchemy,” because it has the tang, the oily richness, and the herbs you want in a good Italian dressing, along with a hint of sweetness and a “pungent bite” from the Romano cheese. I know you didn’t think you needed cheese in your Italian dressing, but trust us (and TJ’s), you do.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde
- Bob’s Famous Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing & Dip
I don’t actually like blue cheese as a cheese, but blue cheese as a dressing?! Sign me up. I’m aware that this may make no sense to you, but hey, I contain multitudes. And whether it’s drizzled on a wedge salad, slathered on chicken wings, or simply serving as a dip for Snyders pretzel snaps (highly recommend this combo as a late night/wee hours of the mornin’ snack) – if you want the most blue cheesiness per fl oz., this Bob’s dressing has you covered. According to Jordan, this “rich and creamy and thick” dressing has “both big and small chunks of blue cheese and huge pieces of freshly cracked peppercorns.” Ugh, YUM!
Credit: Merc / Walmart
Best Ranch Dressing
Best Caesar Dressing
Best French Dressing
Best Italian Dressing
Best Blue Cheese Dressing