What Is French Dressing?

I remember only truly “getting” salad after being introduced to French dressing. Oh, sure, I choked down the lettuce and tomatoes before that (mainly because I knew I needed them in my system to not get scurvy), but I only really started enjoying the salad portion of my meal when I discovered you could cover it in delicious Heathcliff-colored goo. That’s right, thanks to French dressing, I was able to eat my vegetables wince-free and grow up into the s̶t̶r̶o̶n̶g̶, c̶a̶p̶a̶b̶l̶e̶, i̶n̶t̶e̶l̶l̶i̶g̶e̶n̶t̶, uh, friendly person I am today. 

What is French dressing?  

In terms of flavor and consistency, French dressing as we know it today exists somewhere along the salad dressing spectrum between Catalina and Russian. When first invented in the early 1900s, it was closer to a vinaigrette, but slowly got creamier and creamier due to the addition of ingredients like ketchup. The current form of French dressing we enjoy today is a relatively thick orangish sauce that spruces up your salads, and makes vegetables edible to picky children around the world. And, if your family’s anything like mine, there’s probably a bottle of it from the mid 1990s in your fridge right now.

What is in French dressing?

Though French dressing seems like it would only really contain one ingredient (that ingredient being “orange”) it’s really quite an intricate mixture of oil, vinegar, sugar, and other flavorings of the maker’s choice, with the coloring derived from tomato and often paprika. While it’s primarily used on green salads, you can also use french dressing as a delicious sandwich spread, and much, much, much less delicious milkshake base. 

Is French dressing gluten free?

Most French dressing brands are gluten free, but be wary of ones that utilize things like worcestershire sauce or malt vinegar in the ingredient list, as they are typically made with gluten. To be sure, though, it may be safest to make a batch of it yourself so you can control what goes into what you’re eating. 

Is French dressing vegan?

While you should always check the label to be 100% sure, it’s usually a safe bet to assume the French dressing you’re purchasing is vegan. Some brands that are fully vegan include Annie’s Organic, Wishbone, and Kraft Fat Free. Sorry that these vegan and gluten free question parts of the articles don’t ever have many jokes in them, but I’d never want my goofing around to be the reason someone accidentally breaks their principles! Hey, whattaya know, maybe I am “capable!” 

French dressing may not be everyone’s first choice when it comes to a yummy salad (ranch always seems to take first place), but it will always be the tops in my book. I’ll raise a Champagne flute full of the orange stuff to it now and toast its existence. To French dressing! May a bottle of you always be in the fridge door!

best french dressing

Best French Dressing

Now that you know what French dressing is, find out what the best French dressing is. We tasted some of the top brands to find the absolute best French dressing you can buy.

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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