Thousand Island Dressing

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  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Yield: 1 1/4 cups

This Thousand Island recipe is a nod to the most traditional version of the popular dressing — a combination of mayonnaise, garlic, chili sauce, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, onion and a very finely chopped hard-boiled egg — and is perfect anywhere that you would use the store-bought version. The origin of this beloved dressing? No one is certain how Thousand Island dressing came to be, but one story begins in the Thousand Island region of New York state (near Canada). A historically wealthy vacation area of over one thousand islands (hence, the name) in the St. Lawrence river, the creation of this sweet and creamy dressing is said to have taken place there — on a boat. The story goes that a chef forgot ingredients to make a proper dressing for his employer's salad. So, he improvised and threw together the ingredients he had on-hand, inventing the first-ever Thousand Island dressing. The story goes on to say that the chef then went on to work at New York City's famous Waldorf Astoria hotel, bringing the recipe with him. It was there that the dressing found a main-stage audience — and has been slathered on rye bread for Rueben sandwiches ever since. It’s more likely, however, that some clever, unknown cook decided that a sweet and tangy dressing was needed as the perfect culinary counterpoint to bitter salad greens. Either way, we're glad the dressing is here. Thousand island dressing is great on roast beef, turkey, ham and pastrami sandwiches and drizzled over crunchy wedge salads. The garlic in this recipe should be so finely chopped that it’s almost a paste. Here’s a tip for success: smash your garlic clove with the flat side of a chef's knife. Sprinkle it with salt and use a combination of chopping and scraping movements (with the side of the blade) to coax it into a perfect paste. There’s an easy hack for cutting up the hard-boiled egg, too. You don’t even need a knife — just push the egg through the perforations of a sieve or colander and you instantly have finely “diced” eggs. For the ultimate Thousand Island dressing use homemade mayonnaise: Combine 1/2 cup each olive oil and vegetable oil in a liquid measuring cup. Whisk together 1 large room temperature pasteurized egg yolk, 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small nonreactive bowl. Set the bowl on a damp kitchen towel to steady it. Drizzle in the oil mixture very slowly, whisking constantly — the mixture will begin to thicken after about half of the oil is added. Use what you need in your homemade Thousand Island dressing and then refrigerate the remaining mayonnaise in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Thousand Island sauce? Sure! This dressing is great for dipping. Try it with shrimp cocktail, fried seafood, chicken fingers, crudité and eggrolls. Enjoy!

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1/2 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste

3/4 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise

1/4 cup bottled chili sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion

2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish

1/2 hard-cooked large egg, pushed through a sieve or finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make a paste with the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt by crushing them with the side of a chef's knife. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, mayonnaise, chili sauce, ketchup, onion, relish and egg until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use now or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.