You may find the title of my post “Homemade French Salad Dressing, The American Kind” a bit strange. What does she mean French dressing the America kind? What I mean is that this so called “French” salad dressing is not French but rather an American invention. In France salad dressings are light vinaigrettes. My favorite and the one I came across most often was a delicious and light mustard vinaigrette. As a matter of fact the whole time we lived in France never once did we see a orange-red thick salad dressing like the “French” dressing found in the states and other countries. Wait, on one very rare occasion we actually found a bottle of an orange-red dressing, and it was called American Salad Dressing. When we opened it we realized that the flavor was exactly as the “French” dressing we used to purchase in the US. In Prague Hellman’s sells the American “French” dressing and is called Francouzsky or French. But there is another local brand that sells this as American rather than French.
Did I loose or confuse you guys enough yet? Ok, so the bottom line is that the orange-red sweet-tart salad dressing you see in the photos is an American invention. If you are in France save yourself the embarrassment and do not ask for the orange-red salad dressing at a local restaurant, also don’t complain when your salad does not arrive with that salad dressing but a vinaigrette instead. In case you are wondering, yes I saw Americans in Paris complaining about this. If you simply must have the American “French” dressing then check at a grocery store that carries foreign ingredients.
Does it sound like I’m bashing American “French” salad dressing? Why no I am not. I don’t complain about American style salad dressings, I actually love them. Have you ever dipped potato wedges or french fries into Ranch dressing? Heaven, I tell you! How about using Italian dressing to marinade chicken then grill it? No? Well you must! Don’t get me wrong I also love light vinaigrettes and well pretty much any type of dressing for my salads. I started making homemade “French” salad dressing because our grocery store always runs out when I need a bottle. This recipe is one that I’ve been making for several years now and it’s a very close comparison to the bottled kind. Usually I just taste as I go and adjust as I like, so feel free to do so. I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you try it.
American Style French Salad Dressing:
Makes 2-3 Servings
3 tbsp. mayonaise
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. each of salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic
1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. Worchestire sauce
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust to your taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 1 week.
- 3 tbsp. mayonaise
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- ½ tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. each of salt, ground black pepper, granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup
- ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. Worcester sauce
- Mix all ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust to your taste. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 1 week.
LOL! I can just imagine when somebody ask for the French dressing hahaa.
Color of your homemade dressing look so beautiful, happy color, and as always beautiful photos and tasty recipe!
My favorite dressings are thousand island, and just plain vinegar and olive oil!
I have a great thousand Island recipe if you want it!
Spicie Foodie says
Hi Sandra, Thank you :) Oh, yes Thousand Island is good too! I do love oil and vinegar or even just good EVOO on my salads.
Ha ha – I've had to deal with the fallout of so-called 'French' dressing too, when French family and friends came to visit the US. I actually don't care for it on salads (give me a vinaigrette any day) but if you swap out the vinegar and use lemon juice instead, you've got a great shrimp and/or crab cocktail sauce! Lovely photos, as always!
I'm with ya, I'm with ya, I understood you right away. As a kid, my fave dressing was Catalina, which is about the same thing, although your homemade version is surely a ton better!
Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan says
Not only does this sound fantastic but it's gorgeous! Splashing this pretty dressing on my salads would make them 1000x more appealing!
Love the color, thank you for sharing the homemade recipe! I like american dressings, but I try to avoid them, or make them home, because of the preservatives and other stuff they put in. BUT! there's a but :)) one cannot have buffalo wings without ranch :) or have you ever tried fries dipped in thousand islad dressing? :)) YUM!
Emily Malloy says
Love this! I think this maybe something I gotta try!!! :)
Beautiful colors! So glad recipes are available for dressings,the ones sold in our supermarkets are not good at all…too much cornstarch!
Alina---Explora Cuisine says
What a beautiful colored dressing Nancy! my favourite is tzatziki and blue cheese also, I could eat these two with bread only :))) Have a lovely rest of the week!
I've never seen this dressing, it looks delicious.
Michelle Chin says
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil OR salsa dressing.
claudia lamascolo says
always wondered what was in this dressing, this looks delicious, the ketsup threw me never had a clue on that one…. sounds wonderful! Can be a great marinade for chicken too!
This American French dressing is one of hubby's favorites…but I'm all for a lovely vinaigrette :)
a. maren says
i have to say, as much as i've tried to increase my levels of sophistication, i think my favorite salad dressing is still just…RANCH! very sad, very prole. but this french looks like it would come close :)
Love it! My family (minus me) are completely hooked on Ranch – so no confusion there :) Your dressing looks wonderful – great color!
Anna C says
I guess it depends on the type of salad we're having, but balsamic (white or red) and olive oil seems the one that appears most frequently on our table.
Betty @ scrambled henfruit says
I remember that when I was growing up, that “french” dressing was all we ever had! I don't think I've had it since, but I bet your homemade version is delicious. I'll have to try it soon- salads are all I'm in the mood for in this heat! :)
Chef Dennis says
it is so funny that we grew up thinking this was French dressing…sigh….instead of a marketing ploy by Kraft! so many folks do love that dressing, I hate to admit it but my favorite dressing is the tomato version of krafts french, Catalina!! I absolutely love that dressing, and bleu cheese would be second!
hope all is well in your world
I love your post :)), and also the pictures, they are absolutely beautiful! My favourite dressing is actually the balsamic vinaigrette.
Roxana GreenGirl says
thanks for the dressing background. I had no idea that it's not French.
Although I don't eat my salads with dressing I have to say the color is so beautiful, so different from the store bought one.
Thanks for sharing :)
Hester Casey - Alchemy says
Never had this. Beautiful colour. I will make salad this weekend just to try this dressing.
I've never seen 'American style French dressing' looking so good;-) Great simple recipe and gorgeous photos Nancy;-)
Your photos are stunning and your recipes are making my mouth salivate. So glad I stopped by. I'm your newest follower.
Hi there! Here in southern IL., there's a locally famous thin – crust pizza joint where everyone uses “French” dressing ON the pizza!
I'll bet this one has a really bright taste!
I think it's hilarious that what we call French dressing the French call American. Thanks for sharing that and the tasty recipe.
This is so funny…I had absolutely no idea what American French dressing is before I read your post! It looks like a thinner, redder version of Thousand Island dressing to me, and even the bottled version of that dressing had me perplexed for many years. My idea of a simple and fresh salad dressing is a good squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil and some fresh herbs chopped into it. No idea what this is called though!
Magic of Spice says
You are so funny…and I agree fries must be dipped in ranch, or spicy mustard :)
Thanks for this – I made something that needed “French Dressing” so I went and bought the usual vinaigrette and was wondering why it didn’t turn out right … looks like the recipe must have been American cause I’ve never seen a red/orange French Dressing. Can’t believe they do this. Yes … French Dressing is basically oil and vinegar. Good grief. Only in America.
Spicie Foodie says
Oh no, sorry to hear the recipe didn’t turn out. Now, I have to giggle at the rest of your comment:) It’s pretty funny how things are said to be from a country that actually aren’t. But I think it happens in all places.
Made your French Dressing as per plan with the addition of 1 tbs digon mustard
Will see what the wife thinks
Spicie Foodie says
Hi Keegan! That sounds great — enjoy your dressing.
My mother has made a dressing like this since I was a kid, our version had just mayo and ketchup. For thousand island we just added sweet relish.
Annie Young says
Hello. This recipe looked so good and easy I just had to try it. It indeed was easy but I’m finding it too thick. What would you suggest to thin it out… water?
Spicie Foodie says
Thank you for tying the recipe. Perhaps a little bit of milk would be better, but there’s no reason why you can test out the water. Make sure you taste it because you may need to adjust the other flavours. Enjoy! :)
I made this tonight. Its nice but not like the French dressing I’ve tried in the US before. Will make it again.