You can now recreate your favorite Italian restaurant salad or deli hoagie with just a few simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand. Slather it on everything from grilled chicken to egg salad sandwiches. You’ll definitely make this again and again.

Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers were delighted that this salad dressing was “easy to make” and used pantry staples.

Pat Francis joined in with her comment, “The mix of oils, the dry oregano, the red wine vinegar, the mayonnaise for emulsification—these are all keys to recreating a classic Italian restaurant dressing. It took me back not only to salads of my youth but also to the dressing on an Italian hoagie.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for creamy Italian dressing -- olive oil, parsley, mayo, garlic, sugar, and red wine vinegar.
  • Mayonnaise–Use your favorite store-bought or homemade mayonnaise. For a vegan-friendly option, or if you’re serving someone with egg allergies, use vegan mayo.
  • Oil–The recipe calls for a blend of olive oil and vegetable oil for a neutral flavor. You can make the dressing with just one type of oil if you prefer.

How to Make This Recipe

Italian salad dressing steps -- garlic being mashed and bowls of vinegar, sugar, mayo, and parsley in the back ground.
  1. Mash the garlic and salt in a bowl to make a paste.
  2. Whisk in the vinegar, oregano, sugar, and mayonnaise.
Oil being poured into a bowl with a whisk and a bowl of dressing with a spoon and fork inside.
  1. Slowly whisk in the oil. Continue whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour into a large salad bowl. Prepare your salad.

Common Questions

How long will this dressing keep?

The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container or lidded jar for up to 3 days.

How can I use this dressing?

Well, this dressing is the perfect partner to our Italian salad. A match made in Fellini heaven.

As a few of our testers noted, this Italian dressing is a great copycat recipe of the hoagie and sub sauces from their youth. Apart from that, we can also heartily recommend using it for a marinade for meat or veg, a dressing for pasta salad, mixing it into your egg or tuna salad sandwich, or drizzled over roasted vegetables.

Helpful Tips

  • If making dressing in advance, store it in a lidded jar so that you can shake it to recombine the ingredients easily.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets. To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise.

More great salad dressing recipes

☞ If you make this recipe, or anydish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A glass bowl partially filled with creamy Italian salad dressing with a spoon resting inside.

Creamy Italian Salad Dressing

4.86 / 7 votes
This creamy Italian salad dressing is exactly what you think it is—a creamy mix of garlic, mayo, red wine vinaigrette, oregano, and oil. It's perfect on a crisp salad of iceberg, croutons, red onions, and everything else you remember from restaurant versions.
David Leite
CourseCondiments
CuisineItalian
Servings6 servings
Calories160 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil mixed with 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, use a fork to mash the garlic with 1/2 teaspoon of salt to form a paste.
  • Whisk in the mayonnaise, vinegar, oregano, and sugar. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking until the dressing is emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

  1. Make ahead–The dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Storage–If making dressing in advance, store it in a lidded jar so that you can shake it to recombine the ingredients easily.
  3. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets. To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise.
Lasagna Cookbook

Adapted From

Lasagna

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Nutrition

Serving: 2 tablespoonsCalories: 160 kcalCarbohydrates: 1 gProtein: 1 gFat: 18 gSaturated Fat: 2 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 2 mgSodium: 30 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2019 Anna Hezel. Photos © 2023 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

The mix of oils, the dry oregano, the red wine vinegar, the mayonnaise for emulsification—these are all keys to recreating a classic Italian restaurant dressing. It took me back not only to salads of my youth but also to the dressing on an Italian hoagie. The crunch of iceberg, the old standard that’s been spurned for more cosmopolitan greens, holds up to this robust vinaigrette like a dancer reunited with an old partner.

The creamy Italian salad dressing is delicious and so easy to make with ingredients you always have on hand. I definitely needed a double batch.

As I read through the ingredients, this almost read like the salad my grandfather would make nightly, but the addition of mayonnaise takes it in a creamy direction and gave me a good prompt to buy iceberg lettuce. The ingredients are easily available year-round and most are pantry items.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

    1. lowandslow, the recipe is just referring to the combination of 3 tablespoons each of olive oil and vegetable oil.

    2. The “blended oil” instruction makes it sound like we’re meant to use 1/4 cup+2T of oil PLUS 3T each of olive and vegetable oil (basically double the amount needed). I’m glad I read the comments first (which should absolutely not be necessary to successfully make a recipe).

      HOWEVER: Even when made to spec this is bland. I added a pinch of garlic powder, an extra pinch of oregano, salt/pepper and MSG, and got close to what I expect from an old-school Italian dressing recipe.

      1. Thanks, Jason. You are right that you shouldn’t need to look at the comments in order to successfully make the recipe. We’ve updated it to be clearer.