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.
Adapted from Anna Hezel | Lasagna | Clarkson Potter, 2019
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.”
Notes on Ingredients
- 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
- Mash the garlic and salt in a bowl to make a paste.
- Whisk in the vinegar, oregano, sugar, and mayonnaise.
- Slowly whisk in the oil. Continue whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour into a large salad bowl. Prepare your salad.
The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container or lidded jar for up to 3 days.
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.
- 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
Creamy Italian Salad Dressing
- 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
- 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.
- Make ahead–The dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Storage–If making dressing in advance, store it in a lidded jar so that you can shake it to recombine the ingredients easily.
- Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian diets. To make it vegan, use vegan mayonnaise.
LasagnaBuy On Amazon
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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.
What is blended oil? Never heard of it.
lowandslow, the recipe is just referring to the combination of 3 tablespoons each of olive oil and vegetable oil.
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.
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.