The best and worst store-bought salad dressing

The Daily Meal

The worst and best salad dressing

(Photos courtesy of Hidden Valley, Kraft and Newman's Own)

How healthy is your salad dressing? We take a look at the unhealthiest salad dressings and their healthier low-calorie counterparts.

Choosing salad over a sandwich or burger always makes for a healthier lunch, right? Thanks to hefty portion sizes, extravagant toppings, and certain brand-name salad dressings that pack up to 200 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving, this may not always be the case.

We tracked down nutrition information for the leading store-bought brands of ranch, Thousand Island, Caesar, and Italian/vinaigrette salad dressings, and ranked them each, leading up to the one that has the most fat and calories.

Additionally, most people tend to ignore their salad dressing’s reported serving size, which is usually only 2 tablespoons. If the only way you can enjoy a salad is by drenching it in a cup of dressing, then you may not be getting the healthiest lunch you can.

While you should remain wary of store-brand salad dressings with high fat and calorie contents, nutritionists remind salad lovers not to shy away from fat altogether, and warn that low-calorie or low-fat dressings may not always be a healthier option than their full-fat counterparts.

Nutritionist Keri Glassman cautions that what "light" dressings save on calories and fat, they often more than make up for in sodium and sugar. We also ranked these same varieties of dressings according to which ones had the least fat and calories. While these may appear to be healthy alternatives, the sodium level is worth paying attention to. Glassman further asserts that "light" and "fat-free" dressings are often the most common places to find high-fructose corn syrup which she deems a "diet no-no."

(See also: Best canned chili taste test)

 Furthermore, low-fat salad dressings prevent the body’s ability to absorb the carotenoid antioxidants in salad greens and tomatoes, thus greatly diminishing a major health benefit of eating salad. A Purdue University study found that certain healthy fats — like those in olive oil — were necessary to absorb the full benefits of the other vegetables in the salad.

So, what should you dress your salad with instead? Glassman recommends choosing dressings with the shortest list of recognizable ingredients, and preferably an oil-based vinaigrette.
Next time you reach for your favorite salad dressing, make sure to check the nutrition label before making a decision. Alternatively, try making your own dressing at home sing healthy fat sources like the avocado and olive oil in this Avocado and Mint Dressing.

View gallery

Ken's Steakhouse Buttermilk Ranch

(Photo courtesy of Ken's Steak House)

Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a condiment made from a combination of buttermilk, sour cream, salt, garlic and herbs, and is popular as a dip for cut vegetables and as a salad topper.

Unhealthiest Ranch Dressing - Ken's Steakhouse Buttermilk Ranch

Creamy? Yes. Tasty? You bet. But at 20 grams of total fat this Buttermilk Ranch from Ken’s Steakhouse is a pretty unhealthy pick. 180 calories and 280 milligrams of sodium make this dressing the unhealthiest ranch dressing out there.  

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 180
Fat: 20 g
Sodium: 280 mg
Average Price: $3.19

View gallery

Hidden Valley Ranch

(Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley)

Healthiest Ranch Dressing - Hidden Valley Fat-Free Ranch

If you’re craving ranch dressing, there’s reason to celebrate. This light Hidden Valley version is your best bet. Ranch takes on a newer, healthier form at 25 calories, 0 grams of fat, and 310 milligrams of sodium per 2 tablespoons.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 25
Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 310 mg
Average Price: $3.75

View gallery

Newman's Own Italian

(Photo courtesy of Newman's Own)

Italian Dressing

Italian dressing is a viniagrette-type salad dressing that is mainly popular in the U.S. and Canada. This dressing consists mainly of oil, vinegar or lemon juice, chopped peppers, sugar, and a blend of herbs and spices. It's also a popular marinade.

Unhealthiest Italian Dressing - Newman's Own Italian

Undoubtedly the most unhealthy of the Italian selection, this dressing has a total of 13 grams of fat and 360 milligrams of sodium per serving. While it may be a better choice than a creamier topping, this calorie count will still bring down the health value of your salad.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 130
Fat: 13 g
Sodium: 360 mg
Average Price: $5.40

View gallery

Kraft Fat Free Italian

(Photo courtesy of Kraft)

Healthiest Italian Dressing - Kraft Fat Free Zesty Italian

Despite having a higher sodium content than its Wish-Bone and Newman’s Own counterparts, Kraft takes the lead as providing the healthiest of the low-calorie Italian dressings with only 20 calories and 0.3 grams of fat. If you stick to the serving size of 2 tablespoons, this can be a healthy topping to your favorite salad.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 20
Fat: 0.3 g
Sodium: 430 mg
Average Price: $4.50

View gallery

Ken's Steak House Thousand Island

(Photo courtesy of Ken's Steak House)

Thousand Island

Thousand Island dressing is a variant of remoulade and Russian dressing, with a common base of mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ketchup, and assorted other ingredients. 

Unhealthiest Thousand Island Dressing - Ken's Steakhouse Thousand Island

And the title for most unhealthy Thousand Island dressing goes to Ken’s Steakhouse. With 300 milligrams of sodium and 13 grams of fat per 140-calorie serving, this brand just about negates the point of eating a salad in the first place. And it's not cheap, either.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 140
Fat: 13 g
Sodium: 300 mg
Average Price: $5.50

View gallery

Kraft Fat-Free Thousand Island

(Photo courtesy of Kraft)

Healthiest Thousand Island Dressing - Kraft Fat-Free Thousand Island

Once again, Kraft has produced the healthiest of all the low-calorie salad dressings. This dressing has 0 grams of fat, 45 calories, and only 260 milligrams of sodium. This is great news for Thousand Island lovers everywhere.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 45
Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 260 mg
Average Price: $4.00

View gallery

Ken's Steak House Thousand Island

(Photo courtesy of Marie's)

Blue Cheese

Blue cheese salad dressing is a popular dip and dressing in the United States, and is usually made with a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt, milk, onion powder and, of course, blue cheese. 

Unhealthiest Blue Cheese Dressing - Marie's Blue Cheese

If you’re looking for a sure way to spoil your salad’s nutritional value, this Marie’s dressing with 160 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 160 milligrams of sodium will do the job. 

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 160
Fat: 17 g
Sodium: 160 mg
Average Price: $5.20

View gallery

Wish-Bone Light Blue Cheese

(Photo courtesy of Wish-Bone)

Healthiest Blue Cheese Dressing - Wish-Bone Light Blue Cheese

If you’re looking to get your fix of blue cheese dressing, going with Wish-Bone’s 70-calorie dressing would be your best bet. With only 6 grams of fat and 280 milligrams of sodium, Wish-Bone manages to make an inherently unhealthy salad topper into a more health-conscious choice.

Nutrition Information for 2 tablespoons: 
Calories: 70
Fat: 6 g
Sodium: 280 mg
Average Price: $1.98

Click to see More of the Healthiest and Unhealthiest Salad Dressings

More from The Daily Meal :

Make Healthier Salad Dressing 

America's 20 Best Steakhouses

11 Biggest Failed Chain Restaurants

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Kirk Douglas Celebrates 100 with a Star-Studded Birthday Party (and a Little Vodka)

      Kirk Douglas celebrated his 100th birthday with a party attended by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

    • Ask Amy: Ex-husband wants to issue STD warning

      DEAR AMY: My wife of more than 40 years and I had a mutual parting of ways five years ago. We harbor no searing animosity toward one another and we regularly talk in civil and polite tones. She thought I was going in the wrong direction, but I quickly made an effort to meet a new woman through online dating. I was successful in that venture. My ex joined many different clubs and organizations and eventually fell in with a man whose company she enjoys. Happy ending? I wish. I was happy for my ex, but women I met online told me that this guy continues to occupy a spot in the online dating scene, messaging women about his availability. It is not my business, but I’d also rather not have her contract q
    • ‘Big Bang Theory’ Stars Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco Pay Tribute To Simon Helberg

      Simon Helberg is celebrating his 36th birthday today, and his co-stars have shared sweet messages for him on Instagram.

      International Business Times
    • Muslim Teenager Allegedly Harassed While Wearing Hijab on NYC Train Reported Missing

      An 18-year-old Long Island Muslim teenager, who claimed she was harassed on a New York City subway last week, has has now been reported missing, according to the Nassau County Police Department. Yasmin Seweid was last seen leaving her home in New Hyde Park, Long Island, at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday wearing a black jacket, black head scarf, black yoga pants and a blue sweater. “I was harassed on the subway last night and it was just so dehumanizing I can’t speak about it without getting emotional,” she wrote on Dec. 2.

    • Russia intervened to help Trump win election: intelligence officials

      By John Walcott WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help President-elect Donald Trump win the White House, and not just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, a senior U.S. official said on Friday. U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that as the 2016 presidential campaign progressed, Russian government officials devoted increasing attention to assisting Trump's effort to win the election, the U.S. official familiar with the finding told Reuters on Friday night, speaking on condition of anonymity. The president-elect's transition office released a statement that exaggerated his margin of victory and attacked the U.S. intelligence community that Trump will soon command, but did not address the analysts' conclusion.

      Reuters 26 min ago
    • Brian Loncar laid to rest, a week after burying his daughter who killed herself  | Crime

      "Brian Loncar died Sunday because of a broken heart because of Grace," Mike McCurley, a lawyer and close friend, said at the funeral. Hours before his death, Loncar texted McCurley about attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting together Monday. Now, McCurley told the audience, he pictured Brian and Grace together in heaven, sitting at a table with God, helping craft "a better marketing system for Christianity." "I can't wait to see what that is," McCurley said.  Loncar was the one to find his daughter's body, Sue Loncar said. In the days afterward, Brian had told Sue he wasn't sure he could keep living. Yet he also pledged to take time off work and find a way for them to be happy again.  He

      Dallas Morning News q
    • He was set for surgery — until another doctor said the diagnosis was all wrong

      A 65-year-old computer programmer came to the office of Marvin M. Lipman, Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, for an examination to clear him for spinal surgery the following week. He’d been experiencing leg pain while walking, and his orthopedist had scheduled surgery after an MRI showed lumbar spinal stenosis, or an overgrowth of arthritic bone in the spine. Lipman thought it seemed straightforward enough. But his case provided a powerful example of why it’s rarely a good idea to rush into surgery, and why it’s wise to remember that very different health problems can sometimes look remarkably alike. Step on the surgery brakes Lipman’s patient told him that his symptoms had started about

      Washington Post q
    • These pics of Nina Dobrev dressed in silver will finally convince you to give body suits a chance

      We’re all about trying new trends, but one that has us a little hesitant is that one-piece body suit trend. We get…

      Hello Giggles
    • San Jose teacher booked on charges of felony sexual assault with minor

      A San Jose high school community is in shock this morning, over the arrest of one of their teachers. Police accuse her of luring a student into a sexual relationship.

      KGO – San Francisco
    • Inside Kirk Douglas' 100th Birthday Bash

      Kirk Douglas celebrated a milestone birthday in style. The actor turned 100 years old Friday and feted the occasion with members of his famous family and friends at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California. Douglas' son, Michael, and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones, were at the glamorous affair with their children, Dylan Michael and Carys Zeta.

      Good Morning America
    • Missing teen who was allegedly called ‘terrorist’ on subway found

      The 18-year-old Baruch College student who was reported missing a week after she claimed she was the victim of anti-Muslim harassment has been found, Nassau police said. Yasmin Seweid, of New Hyde Park, whose father reported her missing Thursday, was located on Friday night, a police spokesman said. Detail of her absence were not immediately available. The NYPD is still searching for three white men in their 20s who allegedly called the teen a ” f–king terrorist” and grabbed her hijab on an uptown 6 train on Dec. 1.

      New York Post q
    • The Property Brothers and Their Girlfriends Have the Most Amazing Holiday Vacation Plans

      The Property Brothers will be saying mele kalikimaka come Christmas Day! HGTV stars Drew and Jonathan Scott usually spend their holidays at home in Las Vegas, but this year the 38-year-old twins are getting tropical. “After a hard-working year we’ve decided to take our families to Hawaii to relax for ten days over the holiday,” Drew tells PEOPLE.

    • 11 things Linda McMahon will totally do as new head of the SBA

      Since truth is stranger than fiction in 2016, a wrestling magnate is now a vital part of the next presidential administration. Is the finish scripted, though?

      The Street q
    • Stars Over 90, Then & Now (9 photos)

      Kirk Douglas turned 100 Friday. The iconic actor is one of the celebrities who's been navigating Hollywood for almost a century. That's a pretty incredible feat, and one worth celebrating — let's take a look at some the other stars who're still in the game at 90 and up.

    • Giuliani Removes Himself From Contention for Any Trump Admin. Post

      The former New York City mayor withdrew his name from consideration, Trump said.

      ABC News q
    • Did Derek Carr's missed bomb to Amari Cooper hit NBC's Skycam cable? (Video)

      One of the stranger plays from Thursday night’s Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Oakland Raiders came with about nine minutes left and the Raiders down one score and struggling offensively. Once-MVP candidate Derek Carr had been having a brutal night throwing the football, and his receivers were faring just as poorly catching it. Carr was pressured by the Chiefs, who were in a single-high safety look, on third-and-7 from the Oakland 28-yard line.

      Shutdown Corner
    • Kitten Found Shrink-Wrapped to UPS Package for 4 Days Will Now Settle in His Fur-Ever Home

      "As soon as I saw the cat, I knew this cat was meant for me and my son," said Kirk Williams, who adopted the kitten for his disabled son.

      Inside Edition
    • Kirk Douglas Turns 100 — With Help From Son Michael and Catherine Zeta-Jones

      The Spartacus star, who was given an honorary Academy Award in 1996 for his many accomplishments in the movie biz, hasn’t made public appearances in the past few years, and although he’s not on social media himself, he’s getting birthday wishes from his nearest and dearest. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, of course, led the charge, paying tribute to “Dad” and “Pappy” — with the actress posting an especially cute video featuring Kirk the Dancing King.

      Yahoo Celebrity
    • UPS Driver Who Spotted 'Call 911' Scrawled on Package Helps Save Captive Woman

      A 3-year-old child was locked in a room of the house during the ordeal.

      Inside Edition