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

    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Larsa Pippen Cheated on Scottie Pippen With Future, Sources Claim

      Multiple sources tell Us Weekly that Larsa Pippen cheated on Scottie Pippen with rapper Future, which led to the former NBA star’s divorce filing — read more

      Us Weekly
    • Hillary Clinton email saga continues as 33,000 erased emails may not be 'missing' after all

      Hillary Clinton just can’t seem to catch a break with her her ongoing email woes. While the consensus was that Clinton’s 33,000 notoriously ‘missing’ emails were permanently destroyed and beyond recovery, newly released FBI notes strongly suggest this might not be the case after all, the NY Post reports. In a May interview with the FBI, an anonymous executive from Platte River Networks (PRN) – the Denver contractor responsible for maintaining Clinton’s private server – revealed that an underling failed to purge all of Clinton’s subpoenaed emails, deleting only the ones he stored in a data file he used to transfer emails to the assistants of the presidential candidate. According to the PRN executive, the democrat’s tech specialist Paul Combetta “created a ‘vehicle’ to transfer email files from the live mailboxes of [Clinton Executive Services Corp.] email accounts.

      The Next Web q
    • Michael Massee, Actor Who Accidentally Killed Brandon Lee During Filming of 'The Crow,' Dies at 61

      Michael Massee, the actor who unfortunately will forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and killed Brandon Lee on the set of the 1994 film The Crow, has died. Massee’s death was first announced by actor Anthony Delon and confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of his agent at Greene & Associates in Los Angeles. In just his second movie appearance, Massee was playing a character known as Funboy when he fired a revolver that had been improperly prepared by crew members at Brandon Lee, the son of famed martial arts star Bruce Lee.

      The Hollywood Reporter
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • Nine of the Fastest American Cars to Ever Lap the Nurburgring (10 photos)

      The Nurburgring might be Europe's most famous circuit, but American automakers have headed there for years to develop their latest and greatest performance cars. All manufacturer verified with video, here are nine of the fastest U.S. cars to lap the 'Ring. From Road & Track

      Road & Track
    • The Real Meaning Behind Snape's First Words in "Harry Potter" Is Absolutely Heartbreaking

      As if dealing with Severus Snape's death and his sad story wasn't tragic enough, a new revelation about the character has come to light – and it's heartbreaking. A serious Harry Potter fan has developed a new theory around Snape's opening line in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In the film, Snape, played by the late Alan Rickman, asks Harry, 'Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?' While the complexity behind the Potions question went completely over our heads, it turns out that it was very important to the story. The fan, who goes by the name tomhiddles, decoded the meaning behind the words and was shocked at what it really meant.

      Good Housekeeping q
    • Fisherman surprised at animal creating huge wake on Upper Klamath Lake; video

      Scott Ross was fishing for rainbow trout on the glassy waters of Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon on Saturday when he spotted in the distance an animal swimming toward him, creating a huge wake. He told the Herald and News that at first he thought it could be an otter. “What caught my attention was how big of a wake it was leaving and how fast it was moving,” Ross told the newspaper. Ross noticed Gerald Holt flying his drone nearby and asked him if he could capture aerial footage of the swimming animal, which was out quite a ways. Holt obliged and sent his drone out over Upper Klamath Lake where he caught up with the animal and began filming. “I was really conscious to stay away from it, not to harm q
    • Royal feud – why Prince Charles won't allow Beatrice and Eugenie to be pampered princesses

      This question has reportedly left the Queen's two sons, Princes Charles and Andrew, at loggerheads. It also requested that Beatrice, 28, and Eugenie, 26, be granted better accommodation at Kensington Palace – because they are currently tolerating "small" apartments at St James' Palace. The Queen is said to have been "stunned" by her son's proposition and left it to her private secretary Christopher Geidt to sort out.

      International Business Times UK q
    • Bella Hadid’s New Haircut Just Changed Her Entire Look

      Bella Hadid has the kind of face that looks just as beautiful under crazy runway makeup or interesting wigs—she could probably even wear a paper bag over her head and somehow remain recognizably stunning. But her latest hair update (thick-yet-wispy bangs with longer face-framing sides) just changed her entire look in the most unexpected way. Is it just […]

      The Zoe Report
    • The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music

      Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced 19 nominees for its class of 2017. Five of these nominees will be inducted into the Hall. I am certain many of the Hall’s members and voters mean well, and I have heard nice things about their museum (which I have not visited). But the Hall, as it exists now, is so deeply flawed that it risks not only having a lack of credibility, but also a lack of validity. In other words, it doesn’t just make mistakes; the mistakes seem to be endemic, built into the fabric of the organization. And you know what? Rock ’n roll deserves better. Rock ’n roll (by which I mean any and all manifestations of music-based expression and art, from King Oliver to Tony

      The New York Observer q
    • Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign ‘is an absolute joke’

      Perhaps best known as the wordsmith behind many Republican talking points, Luntz had quite a few zingers about Trump, including one about the GOP nominee’s sometimes stilted delivery of prepared speeches. “Stevie Wonder reads a teleprompter better than Donald Trump,” he jested.

      Yahoo News
    • Family Heartbroken After 4-Year-Old Is Killed by New Dog Dropped Off Minutes Earlier

      The owner reportedly dropped the dog off less than an hour before the attack.

      Inside Edition
    • Man City showing signs that Guardiola's methods aren't working

      There are a number of reasons why the Blues have now not won in their last six matches but this is Guardiola's worst ever run of results and may even shake his supreme confidence.
    • 'Nothing short of a miracle' how kids survived suicidal bridge fall with dad, police say

      "When the officers found the children -- conscious and alert -- it's nothing short of a miracle, that's for sure," said Captain Christopher Depuyt with the Pequannock Police Department.

      WABC – NY
    • Mother of quintuplets calls out doctors who told her to 'reduce' her pregnancy

      “At the age of 28, I found out I was pregnant with quintuplets. Immediately, my doctor talked to me about selective reduction,” shared Susan Thompson in a Facebook post. The mother of five is speaking out after attending the graduation of her kids who may not have been had she listened to what doctors and specialists initially told her when she found out she was pregnant with quintuplets.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Woman writes bad Yelp review because of a bodega cat, and the internet destroys her

      Don't mess with the bodega cats. Walk into any corner store a.k.a bodega in New York City, and you'll find a variety of household goods, beer, probably a deli and almost definitely a resident cat. The cats keep the rats and mice away and in return, they get to hang out inside and take naps on the chip shelf. @georgeferrer A photo posted by Bodega Cats (@bodegacatsofinstagram) on Oct 11, 2016 at 4:54am PDT Usually New Yorkers tend to ignore that bodega cats may be a health code violation, because most people would prefer to see cats hanging around than rats. But recently, one Yelper decided to break the golden bodega cat rule, and gave S.K. Deli Market in the East Village a 1 star review after noticing her bodega had a cat chilling on a stack of Budweisers. Big mistake. Reviewer Diana D, who has since deleted her post, claimed she had ordered from the bodega before, but decided to pick up her food instead of getting it delivered. That's when she noticed the adorable cat protecting its store. You gotta be a miserable gentrifying ass bitch to yelp about the bodega cat — سنكامي (@SynKami) October 24, 2016 "Besides being allergic, I wonder what the health code say(s) about this?" Diana asked in her review.  Twitter user SynKami took a screen grab of the review and shared it to his followers, harshly calling out Diana  for complaining about the bodega cat. Twitter promptly erupted, and the tweet has racked up more than 7,800 retweets at the time of writing. @SynKami @asherahresearch does she realize the cat is there to keep the rats away. Dumbazz — jaja (@JaJasTweets) October 24, 2016 @SynKami tbh, I don't trust a bodega that doesn't have a cat — Carlos LaBestia (@Arturo_Ulises) October 25, 2016 S.K. Deli Market's Yelp page was flooded with positive reviews on Wednesday, supporting both the deli and cat, who's name is Ciao Bella, according to one Yelper.   According to a piece published in the New York Times about the controversy over bodega cats, fines could cost the bodega $300 to $2,000. However, a fine for rodent feces found in a store can also land a bodega with a $300 fine. "It’s hard for bodega owners because they’re not supposed to have a cat, but they’re also not supposed to have rats,” José Fernández, the president of the Bodega Association of the United States, told the New York Times.

    • Phil Collins Witnessed Princess Diana’s Affair and 7 More Shocking Revelations From His Memoir

      In his new memoir, 'Not Dead Yet,' Phil Collins shares shocking stories about Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Adele and more — read Us Weekly's top revelations!

      Us Weekly
    • Philippines' Duterte wants US troops out in two years

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he wants US troops out of his country within two years and is willing to scrap defence pacts with longtime ally Washington if necessary. The remarks, made during a high-profile visit to Japan, follow a series of anti-American tirades by the firebrand leader. "I want, maybe in the next two years, my country free of the presence of foreign military troops," Duterte told an economic forum in Tokyo, in a clear reference to US forces, ahead of a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    • Walking Dead season 7: Steven Yeun opens up about Glenn's last words to Maggie before death

      The Walking Dead season 7's premiere episode saw Negan unleashing unspeakable wrath on Rick Grimes's group and killing Glenn and Abraham by smashing their skulls with his bat Lucille. Glenn's death was long coming as fans were speculating that the show will follow the path of the Comic book written by Robert Kirkman. "I'll find you Maggie" he told his pregnant wife before the notorious Savior leader bludgeoned him to death.

      International Business Times UK q