Best known as the savory spread on a Rueben sandwich, Russian dressing is a creamy, slightly spicy old-school classic; delicious as a sandwich spread, salad dressing, and all-around dip.
What's the Story Behind this Recipe?
It is generally agreed upon that Russian dressing was invented in the 1920’s by New Hampshire (Rhode Island, USA) grocer James Colburn, who sold it to retailers and hotels throughout the United States. (Notably, the original ingredient list included caviar.)
It is unclear why Mr. Colburn called it “Russian” dressing; it may have been the caviar, or it may have been because the dressing was created to top a Russian-inspired salad known as Salad Olivier.
What Goes into this Recipe
Most recipes you will find for Russian dressing include premade chili sauce. Our recipe varies in that we use regular ketchup and red chili flakes, mostly because we don’t always have a bottle of chili sauce on hand.
If you prefer to use chili sauce, simply substitute it in for the ketchup, and leave out the chili flakes.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
★ Ketchup: Any ketchup will work, but we recommend using Portland Ketchup for its rich depth of flavor.
If you use chili sauce instead of ketchup, we recommend using Heinz for the best results. In this case, omit the dried red pepper flakes.
★ Sweet pickle juice: We find that sweet pickle juice works much better for this recipe than whole pickles. (We recommend using bread-n-butter pickle juice for the best results.)
★ Creamy horseradish: I am not usually a fan of horseradish, but the addition of a little bit in this recipe is one of the primary keys to its classic flavor.
How to Make Classic Russian Dressing
Russian dressing couldn't be easier to make!
Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup (or in a mixing bowl, using an immersion blender) and pulse until smooth.
Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
FAQs & Expert Tips
How to Use Russian Dressing
Of course, the most famous use for Russian dressing is on a classic Rueben, but there are many other ways to enjoy it as well.
- Slather it on hot or cold sandwiches. (Russian is particularly delicious on roast beef sandwiches, and subs of all kinds!)
- Use it as a dip for fries, chips, or veggies.
- Serve it on the side with seafood, chicken, or steak.
- Spread it on burgers. (Special Sauce, anyone?)
- Drizzle it on a green salad.
- Make a classic Shrimp Louie! (My favorite!)
Russian dressing can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
It’s easy to confuse the two dressings: they are similar in appearance, and both start with a base of mayonnaise and ketchup.
The difference is in the details. Authentic Thousand Island is on the sweeter side and, surprisingly, includes a hard-boiled egg. Russian dressing is considerably spicier than Thousand Island, taking on some heat with the addition of horseradish, paprika, and red pepper flakes.
More Homemade Dressing & Dip Recipes
If you love this Russian dressing recipe, try some of our other homemade condiments.
- Creamy Yogurt-Dill Sauce with Feta
- Cool Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip
- Fresh Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Authentic Thousand Island Dressing
- Carrot Ginger Dressing
- Original Taco House Fiesta Dressing
- Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
- Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Creamy Russian Dressing
- 1 Blender
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
- 2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic coarsely chopped
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less, according to your tastes
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender cup (or in a mixing bowl, using an immersion blender) and pulse until smooth.
- Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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