Homemade Catalina Dressing

Upgrade your salads with this Homemade Catalina Dressing recipe! It’s sweet with a punch of tangy flavor. Throw it together in a mason jar and have salad dressing ready in minutes! 

A small glass container holds homemade Catalina dressing beside salad ingredients

Homemade Catalina Dressing recipe 

When I can’t decide what to make for dinner, I usually wind up pulling something together with stuff we have in the fridge, pantry or freezer. 

One of my go-to recipes is Turkey Taco Salad. It is a family favorite, so I almost always have all the simple ingredients on hand.

My girls love crushing tortilla chips on top of our favorite taco salad recipe, but my favorite part is the Catalina dressing. This tangy salad dressing is sweetened with honey and it is a big hit whenever we serve it.

Bonus? It goes on all kinds of things! You could even use it to dress up a taco pasta salad or a classic beef taco, adding a drizzle to the taco meat itself.

Why I love this recipe:

You’re going to love this homemade dressing!

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    Here’s why: 

    • While this recipe can be made in a blender, you can just throw it together in ajar and shake, shake, shake until combined. So easy! 
    • It goes well on everything from salads to slaw to tacos. 
    • ​This easy recipe is one the whole family can love.
    • The store-bought bottled version of any dressing is sure convenient, but you can feel good about this recipe because you will know exactly what’s in it!

    More salad recipes to try: Cajun Cobb Salad | Chicken Spinach Salad | Grilled Peach Salad | Strawberry Melon Salad

    Catalina dressing vs French dressing

    Both French and Catalina dressings are reddish orange in color, but there are some key differences.

    Catalina dressing is made with olive oil, ketchup and red wine vinegar. It is usually sweetened with white sugar or honey. It also gets a dash of Worcestershire sauce, which contributes to the tangy flavor. 

    French dressing has a similar base of oil, ketchup and vinegar, though it is typically not as sweet or thin as Catalina. French dressing also gets the addition of chopped onion. 

    Some recipes will call for tomato paste or other tomato products to really give the tomato flavor to these dressings. 

    A lot of salad dressings are based on similar recipes with slightly different ingredients. 

    For example, Russian dressing is another one in this family, made with chili sauce and mayonnaise. Thousand Island dressing is pretty much Catalina dressing but with mayonnaise and relish added in. 

    Ingredients to make homemade Catalina dressing on a turquoise tiled surface

    What you need to make this recipe:

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    • A blender or a food processor — there’s no real need because you can make it in a mason jar, but the blender is an option too! A Magic Bullet type blender is great for homemade dressings. 
    • Measuring cups
    • Measuring spoons
    • Mason jar or bottle with a lid — we clean and reuse old jars in our house! 

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s the ingredient list:

    • Extra virgin olive oil — this is the most flavorful, but light olive oil or avocado oil works really well here. 
    • Ketchup — use your favorite. I like regular ketchup but the organic or “simply ketchups” are great, too, and provide the tomato flavor this simple recipe needs.
    • Honey — support a local beekeeper and use local honey if you can!
    • Red wine vinegar — white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar will also work, but the final dressing may not be as red. 
    • Worcestershire sauce — in a pinch, you could use soy sauce. 
    • Kosher salt — sea salt will work, too. I use a medium grain salt for this recipe.
    • Black pepper — freshly cracked is divine, especially for a salad! 
    • Other spices — we’re using a combination of sweet paprika (sub smoked paprika for some smokiness if you’re into that), as well as onion powder and garlic powder for some extra flavor.

    Be sure to check the expiration dates on your spices! They can get flavorless (or even rancid) and do not last forever.

    Customizations and substitutions

    Adjust the sweetness level: This recipe is a little different because it’s sweetened with honey, but you can use sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup or skip the sweetener if you really need to. 

    Make it sugar-free: All-natural ketchup or naturally sweetened ketchup can be used if you want an added sugar-free experience.

    Make it vegan. Use vegan Worcestershire sauce and a plant-based sweetener such as simple syrup, agave nectar or maple syrup to make this a vegan salad dressing.

    Red liquid is poured inside a mason jar

    How to make Catalina Dressing

    This can be made in a blender, but you can really just throw it together in a jar! It’s so easy, but let me take you step by step! 

    First, measure out all your ingredients

    Then pour the olive oil, ketchup, honey, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder into an 8 oz. mason jar.

    Shake, shake, shake until well combined. I mean give it a serious shake — you want those ingredients to emulsify, otherwise the oil and vinegar will separate.

    Store it in the refrigerator until time to use. 

    Ingredients to make Catalina dressing in a mason jar on a turquoise tile surface before mixing

    Uses for Catalina Dressing

    We use this on our favorite turkey taco salad. It is a family favorite. But feel free to add it to any salad you love. It would be so good on this grilled shrimp salad too.

    You can also use it on tacos! It makes a great drizzle over your favorite ingredients. Try it with blackened shrimp tacos or classic ground beef tacos

    Drizzle it over taco zucchini boats for a fun taco night alternative. Use it to dress pasta salad or even fruit salad for a tangy twist. 

    How to store/freeze

    Keep it in the fridge an a food-safe, airtight container for a few weeks. 


    Put a piece of masking tape on the jar and write with a permanent marker the day you made it so that you know how old it is.

    Closeup overhead of a mason jar of homemade Catalina dressing with a wooden spoon inside

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    I love making homemade salad dressings when I get the chance, and I love using this one for all kinds of TexMex flavors. 

    ​Here are some ways to use this recipe while hosting people in your home:

    • Make the dressing a day or two before you need it. The flavors get better with time. 
    • If you plan to dress the lettuce before adding toppings, do it right before you serve the salad. Otherwise, the greens will get soggy.
    • Serving dressing on the side lets guests adjust how much they use. 
    • Always serve one or two other dressing options for picky guests. 
    • Use a pour spout lid on your mason jar or a gravy boat to make it easy for folks to drizzle it on their salad. 
    • Double the recipe if you’re serving a large group of people.
    A glass vial of a red dressing pours on top of a taco salad

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the difference between French Dressing and Catalina Dressing? 

    Both dressings are reddish orange in color and have a base of oil, ketchup and vinegar. Catalina dressing is usually sweetened with sugar or honey and gets a dash of Worcestershire sauce, which contributes to its tanginess. French dressing is not as sweet or thin as Catalina. It is blended with chopped onion. 

    Why is it called Catalina dressing? 

    No one knows for sure. It could be an invention of Kraft Foods brand, but it may have been inspired by the sweet and savory cuisine of the Catalonia region of Spain. 

    A mason jar of Catalina dressing with a stirrer inside it

    Quick tips and tricks to making the best Catalina Salad Dressing

    • Shake it really, really well for at least a minute before drizzling it onto your salad. You want all the ingredients to emulsify.
    • Use a blender if you don’t want to shake everything up. 
    • Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. 

    More homemade salad dressing recipes:

    A small glass container holds homemade Catalina dressing beside salad ingredients

    Homemade Catalina Dressing

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Upgrade your salads with this Homemade Catalina Dressing recipe! It’s sweet with a punch of tangy flavor. Throw it together in a mason jar and have salad dressing ready in minutes! 
    4.67 from 3 votes
    Servings 16 servings
    Calories 81 kcal
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 5 minutes


    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup ketchup
    • ¼ cup honey
    • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.


    • Pour the olive oil, ketchup, honey, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, paprika and onion powder into a mason jar.
    • Shake thoroughly until well combined.
    • Store in the refrigerator until time to use.


    How to store/freeze: Keep it in the fridge an a food-safe, airtight container for a few weeks.
    Be sure to put a piece of masking tape on the jar and write with a permanent marker the day you made it.


    Serving: 1gCalories: 81kcalCarbohydrates: 6gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gSodium: 78mgSugar: 5g
    Keyword catalina salad dressing, catalina salad dressing recipe, dinner, dinner salad, dressings, easy salad dressing, homemade dressing recipe, homemade salad dressing, homemade salad dressing recipe, lunch salad
    Course Condiments & Spice Blends
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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