We Tried 10 Brands to Find the Best Italian Dressing
Whether you're covering mixed greens or stirring up your signature pasta salad, you want to have the best Italian dressing on hand to make the most of your recipes. Find out what professional cooks have to say about grocery store dressings.
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On the Hunt for the Best Italian Dressing
There are a few condiments we all keep in our fridges. No refrigerator door is stocked without ketchup, mustard, hot sauce and Italian dressing.
Yep—we’d consider this salad dressing an essential condiment. Italian dressing is great for topping greens for a simple salad, stirring up a go-to marinade and making one of our favorites: picnic-ready pasta salads.
So what’s the best Italian dressing you can buy for your recipes? Our culinary crew put 10 popular brands together and sampled them in a blind test.
How We Tested Italian Salad Dressings
Just like any of our taste tests, our team of kitchen pros sampled each Italian dressing blindly. This is to avoid any sort of biases testers may have (hey, we all have our favorites!).
Ten different dressings were judged according to these criteria:
- Appearance: Even your salad dressing should look delicious right from the bottle. Our team wants dressings that look like they pack a lot of flavor (herbs and seasonings suspended inside are always a plus!) with an appealing color.
- Texture: There’s a surprising amount of variation in texture in salad dressings. Good ones should be thick enough to coat greens in a salad but not so thick as to be syrupy.
- Flavor: A good Italian salad dressing should have a good balance of vinegar, olive oil and Italian herbs.
This was a challenging test with just a few favorites at the end. Check out our Test Kitchen-Preferred Italian salad dressing picks.
Fan Favorite Italian Dressing
Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing
No one is immune to their all-you-can-eat soup, salad and breadsticks combo at the Olive Garden. With Olive Garden Signature Italian Dressing, you can re-create that meal right at home—we even have a copycat breadstick recipe for you.
So what makes this dressing something our Test Kitchen and Olive Garden fanatics both rave about? Well, it would have to be the right balance of flavors here. Mark Neufang in the Test Kitchen says that this brand has a “zesty, bold flavor that’s nicely balanced—there’s even a bit of Parmesan in it!”
Overall, this dressing just hits all the marks when it comes to flavor and convenience. This dressing stays nicely emulsified so you don’t have to do a full arm workout to get the oil and vinegar to mesh. This brand can go from bottle to dish without all the shaking.
Best Homestyle Italian Dressing
Primal Kitchen Italian Vinaigrette with Avocado Oil
With Primal Kitchen Italian Vinaigrette, we bet at least a few happy dinner guests will be asking if the dressing is homemade.
Just like a dressing made from scratch, this Italian vinaigrette will need a good shake before serving. Once blended, you’ll be so pleased with the flavor: the right amount of oil, just enough vinegar to give some brightness and plenty of herbs and spices mixed throughout. According to the Test Kitchen’s Ellie Crowley, “this one provides a pretty big punch of flavor.”
And these flavors and pitch-perfect mix of oil and vinegar have the rest of the Test Kitchen raving as well, likening this dressing to a vinaigrette you’d whip up before dinner.
Best Steakhouse-Style Italian Dressing
Girard’s Olde Venice Italian Salad Dressing
There’s something about visiting a steakhouse. Everything from the soups to the starters to the salads seems just a bit richer and more special. When our Test Kitchen thinks of steakhouse salads, that means plenty of leafy greens covered in a distinct dressing like Girard’s Olde Venice Italian Salad Dressing.
This pale and golden dressing has a great balance of olive oil and vinegar but goes way beyond these vinaigrette basics. According to Mark, “This one has a brightness to it and even a bit of butteriness!”
That’s right—Girard’s dressing manages to even make salad a bit more of an indulgent dish with that buttery flavor, cracked black pepper, plenty of garlic and even a hint of parm inside the bottle.
Best Italian Dressing for Pasta Salads
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
Italian dressing is a must for making the cold pasta salads that accompany picnics and potlucks. The best dressing for these recipes, according to our Test Kitchen, is Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing.
Opening up a bottle, you’ll find it’s a classic grocery store-style Italian dressing. It’s translucent with a good balance of oil and vinegar. You’ll find plenty of herbs suspended in this salad dressing and even a few red pepper flakes which give this dressing “a tangy kick,” according to Maggie Knoebel in the Test Kitchen.
This dressing has a thinner consistency compared to other versions our team tried, but that makes Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing ideal for tossing together pasta salads and even marinading foods like pork, turkey and mushrooms.
Check Out More Test Kitchen-Preferred Products
Our Test Kitchen is constantly testing food, kitchen gadgets and cleaning gear looking for brands that deserve the right to be called Test Kitchen-Preferred.
If you want to fill your pantry and fridge with the best products, check out these tests:
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