Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Olive Garden Italian Dressing

Olive Garden Italian Dressing is so creamy, zesty, and tangy… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! It has just enough sweetness and cheesiness, and goes with pretty much every salad under the sun.

This copycat Olive Garden dressing recipe tastes exactly like the original, but with fewer ingredients, preservatives, and other weird additives. All fresh, all natural, all the time. And all you have to do is blend it all up and you’re ready to go.

Olive Garden Italian Dressing in a bowl

It’s easy to recreate your restaurant favorites right in your own kitchen! I have a special place in my heart for Olive Garden® dishes, so I’m always trying to match that rustic flavor at home.

Read on to learn how to make my Olive Garden Italian Dressing recipe in less than 5 minutes!

Olive Garden Italian Dressing

I absolutely love making my own salad dressings at home. It’s so much easier and so much tastier than the bottles of stuff you get from the grocery store.

Some of my favorites are my Buttermilk Ranch and Green Goddess salad dressings. With these two, plus my copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing, I’m always set for super salads!

In general, I’m no stranger to making pretty much everything homemade, including my Olive Garden favorites! Take a look at some more copycat recipes to bring restaurant-level flavor right to your table.

salad in a clear bowl

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Mayonnaise - To make this a true copycat Olive Garden salad dressing, use mayonnaise as a super creamy base. Don’t hesitate to swap out with Greek yogurt or a little extra oil to make things thinner or thicker as you please.
  • White Vinegar - As “vinegary” as it gets! This will get you closest to the original Olive Garden Italian Dressing recipe, but you could also use apple cider vinegar if you need to. You’ll hardly taste the difference.
  • Extra Light Olive Oil - Extra light means extra neutral, which is exactly what we want. Extra light is not the same as extra virgin, so keep that in mind!
  • Lemon Juice - Fresh squeezed is key! It’s fresher and doesn’t have that harsh, lip-puckering effect that concentrate always has.
  • Seasonings - It’s all about the seasonings! Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and sugar are all we need.
  • Cheese - You’ll need double the cheese here: Romano for the dressing and Parmesan if you’re making a salad as well. If you really prefer Parmesan, you could use it in the dressing instead of the Romano.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

  • Blender - A high power blender is a must in every kitchen.
  • Cheese Grater - Fresh cheese makes this recipe even better! Skip the bagged shreds and buy a block to grate yourself.
  • Citrus Juicer - This gets every last drop out, which makes juicing lemons so much easier.

pouring dressing on olive garden salad

Olive Garden Italian Dressing FAQ

What is Olive Garden salad dressing made of?

The original restaurant dressing includes a bunch of ingredients to get a thick, creamy texture. That includes some extras like xanthan gum, dextrose, annatto color, cheese cultures… even egg!

This copycat recipe, however, is much simpler. Mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Romano cheese, a handful of Italian seasonings, and you’re good to go.

Want to get that iconic yellow color? Add a pinch of turmeric! A big thank you to the reader who made that recommendation! 

How can I use Olive Garden Italian Dressing?
It doesn’t end with garden salad, that’s for sure! Add copycat Olive Garden dressing to a simple rotini pasta salad for a creamy Italian flavor. You can also use it to marinate chicken or pork, or drizzle it over roasted vegetables. 

Personally? I love to brush it over bruschetta and top with fresh diced tomatoes.

What’s in Olive Garden’s unlimited salad?
A fresh blend of romaine, red onion, Roma tomatoes, pepperoncini, black olives, and croutons make up the popular bottomless restaurant salad. 

Prep Ahead Instructions

This Olive Garden dressing recipe is absolutely made for being prepped ahead of time. And I usually do! 
If you put it in the fridge a couple hours before serving, all of the flavors meld together and make for an even more delicious condiment than when it’s made fresh.
It stays fresh in the fridge for up to a week, so don’t hesitate to make it even a couple of days beforehand. Just give the bottle a good stir and shake before serving.

How To Store Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Store in an airtight container and always keep refrigerated when not actively serving. Kept refrigerated, it’ll last you for up to a week — if you don’t use it all before then! 
Like I said, this mix just becomes tastier with time, so I would absolutely recommend making it the day before for an even yummier result.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend freezing. Things get weird with the oils, and the texture is off when it’s thawed. It’s so easy to whip up in no time, so there’s really no need to!

pouring olive garden italian dressing from a jar


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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closeup olive garden salad dressing on salad

Yield: 8 (2-tablespoon) servings
Author: Donna Elick
Olive Garden Italian Dressing

Olive Garden Italian Dressing

With Olive Garden Italian Dressing, it takes just 5 minutes to make every salad a 5 star dish! This copycat dressing recipe is a must-make!

Prep time: 5 Minutes  Total time: 5 Minutes


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra light tasting olive oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salad Recipe
  • 3 romaine lettuce hearts, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 pickled Pepperoncini
  • 10 large pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup seasoned croutons
  • 1/4 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In the bowl of a blender, combine dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. In a large salad bowl, layer salad ingredients in order beginning with lettuce. Pour salad dressing over salad and toss to combine.
  3. Serve and enjoy!
  1. If you prefer dressing to be yellow in color (like the original) add pinches of turmeric until it reaches the desired shade (thanks to a reader for the tip). I left it out in the above photo.

titled pinterest collage for olive garden salad

Originally published May 2014, updated and republished May2022

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  1. Never heard of Romaine cheese.

  2. This is so insane! After a very interesting day today (5 days of school left), my husband treated me (and the little one) to dinner at Olive Garden. I think all we wanted was the salad! Can't wait to try this one!

  3. Now I can have their salad with enough olives in it :)

    1. It's like the amount of olives (and peperoncinis are counted as per the people at the table(4 people = 4 olives and peppers)

  4. thank you, thank you , so yummmmmmmyyyy!

  5. Thanks for the recipe...and Cathy you are right about the olives!

  6. Olive garden house dressing would not have mayo in it - it is a Italian style oil based dressing not a creamy one.

    1. Olive Garden is a chain restaurant, that does
      not have authentic Italian food. They cater to the American palate. Most of their food does not follow traditional cooking methods.

    2. Ovie Garden is more of a oil based dressing

    3. My Olive Garden serves a vinaigrette type dressing.

    4. olive garden dressing is definitely a creamy vinaigrette- you may not be able to tell while it's on the salad but if you see it in the bottle (that they sell) it isn't just oil based. keep in mind mayo is just egg and oil.

  7. you can buy the dressing at Wal-mart, Sam's Club,Winn Dixie and Publix or from Olive Garden

    1. Or you can make this version that is created without unnecessary coloring and preservatives. Enjoy!

    2. I love this version! Clean eating!

    3. The dressing sold at Sam's Club tastes nothing like the dressing at the restaurant! A major disappointment and since they only sell two jars packaged together, I had to discard two bottles of it.

  8. My whole family looooves the salad at Olive Garden! Can't wait to make this for them!

  9. Their salad is the best! Can't wait to try this at home version.

  10. I would suggest that if you do want to color it add pinches of turmeric til you get the desired color. Good for you too.

    1. Thank you for stopping by MrsKD! That is my excellent advice.

  11. Can't wait to try this dressing. And FYI: I just ordered your cookbook from B&N!


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