Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe

Olive Garden Salad Dressing is fabulously tart and sweet with creamy Romano cheese throughout. Make this homemade salad dressing recipe today!

Let’s be honest - unlimited salad and breadsticks is what we all love the most about the popular Italian chain, and the secret ingredient is that amazing Olive Garden salad dressing!

Skip the bottled version from the store and recreate it with simple pantry staples. It’s ready in minutes since all you need to do is measure and blend.

Want to start making more dressings at home? I also have a Green Goddess recipe that’s packed with greens and tastes just like the one from Panera, and you can never go wrong with a classic buttermilk ranch.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe pouring over a salad

What’s In Olive Garden Dressing?

  • Mayonnaise - This is what gives it that creamy consistency, but you can substitute plain Greek yogurt instead or use extra oil for more of a vinaigrette.
  • White Vinegar - Apple cider vinegar will also work in a pinch.
  • Olive oil - High quality extra virgin varieties are the best choice, but you can get away with whatever you have on hand since the amount is small. Avocado, safflower, or other neutral tasting oils will work as well.
  • Cheese - I like to use Romano for this recipe, but I have heard that some people prefer Parmesan. Whichever you choose, avoid the bottles of powdered mixed cheese. A fresh wedge is a must and tastes so much better too.
  • Lemon juice - I highly recommend fresh citrus over bottled for a brighter, more vibrant flavor. 
  • Seasonings - A blend of Italian herbs, garlic powder, salt, and just a bit of sugar round out this Olive Garden dressing.
olive garden salad dressing pouring out of a jar

Different Ways To Use It

Obviously, this homemade salad dressing recipe is the perfect addition to Olive Garden salad, but there are so many other ways to enjoy it!

Try using it to marinate chicken breasts and pork chops or drizzle some over bruschetta. You could even use it to brighten up salsas and pasta salads.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Blender - A must in every kitchen! Use it for smoothies, soup, sauces, and more.
  • Cheese Grater - Fresh cheese puts this recipe over the top, so buy a wedge and grate it by hand.
  • Citrus Juicer - This gets every last drop out, which means juicing lemons is that much easier.

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

Can I make Olive Garden dressing ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, it tastes even better when you let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours first.

This allows all of the different flavors to meld together more seamlessly - you won’t believe the difference it makes!

How long does this homemade salad dressing recipe last in the fridge?

It will stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator when stored in a tightly sealed jar or airtight container.

olive garden salad dressing in the background of the salad

Is there a way to make it appear more yellow?

To get this copycat Olive Garden salad dressing looking more like the restaurant version, add a few pinches of ground turmeric until it reaches the desired shade.

It will be such a small amount that you shouldn’t notice a change in the overall flavor.


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homemade salad dressing recipe pouring out of a bottle

Yield: 8
Author: Donna Elick
Olive Garden Dressing Recipe

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe

Olive Garden dressing is fabulously tart and sweet with creamy Romano cheese throughout. Make this homemade salad dressing recipe today!
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min


  • 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.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe closeup

Originally published May 2014, updated and republished August 2021


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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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