Olive Garden Dressing is so creamy, zesty, and tangy…my mouth is watering just thinking about it! This creamy Italian dressing has just enough sweetness and cheesiness, and goes with pretty much every salad under the sun.
Read on to learn how to make my Olive Garden Italian Dressing recipe in less than 5 minutes!
Olive Garden Dressing
This copycat Olive Garden Italian dressing tastes exactly like the original but with fewer ingredients, preservatives, and other weird additives.
All fresh, all-natural, all the time — all you have to do is blend it all up and you’re ready to go!
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.
In general, I’m no stranger to making pretty much everything homemade, including my Olive Garden® favorites!
Take a look at my other copycat recipes to bring restaurant-level flavor right to your table.
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 substitute Greek yogurt or a little extra oil to make things thinner or thicker to your liking.
- White Vinegar – 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 for this Olive Garden dressing recipe.
- Cheese – You’ll need double the cheese here: Romano for the dressing, plus 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
How to Make Olive Garden Dressing and Salad
Step One: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, then transfer your creamy Italian dressing to the refrigerator.
Step Two: Wash and chop the Romaine lettuce — or chop first and run through a salad spinner if you have one. Add the greens to a large salad bowl.
Step Three: Slice the red onion and tomatoes and add to the bowl, then top with pepperoncini, black olives, croutons, and freshly shredded Parmesan.
Step Four: All that’s left to do is add the Olive Garden dressing, toss, and serve!
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Blender – A high-power blender is a must in every kitchen.
- Cheese Grater – Fresh cheese makes this copycat Olive Garden dressing 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.
Olive Garden Italian Dressing FAQ
The original restaurant version 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 Olive Garden Italian Dressing 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!
A fresh blend of romaine, red onion, Roma tomatoes, pepperoncini, black olives, and croutons make up the popular bottomless restaurant salad.
The uses for Olive Garden Italian dressing don’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 and pork, or drizzle it over roasted vegetables.
Personally, I love to brush it over bruschetta with fresh diced tomatoes.
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 of hours before serving, all of the flavors meld together and make for an even more delicious condiment than when it’s made fresh.
Olive Garden dressing 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 or shake before serving.
How To Store Olive Garden Salad Dressing
Store Olive Garden dressing 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!
As I said, this creamy Italian dressing just becomes tastier with time, so I absolutely recommend making it the day before for an even yummier result.
Now, I do not recommend freezing Olive Garden salad dressing. Things get weird with the oils, and the texture is off when it’s thawed.
It’s so easy to whip up a fresh batch, there’s really no need to freeze it anyway!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Salad Recipes
Olive Garden Italian Dressing
- 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
Olive Garden Salad
- 3 romaine lettuce hearts, washed and chopped
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 4 pickled pepperoncini
- 10 pitted black olives
- 1/2 cup seasoned croutons
- 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
- In the bowl of a blender, combine dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- In a large salad bowl, layer salad ingredients in order beginning with lettuce. Pour salad dressing over salad and toss to combine.
- 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 photos.
- Nutrition shown is for 2 tablespoons dressing and 1/8 of the salad ingredients.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published May 2014, updated and republished June 2023
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