Russian Dressing Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. + chilling
Learn to make classic Russian dressing with this easy recipe. The tangy, creamy condiment isn't just for Reubens; it's perfect for salads, sandwiches and dips, too.

Updated: May 30, 2024

What’s your favorite way to use Russian dressing? This classic condiment can dress up any sandwich, including burgers, turkey clubs and even tuna fish. Without it, Reuben sandwiches would just be corned beef with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Russian dressing is a zesty, versatile spread that adds a perfect mix of heat and sweetness to almost any dish.

What is Russian dressing?

Russian dressing is typically made with mayonnaise, chili sauce or ketchup, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce. Some variations can include pimentos, pickles, chives and spices such as paprika, onion powder and mustard. Some people add hot sauce for an extra kick.

There’s some debate over where Russian dressing originated. Some sources claim that the tangy sauce was created by a guy in New Hampshire in the early 20th century; others suggest it was a popular condiment at the Russian Tea Room in New York City. The one thing that everyone pretty much agrees on is that it is not Russian in origin.

What’s the difference between Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing?

Although Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing look similar and share mayonnaise and chili sauce as ingredients, their tastes are on opposite ends of the flavor spectrum. Russian dressing has a spicier kick, and is often made with horseradish, hot sauce and paprika. Thousand Island dressing, on the other hand, tends to feature pickle relish, onions, olives and sometimes boiled eggs, which give it a sweeter taste and a chunkier texture.

Ingredients for Russian Dressing

  • Mayonnaise: Like many homemade salad dressing recipes, mayo adds a creamy, rich texture that balances the spicier ingredients. This recipe is a great excuse to whip up a batch of homemade mayonnaise.
  • Chili sauce: Sweet and tangy with a touch of heat, chili sauce gives the dressing its signature red shade. If you don’t have a bottle of chili sauce, you can use ketchup with some chili powder instead.
  • Horseradish: Horseradish has a unique nose-tingling zing that intensifies the overall taste of Russian dressing. Making homemade horseradish is easy; just grate it and combine it with vinegar.
  • Hot pepper sauce: A few drops of hot sauce provide the dressing with fiery spice. Adjust the heat depending on your personal taste.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This savory sauce brings an umami boost with its sweet and salty notes. If you don’t have Worcestershire, substitute it for with soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Minced shallots: Shallots give a hint of sweetness and a slight crunch to the dressing.
  • Seasonings: Ground mustard, smoked paprika and salt bring all the flavors together.

Directions

Step 1: Combine all of the ingredients

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chili sauce, horseradish, minced shallots, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ground mustard, smoked paprika and salt until they’re blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dressing for at least two hours before serving.

Russian Dressing Recipe Variations

  • Make it sweeter: Drizzle in a small amount of honey or add a sprinkle of brown sugar to raise the sweetness level to match the heat.
  • Try some texture: Mix in a tablespoon of chopped capers, banana peppers or finely chopped pickles for extra tang and a slight crunch.
  • Squeeze in citrus: Stir a bit of lemon or lime zest and juice for a fresh, citrusy, sour twist.
  • Switch the spices: Instead of using hot pepper, try experimenting with different hot sauces like Sriracha, harissa or gochujang to add a new level of heat and flavor to your dish.

How to Store Russian Dressing

Russian dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Russian Dressing Tips

How do you use Russian dressing?

The most well-known use for Russian dressing is in a classic Reuben, but you can also use it as a burger topping or a sauce for sandwich wraps or panini recipes. Pair it with dinner staples like salmon steaks, crispy baked chicken thighs, or grilled ribeye steak. This dressing is the perfect tangy dipping sauce for things like coconut fried shrimp, fried zucchinibaked sweet potato fries or fast food-style onion rings. Or go the greener route and drizzle it over one of your favorite dinner salad recipes.

How can you make Russian dressing less spicy?

To make Russian dressing less spicy, reduce or remove the hot pepper sauce. You can also use less horseradish or use a milder variety, decreasing the bite while keeping some of its distinctive flavor. Increasing the amount of mayonnaise in the dressing will make it creamier and help absorb some heat.

Russian Dressing

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1-1/2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 127 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 1mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Russian dressing and Thousand Island are similar in that they are both creamy and salmon in color. However, Russian salad dressing is spicier with the addition of ingredients like horseradish and pepper sauce, while pickle relish gives Thousand Island a sweeter flavor. —Francine Lizotte, Surrey, British Columbia