French Dressing


This classic, sweet, and tangy dressing pairs well with garden salad, shrimp salad, or sliced vegetables.

Makes 3/4 cup

Homemade salad dressing elevates the simplest of salads. For a classic dressing that’s sweet and tangy, try this French dressing recipe on mixed greens, sliced vegetables, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, or drizzled on baked fish or a poached shrimp salad. The sweet, red version of French dressing is an American invention, not to be confused with its culinary origins. 

French dressing or vinaigrette is a base recipe that combines acid (vinegar or lemon), oil, salt, and pepper to which a variety of ingredients can be added, from fresh herbs to Dijon mustard, to make a cold, emulsified sauce, according to the Larousse Gastronomique Culinary Encyclopedia. 

In the early 20th century, Americans were calling French dressing a vinaigrette recipe that added ingredients like ketchup, sugar, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce for a sweeter, tomatoey twist. Kraft started selling a bottled version of French dressing in 1925 and trademarked Catalina, a spicier, thinner, and deeper orange version, in 1965, cites Sarah Wassberg Johnson of the Food History Blog.

Although it can’t compete with America’s love for ranch dressing, French dressing has its place, and our easy, fresh recipe is less sweet than bottled versions and uses common pantry ingredients that can be pulled together quickly.


  • ¼ cup white-wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Coarse salt

  • cup olive oil


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, ketchup, sugar, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt. Whisking constantly, add oil in a steady stream until incorporated.

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