how much salad dressing per person

How much salad dressing per person should be used? Salads are healthy, simple, easy to make, and filling.

The fresh taste appeals to the palate of many individuals among an assortment of diets.

Planning to appease the appetite of a crowd requires multiple options of salad dressings.

Most people recognize the health benefits of eating a tossed raw salad. Less people are aware that they are eating unhealthy versions of a salad due to the amount of dressing that has been added.

How do you dress your salad? Do you drizzle or drench your salad with dressing?

Not everyone eats a salad without some type of dressing. The recommended amount per person is two tablespoons for those who prefer salad dressings.

Purpose of Salad Dressing

purpose of dressing

Salad dressing serves the purpose of enhancing the taste and visual appeal of a salad.

Salary dressings have bold colors and flavors often added right before serving to help the leafy greens and veggies remain crisp.

Tasty salad dressings contain an array of herbs, spices, sugar, and other ingredients.

Salad dressings do not serve the purpose of:

  • Hiding disliked textures from your salad.
  • Covering or masking odors from pungent cheeses.
  • Being a guilty pleasure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Note: Taste doesn’t have to be the only factor when choosing a salad dressing; consider additional nutrition and heart health.
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Types of Salad Dressing

different types of dressing

Sometimes considered to be a sauce, salad dressings are high- fat emulsions. That means they come from mixing oil or fat in water.

There are many different salad dressings on the market today, but we will only mention the most common types: oil-based, mayonnaise, and creamy.

Oil-Based Salad Dressing

Commonly known as vinaigrette, oil-based salad dressings consist of oil, vinegar, and seasonings.

Separation of ingredients often occurs, so oil-based dressings have to be whisked or shaken—if in a bottle— before being added to your cool, crisp greens.

This liquid salad dressing is stored best at room temperature.

Examples of oil-based salad dressings:

  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Italian dressing
  • Red wine and vinegar
Note: Oil-based salad dressing is good for a more sour/tangy taste. You should use less of it than other types.

Mayonnaise Salad Dressing

Mayonnaise salad dressing looks similar to mayonnaise you may use for a sandwich.

It is a semi-solid spoonable dressing that must be refrigerated for storage.

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Mayonnaise salad dressing comprises vegetable oil, eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, and spices.

Note: Mayonnaise salad dressing has one distinct difference from mayonnaise: a cooked starch paste base.

Creamy Salad Dressing

“Creamy salad dressing” is a catch-all term to classify salad dressings made with:

  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Buttermilk

The dressings also use mayonnaise salad dressing as a base in varying degrees.

The texture of the creamy salad dressing is thick, creamy, and smooth. It also has to be stored in the refrigerator.

Note: Creamy salad dressing can be used more thickly than other types. However, it’ll also fill you up quicker.

Salad Dressing Nutritional Information by Type

Whether you choose the spoonable or pourable salad dressing, being aware of the nutritional information will help you make well-informed decisions; decisions that impact your eating.

Decisions that affect your health. Informed decisions that ultimately impact your lifestyle.

Note: This list is not an exhaustive list of nutritional information available for the many types of salad dressings on the market in the United States.

Italian Dressing

italian dressing
  • Amount: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 42.9g
  • Protein: 0.056g
  • Fat: 4.18g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.53g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugars: 1.22g
  • Sodium: 0.044g
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Mayonnaise Salad Dressing

  • Amount: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 93.8g
  • Protein: 0.132g
  • Fat: 10.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.079g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugars: 0.079g
  • Sodium: 0.0876g

Yogurt Dressing

  • Amount: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 33.9g
  • Protein: 0.531g
  • Fat: 2.82g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.82g
  • Fiber: 0.015g
  • Sugars: 1.49g
  • Sodium: 0.013g

Creamy Dressing

  • Amount: 1 tablespoon
  • Calories: 63.2g
  • Protein: 0.194g
  • Fat: 6.54g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.867g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0.689g
  • Sodium: 0.261g
Note: In a store near you, there are oil-free, low-fat, and light variations of the salad dressings we mentioned.

Does it Matter, Drizzle or Drench?

drizzle or drench

Not everyone agrees that it matters how you eat your salad. Maybe you like to dip your fork in your dressing.

Or perhaps you prefer to pour your salad dressing directly on the leaves of the salad.

However you choose to eat it, you are still getting nutrients from the food you eat.

It’s not so much as to how you eat your salad, but how much are you eating? When you drench your salad, are you paying close attention to the amount of dressing you are adding to your salad?

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Have you repeated this action so much that you are now on “autopilot”? Are you adding salad dressing and additional calories without thought?

Taking time to measure out salad dressing makes you acutely aware of the amount you will eat.

When you take time to measure it, you are a bit more mindful about what you are planning to consume.

Don’t eat just to eat. Eat to be filled; eat until you are full.

Note: Mindless eating and snacking are related to struggles with portion control eating.

How Much Salad Dressing Per Person Should You Use?

salad dressing

Salad dressing and salad are supposed to work together. They complement one another. A well-dressed salad is complemented by the salad dressing.

You want to make sure that your salad dressing doesn’t overwhelm the fresh taste of your salad.

Whichever type of salad dressing you prefer, two tablespoons is the recommended serving size per person. That’s enough dressing to dip your fork and pick up your delicious greens.

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The amount is just enough to taste the complimenting flavors of the salad dressing or ranch.

Now, if you’re a drencher, then using two tablespoons of salad dressing will not seem like enough.

The first time you use the proper serving size of salad dressing with a salad, you may notice different flavors.

Your palate will be able to detect the woodsy flavors of green leaves and the freshness of cucumbers or tomatoes.

Note: Use more salad dressing with creamier types and less with oily and sour types like vinaigrette.

Frequently Asked Questions

faqs about salad dressing

Now that you have your main question answered. Read over the following frequently asked questions to answer other questions that may have crossed your mind.

Do I need more dressing for a larger salad as a main dish instead of a side?

This question relates to portion size. The suggested serving size is two tablespoons of salad dressing per person.

If you have upsized your salad, and you need more salad dressing…

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Then you would be starting on a second serving. The short answer is no. You don’t need more salad dressing.

How Can I Mix Salad Dressing Evenly?

To mix salad and salad dressing evenly, you should place your chosen washed greens in a large bowl.

Add your salad dressing of choice starting from the outer parts of the bowl towards the inside.

Try to spread your salad dressing evenly throughout the bowl. Toss the greens with your hands thoroughly. Enjoy your salad.

What is the Healthiest Salad Dressing?

A healthy salad dressing does not have the following:

  • Excess sugars
  • Lots of calories
  • Large amounts of sodium

Oil-based salad dressings like vinaigrettes can be healthier than other salad dressings. For example, balsamic vinaigrette has a low amount of sugar and few calories.

Is store-bought salad dressing healthier than homemade?

With store-bought salad dressings, you are purchasing a mass-produced product that may have added sugars and excess sodium.

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When you create salad dressings at home, you control the amount of ingredients you add.

You choose to add an extra teaspoon of salt.

Homemade salad dressings give you the option of freshly made dressing and the power to choose the quantity of the ingredients.


salad dressings

So how much salad dressing per person should you use? The recommended serving size for salad dressing per person is a drastic adjustment for some people.

Those people who drench and drown their salads. Measuring salad dressing is a start to an impactful habit. Healthy eating is not a fad. It is a lifestyle.

As the world becomes more health-conscious, many individuals grasp the understanding of the nutritional value of a fresh salad.

The refreshing taste of leafy greens and crisp garden vegetables in a delicious salad is a choice of food in different diets. 

Americans struggle with portion sizes and eating in moderation. That will not change overnight.