13 Healthiest Store-Bought Salad Dressings

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Salads are often considered the quintessential healthy meal. When we think of a salad, we think of a mix of natural ingredients, with fresh, colorful veggies as the prime player. What you see is what you get with salads — until it comes to the dressing.

Salad dressings can be deceiving. At first glance, you can't tell what they're made of or how nutritious they are. And if you're trying to be healthy, these things matter. Because, ultimately, everything you eat impacts your overall health. Perhaps you're trying to avoid empty calories or hoping to eat more healthy fats. Or maybe you simply want to feel your best on a regular basis. Whatever your motivation, it all starts with a healthy diet. 

If you're hoping to be healthier, you're on the right track with a salad — they're one of the most nutrient-dense meals out there, after all. However, your chosen dressing can either help or hinder those health goals. Some are full of problematic chemicals, while others contain many beneficial ingredients. Knowing the difference requires a good deal of research. Luckily, we've done it all for you. So keep reading for the healthiest store-bought salad dressings, from creamy ranch to classic Italian.

Best Balsamic Salad Dressing: California Olive Ranch Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic vinaigrette is one of those dressings people keep on hand because it pairs so well with many different salads. It consists of oil, balsamic vinegar, and a sweetener, striking the perfect balance between sweet and savory. And when looking for a healthy balsamic vinaigrette, our top choice is from California Olive Ranch.

Balsamic vinaigrette can vary wildly on the calorie scale depending on how much oil and water is used. While some diet vinaigrettes have almost zero calories, others are closer to 200. California Olive Ranch's Balsamic Vinaigrette rings in at 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, with 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbohydrates. The total calories in this balsamic vinaigrette is lower than most, which is surprising considering it doesn't taste watered down or use artificial sweeteners. Instead, this dressing has a touch of cane sugar and garlic, thyme, and rosemary to give it a well-rounded flavor.

Another advantage that puts this dressing above the rest is that it uses extra-virgin olive oil. And where better to obtain this oil than straight from an olive farm. California Olive Ranch uses its own award-winning olive oil, so you know you're getting both quality and flavor. Compared to other olive oils, EVOO is less processed and has the most polyphenols, which are shown to fight diseases and cancer due to their antioxidant activity, per the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Best Blue Cheese Salad Dressing: Toby's Blue Cheese Dressing & Dip

When people debate whether or not something is healthy, they often ask themselves if they would serve it to their kids. That's precisely how Toby's Family Foods started, and the company prides itself on using high-quality ingredients to make flavorful food in small batches. This family-owned farm also avoids preservatives and pesticides and always uses locally sourced dairy. 

Toby's Blue Cheese dressing has 140 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, with 13 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and 1 gram of protein. You'll be able to identify everything on this clean nutrition label. There are no unpronounceable ingredients that sound as if you need a chemistry degree to interpret. Aside from milk and cheese, the list also includes onion, garlic, dill, and mustard flower for that extra herbal flavor. 

Not only is this dressing healthy, but the delicious flavor and consistency means it can be used in a wide variety of applications — which is why it's not just a dressing but also a dip. As one Amazon fan describes, "Between salads and celery sticks and burgers/sandwiches and everything else, I go through this stuff way too fast. So yes, I really like it. It doesn't have a very strong funky 'blue cheese' flavor. Normally I would love a good funky blue cheese. But somehow, this works. There are a few chunks of blue cheese, but as I stated I find them rather mild. I do find it very fresh tasting."

Best Caesar Salad Dressing: Annie's Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar dressing usually takes on either a thick and creamy consistency or a lighter, vinaigrette-like one. Annie's Caesar dressing falls into the latter, listing water as its first ingredient. This reduces the calorie count to 100 per 2-tablespoon serving, with 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

But don't let this dissuade you. Annie's still has everything you crave in a rich Caesar dressing. It includes expeller-pressed canola oil and organic parmesan cheese to give it creaminess, and sea salt and anchovy to add that salty, earthy flavor we've come to love in Caesar salads.

Since this dressing has milk and anchovy ingredients, it isn't suited to those following a non-dairy or fish-free diet. However, those who love these foods can rest assured they are of high quality. Annie's is known for using wholesome ingredients. You won't find any artificial flavors or synthetic colors in their foods, and most items on their ingredient list have that organic asterisk next to them.

Best Ranch Salad Dressing: Drew's Organics Vegan Ranch

Ranch dressing gets a bad rap in the health department due to sodium, saturated fat, and calories. However, none of these things are inherently bad on their own — and we actually need them to thrive. It's all about moderation, and the occasional ranch dressing over a vegetable-heavy salad is the right balance in our eyes. If you're health-conscious, you might be searching for the best ranch on the grocery store shelf. In that case, Drew's Organics Vegan Ranch has some serious advantages over other ranches.

Firstly, the brand wasn't lying when it put "Organics" in its name. Almost all their ingredients are organic, and the entire product is GMO-free. The dressing is also suitable for multiple eating styles like gluten-free, paleo, and vegan. And in one 2-tablespoon serving, this ranch has 130 calories made up of 13 grams of fat and 2 grams of carbs.

But one special ingredient really sets this ranch apart. Drew's Organics Vegan Ranch contains koji spores, a fungus used to ferment foods. A 2016 Springerplus study showed that koji functions as a prebiotic when consumed. So when you eat koji, you're helping the good bacteria in your gut multiply to healthy levels. Plus, this fungus only adds to the complexity of flavor. Along with lemon and herbs and spices, you still get that grassy buttermilk taste of classic ranch.

Best Greek Salad Dressing: Tessemae's Organic Classic Greek Dressing & Marinade

It's always a good sign when you can understand every ingredient on a label, and that's precisely what you get with Tessemae's dressings. With this product, you get all the Mediterranean flavors of Greek dressing without the additives. Per serving, Tessemae's Greek Dressing has 80 calories, with 9 grams of fat and 1 gram of carbs. However, the "serving" is just 1 tablespoon, while most other dressings are twice that much. But when looking at the label, you'll notice a whole bunch of healthy food items. And instead of sugar, you'll see organic honey. 

This is good news seeing as honey is thought to have more health benefits than granulated sugar. Honey has a lower glycemic index so it's less likely to send you on a blood sugar rollercoaster. It also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help support the immune system. While the amount of honey per serving is small, these things add up. So why not swap a sugar-heavy dressing for a healthier alternative?

Best Honey Mustard Salad Dressing: Primal Kitchen Honey Mustard Vinaigrette & Marinade

When eating a honey mustard dressing, you pick up on that warm sweetness followed by a zesty finish. Primal Kitchen's Honey Mustard Vinaigrette delivers on these flavors while still managing to be healthy. Per 2-tablespoon serving, this honey mustard dressing has 110 calories with 11 grams of fat and 3 grams of carbs. The company uses only real ingredients, including stone-ground mustard and organic honey. While other companies favor olive or canola oil in their dressings, Primal Kitchen opts for avocado oil.

Olive and canola oil have their own benefits, but it's not every day we have the option to enjoy avocado. Avocado oil has a light, grassy taste that blends well in almost any dressing. Like olive oil, it's full of oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Also, avocado oils tend to have a higher smoke point. So if you plan to use your honey mustard dressing in a stir fry or baked glaze, Primal Kitchen's Honey Mustard Vinaigrette might be a better bet.

Ultimately, variety is the spice of life when it comes to healthy eating. The more we vary our oils, the more likely we are to get all the nutrients we need. So opt for Primal Kitchen and get a dose of that harder-to-come-by avocado oil. 

Best Thousand Island Salad Dressing: Annie's Thousand Island Dressing

Most commercial thousand island dressings have a base of mayonnaise and ketchup, two items known for their high fat and high sugar content, respectively. Although fat, particularly saturated fat, has been villainized for decades, it's essential to produce hormones and absorb nutrients, per the American Heart Association. But too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. And, unfortunately, a Journal of Nutrition study showed that when fat and sugar are combined, people are more likely to binge and subsequently gain weight. 

So do we have to bid farewell to our favorite dressing to maintain and avoid addictive habits? Not at all. Annie's offers an Organic Thousand Island Dressing with that tangy and sweet flavor we love — without all the excess.

Annie's Thousand Island aims to be as close to nature as possible, replacing processed mayonnaise with oil and egg and using tomato paste instead of sugary-laden ketchup. The result? A thousand island dressing that isn't as heavy as the competition. A 2-tablespoon serving has just 90 calories, consisting of 7 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbs. So if you want a thousand island dressing with a satisfying flavor but better ingredients, reach for Annie's Homegrown.

Best Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Trader Joe's Green Goddess Dressing

The aptly named green goddess salad dressing has a creamy avocado base loaded with herbs and spices. It's super fresh and bright, making you feel like a green goddess yourself. And Trader Joe's version is exceptionally light. A 2-tablespoon serving has only 20 calories consisting of 2 grams of fat and 1 carb.  

Generally speaking, green goddess dressings can be deceiving. Not all brands have that bright green hue — which is another reason we love TJ's. It manages to produce that beautiful green color without the use of artificial ingredients. And, let's be honest, presentation goes a long way with salads.

Not only is this dressing pretty, but it's full of healthy herbs. The garlic, parsley, basil, and green onions enhance the color as well as the vibrant flavor. They also provide anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes (per the Better Health Channel). If you're trying to be healthy, this is probably music to your ears. So go on, be the healthy goddess (or god) you are, and opt for this gorgeous green dressing.

Best Italian Dressing Salad: Tessemae's Pantry Classic Italian

If you have any dietary restrictions, Tessemae's Pantry Classic Italian dressing has all the stamps of approval – it's free of dairy, gluten, soy, and added sugar. So no worries about pesky side effects from things you can't tolerate. Because if it doesn't sit well in your stomach, it shouldn't sit in your pantry. In a 1-tablespoon serving, the Classic Italian has 70 calories, all of which come from fat. This is no surprise seeing how Italian dressing is mostly oils and herbs. And Tessemae's Pantry describes its version as having "all the herbs and spices to make an Italian nonna swoon." 

This classic Italian dressing is also happy on the healthy organic ingredients, one of which is high oleic sunflower oil. According to the National Sunflower Association, high oleic sunflower oil has at least 80 percent oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can help improve your balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol. Since healthcare providers encourage a ratio of less than 5:1 (per University of Rochester Medical Center), eating heart-healthy oils like sunflower can help achieve this.

Best Sugar-Free Salad Dressing: Simple Girl Sweet Mustard

If you're searching for a completely sugar-free salad dressing, look no further than Simple Girl Sweet Mustard Dressing & Marinade. In a 2-tablespoon serving, this dressing has a mere 3 calories — which isn't even enough to make up a single gram of fat, carbs, or protein.

Sugar is a sneaky ingredient — you'll even find it in savory dressings. So if you have a sweet tooth, avoiding sugar can be a tricky endeavor. Consuming sugar releases opioids and dopamine in the body, which set off the reward centers in our brains (via Healthline). Although that may sound like a good thing, these reactions can become highly addictive when not appropriately balanced. Even a little hit of the sweet stuff can leave you craving more. But instead of processed sugars, Simple Girl uses monk fruit and stevia leaf extracts. These zero-calorie sweeteners provide the same satisfying sweetness but have a minimal effect on your blood sugar (per Medical News Today). 

Simple Girl Sweet Mustard is also free of sucralose — unlike most sugar-free dressings on grocery store shelves. This could be beneficial, seeing how recent studies shed a negative light on this artificial sweetener. A 2020 study published in the Frontiers in Oncology found that eating sucralose was linked to tumor growth and gut dysbiosis. So for a healthier, sugar-free option, Simple Girl's got your back — and your gut.

Best Low-Fat Salad Dressing: Bolthouse Farms Organic Lemon Basil

If you're looking for a low-fat salad dressing, Bolthouse Farms Lemon Basil is a healthy option. It's low in both calories and fat, with a 2-tablespoon serving containing just 35 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 1 gram of protein.

Mind you, calories and fat aren't necessarily the enemy, and we need a healthy amount of both to survive. However, the standard American diet is known for excess. So if you're trying to cut back on fat, switching up that salad dressing could be an easy adjustment, especially with Bolthouse Farms. Its Lemon Basil salad dressing has all the flavor and creaminess you crave but with a lot less fat.

So what's the secret in the sauce? Low-fat yogurt. Yogurt provides a creamy base with significantly less fat than mayonnaise or cream, and is also a rich source of probiotics (per Harvard Health). They say a healthy gut equals a healthy body. And if you're aiming for both, probiotics are an excellent place to start. Probiotics help support a healthy microbiome and gut lining to help you absorb more nutrients and fight off pathogens (via Current Nutrition and Food Science). So with this dressing, you can subtract fat and add health benefits.

Best Low-Sodium Salad Dressing: Bragg Organic Vinaigrette

Store-bought salad dressings can be very high in sodium. For those following a low-sodium diet, it might feel like a punch in the gut reading those nutrition labels. You might have to give up some of your favorite brands or replace them with similar low-sodium versions. Luckily, there's one option that stands out as a healthy, low-sodium dressing. Bragg's Organic Vinaigrette has 70 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 4 grams of carbs per 2-tablespoon serving. Plus, it has only 20 mg of sodium, which is just 1% of the daily value.

What's crazy is that this dressing isn't even marketed as low-sodium. Instead, it's promoted for all its other attributes, like being organic, non-GMO, and certified kosher. It also contains apple cider vinegar, which has received a lot of positive press in recent decades. In a 2021 study in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, participants taking apple cider vinegar improved their blood sugar and lipid profiles over time. The scientists noted that these improvements can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of early death worldwide. 

This vinaigrette might have close to zero sodium, but it's full of zesty pepper flavor. And the company is famous for its brag-worthy apple cider vinegar, which adds the perfect acidic touch to salads, pasta, grains, or marinades. So if you're looking to add flavor without reaching for the salt, grab a bottle of Bragg's instead.

Best Low-Calorie Salad Dressing: Simple Girl Citrus Ginger Dressing

Simple Girl is "a St. Louis-based, charity-lovin', organic, sugar-free, and low-fat food company with clean eating dressing, BBQ sauces, and seasonings here to enhance your fun and healthy life!" This female-owned company was born out of a need to create flavorful sauces for those on restrictive eating plans — and that's exactly what they do. Its Citrus Ginger Dressing has only 3 calories per serving. Yet, they don't skimp on the flavor. So if you need to lower your caloric intake, you've got a solid option here.

As the brand name suggests, the ingredients are super simple. It has an apple cider vinegar base with garlic, onion, sea salt, and spices. The stevia and monk fruit add sweetness without calories. However, they can taste overwhelming for some. Overall, this dressing best suits those who like acidic and sweet flavors. If that sounds like you, use it as a meat marinade, stir-fry sauce, or vegetable dip. It works especially well drizzled over chicken or a fruity salad.