Homemade Sweet Catalina Dressing

20 servings
5 min

Salad dressings are very convenient in a bottle, I’ll be the first to admit. But when I read the ingredient list on that bottle, it really makes me pause.

So often I see high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of unpronounce-able preservatives. No thanks!

When I can, I try to make my own. And not only is it easy, but the dressing is also typically better than the bottled version.

This homemade Catalina dressing is a perfect example. This salad dressing is both sweet and tangy, perfect on any salad where you want a little sweetness added to the mix.

spoonful of sweet catalina dressing pouring onto a lettuce salad.

Why I love this Sweet Catalina Dressing

Like I said, this Catalina dressing is sweet and tangy, delicious and easy, and takes minutes to make. It’s like French dressing, but it has slightly different proportions. More ketchup is a key difference, the ketchup gives Catalina dressing its distinctive color.

I originally developed this to use on a large Dorito taco salad. But I’ve found it works on other green salads as well. Pretty much any salad that could use a touch of sweet will taste fantastic with this Catalina dressing!


ingredients: vinegar, oil, sugar, ketchup, and spices.

How to make Homemade Catalina Dressing

This dressing is so easy, you’ll wonder why you’ve never made it before!

Just measure the ingredients into a blender. Cover and blend until well mixed. I try for a good 30 to 60 seconds just to be certain everything is combined.

dressing mixing in a small blender.

When you remove the blender cover, you’ll see a slightly thick dressing, the perfect consistency for spooning or pouring onto a salad.

thick catalina dressing in the blender jar.

For best flavor, transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate at least an hour. This allows the flavors to develop fully.

a spoon pouring salad dressing into a small jar.

Sula's Tips

This recipe makes a batch of about 20 ounces of salad dressing. My Dorito Taco Salad uses 2 cups (16 ounces) so you will happily find yourself with a little extra. You’ll love trying it on all sorts of green salads!

The one cup of sugar might seem like a lot. I have tried making the dressing with ¾ cup and it is still pretty good, so if you need a reduced sugar option that might work for you. I left the recipe with a full cup because I ultimately decided I still like it better that way. 😃

Some have noted that the ketchup contains corn syrup. I agree. My goal with this recipe was to produce a copycat version of Catalina dressing with less corn syrup and preservatives, but still have a taste close to or better than the original. If I decide to develop a sugar-free version, I'll let you know. 😀

pin for sweet catalina dressing

More salad dressing goodness to explore

Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Homemade Sweet Catalina Dressing
Recipe details
  • 20  servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 5 min
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  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika smoked
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup canola oil

Place all ingredients into a blender.
Blend 30 to 60 seconds, until fully combined.
Store in the refrigerator at least one hour to allow the flavors to develop.
Sula ** sulaandspice.com
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  • Linda Medlock Linda Medlock on Jan 19, 2023

    You obviously taking out the corn syrup but the amount of sugar plus catsup has a lot of sugar as well. Don’t get me wrong but i love it as well, but no sugar is better. No processed ,artificial, corn syrups,are not good for you make dressings with blended fresh fruits,natural sweeteners.

  • Merle Merle on Jan 20, 2023

    The ketchup not only has a lot of sugar, but it may have the high fructose corn syrup as well, not to mention flavoring, coloring and all those nasty preservatives you said you don't want. Surely you could make this from scratch without using one of the worst sauces there is?