People are obsessed with this copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing recipe and it's easy to see why! It's easy to whip up and makes the best salads, full of crunchy romaine lettuce, thickly sliced roma tomatoes, crisp red onions, tangy pepperoncini peppers, and buttery croutons! Don't forget the Parmesan cheese on top!

We love serving homemade salad dressings at dinner! Not only do they use fresh, real ingredients, but they are super quick to make and always taste better than store-bought dressings. Some of our other favorite salad dressing recipes are Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing, Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing, Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, and Papaya Seed Dressing.

An image of homemade Olive Garden salad dressing being poured over a big bowl of salad with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, croutons, and pepperoncini peppers.


Olive Garden Salad Dressing is even better made at home!

I can't be the only one who fills up on salad and breadsticks at Olive Garden. By the time my meal arrived, I was already so full I could hardly eat a bite of my actual dinner! Which always worked out fine because then I had leftover lasagna for the next day (and we all know lasagna is better the next day anyway).

It's been ages since I have eaten at Olive Garden, but when I was growing up, it was one of my favorite restaurants. My family always DEVOURED that big bowl of salad with the freshly grated Parmesan on top. I'm the first to admit that salads generally just aren't my thing, but this one is so fresh and savory and full of amazing texture and flavors that I find myself craving it.

And honestly? It's even better made at home. Olive Garden salad is made with a tangy, slightly creamy, Italian vinaigrette. It's a cinch to make at home starting with a packet of Italian dressing mix and adding in a few extras like Parmesan cheese, even more herbs, and a little mayo for thickness.

An image of a bottle of homemade creamy Italian vinaigrette salad dressing.

Olive Garden Dressing Recipe: what you'll need for the copycat salad

  • Romaine lettuce (or a blend of romaine and iceberg), chopped
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Pepperoncinis
  • Croutons
  • Olives (I always leave out the olives because I don't like them. I have very few food aversions, but olives are one of them, right along with bleu cheese and carrots. But totally add olives if you want!)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
An image of a large silver serving bowl filled with salad ingredients.

What do pepperoncinis taste like?

If' you've never had pepperoncini (sometimes called banana peppers), you might be concerned that their level of heat. But really, pepperoncinis are more tangy than spicy. My dad used to ask for an entire bowl of them on the side of the salad because he loved them so much!

You can find jars of pepperoncinis in the olive/pickle aisle. You won't need the entire jar to make this salad, so use the leftovers for Mississippi Pot Roast.

Olive Garden Dressing ingredients

  • 1 Packet Italian dressing mix
  • Olive oil - Good base for salad dressing.
  • Mayonnaise - adds thickness to the salad dressing.
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Parmesan cheese

How to make Olive Garden Salad Dressing

  1. Combine olive oil, mayonnaise, dry Italian dressing mix, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, basil, oregano, Parmesan cheese and whisk together. 
  2. Store in the fridge for 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine and the dressing to thicken slightly.
  3. In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce with the tomatoes, onion, pepperoncinis, olives, and croutons.
  4. Pour dressing over the salad and toss everything to combine. Sprinkle with additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese before serving.
An image of the ingredients for a copycate Olive Garden salad dressing recipe.

Can I make this Olive Garden Salad Dressing Without Mayo?

This recipe uses just a little mayo, which gives the dressing it's slightly creamy texture, but it's good without the mayo if you choose not to use it. You can also substitute the mayo with Greek yogurt, although the flavor is slightly different.

What to serve along side your Copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Honestly, the flavors in this salad go really well with almost any main dish. You really can't go wrong! But it's fun to serve this salad with other Olive Garden classics like zuppa toscana, lasagna, and chicken marsala. And I recommend trying these cheesy garlic mozzarella swirl rolls in place of breadsticks!

An image of a bowl of Olive Garden salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing beside it.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing Recipe storage

After making the dressing, you will want to keep it refrigerated. Store the dressing in an airtight container or a jar with a lid. This recipe should stay good for up to three weeks in the fridge!

Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe FAQs

What type of dressing is used at Olive Garden?

This Olive Garden salad dressing is a type of creamy Italian dressing and is VERY popular in all Olive Garden locations. People will come just for this salad and breadsticks! You can buy it at the store now, but it’s even better making a batch of the homemade kind that tastes fresh and even more delicious.

What is Olive Garden light dressing vs regular?

You can buy a lightened up version of Olive Garden’s dressing in the stores that has less fat and fewer calories than the regular kind.

Is Olive Garden dressing healthier than ranch?

The Olive Garden dressing is considered to be a little healthier than ranch. It will have less calories and fat than a cream based dressing with more mayo or buttermilk ingredients like ranch.

More Salad Recipes You're Sure to Love

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe

4.67 from 9 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
This easy, tangy salad dressing takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Be sure to give it an hour in the fridge to chill. It helps the flavors to blend and the dressing to thicken up slightly since it is more of a creamy vinaigrette.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 packet Italian dressing mix
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon parsley
  • teaspoon oregano
  • teaspoon rosemary
  • teaspoon basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Salad

  • 1 head romaine lettuce chopped (about 4-6 cups)
  • 2 roma tomatoes sliced
  • ½ small red onion sliced
  • 10 pepperoncinis
  • 10 olives optional
  • 1 cup large croutons
  • Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • Whisk or shake all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl or shaker jar. Chill for 1 hour.
  • Combine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pepperoncinis, olives (if using), and croutons in a large salad bowl. Pour ⅓ of the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing as desired.
  • Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top before serving.

Notes

One batch of the dressing makes enough for 2 salads. Leftover dressing stores well in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 397mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 678IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Can't wait to try this dressing for my get together tonight!
    Where did you purchase the salad dressing container? Love it!

  2. I needed a dressing for my pasta salad and it called for Italian. I quickly googled in House of Nash eats and decided to try this recipe! Outstanding! I had everything on hand and it was perfect!

  3. 5 stars
    Loved this dressing so much! Personally thought it tasted better than the bottled Olive Garden dressing you can buy in the store (and quite frankly the dressing from actually Olive Garden, as well). I saw that it can be stored in the fridge for up to four weeks, but it’s been less than a week for mine in the fridge now, and it’s completely hardened. How do I get it back to the same consistently? Just set it on the counter for awhile to get to room temp?

    1. Hi! So glad you liked it! Thank you! If you use a higher quality olive oil, it can sometimes solidify. It's totally normal. Sometimes you can add a little warm water to it and stir it up or just let it sit out on the counter for thirty minutes. Another option is to place it in a warm water bath.