Vegan Thousand Island Dressing


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Mix a few simple ingredients together to create vegan thousand island dressing. Made with vegan mayo, ketchup, relish, and more.

vegan thousand island dressing on a plate with a spoon and a cloth napkin off to the side

Thousand island vs. Russian dressing

You’re making Reuben sandwiches. Which dressing do you pick: thousand island, or Russian? Traditionally, Reubens is made with Russian dressing but I also enjoy them with thousand island dressing. It really depends on if I can find a vegan horseradish or fresh horseradish at the store.

If I’m hard-pressed for horseradish, thousand island it is! Thousand island dressing is slightly sweeter than horseradish because instead of horseradish, the recipe calls for relish. Traditionally, you’re supposed to use sweet relish, but I’ve also used dill relish which tastes amazing. There are tons of ways to leave your spin on this tangy and delicious condiment.

Wait so what the hell is special sauce?

I was raised under the impression that there is no difference between special sauce and thousand island dressing. They’re the same thing and go great on a burger. However, after doing some research, I discovered that there is an additional variant of special sauce that mixes French dressing with mayo to create a piquant instead of ketchup and mayo. 

Either way, I’m standing by myself in this one that thousand island dressing is special sauce. The end. Don’t fight me on this one.

What ingredients do you need to make vegan thousand island dressing?

Vegan mayo: I went all out on this recipe. As much as I love a cashew cream dressing, I don’t usually pour thousand island dressing on my salads. I dip fries or veggies in it or slather it on a bun. Because I use it in limited quantities, I use vegan mayo. Use whatever brand is your favorite here. I personally love classic Follow Your Heart Vegenaise

ingredient spread for vegan thousand island dressing

Ketchup: I’m a very picky ketchup person and usually buy Sir Kensington’s. For the recipes in the photos, I used Organic Heinz, which ultimately yields a sweeter tasting thousand island dressing. If you’re not a fan of sweet ketchup, check out Sir Kensington’s! It’s more tart than your typical ketchup brands. 

Relish: Relish is a distinguishing ingredient in vegan thousand island dressing. Traditionally, it’s made with sweet relish, but if you’re not very into sweet things, go for dill (or just finely mince a bunch of dill pickles). I used standard sweet relish.

Lemon juice: For some added tartness to balance all that sweet from the ketchup and relish comes lemon juice. This is one of the few exceptions where I feel like processed lemon juice wouldn’t compromise the flavor of the recipe, so if that’s all you have, totally fine!

Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds even more tartness to the thousand island dressing. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can sub it out for white wine vinegar or white vinegar. Just be careful with the acidity of your substitutions to make sure you don’t overdo it.

ingredients to make thousand island dressing in a bowl before it's mixed together

How do you make vegan thousand island dressing?

To make vegan thousand island dressing, you’ll need a bowl, a whisk, a measuring cup, and measuring spoons. Start by whisking together the vegan mayo and ketchup in a bowl until fully combined. Next, whisk in the relish, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Since the dressing is made with shelf-stable ingredients, it will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Just make sure you are mindful of the expiration date of your vegan mayo.

Serve the vegan thousand island dressing on Reuben sandwiches (Hint: recipe coming soon for that!), black bean burgers, salads, sandwiches and more. 

Serving ideas and more

There’s more than just salad when it comes to vegan thousand island dressing. Consider serving the dressing in the following ways.

Ditch the ranch dip: I love a good veggie tray with ranch dressing, but have you ever tried one with vegan thousand island dressing? You’re missing out if you haven’t.

Burger baby: I absolutely love a good burger with thousand island dressing. Consider adding it in place of BBQ sauce and mayo in my oil-free black bean burger recipe or adding to your vegan beet burgers.

bowl of thousand island dressing with a spoon

Fry dip: Instead of plain old ketchup, dip your french fries in thousand island dressing. A lot of restaurants do this, but it’s never vegan there! Do it up at home. You deserve it!

Spice it up: Add some garlic, onion powder, or smoked paprika to your Russian dressing to give it some additional flavor.

Taco salad: Thousand island dressing tastes surprisingly good on taco salad. I dare you to give it a go.

Pizza sauce: Make a cheeseburger inspired pizza with thousand island dressing as the sauce. Top the pizza with beyond burger crumbles, vegan cheese, and top with lettuce and pickles once the pie is fully cooked.

Tofu benedict: Instead of experimenting with all sorts of ingredients to make a traditional hollandaise sauce, use our thousand island dressing.

Want more recipes?

If you enjoyed this recipe for vegan thousand island dressing, you might like some of my other recipes like the ones below.

vegan thousand island dressing on a plate with a spoon and a cloth napkin, lemon slices, and relish off to the side

Recipe jam

In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make vegan thousand island dressing! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is So Hungry, So Angry by Medium Medium.

If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!

vegan thousand island dressing on a plate with a spoon and a cloth napkin, lemon slices, and relish off to the side
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Vegan Thousand Island Dressing

Mix a few simple ingredients together to create vegan thousand island dressing. Made with vegan mayo, ketchup, relish, and more.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Dressing, Salad, Sauce
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy-free thousand island, dairy-free thousand island dressing, dairy-free thousand island sauce, thousand island, thousand island dressing, thousand island sauce, vegan thousand island, vegan thousand island dressing, vegan thousand island sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 57kcal


  • bowl
  • whisk
  • measuring cup and spoons



  • Add vegan mayo, ketchup, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add the relish and stir until evenly distributed. Serve on burgers, salad, fries and more. Store in the refrigerator.


Nutrition is an estimate and does not include optional ingredients.  
Just a heads up – this page contains some affiliate links which means I make a little bit of money if you click on select links and make a purchase. I only recommend products that I use on the reg!
Each serving is about one tablespoon. 
The dressing will keep well in the refrigerator for a few weeks, but be mindful of the expiration date of your vegan mayo.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Thousand Island Dressing
Amount Per Serving (15 g)
Calories 57 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 82mg4%
Potassium 10mg0%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 35IU1%
Vitamin C 0mg0%
Calcium 1mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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