7 Creamy Salad Dressings – With Dairy Free and Oil Free Options

Let’s talk creamy salad dressings. I love a good vinaigrette, but sometimes I want something smooth and creamy. If you feel the same way, here are seven of my favourite creamy dressing recipes with ideas for using them. Oh and be prepared, not all of the uses are for salads!

veggies that need creamy salad dressings
A big bowl full of gorgeous veggies deserves a great dressing.

A Great Salad Starts with a Great Dressing

It’s true – the dressing makes the salad, so choose a dressing that will make the most of your salad ingredients. Here are seven creamy salad dressings that offers a nice variety of flavours and ingredients. No matter if your looking for oil free, dairy free or vegan options, there’s something here for you.

7 Creamy Salad Dressings

Creamy Labneh Salad Dressing

Labneh is a thick, spreadable yogurt cheese. It’s similar to the consistency of cream cheese with a more complex and tangy flavour. It also offers the benefits of probiotics, protein and calcium – pretty great for a salad dressing! 

Use this dressing for:

  • dip for veggies or pita wedges
  • topping for roasted veggies and meat
  • spread for wraps, bagels, pita and crackers
  • dressing for hardy salads made with dark leafy greens, romaine, pea shoots, arugula, veggies, etc. 
Use this bright, slightly tangy labneh dressing for flavourful greens and hardy veggies. The roasted chickpeas go well with this Middle East inspired dressing and are a nice change from croutons.
peashoot salad with chickpeas and labneh dressing on plate
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5 from 1 vote

Creamy Labneh Salad Dressing

Enjoy the unique flavour and the benefits of probiotics, low lactose, high protein and calcium that comes with labneh. It makes a bright, tangy dressing perfect for hardy salads made with dark leafy greens, romaine, pea shoots, arugula, veggies, etc. Also great on roasted vegetables, on grain bowls, as a spread for wraps or as a dip for veggies and pita wedges. Consider adding fresh herbs for extra colour and flavour.
Prep : 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Labneh
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp water (as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • In small bowl, whisk all ingredients, except water, together until smooth.
  • Whisk in 1/2 Tbsp of water or more as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Enjoy on your favourite salad or veggies. Store in fridge for 4-5 days.

Notes

*Instead of cumin consider curry powder or adding fresh herbs like mint, dill or parsley to add extra flavour to your dressing.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 199mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy dressing, labneh

Spicy Nut Butter Dressing

I love this flavourful, unique dressing. Because we have a peanut allergy in our house, we use this almond nut butter dressing as an alternative for any peanut butter type sauces or dressings.

Use this dressing for:

  • dip for Veggie Summer Rolls, chicken satays, bbq pork
  • sauce for Thai noodles or tofu dishes
  • spread for  wraps
  • dressing for Asian or Thai inspired salads or grain bowls
thai power bowl
Spicy nut butter dressing for this Thai Power Bowl Salad.
thai power bowl dressing
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5 from 2 votes

Spicy Nut Butter Dressing

This dressing is a great peanut sauce alternative. The red curry paste adds as much spice as you'd like. Use this dressing for any Asian or Thai inspired salads, grain bowls or wraps. We also use this as a dip for bbq skewers and summer rolls.
Prep : 8 mins
Total Time: 8 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter (or alternative)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tsp red curry paste (as spicy as you like)
  • 3-4 Tbsp water

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.
  • Add as much water as needed to create your preferred consistency.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Store in fridge for 5-7 days.

Notes

If honey or nut butter is too stiff, heat them gently before adding.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 46kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 58mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: asian dressing, nut butter, thai dipping sauce

Caesar Salad Dressing

You have to have a great Caesar Salad Dressing in your repertoire and this one is it!

Use this dressing for:

  • condiment for roasted root vegetables or fries
  • alternative to mayo in potato, tuna, chicken or pasta salad
  • spread for burgers or sandwiches – think Club house sandwich with Caesar Dressing instead of mayo
  • dressing for Caesar salad, chickpea Caesar salad or chicken Caesar Salad
Caesar salad on plate
Perfect dressing for classic Caesar salad, chickpea Casesar salad or chicken Caesar salad. Oh don’t forget the croutons.
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5 from 6 votes

Caesar Salad Dressing

A delicious Caesar Salad dressing that uses fish sauce instead of anchovies or anchovy paste. So good.
Prep : 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise*
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp fish sauce optional
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a large jar, combine all ingredients.
  • Stir or shake well.
  • Store in fridge for 5-7 days.
  • Makes 3/4 cup of dressing, enough for dressing one large head of romaine

Notes

Allergy Note:
*Mayonnaise typically contains eggs, so while this recipe does not require any raw eggs, it is NOT suitable for anyone with an egg allergy.
Be aware, Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in the ingredient list, so don’t use if you have a fish or seafood allergy.
Toss some homemade croutons into the oven for the best Caesar salad ever.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caesar dressing, caesar salad

Avocado Dressing with Lime & Cilantro – Vegan

My version of a green goddess dressing. This avocado dressing is creamy, slightly tangy and oh so flavourful thanks to those Southwestern spices.

Use this dressing for:

  • topping for fajitas, nachos, quesadillas, tacos
  • dip for tortilla chip or baked nachos
  • spread for wraps
  • dressing for Southwestern style salads or grain bowls – even if the bowl is a sweet potato!
avocado creamy dressing on sweet potato
The sweet potato makes a great bowl for this quinoa black bean grain bowl.
avocado sauce on spoon
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5 from 5 votes

Avocado Dressing with Lime and Cilantro – Vegan

This avocado sauce is a delicious creamy sauce made with avocado, lime, cilantro and a flavorful combo of Southwestern spices. Dollop on top of salads, tacos or fajitas or use as a dip for veggies or tortilla chips.
Prep : 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 6 people
Author: Getty Stewart

Equipment

  • immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves & stems
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 to 3 Tbsp water as desired

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except water in blender or blending jar that comes with immersion blender.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of water, blend and repeat as needed adding more water to reach desired consistency.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning – more spice? more salt? or just right?

Notes

Makes 1/2 cup – enough for 4-6 people to dip, dollop and enjoy.
Store extras in airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Sodium: 102mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: avocado, creamy dressing, dip

Cashew Ranch Dressing – Vegan

Here’s another great dressing that works for so much more than salads. Not only do I make this when I have vegan friends over, but because it’s oil and dairy free, I can dehydrate this dressing for my backcountry adventures. A nutritious, delicious way to get a little extra protein on the trail. It rehydrates beautifully for spreading on bagels, crackers or wraps.

Use this dressing for:

  • toppings for tofu or tempeh dishes like the buffalo tempeh wrap (recipe coming soon)
  • alternative to mayo in potato, tuna, chicken or pasta salad
  • a great dip for veggies and a spread on bagels, wraps or pitas
  • dressing for any salad where you’d like a nice creamy vegan dressing – it’s super versatile
buffalo tempeh wrap with cashew ranch dressingh

    The cashew ranch dressing is the perfect way to turn down the heat on tempeh buffalo wraps.
cashew ranch on bagel
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5 from 2 votes

Cashew Ranch Dressing (Vegan)

This dairy free dressing is a rich and satisfying dressing. Use anywhere you'd typically use Ranch. Keep it nice and thick to spread on toast or to use as a dip for veggies – so good!
Prep : 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked 1 hr)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped chives
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped fresh dill
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Use food processor or high powered blender. Add up to 1⁄2 cup water for desired consistency. Store for up to a week in the fridge.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Sodium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 2mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, salad, salad dressing, vegan

BBQ Sauce Dressing

Need something a little something sweet and tangy? This dressing takes on the flavour of your favourite BBQ sauce – smoky, sweet or spicy. We created this dressing in search of a copy cat for the topping used on Freshii’s Pangoa bowl – my daughter’s favourite.

Use this dressing for:

  • toppings for tofu or tempeh dishes like the buffalo tempeh wrap (recipe coming soon)
  • alternative to mayo in potato, tuna, chicken or pasta salad
  • a great dip for veggies and a spread on bagels, wraps or pitas
  • dressing for any salad where you’d like a nice creamy vegan dressing – it’s super versatile
bbq sauce creamy salad dressings
Talk about flavour! This is our take on the Pangoa Bowl from Freshii with homemade BBQ Sauce Salad Dressing.
bbq sauce creamy salad dressings
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5 from 2 votes

BBQ Sauce Dressing

This is a flavourful dressing perfect for a hearty grain bowl. It's our interpretation of the dressing that goes with the Pangoa bowl at Freshii. Use your favourite flavour of BBQ sauce.
Prep : 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk together all ingredients in bowl until any lumps from yogurt have disappeared.
  • Serve and enjoy.
  • Store in fridge for 5-6 days.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 51kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 322mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, salad dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: creamy salad dressing, salad, salad dressing, whole grain salad

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

This buttermilk ranch dressing is my all time favourite dressing for fresh delicate greens and herbs first thing in spring. This is a light, refreshing creamy dressing that won’t weigh down tender new greens but is bursting with flavour thanks to fresh herbs. It’s a little more liquidy than the labneh or cashew dressings or than regular ranch dressing.

Use this dressing for:

  • topping baked potatoes, perogies or boiled baby new potatoes
  • alternative to sour cream in potato, tuna, chicken or pasta salad
  • dressing for green leafy salads where you’d like a nice light, creamy dressing 
  • dressing for hardy salads made with dark leafy greens, romaine, pea shoots, arugula, veggies, etc. 
buttermilk dressing on greens creamy salad dressings
buttermilk dressing
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Buttermilk Ranch

Here is a classic buttermilk ranch dressing. A true crowd-pleaser! Fresh herbs really shine in this light dressing.
Prep : 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 6
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh herbs to taste (dill, parsley, chives)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously or stir until smooth.
  • Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Notes

Buttermilk may vary in thickness so you may want to adjust for thickness. To make it thinner, add a little bit of milk; to make it thicker add more mayonnaise or thick yogurt.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ranch dressing, salad, salad dressing

How Long Can I Keep Creamy Salad Dressings?

It’s best to use these dressings within 5-7 days.

To keep your salad as fresh as possible, dress just before serving or better yet, serve the dressing on the side. This way, each person can add their desired amount and any leftover salad can be kept for another day.

mixed greens with creamy labneh dressing
Mixed greens, quinoa, roasted chickpeas and creamy labneh dressing.

Which will you try first?! Let me know if you have a favourite and tell me how many ways you can think of to use creamy salad dressings for things other than salad. Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram at #getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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