The 5 Best Salad Dressings from Trader Joe's, According to Customers
Beyond being home to some surprisingly high-quality yet budget-friendly wines, a wide variety of dietitian-approved products and some of the best frozen foods to use as meal building blocks, the supermarket chain is also home to some stellar salad dressings. Whether you prefer shelf-stable bottles or refrigerated jars that can double as a dip, and if you need something vegan or with flavors from a specific cuisine, Joe has you covered.
Although their salad dressing variety is smaller than their superstore competition (the typical Trader Joe's stocks about 2,000 products at once, compared to the average American supermarket that offers around 28,000), there's still a lot to choose from. So we tapped two of the brand's biggest fans to help narrow down the salad dressing selection to only the essentials. Rachael Engelhardt, creator of Trader Joe's Kitchen in Poughkeepsie, New York and Madeline Thomas, the Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based creator of the blog Trader Jolene, both of whom keep a keen eye to report on Trader Joe's latest and greatest on their popular social media accounts, chime in about their favorite dressings and how to use them here. Then read on for one that Engelhardt and her followers agree is not worthy of your refrigerator real estate.
The icing on the cake (or should we say the crouton on the salad)? All of these best Trader Joe's salad dressing selections come in at less than $4.50.
The 5 Best Salad Dressings from Trader Joe's, According to Fans
Romano Caesar Dressing
"My go-to is definitely the Romano Caesar Dressing because it's so versatile," Engelhardt says. She adores it over salads, as a marinade for chicken or steaks, or tossed into pasta salad. Just be sure to use it judiciously—like other Caesars, this one is fairly rich at 180 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. "One of my favorite ways to take advantage of all the fresh in-season summer produce and put this salad dressing to delicious use is in a super-simple tomato, avocado and cucumber salad. In a bowl, add cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, diced avocado, mozzarella balls or feta cheese crumbles, ribbons of fresh basil and Trader Joe's Romano Caesar Dressing." Or try it as a condiment on a sandwich or wrap, Thomas recommends. ($2.99 per 12-ounce bottle)
Need a dairy-free swap? Seek out the new Vegan Caesar Dressing in the refrigerated section next to the bagged salad. Made with tofu, capers, mustard, and miso, employees say this is "deliciously savory, enticingly peppery, and satisfyingly creamy."
Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip
Now that we've covered Engelhardt's top choice, it's Thomas' turn. "The best salad dressing at Trader Joe's is the Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing and Dip in the refrigerated section. It's the only blue cheese dressing I've ever seen at a supermarket that actually has blue cheese as the first ingredient, and it's perfect for dipping chicken wings. I've also used it to create the best Cobb Salad I've ever tasted!" Just note that since this 110-calorie-per-serving recipe is refrigerated and made with real blue cheese, egg yolks and sour cream, "it may spoil more quickly than other store-bought salad dressings," Thomas says. ($4.49 per 12-ounce jar)
Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing
Made with just a handful of pronounceable ingredients and with just 60 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, this dressing "tastes exactly like the type of salad dressing you'd get at a Japanese or Hibachi restaurant," Engelhardt says. "There's nothing better than chowing down on a simple salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing to prepare your body for the feast ahead," whether you're enjoying takeout sushi, a big bowl of ramen or one of our speedy homemade Japanese recipes for weeknights. ($3.69 per 11-ounce bottle)
Greek-Style Feta Dressing
The most affordable of all of these best Trader Joe's salad dressing selections, Engelhardt says this 120-calorie-per-2-tablespoon option is wildly concentrated. Talk about value! " I love using the Greek Style Feta Dressing when I make big Greek salads, but it's a bit thick. So sometimes I like to water it down a tiny bit so the dressing doesn't take over the entire salad." To recreate her signature mix, toss chopped romaine lettuce with sliced grilled chicken, diced cucumbers, avocados, tomatoes and green onions, plus a couple spoonfuls each of crumbled feta cheese, sunflower kernels and this dressing. Or opt for a super-simple semi-homemade meal a la Thomas: "For an easy dinner, grab your favorite Trader Joe's salad kit along with the refrigerated chicken piccata. They stock the best bagged salad and salad kits!" ($1.99 per 8-ounce bottle)
For summer Caprese, watermelon, arugula and feta salads or to drizzle over any grilled protein, Thomas says that this concentrated vinegar is one of her summer staples. It's made with balsamic vinegar and concentrated grape must (a product of the wine-making process) and has just 40 calories per 1-tablespoon serving. While you could make your own glaze by cooking down balsamic vinegar with a bit of honey or brown sugar until it's thick and syrupy, this is a smelly process. So now that we know about this affordable ingredient shortcut, we can't whip up this Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Balsamic Glaze and Parmesan, Roasted Salmon Caprese fast enough. ($2.99 per 8 ½-ounce bottle)
The #1 Trader Joe's Salad Dressing to Skip
Organic Ranch Dressing
Engelhardt likes to be honest with her followers about items she really doesn't adore "so they don't end up wasting their money on certain products. The Organic Ranch Dressing is one of my least favorite salad dressings at Trader Joe's," she says, noting that the mixture is too tangy and has a very runny consistency. "When I posted about how much I hated it, I got so many direct messages from people sharing the same sentiments! Ranch is a really hard dressing to get right, in my opinion, and Trader Joe's definitely missed the mark here."
Instead of investing $2.79 per 16-ounce bottle on that recipe, try our Hidden Valley copycat Vegan Ranch Dressing.