Thousand Island Dressing History and Recipe


Homemade Thousand Island Dressing is so easy to make and so good!   I serve this wonderful Thousand Island Dressing with salads, spread on sandwiches (especially Reuben Sandwiches), and seafood.  You will never want to buy that bottled stuff again once you taste this outstanding Thousand Island Dressing!  

Check out more of Linda’s Salad and Salad Dressing Recipes.


Thousand Island Dressing


Thousand Island Dressing History:

The history of Thousand Island Dressing dates back to the early days of the 20th century and centers in the small resort village of Clayton, New York.  A fishing guide named George LaLonde, Jr. guided visiting fishermen for Black Bass and Northern Pike through the waters of the 1000 Islands.  After a day of fishing, he and his wife, Sophia LaLonde, would serve what they called “shore dinners” with a different and unusual salad dressing.  The following story on the origin of Thousand Island Dressing was given to me by Allen and Susan Benas, owners of the Thousand Islands Inn:

On one particular occasion, George LaLonde, Jr., was guiding a very prominent New York City stage actress named May Irwin and her husband.  May Irwin, a renowned cook and cookbook authoress in her own right, was particularly impressed with the dressing and asked George for the recipe. Sophia La Londe, who created the dressing, was flattered by the request and willingly gave her the recipe.  Sophia also had given the recipe to Ella Bertrand, who’s family owned the Herald Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in Clayton.  May Irwin and her husband had stayed at the Herald Hotel during their early vacations in the island and had already tasted the dressing.  It was May Irwin who gave it the name Thousand Island and it was Ella Bertrand who first served it to the dining public.

Upon her return to New York City, May Irwin gave the recipe to fellow 1000 Islands’ summer visitor, George C. Boldt, who was owner of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.  Equally impressed with the dressing and its flavor.  Mr. Boldt directed his world famous maitre di, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the hotel’s menu.  In doing so, Oscar Tschirky earned credit for introducing the dressing to the world.

In 1972, Allen and Susan Benas purchased the Herald Hotel and changed its name to the Thousand Islands Inn.  Needless to say, Thousand Island Dressing is the “official” house dressing at the inn.  The Benas now bottle and sell the dressing at the inn and on the internet.


Thousand Island Dressing Recipe:
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Thousand Island Dressing History, Thousand Island Dressing Recipe
Servings: 3 1/2 cups
  • 2 cups mayonnaise (good quality)*
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickles, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a medium-size bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sweet pickles, black olives, ketchup, and lemon juice.

  2. Store dressing in a covered container in your refrigerator.

  3. Yields approximately 3 1/2 cups.

Recipe Notes

* Learn how easy it is to make Homemade Mayonnaise.

Comments and Reviews

3 Responses to “Thousand Island Dressing History and Recipe”

  1. Janet Secrest

    That is not the recipe we saw on the Travel channel.?
    Do you have that Recipe?

    • Linda Stradley

      This is my personal Thousand Island Dressing recipe. It is delicious!

  2. Vickie Taylor

    I just got the original recipe off Mysteries at the Museum.
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 boiled egg- I assume chop this fine
    2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    2 Tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 cup pickle relish- it did not state sweet or dill.
    Mix well and keep cold.


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