Consumer Reports Samples Top Salad Dressings

Summer is salad time, and supermarkets have shelf after shelf of salad dressings. How to choose? The biggest sellers are Hidden Valley and Kraft, but Consumer Reports found tastier options.

A bowl of fresh vegetables is just that until you add the finishing touch - to make it a well-dressed salad.
Consumer Reports tested and rated 50 bottles of America's favorite Italian, ranch, and Caesar dressings.

"We look for dressings that are well-blended and have fresh-tasting ingredients," Ellen Klosz of Consumer Reports said.

Some are not so hot. The lowest-rated dressings have stale off-notes or harsh flavors. For example, Kraft Classic Caesar is overwhelmed by black pepper, and Whole Foods 365 Organic Caesar is quite sour with a thin texture.

"There are many different types of recipes for Caesar dressing, but it definitely should have Parmesan cheese, and it can have garlic and eggs, and mustard and even a little citrus," Klosz explained.

One of the best Caesar dressings - Marie's Creamy. It's well-blended with quality ingredients.

And the top Italian? Ken's Steak House did well because of its simple and clean oil and vinegar flavors. Give it a shake before you use it, because it separates easily.

America's favorite dressing of all is ranch. And Consumer Reports' testers found five they rated very good.

Two from Walmart are Best Buys - GreatValue Classic and Great Value Classic Light, with half the fat. They're both ten cents a serving.
To keep your salad on the healthy side, add a little dressing at a time, mix, and taste. You'll be surprised how little you need for a great-tasting salad.

It is really so simple to make salad dressing. Putting a few fresh ingredients in a bottle and shaking them up - what could be easier? The Consumer Reports test kitchen came up with recipes for three classic dressings - ranch, Italian, and Caesar. You can find them at

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