What salad dressing has the lowest amount of carbohydrates?

When following a low-carb or keto diet, choosing the right salad dressing can make a big difference in keeping total carb intake low. The carbohydrate content of salad dressings varies widely, from 0 grams in some oil-based dressings up to 20 grams per serving in sweeter, creamy dressings. So what are the best low-carb salad dressing options?

Quick Answer

The salad dressings with the lowest amount of carbohydrates are:

  • Oil and vinegar – 0g net carbs
  • Olive oil and lemon juice – 0g net carbs
  • Blue cheese dressing – 0-1g net carbs
  • Ranch dressing – 0-2g net carbs
  • Caesar dressing – 0-3g net carbs

Plain oil and vinegar or lemon juice have zero carbs. Look for full-fat blue cheese, ranch, and Caesar dressings without added sugars. Avoid sweet, fruity dressings which can have 15-20g carbs per serving.

What Are Net Carbs?

When looking at salad dressing labels, pay attention to the net carbohydrates rather than just total carbs. Net carbs account for fiber and sugar alcohols that don’t raise blood sugar like other carbs.

Net carbs are calculated by:

Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols = Net Carbs

Fiber and sugar alcohols are subtracted because they mostly pass through the body without being digested and absorbed. Net carbs give a more accurate picture of a food’s true carbohydrate content for people following lower carb diets.

The Best Low Carb Salad Dressings

Oil and Vinegar

An easy homemade salad dressing is oil and vinegar. Combining oils like olive oil, avocado oil or walnut oil with vinegars like balsamic, red wine, white wine or apple cider vinegar makes a tasty vinaigrette with zero carbohydrates.

Using high quality ingredients gives the best flavor. A basic 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar works well, then season with herbs, garlic, mustard, or other spices. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to finish.

Olive Oil and Lemon Juice

Another zero carb option is dressing your salad with olive oil and lemon juice. Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper. Like oil and vinegar, this simple lemon vinaigrette lets the flavors of the salad shine.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Look for full-fat blue cheese dressing without added sugars. The blue cheese flavor comes from cheese rather than starches or carbs. A 2 tablespoon serving of blue cheese dressing has around 0-1 grams of net carbs.

Ranch Dressing

Check labels for ranch dressings based on healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil or real mayonnaise, without added sugars. A 2 tablespoon serving of ranch dressing made with healthy oils contains about 0-2 grams net carbs.

Caesar Dressing

Traditional caesar dressing is made with olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic and anchovies. Most bottled caesar dressings have 0-3 grams of net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving. Avoid caesar dressings with added sugars.

Moderate Carb Salad Dressing Options

Some salad dressings have more carbs than oil-based ones, but can still fit into a low-carb lifestyle in moderation. Good options in this category include:

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic vinegar adds more carbs than white wine or cider vinegars, with about 5 grams net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving. Pairing balsamic with an oil blend cuts the carb count.

Italian Dressing

Bottled Italian dressings average 5-6 grams net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving. Making your own allows you to control quality and carbs.

Honey Mustard Dressing

Honey mustard dressing has about 5-7 grams net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving. The honey adds sweetness and carbs. Use sparingly on salads.

Poppyseed Dressing

Poppy seeds give this dressing a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. 2 tablespoons of poppyseed dressing has around 6 grams of net carbs.

High Carb Salad Dressing to Avoid

Steer clear of these high sugar, high carb salad dressings:

Thousand Island

With around 7-10 grams of net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving, thousand island dressing is fairly high in sugar.

French Dressing

Thick and sweet, French dressing can have up to 15 grams of carbs per 2 tablespoon serving.

Honey French Dressing

French dressing made with honey instead of corn syrup is slightly higher in carbs, with around 15-17 grams per serving.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Sweet raspberry vinaigrettes can contain 15-20 grams of carbs per 2 tablespoons.

Orange Dressing

Citrus flavors come from orange juice concentrate, adding around 20 grams of carbs to each 2 tablespoon serving of dressing.

Creamy Dressings

Thick, creamy dressings like coleslaw dressing, Russian dressing or blue cheese creamy dressing are higher in carbohydrates, with around 15-20 grams per serving.

Tips for Low Carb Salad Dressings

Here are some tips for choosing and making the best low carb salad dressings:

  • Read labels and calculate net carbs – don’t just look at total carbs.
  • Avoid dressings with added sugars or corn syrup.
  • Look for full fat dressings – they are lower carb than “light” or low-fat versions.
  • Make your own using oil, vinegar and herbs or spices.
  • Add flavor with sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard or lemon juice.
  • Use sparingly – most serving sizes are 2 Tbsp.
  • Round out meals with protein and healthy fats.
  • Track portions if you are counting net carbs.

Low Carb Salad Dressing Recipes

Making your own salad dressing is easy and lets you control the ingredients. Here are some tasty low carb salad dressing recipes to try:

Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and minced garlic.
  2. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk or shake again before drizzling over salad.

Ranch Dressing


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and seasonings.
  2. Taste and adjust lemon juice or seasoning as desired.
  3. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing


  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blend avocado, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic and cumin until smooth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add water to thin to desired consistency.

Choosing Store-Bought Dressings

When buying pre-made salad dressing, read nutrition labels closely and watch out for added sugars. Here are some good options:

Dressing Net Carbs
Kraft Zesty Italian 3g
Ken’s Steakhouse Balsamic Vinaigrette 3g
Brianna’s Asiago Caesar 1g
Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch 2g
Newman’s Own Olive Oil & Vinegar 0g

Avoid dressings with “lite”, “fat-free” or sweet flavors like raspberry, honey or orange – these almost always have more sugar and carbs.


Choosing the right salad dressing makes it easier to stick to a low-carb diet. The best options are oil and vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice, blue cheese, ranch and caesar dressings without added sugars. Aim for 0-3 grams of net carbs per serving.

Making your own dressing gives you control over the ingredients. Whip up easy vinaigrettes, creamy dressings or tangy herb dressings at home. When buying dressings, read labels closely and watch out for added sugars that increase the carb count. With so many tasty options for low carb dressings, salads can be a delicious part of a keto or low-carb eating plan.

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