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What is French dressing??

I recently asked for suggestions for a chicken dish - see

One of the suggestions was a cranberry french chicken, which used a "bottle of french dressing". In Australia, french dressing is basically oil and vinegar, maybe a little garlic. So please tell me - what is in the US version bottle of french dressing?

I want to try this dish for dinner tonight so please help me out!!!

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  1. There's a recent thread from a French woman asking the same question. If you find it and read it you'll know that you do not want to make this recipe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: southernitalian

      Here's the thread from the general board on "French Dressing."


      The only french dressing I like (assuming we are talking about the orange stuff) is the Lawry's "Vintage" Dressing that they serve in their restaurants. You can only buy it at the restaurants or online:


    2. It's Hellman's French Dressing, especially on iceberg lettuce. Brings me back to my childhood.

      1. Same thing here. French dressing is an oil and vinegar dressing. You can add herbs as suits your fancy.

        1. Uh, our "French" dressings over here often have ketchup (contains tomatoes) in them. They are red and sweet and tangy and emulsified. Of course, they also have vinegar and oil in them, probably garlic too.

          5 Replies
          1. re: saltwater

            Yeah, that would be a bottled type like Kraft. But a homemade variety of French would be oil and vinegar with variations.

            1. re: sarah galvin

              The recipe that was given to our questioner in the referenced thread called for a 16 oz bottle of French dressing, so I'm guessing the recipe wants the tomato kind. For homemade, you are right.

              1. re: saltwater

                We agree :) Bottled French would be the red kind.

              2. re: sarah galvin

                I have an old recipe for French dressing that calls for the oil, vinegar and paprika & other spices. It's probably the paprika that gives it the orange coloring.

                1. re: lilyalli

                  I found my recipe.. it's from the late 50's I think. It calls for 1/4 t. salt, 1/4 t. paprika, 6 T. olive oil and 2 T. lemon juice. I personally don't like French dressing, so I've never tried this recipe, so I'm not sure how it is.

            2. French dressing is an American product. It is orange. A vinaigrette dressing is oil, vinegar and herbs.

              1. French Dressing (what I always had on my salad in restaurants as a kid) is a viscous, sweet, orange liquid that I quite loved as a child, but wouldn't touch with a barge pole these days. Certainly, no Frenchman would put this stuff in his mouth!

                1. This recipe calls for mixing:

                  1 packet of dry onion soup mix
                  1 16oz. bottle of french dressing
                  1 8oz. can of whole cranberry sauce

                  and baking 4 chicken breasts in this.

                  Even knowing what American French dressing is, it is hard to imagine what this dish would taste like. All the ingredients are processed American foods. Can you get cranberry sauce in Australia?

                  Anyone have ideas of how to make something like this using basic ingredients? Is a whole 16 oz (1 lb) of an oil etc mix needed?


                  1. You could try this recipe for homemade french dressing

                    # 1/4 cup water
                    # 1/4 cup vinegar, red wine and or balsamic vinegar
                    # 1/2 teaspoon sugar
                    # 1/2 lemon, juiced
                    # 1/2 teaspoon salt
                    # 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
                    # 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
                    # 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
                    # 1 clove garlic, minced
                    # 3/4 cup olive oil

                    Combine all in a lidded jar

                    Shake vigorously.

                    1. I remember making simulated French dressing (on a camping trip or picnic or something) as a kid by mixing ketchup and mayo (back when I ate mayo).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lgss

                        Ketchup and mayo together, along w/pickle relish, is 1000 Island dressing; not French.

                      2. Rachael Ray has a quick "French" dressing that tastes close to the American bottled version (I'm not saying I recommend this dressing for general salad use, just that it might do for you). Read the dressing part, not the salad part from the food network site here:


                        I'd post it, but I think I'm only supposed to link to it on this site, not post and link.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: saltwater

                          A vinaigrette is basically oil, vinegar (or other acid), and spices This adds ketchup to produce the red, emulsified character of the bottled dressing. The commercial version probably has modified food starch and gum to produce a dressing that does not separate.