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Jan 10, 2009 04:21 PM

Creamy Honey Dijon Dressing- Calling all Cooks...trying to recreate a recipe!

A restaurant near me serves a cold 'crab salad'... just plain unseasoned chilled jumbo chunks of pasteurized crabmeat on a lettuce leaf. Accompanying it is a dipping sauce/salad dressing which they call "Honey Dijon Dressing".

The sauce/dressing is creamy in texture and a blondish to cream in color. There are visible flecks of golden-brown throughout (like processed mustard seeds).

Unlike most "honey mustard" dressings/sauces I've tasted it is not sweet, just mellow in taste, and it isn't the sticky consistency that many honey mustard sauces have. Just a mild, creamy dressing with a kick of Dijon.

Whenever I go there I try to ask random workers there what is in the sauce, but they refuse to say anything except the name "Honey Dijon Dressing". It is an expensive Italian place and the last time I went and asked about the ingredients, the host told me that he could tell me... then he'd have to kill me. So now I've resorted to going to the restaurant and ordering their dressing to go. The guys there don't have the heart to charge me for it, but I don't like having to go somewhere to get something I could probably easily make at home.

So now I'm bound and determined to recreate this dressing. Have gone online and searched for recipes but they don't sound quite right... (they sound like they have WAY too much honey).

Just to note... I use the dressing as a salad dressing, or when I make shrimp cocktail it is a secondary sauce to the traditional red cocktail sauce. (In fact the two taste great mixed together!) I have also found the exact jumbo crab chunks that the restaurant uses at my local lobster farm shop, so I recreate their salad at home. And finally, the sauce is great served alongside crabcakes.

So, my fellow CH home cooks... any ideas on a basic Honey Dijon dressing that might work? One of the workers there told me that the bottled dressing closest in taste to the restaurants' is Ken's Honey Mustard Dressing, but my grocery doesn't carry that particular variety of Ken's.

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  1. "One of the workers there told me that the bottled dressing closest in taste to the restaurants' is Ken's Honey Mustard Dressing, but my grocery doesn't carry that particular variety of Ken's."
    i just hope the ingredients aren't similar to those in Ken's! seriously, the stuff is loaded with sugar - FOUR different kinds, including HFCS...

    anyway, your comments about the texture & flavor have me thinking it's probably mayo-based. did you use the word "creamy" in your web searches? it'll trun up much different results than just "honey-dijon."

    this one's pretty standard. i'd say try it as a starting point:


    1½ cups mayonnaise
    ¼ cup honey
    2 tablespoons minced onion
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

    Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Cover and chill at least eight hours.

    14 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      That's similar to what I do for my regular honey mustard dressing that I serve with sweet potato fries. My proportions are more equal honey to equal mustard and I use garlic instead of onion. I also use a few dashes of Tapatio- I think that's what makes it. And lots of freshly ground black pepper too. I don't necessarily use any herbs, unless I just happen to have some on hand that I want to use up. I LOVE honey mustard, but I usually find most places to either make it too sweet or too spicy.

      1. re: Katie Nell

        Katie Nell, just imagining honey mustard dressing with sweet potato fries made my stomach growl (haven't had breakfast yet). That sounds utterly decadent :-), and tasting the pairing may well be one of my new year's resolutions!

        Like you, I don't like the overly sweet honey mustard. Don't think I've ever tasted it too spicy as frankly, I've avoided it since the eighties when the typical honey mustard sauce was a deep yellow color, quite viscous and sticky... well, IMO, just plain revolting to me. But this Mayo based one might just do the ticket. Because I'm trying to mimic the one I have at the resto, I think I will not use the fresh herbs at first, remove half of it from the blender after processing, then put some herbs in the rest and process. Then I can taste test, who knows? The fresh herbs may improve the dressing.

        Tapatio, is that the Mexican Tabasco-Like Sauce (with the guy in the sombrero on the label)?

        1. re: ideabaker

          figured i'd chime in on Katie Nell's behalf when i saw your question - yes, it is the one with "sombrero guy" on the label :)

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Thanks for that, goodhealthgourmet, just found sombrero guy among my hot sauces... Salsa Picante. Now to use up what I have from the resto (at least a pint left) then try out recipes with your suggestion as a core! :-)

            p.s. Just looked closer at the bottle and the hot sauce is made in CA, not Mexico. Though (being from Texas and often going to CA) in places one might be hard pressed to tell the difference...guess I'm a sucker for marketing!

            1. re: ideabaker

              Yes, it's our favorite hot sauce. We put it in everything! Do try honey mustard and sweet potato fries... don't tell, but when my husband's away, that's often my dinner! ;-) Not even exaggerating about that one! Hubbie doesn't like mustard though, so I make him a chili sauce/ mayo combo that's pretty tasty too.

              1. re: Katie Nell

                KatieNell, you are a Sweetie and you Hub is a good Sport . I will absolutely try the honey mustard sauce over the fries. I entertained tonight with the resto
                s sauce and thought about Sweet Potato Fries the whole time... :-),

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I am tickled to see your recipe as my first thought was that the restaurant is mixing something with commercial mayonnaise, like maybe Wishbone's Honey Dijon dressing, mayonnaise, extra Dijon mustard, and some lemon juice. Jar mayonnaise is actually a good mixer. I do it half & half with chipotle sauce---this is good on a roast beef sandwich---and also mix mayonnaise with tahini, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint, and a little hot red pepper, great with cold chicken in the summertime.

        1. re: Querencia

          Querencia, the second the guy at the resto told me that their sauce tastes closest to a pre-made sauce from the market, my inner cynic immediately thought "hey, are they pouring bottled stuff into their sauce?". I sure hope that isn't the case with the sugary pre-made dressings, though I'm ok with them using a high quality pre-made mayonnaise.

          Your half and half with chipotle sauce... is that all that is in the mixture? (Looking ahead to when I'm working with beef...). Or do you have other ingredients?

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Thanks for the detail, goodhealthgourmet. I don't buy ready made salad dressings so had no idea Ken's (and probably a lot of other brands) had so much sugar! (Ew!). I especially don't appreciate all the corn and other syrups.

          Your recipe absolutely is a good starting point. I know they don't put in fresh green herbs, because I would see that when looking at the sauce. But yes, I think it must have mayo in it because it is very creamy. Will try to make a blend in the next week or so (practicing for making this by Superbowl time).

          Question, I see that some Dijon mustards are relatively smooth while I see "brown mustard" that is usually more grainy. Are there grainy Dijon mustards? (It is the only way I can fathom that their sauce has those flecks of golden brown throughout, vs. being one color all the way through. Unless it has both Dijon and grainy brown mustard...)

          Again, thank you!

          1. re: ideabaker

            yes, there are whole grain Dijon mustards - i use the Maille brand. i can usually find it pretty easily at major supermarkets & fine foods stores.

            let us know how the experimenting goes!

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Hmm... I am not familiar with that brand but will look for it. I usually go straight to the Grey Poupon or the Jack Daniel's mustard but I bet my grocer carries it, just need to take a longer look (the mustard section of the market is pretty darned big). Thank you for the suggestion on the Maille brand!

              1. re: ideabaker

                i just Googled it for you and discovered that you can search for it near you on the Unilever web site. where you live, but here in Jersey you can find it at Kings, Stop & Shop, Pathmark, Food Emporium and Shop Rite.


                just make sure you search for the "Old Style Dijon Mustard" and that you enter the smaller (7.3 oz) size - i don't think i've ever found the larger size in regular markets, only at specialty & restaurant supply stores.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Perfect. GoodhealthGourmet. There is a Stop and Shop a few towns over!

                  1. re: ideabaker

                    great - but i'd call first to make sure they carry that particular variety before you make the trip.

        3. If the mayo mix isn't quite right, I'd think you could make a simple mix of a good Dijon mustard, a little honey, a little white or rice vinegar, and olive oil. Especially with the mustard in there, it's easy to make a "creamy" emulsified dressing with olive oil -- just add it slowly and keep whisking. I've done something like this for a better dipping sauce for the kids with homemade chicken "fingers." It's easy to adjust to your taste -- sometimes needs a tiny bit of salt too.

          2 Replies
          1. re: eamcd

            Eemcd, I have all of those ingredients on hand... proportions would help in experimenting. I prefer mustard over mayo, but admit that there are certain textures/flavours that only Mayo can provide exactly...

            If you don't mind posting a "recipe" (proportional value of all ingredients) that would be great for all of us!

            1. re: ideabaker

              I'll have to think about it. To be honest, I do it by sight -- depending on how much I need. For just a small amount, I start with about a tablespoon of mustard, a pinch of salt, a half tablespoon or so of honey, and a couple teaspoons of rice vinegar. Mix this well and taste for balance. You can balance it to be sweeter or tarter to taste. Just remember that you want the flavors stronger now because the oil will mute them a bit. Then whisk in olive oil, adding it slowly. It will emulsify as you continue whisking. If you need to make a quantity I'm sure you could use a small food processor. You can adjust seasoning at the end, although you might have to whisk it some more. This should give you something thick enough for dipping if you want, or you can leave it thinner -- just adjust the amount of vinegar and oil. It's very flexible. Sorry I can't give more specifics.

          2. Here is a recipe I got from Pierre Franey that I really like, you could always reduce the honey if it is too sweet for you.

            2 egg yolks
            3 tbs apple cider vinegar
            3 tbs honey
            3 tbs dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon Country Style)
            1/4 tsp salt
            1/4 tsp pepper
            1-1/2 cups oil

            whisk first 6 ingredients together, slowly whisk in oil.