Food Guide

This Simple Comparison Will Make You Rethink Your Salad Dressing Choice: Salad Dressing vs Mayo!

Though many people think of salad dressing and mayonnaise as the same thing, it’s important to understand that they are different, with each one serving a unique purpose.

To help you understand these differences, this post will cover what makes salad dressing and mayonnaise special, how they are different from one another, and what similarities between them exist.

Read on to know which option makes the best solution for your next dish, or salad.

What is special about a salad dressing?

Amazon Kitchen, Green Goddess Dressing & Dip, Refrigerated, 11 fl oz

Having a salad for lunch is an excellent way to stay healthy, but there are only so many ways to eat your greens.

You can choose from dozens of different types of salads, and every single one will taste great with a salad dressing.

Salad dressing is a liquid that you pour over your lettuce or other salad ingredients before eating.

It’s used to add flavor and texture to the dish, which makes it more interesting than plain green leaves.

Normally, a salad dressing is a combination of oil or other kinds of fat, acid, and an emulsifier.

The emulsion is what gives the dressing its characteristic texture and consistency.

After all, you don’t want your salad dressing to be runny.

You can make your own salad dressing or buy one at the store, but either way, it’s important to know what you’re doing when you’re pouring it on your salad.

What is special about mayonnaise?

365 by Whole Foods Market, Mayonnaise Organic, 11.2 Fl Oz

What makes mayonnaise so special?

Well, unlike other salad dressings that are made from vinegar, oil, and spices, the primary ingredients in mayonnaise are egg yolks and oil.

It means you can use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps—just like butter!

It’s also a good source of protein and fat.

You’ll find about 3 grams of protein (or 6 percent) in two tablespoons of regular mayo.

That’s more than some yogurts or cheeses!

There are also 20 grams of fat (or 50 percent) per two tablespoons—but it’s mostly unsaturated fat with zero trans fat to worry about.

Mayonnaise is also full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E to keep your skin looking young while boosting immunity during cold weather months when we’re all susceptible to getting sick easily without proper nutrition and restful sleep cycles.

Plus, it is also rich in calcium so we don’t lose our bones over time because they rely on this mineral too much.

What are the differences between salad dressing and mayonnaise?

Here are some key differences that will point out how a salad dressing and mayo separate from each other:

Different ingredients

Salad dressing is a liquid dressing made of oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices.

Mayonnaise is a thick dressing that is made of oil, egg yolks, and lemon juice or vinegar.

Different textures

Due to the difference in the elements that make up a salad dressing and mayo, the textures of these two items are also different from each other.

Salad dressing will be lighter than mayo because it doesn’t contain as much fat or emulsifiers (to keep the particles suspended).

At first look, you can easily differentiate a salad dressing, which is clear and light just like your vegetable oil, while mayo is white in color and has a texture of melted butter.

Different flavors

Mayo also has a creamier flavor because it contains more ingredients.

On the other hand, a salad dressing is often a bit sourer as it doesn’t have dairy products that ease the sourness from acid like lemon juice or vinegar.

What are the similarities between salad dressing and mayonnaise?

Besides the differences between salad dressing and mayonnaise, they also have some things in common:

Both salad dressings and mayonnaise are used to dress a salad

Salad dressing and mayonnaise are both creamy, delicious sauces that make a meal taste great.

They can both be used in a variety of ways: as a dip for bread, to give an extra kick to your salad, or even as the base for an awesome sandwich.

They both have a tangy flavor, but they’re not exactly the same thing

These two ingredients are made of oil and acid, which give them a similar tangy and a little creamy flavor.

However, it is obvious that they still taste different as explained earlier.


Amazon Kitchen, Green Goddess Dressing & Dip, Refrigerated, 11 fl oz365 by Whole Foods Market, Mayonnaise Organic, 11.2 Fl Oz
Amazon Kitchen, Green Goddess Dressing & Dip, Refrigerated, 11 fl oz365 by Whole Foods Market, Mayonnaise Organic, 11.2 Fl Oz
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Mayo can be used as a salad dressing but it has a much stronger flavor.

Some people use mayonnaise in place of salad dressing because they want something that tastes better than lettuce leaves.

However, most people prefer the taste of traditional lettuce salads over mayonnaise-based salad dressings.

In the end, some kinds of greens work better with a normal oil-based salad dressing, while others go well with mayo.

So just experiment with yourself to make the right decision on which type of dressing will enhance your salad.

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Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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