Is Homemade Salad Dressing Cheaper Than Store-Bought?

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Buying salad dressing off the shelf at the grocery store seems like a time-saver, but making it at home really doesn't require much time or effort. Salad dressing can easily be thrown together in a matter of minutes with ingredients likely already on hand. This allows experimentation to better suit your tastes and the option to leave out ingredients such as chemicals and sugar. But does making your own salad dressing save money?

In a price comparison, Cheapism.com found only one salad dressing that is cheaper to make at home vs. buying premade, especially after factoring in sales and coupons. Here are 10 salad dressing recipes compared with their store-bought counterparts, based on per-ounce prices from Walmart.com.

RANCH

For a bottle of store-bought Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, the cost at Walmart is 14 cents an ounce. To whip up a creamy ranch dressing with instructions from Allrecipes, you need mayonnaise, buttermilk (or sour cream), and the following dried ingredients: dill weed, parsley, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chives, and onion powder. Total cost: 46 cents an ounce.

FRENCH

For French dressing, we compared the price of Wishbone Deluxe, priced at 13 cents an ounce, to a French dressing recipe at Food.com. The homemade dressing, with five simple ingredients plus spices, costs 7 cents an ounce to make -- much less than the store-bought variety.

BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

Walmart offers two balsamic vinaigrette dressings priced at 13 cents an ounce. Making it from scratch costs about 19 cents an ounce using a Food Network recipe. Although store-bought is cheaper, balsamic vinaigrette is one of the easiest dressings to make, requiring just olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For a more complex dressing, add spices and a squeeze of lemon.

CAESAR

Caesar dressing is a little more complicated, but Food Network has a fairly simple recipe that's easy to make. Salt, pepper, lemon juice, and anchovies were optional, so we didn't include them in our calculations, but you may want to. The total price came to 15 cents an ounce compared with 11 cents an ounce for Kraft Classic Caesar dressing.

RUSSIAN

Russian dressing requires a few more ingredients than, say, a vinaigrette, but most are pantry staples that many cooks already have on hand. Total cost to make a version from Epicurious is 17 cents an ounce, while Ken's brand Russian dressing costs about 15 cents an ounce.
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GREEK

A homemade Greek salad dressing rates high on AllRecipes and makes enough to feed a brood. Still, it can easily be scaled down (as one reviewer did). The cost to make this homemade version as directed comes to about 30 cents an ounce -- about twice the cost of a bottle of Kraft Greek dressing at 13 cents an ounce.

HONEY MUSTARD

Both Ken's and Kraft sell honey mustard dressings that cost about 13 cents an ounce. To make a quick, tasty version at home, follow a recipe from Pinch of Yum, which comes to about 20 cents an ounce. The homemade version doesn't contain calorie-laden oil -- a plus for calorie watchers.

ITALIAN

Wish-Bone Italian Dressing costs about 11 cents an ounce for a store-bought bottle. Making it at home using a simple mix of dry ingredients posted on Allrecipes would cost about 22 cents an ounce. Both versions have added sugar, but making your own allows you to reduce or eliminate the sugar for a tangier and less caloric dressing.

ASIAN

Ken's Asian Sesame With Ginger Soy dressing costs 13 cents an ounce, while making an Asian-style dressing using a recipe from Epicurious costs roughly 18 cents an ounce. Change it up a bit by adding a quarter cup of orange juice to the recipe.

BLUE CHEESE

Blue cheese dressing costs 24 cents an ounce to make using a recipe from Food Network, while shoppers pay just 13 cents an ounce to purchase the Wish-Bone brand at Walmart. Lighten this recipe by substituting low-fat or skim milk for whole milk and using a lighter mayonnaise, such as those made with olive or canola oil.