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Creamy Southwest Salad Dressing, Sauce & Dip

One Recipe, Three Luscious Options

This delec­table South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing is creamy, savory and spicy. The heat bal­anc­ing tang comes from lime juice. It’s a silky, pep­pery and utter­ly crave­able South­west­ern Sal­ad Dress­ing recipe you’ll make over and over, again! 

Ready for the big BONUS? This lus­cious South­west Dress­ing dou­bles (or triples?) as a mouth­wa­ter­ing South­west Sauce or a delec­table South­west Dip, too. The fla­vor and ver­sa­til­i­ty are sim­ply unmatched.

Southwest Dressing in White Pitcher on concrete counter with limes, cilantro, spices and blue print fabric
Post may con­tain affil­i­ate links. See my Affil­i­ate Disclosure.

If you haven’t tried mak­ing home­made dress­ing, before, you real­ly need to go for it this sum­mer. They’re so easy and afford­able. Plus, with home­made dress­ing, you con­trol all the ingredients.

My creamy South­west­ern Sal­ad Dress­ing whisks togeth­er in 2 min­utes and requires only 4 sim­ple ingre­di­ents. You’re gonna love it!

South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing is bold­ly fla­vored, gluten free AND dairy free sal­ad dress­ing. This silky, creamy sal­ad dress­ing has no added sug­ar and no nuts. 

The heat is from smoky chipo­tle chili pow­der and it’s com­ple­ment­ed by smoked papri­ka, cumin and Mex­i­can oregano. It’s a delec­table South­west Sauce, dip or dress­ing option for those who need to be care­ful about food allergies.

Southwest Chicken Salad and homemade southwestern dressing
My South­west Sal­ad with Slow Cook­er South­west Chick­en is a per­fect sum­mer­time com­plete meal.

Southwest Sauce

As a South­west­ern Sauce, this creamy South­west Dress­ing recipe is fan­tas­tic to driz­zle over a Rice Bowl with South­west Chick­en and your favorite south­west­ern veg­gies and ingre­di­ents. But, it can be so much more ver­sa­tile than that.

Brush this easy home­made dressing/ South­west Sauce onto chick­en or pork chops before grilling. Use it as the liq­uid por­tion of a dredg­ing sta­tion when bread­ing chick­en or fish.

You won’t believe the incred­i­ble fla­vor it adds to meat when used as a mari­nade. And, oh my gra­cious! Use it to top your best grilled burg­er and you’ll nev­er go back. It’s scrumptious!

You can driz­zle it on scram­bled eggs. And, we love it stirred into the dress­ing for South­west Pas­ta Sal­ad! Hon­est­ly, it’s pret­ty much per­fect in ANY South­west Salad!

Southwest Pasta Salad with Southwest Salad Dressing

Southwest Dip

South­west Dip/ South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing is creamy, spicy and deli­cious when used for dunk­ing and dip­ping, too. Try it with your favorite home­made chick­en nuggets recipe.

It also is fan­tas­tic for dip­ping home fries and sweet pota­to fries. So good!

Dip cau­li­flower flo­rets, cel­ery sticks or car­rots into it for a cool, crunchy and fla­vor-packed after­noon snack. Delish!

Chicken Nuggets and Southwest Dip

The excit­ing thing is that they, South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing, South­west Sauce and South­west Dip, are all the same thing! Your mind will be blown at all the bold, fla­vor-packed possibilities!

FAQ’s About Southwest Salad Dressing

Can I use sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of the may­on­naise to make creamy South­west Dress­ing?

Tech­ni­cal­ly, yes. They will both work, but the tex­ture will not be as thick and creamy. And the fla­vor will not be as rich. There is just no real­ly com­pa­ra­ble sub­sti­tute for the silky rich­ness that eggs (mayo) bring to the recipe.

Can I make this South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing less spicy?

Sure. You can increase or decrease the amount of South­west Sea­son­ing to adjust the heat lev­el. It con­tains chipo­tle chili pow­der for the spicy kick. Use less South­west­ern Sea­son­ing for milder sauce and more for extra heat. When adding or remov­ing sea­son­ing, I would begin with 1/4 to 1/2 tea­spoon at a time. (Also, if you’re using a dif­fer­ent South­west sea­son­ing than my rec­om­mend­ed Home­made South­west Sea­son­ing, the heat lev­el could be com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent. Adjust accord­ing to your own taste.)

Southwest Dressing in a clear jar with drip running down side. Blue print fabric napkin behind jar. Limes to the side and Cilantro in front right corner.

The Science of Adding Oil to Mayo

Did you know that the more oil you incor­po­rate into may­on­naise, the thick­er it becomes? The result is an even more silky and lus­cious thick­ened mayo. My mind was kind of blown when I learned that. The oil con­tin­ues to emul­si­fy with the egg in your may­on­naise. To a point.

It IS pos­si­ble to add too much oil to the mayo or to the South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing, sauce or dip that you’re mak­ing with it. If you do, it can result in a bro­ken sauce. 

The term bro­ken, in regards to may­on­naise, sauces or oth­er emul­si­fi­ca­tions, means that what­ev­er you’re cre­at­ing has sep­a­rat­ed back into liq­uids and fats. It has lost its silky emul­si­fied and homo­ge­neous texture.

southwest dressing being whisked in a clear bowl

Eggs have sur­fac­tants. Sur­fac­tants are mol­e­cules that have a water sol­u­ble end and an oil sol­u­ble end. That’s why we’re able to mix and uni­fy eggs, oil and a liq­uid like lime juice or vine­gar to cre­ate may­on­naise. It’s just impor­tant not to add more than either end is able to absorb.

I have test­ed this South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing recipe half a dozen times before shar­ing it with you. And, one of them was an utter fail­ure. lol So, I can now say I am con­fi­dent in the ratios I’ve estab­lished for this recipe. 

Fol­low the mix­ing pro­ce­dure, as I describe it, and you will achieve thick, creamy South­west Dip, sal­ad dress­ing or Sauce every sin­gle time.

Ingredients

Southwest Salad Dressing ingredients in a clear glass bowl
  • May­on­naise — Sal­ad dress­ing (Mir­a­cle Whip, Spin Blend, etc. DO NOT work in this recipe.)
  • Avo­ca­do Oil
  • South­west Sea­son­ing (con­tains the chipo­tle chili pow­der, cumin, smoked papri­ka and herbs that cre­ate the best flavor.)
  • Lime Juice
  • Water
  • Salt and Pep­per, to taste (Taste first. South­west sea­son­ing has salt in it.)

Choosing the Right Mayonnaise

mayonnaise, homemade, and various commercial brands with a salad dressing brand x'd out because it won't work in this recipe

As I men­tioned, sal­ad dress­ings like Mir­a­cle Whip do not work in this recipe. The added sug­ars alter the fla­vor dra­mat­i­cal­ly. And, tex­tu­ral­ly, the South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing nev­er gets to the same lev­el of creamy thickness.

You need to start with a true may­on­naise. That’s usu­al­ly just eggs, oil, an acidic liq­uid and some salt. Com­mer­cial brands may have a few oth­er ingre­di­ents. But, those are the essentials.

Choose the may­on­naise that you like best to make your South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing. I pre­fer my Home­made may­on­naise, which uses avo­ca­do oil. Or, I buy avo­ca­do oil may­on­naise made with avo­ca­do oil, only.

Check the ingre­di­ent labels on whichev­er you choose. Many brands say avo­ca­do may­on­naise on the front and then the ingre­di­ent list shows only a small amount of avo­ca­do oil with a larg­er com­po­nent of less healthy oils. They work in your home­made dress­ing, but why pay for some­thing spe­cial, when it isn’t?

Reg­u­lar may­on­naise brands will also work with my South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing recipe. Just watch out for the sal­ad dress­ings that add sugars.

Why Avocado Oil?

avocado cut in half laying on a table next to a whole avocado and bottle of avocado oil

Avo­ca­do oil is the pre­dom­i­nant oil used in my kitchen. And yes. It’s more expen­sive than canola, corn or veg­etable oil. How­ev­er, for me, the ben­e­fits out­weigh the extra cost. I save mon­ey in so many oth­er places in the kitchen, that when it comes to oils, I choose the best avail­able to me.

Avo­ca­do oil is a neu­tral fla­vor oil. That means what­ev­er recipe I use it in, it will not over­pow­er or alter the fla­vor of the oth­er ingredients.

Avo­ca­do has one of the high­est smoke points of any cook­ing oil. That makes it safer for fry­ing and for high tem­per­a­ture baking.

Avo­ca­do oil is almost 70% monoun­sat­u­rat­ed fat, in par­tic­u­lar, ole­ic acid. Ole­ic acid is an omega‑9 fat­ty acid. It’s believed to improve the health of skin, hair, eyes, teeth and gums. Ole­ic acid may also help reduce the risk of heart dis­ease. Reduc­ing inflam­ma­tion and help­ing nutri­ents be absorbed by the body are oth­er ben­e­fits of eat­ing avo­ca­do oil.

It makes health and fla­vor sense to use avo­ca­do oil in my creamy South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing recipe. The neu­tral fla­vor lets the warm South­west­ern fla­vors shine while pro­vid­ing a num­ber of impor­tant health benefits.

What Is Southwestern Seasoning

Southwest Seasoning Blend in a jar and spilling out of a measuring spoon on a concrete counter top

My Home­made South­west Sea­son­ing is a blend of spices and herbs that are com­mon­ly used in South­west cook­ing. It has no added sug­ars or fillers and it is gluten free. It con­tains Chipo­tle Chili Pow­der, Smoked Papri­ka , Ground Cumin, Gar­lic Pow­der, Dried Oregano, Kosher Salt, Corian­der, Onion Pow­der and Ground Black Pepper.

Com­mer­cial brands may con­tain dif­fer­ent ingre­di­ents, have a dif­fer­ent fla­vor pro­file and dif­fer­ent heat lev­el. I high­ly rec­om­mend my home­made South­west Sea­son­ing, but choose the South­west Sea­son­ing blend your fam­i­ly enjoys most.

How to Make Southwest Salad Dressing

  1. Place the mayo, South­west sea­son­ing, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk to combine. 
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the avo­ca­do oil and whisk until ful­ly combined. 
  3. Add 1/4 cup more and again, whisk until ful­ly combined. 
  4. Whisk in the remain­ing 1/4 cup of avo­ca­do oil.  Whisk hard until it is ful­ly com­bined and emul­si­fied into the spicy mayo mixture. 
  5. The South­west­ern Dip should be silky smooth and fair­ly thick.  Absolute­ly per­fect for dip­ping and dunk­ing.  This con­sis­ten­cy also works fab­u­lous­ly as a lus­cious dairy free South­west­ern Sauce for casseroles and pas­ta sal­ads.  Use it to top your favorite burg­ers and sand­wich­es, too. 
  6. To trans­form the dip into a delec­table South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing, add 3 Table­spoons of water and whisk vig­or­ous­ly to com­bine.  This will thin the south­west­ern sal­ad dress­ing to a pourable or driz­zling con­sis­ten­cy.  It should be sim­i­lar to the con­sis­ten­cy of Ranch Dress­ing.  You can add more water if you pre­fer your dress­ing thinner.
  7. Taste the dip to see if it needs addi­tion­al salt and pep­per. The South­west sea­son­ing has salt in it, so be sure you check the fla­vor, before adding any extra.

The Recipe

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Southwest Dressing, Southwest Dip, Southwest Sauce in a white pitcher

Creamy Southwest Salad Dressing, (Easy Southwest Sauce & Southwest Dip)


  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 5 min­utes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Spicy, creamy and lus­cious­ly silky.  This home­made South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing can also be used as South­west Sauce and South­west Dip.  Use it as a mari­nade.  Brush it on meat before grilling.  Dip corn chips or sweet pota­to fries.  Dunk nuggets, top burg­ers, dress your favorite sum­mer sal­ads and enjoy the spicy, zingy lime juice fla­vors.  The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less for this easy sal­ad dress­ing recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup may­on­naise, (I use avo­ca­do mayo. Def­i­nite­ly use your favorite may­on­naise. IMPORTANT: (Sal­ad dress­ings like Mir­a­cle Whip DO NOT work in this recipe.)
  • 3/4 cup Avo­ca­do Oil
  • 1 Table­spoon South­west Seasoning
  • 2 Table­spoons Lime Juice
  • 3 Table­spoons water

Instructions

  1. Place the mayo, South­west sea­son­ing, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the avo­ca­do oil and whisk until ful­ly combined.
  3. Add 1/4 cup more and again, whisk until ful­ly combined.
  4. Whisk in the remain­ing 1/4 cup of avo­ca­do oil.  Whisk hard until it is ful­ly com­bined and emul­si­fied into the spicy mayo mixture.
  5. The South­west­ern Dip should be silky smooth and fair­ly thick.  Absolute­ly per­fect for dip­ping and dunk­ing.  This con­sis­ten­cy also works fab­u­lous­ly as a lus­cious dairy free South­west­ern Sauce for casseroles and pas­ta sal­ads.  Use it to top your favorite burg­ers and sand­wich­es, too.
  6. To trans­form the dip into a delec­tably creamy South­west Sal­ad Dress­ing, add 3 Table­spoons of water and whisk vig­or­ous­ly to com­bine.  This will thin the south­west­ern sal­ad dress­ing to a pourable or driz­zling con­sis­ten­cy.  It should be sim­i­lar to the con­sis­ten­cy of Ranch Dress­ing.  You can add more water if you pre­fer your dress­ing thinner.
  7. Taste the dip to see if it needs addi­tion­al salt and pep­per. The South­west sea­son­ing has salt in it, so be sure you check the fla­vor, before adding any extra.
  • Prep Time: 5 min­utes
  • Cook Time: 0 min­utes
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Condi­ment, Sauce, Dip Sal­ad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked by Hand
  • Cui­sine: Amer­i­can Southwest

More Delicious Condiments, Dips and Sauces

Are you look­ing for anoth­er spicy, creamy dip and sauce? My friends, Mandy and Jane, over at Splash of Taste, have a killer Indi­an Rai­ta recipe to share. Yogurt, Indi­an spices, cucum­ber and mint com­bine to make a del­ish sauce you’ll want with all your favorite Indi­an dish­es. And, for a tasty after­noon snack, try it shmeared on a yum­my piece of naan or for dip­ping your favorite chips .

And you will swoon for Sher­ry’s Bacon Aioloi! It’s fab­u­lous on your favorite burg­ers or for dip­ping Sweet Pota­to Fries.

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