Chris Cooks

5 Ingredient Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

June 4, 2014  —  Written by Chris 

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I know I’m all about grilling during the summers, but just important are the things served with your grilled food. To me, food in the summer is fresh and flavorful, especially the salads. But a less thought-out part of the meal is the dressing.

There are thousands of recipes for lemon poppyseed dressing out there, and many of the ones I’ve tried are quite good. But they often include lots of ingredients, lots of steps, and sometimes end up tasting like syrup. Jules loves poppyseed dressing, so I wanted to come up with a version I could make in less than 5 minutes that would still deliver the flavor. Indeed, you could make this in less than 2 minutes if you decided to forego toasting the poppy seeds.

5 Ingredient Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Here’s what you need:
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 lemon
• 1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
• 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds

First, toast the poppy seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently to prevent it from burning. Once toasted, add the poppy seeds to the sugar and mix together. The sugar grabs some of the aroma from the hot poppy seeds and gives you a more distinct poppyseed flavor. You can skip this whole toasting part when you’re in a hurry, but it does make a difference.

Wash and dry the lemon, then use a microplane to shave off about 1/4 tsp of zest. Add the zest to the sugar, then juice the lemon through a fine-mesh sieve to catch any seeds. Combine the sugar mix (with poppy seeds and lemon zest) in a bowl with the mayonnaise, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk together until smooth. Donezo.

5 Ingredient Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

To me, this dressing is summer. Despite being mostly mayonnaise, the acid from the lemon and vinegar lighten it up and the toasted poppy seeds give it a nutty component that works perfectly with tender salad greens. It works especially well in salads with fruits and berries.

5 Ingredient Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

There are thousands of recipes for lemon poppyseed dressing out there, and many of the ones I’ve tried are quite good. But they often include lots of ingredients, lots of steps, and sometimes end up tasting like syrup. This version only has 5 ingredients and takes only 5 minutes to put together.
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Total Time5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds

Instructions

  • Toast the poppy seeds in a dry pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add the toasted poppy seeds to the sugar and mix together together.
  • Wash and dry the lemon, then use a microplane to shave off about 1/4 tsp of zest from the skin. Add this zest to the sugar and mix together again.
  • Juice the lemon through a sieve to catch the seeds.
  • Combine the sugar mix (with poppy seeds and lemon zest) in a bowl with the mayonnaise, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk together until smooth.

What do you think?

  1. Vanessa B. says:

    I made this over the weekend – it was awesome! My sous-chef picked up the wrong vinegar at the food store (can’t complain – he saved me a trip to the food store!) I used red wine vinegar instead of the rice wine and it was still delicious. Looking forward to making it with the right vinegar to see the difference.

    We have had huge spinach salads with strawberries the last two nights. So, so good. Thank you for a great recipe!

  2. Lea says:

    Sounds so yummy! How long should it keep in the fridge? I hate making too much if it goes bad quickly…

    • Chris says:

      The ingredients are all fairly stable, so as long as you have a tightly-sealable container it should last a few weeks.

  3. Thanks Chris! Do you think Greek Yogurt would work instead of mayo?

    • Chris says:

      Greek yogurt would change things quite a bit. There’s a tartness inherent to yogurt you don’t have to deal with in mayo. You may also have more issues with curdling or separating, but since yogurt is already curdled to a degree, you might be fine. If you try using yogurt instead of mayo, you may need to add more sugar to offset the tartness. I would say to keep everything in its current proportion (substituting yogurt for mayo), taste, and add more sugar as needed. If you give it a go, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  4. Anna says:

    Sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try this!

  5. Gillian says:

    Hi! This sounds delish! Could you use light mayo? Or does it affect the way it combines/flavor/anything?

    • Chris says:

      Any time you use one ingredient in place of another, it will change the flavor, but that’s not always a big deal. Using light mayo instead would be just fine and shouldn’t cause any issues with mixing, though I will admit I haven’t tried. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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