This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This 5 minute creamy Southwest Salad Dressing is a McDonald’s copycat loaded with fresh Mexican flavors. It’s super quick and easy to throw together and stays good in the fridge for up to a week. Drizzle it over a simple Southwest salad and dinner is done!
You Will Love This
- It's so quick and easy! No fancy kitchen gadgets and barely any prep work are required for this southwestern dressing. If you're into simple meal prep and effortless lunches, then this recipe is for you! You can also serve this dressing with other favorites like Baked Black Bean Taquitos, Flatbread Mexican Pizza, or Crispy Vegan Potato Tacos!
- The flavor combo is classic, but the dressing really makes this salad unique. If you've ever had the Southwest salad from McDonald’s, you're going to LOVE LOVE LOVE this dressing. It is a copycat version of Newman's Own dressing that McDonald's serves but with a little Midwest Foodie flair.
- It's a really hearty meal that will fill you up and fuel you through your day! While this southwest salad recipe may require little prep and be super easy to throw together, it's also loaded with veggies. This means it will leave you feeling satisfied and energized!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Sour Cream - Don’t use light or fat-free sour cream for this southwest salad dressing recipe. There is no fat in the dressing other than from the sour cream, so you want a regular full fat sour cream for the best flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - The apple cider vinegar in this flavor really adds a distinct tangy flavor that is found in the McDonald’s version of this dressing. You could use white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar in its place, but it will change the flavor slightly.
- Lime Juice - Freshly squeezed lime juice is going to give this dressing its signature lime flavor. Do not omit this ingredient!
- Honey - If you don’t have honey on hand, feel free to use agave or your favorite sweetener in its place. Honey is going to balance out the acidity from the vinegar and lime juice and also add a deliciously sweet note to this dressing.
- Cumin - The ground cumin in this southwest dressing gives it that classic Mexican flavor that ties everything together.
- Chili Powder - The chili powder is going to give a bit of a kick, but not too much - don’t worry!
- Garlic Powder - You could also use freshly minced garlic in place of the garlic powder in this dressing but I love the ease of garlic powder for this quick dressing.
- Onion Powder - The onion powder is going to play off of the other spices and again, round out the flavors.
Whisk until completely combined.
Add corn and tomatoes.
- This southwestern salad dressing will stay good in the fridge for up to a week so you can prep a batch over the weekend and enjoy it for quick and easy lunches all week! It will separate as it sits in an airtight container in the fridge, so just give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients again and also season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Regular sour cream (not light or fat-free) is going to give you the best flavor for this dressing. Fat = flavor and there is no other fat in this dressing, so skip the light sour cream for this southwest dressing in favor of full-fat.
- If you want to add a kick to your southwestern dressing, add a ½ teaspoon of chipotles in adobo, a little extra chili powder, or a couple pinches of cayenne pepper!
- If you can find frozen, fire-roasted corn at your local grocery store, snag a bag of that! You’ll have to cook it from frozen according to package directions, but that extra fire-roasted flavor is worth the effort!
- Don't forget the crunch! My favorite way to add a little texture to any salad is with something crunchy. In this case, I love using my homemade crispy tortilla strips. They are SUPER easy to make - you'll just need oil, corn tortillas, and salt - and they are SO flavorful!! Do yourself a favor, and make a big batch to enjoy with your salads all week!
This southwestern dressing is made with just a handful of simple ingredients including sour cream, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. This is a quick and easy dressing recipe that can be throw together in just minutes!
I try not to think of foods as "healthy" or "unhealthy" and instead prefer to enjoy all foods in moderation. This southwest salad dressing is filled with real ingredients which makes it a more desirable option than the bottled dressing you might find at the grocery store that has a laundry list of ingredients. Build your southwest salad with chicken breast, lots of veggies, and this creamy southwest dressing and you've got an easy lunch that will fill you up and fuel you through your day!
My copycat version of McDonald's southwest salad has most of the same ingredients - greens, corn, black beans, tomatoes, cheese, tortilla strips, cilantro, and a creamy southwest dressing. McDonald's version also includes roasted poblano peppers. Skip the drive-thru line and save some cash by making my simple southwest salad at home!
Yes! This southwest salad is a great meal prep recipe! Assemble the salads with just lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and onions. Store in airtight containers in the fridge. Just before serving, slice the avocado, add tortilla strips, and drizzle with dressing!
Other Family Favorites
- Restaurant Style Blender Salsa
- Street Corn Pasta Salad
- Baked Black Bean Taquitos
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Baked Fish Tacos
This recipe was originally published in May 2018. It was updated in February 2021 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions, and tips for making the best Southwest salad every single time!