The Old Spaghetti Factory’s Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing


A rich and creamy dried basil pesto dressing that tastes just like the Old Spaghetti Factory’s! And did I mention it’s super easy to make??

Spaghetti Factory Creamy Pesto Dressing

There are three reasons I go to The Old Spaghetti Factory. The warm sourdough bread. The spumoni ice cream. And the creamy pesto salad dressing!

Spaghetti Factory Creamy Pesto Dressing


I loved it so much since I was a kid that I decided to figure out how to make it on my own and this is what I’ve came up with (many years ago).

And it’s been a family favorite every since.

Spaghetti Factory Creamy Pesto Dressing

I make this dressing probably more than any other. It’s one of the easiest dressing recipes, yet it’s so flavorful and satisfying.

Spaghetti Factory Creamy Pesto Dressing

The term “Pesto” in the dressing is kind of funny to me because there isn’t even fresh basil in it but I stuck with the name all the same.

I love the signature flavor of the dried basil in the dressing and actually wouldn’t recommend substituting fresh here.

Also don’t use the milk + vinegar/lemon juice substitute for the buttermilk, it doesn’t work here. Unfortunately.

Spaghetti Factory Creamy Pesto Dressing

I also love this dressing on a salad with chicken – for more of a main dish instead of a side dish. But it’s also perfect on a side salad to go with your spaghetti.

Or just about any other main dish for that matter. So simple yet so good!!


The Old Spaghetti Factory’s Creamy Pesto Salad Dressing

4.7 from 10 votes

Makes about 1 cup

Prep Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (full fat)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried basil*
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese**


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended.

  2. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate 30 minutes. Serve over green salad.
  3. Recipe originally shared February 2012. I've scaled it down to half the original recipe I shared.

  4. *Don't use stale dried basil (as in one that has been sitting in the cupboard for a year or two). A fresher pack is best.

  5. **I use the the pokey side of a box grater to get the fine grate. Just be careful. Also store bought grated parmesan such as Kraft can be used as well when in a rush.

  6. Recipe source: Cooking Classy

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  • Jennifer: I tried it with garlic powder and dried basil first, but the flavor was a little subdued, so the next time I used minced garlic and fresh basil and it was much better, brighter flavors. I also added a bit of freshly ground black pepper. September 30, 2018 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Nicole: I didn’t have buttermilk so I did do the vinegar/milk trick and it tasted identical to SFs dressing so I disagree it doesn’t work. Other than that though, spot on. August 23, 2018 at 6:42pm Reply

  • Roberta Susan Wills: Here’s a small kind of unrelated tip. I buy a spice or herb. I use PRESS AND SEAL WRAP cut into 3″ squares. I take the jar and stretch the P & S over the top tightly. Then screw the cap on. This really keeps the spices and herbs store bought fresh. Afterwards I trim the excess. Works!!! April 30, 2018 at 1:45am Reply

  • Roberta Susan Wills: Bret, there’s always one!!! Good job. April 30, 2018 at 1:39am Reply

  • Bree: I love it and disagree with the dont substitute for milk and lemon because thay what i did and used a little extra mayo and it was PERFECT April 22, 2018 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Cyndee Hinrichs: This is basically ranch dressing without all the extra herbs which gives it that distinct flavor. Off the salad topic. Try this dressing with an equal part Italian vinaigrette/dressing (homemade or store bought) to marinate chicken in for grilling.
    If grilled properly, you will have some very delicious and oh-so-moist chicken! Enjoy April 1, 2018 at 10:10pm Reply

  • Elisa: I added a few turns of my pepper grinder and about a teaspoon of hot sauce for that slightly spicy flavor.
    I swear, it was identical to SF’s dressing!
    I was impressed. Usually copy cat recipes fall short. This one didn’t.
    I did use freshly made buttermilk from some butter I had just made. I’m trying it with store bought buttermilk tonight. Hopefully the flavor will not change. I did use this recipe’s exact measurements. Only alterations were mentioned above. (And only because of the spiciness of Spaghetti Factory’s vs. this recipe).
    The flavors really do need to set in the fridge for about thirty minutes to develop the exact taste. Just a heads up. February 19, 2018 at 6:35pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Elisa! February 21, 2018 at 10:54am Reply

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