by Olena

Poppy Seed Dressing

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 5 votes

This Healthy Poppy Seed Dressing recipe is made with yogurt instead of mayo for a light and creamy salad dressing or dip without all the added sugars and additives of supermarket versions. Drizzle this poppyseed dressing over salads, fruit, and veg to create healthy dishes you want to eat every day!

Want more healthy dressings to add to your repertoire? You might enjoy this raspberry vinaigrette, avocado cilantro dressing, or healthy ranch dressing!

poppyseed dressing with salad in background

Perfectly Balanced Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

I haven’t bought a supermarket salad dressing in years – they’re usually filled with way too much salt or sugar and other ‘nasty’ additives. While it may be super easy and convenient to simply pick up a bottle and look past the unnecessary sugars and ingredients, this is the best poppy seed dressing I’ve ever had, and it takes just a couple of minutes to prepare!

This poppy seed dressing recipe is creamy without the use of mayo; instead, it relies on a base of Greek yogurt for major creaminess with a fraction of the calories and fat! This isn’t the first time I’ve made this swap either. Just look at my Instant Pot potato salad, Mexican street corn salad, and healthy coleslaw for more examples.

In fact, yogurt has become a favorite of mine as a healthy swap – now I use it in muffins like these gluten-free almond muffins, for healthy egg salad, in French onion dip, and to make a healthier frosting for chocolate cake and carrot cake. You can see my full list of Greek Yogurt recipes for more inspiration.

Once prepared, this poppy seed salad dressing is creamy, light, and slightly sweet with a hint of sweet onion flavor and crunchy poppy seeds. In fact, this is the best poppy seed dressing I’ve ever tried and is so perfectly balanced with tangy, creamy, sweet, and savory elements that you’ll want to pour it over everything- though it goes particularly well with fruity salads like spinach and strawberry salad.

Best of all, this poppyseed dressing is made up of just a few fridge and pantry-friendly ingredients and can even be made dairy-free. So give it a try today, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Why This Recipe for Poppy Seed Dressing Works?

  • Prepare this poppy seed dressing in literally two minutes with just a bowl and whisk, jar, or mini food processor!
  • This dressing is creamy yet lighter than store-bought options with the use of yogurt instead of mayo!
  • It is made with just 8 fridge and pantry staples (salt and pepper included!)- for whenever you need it!
  • Perfectly balanced in flavor; creamy, tangy, sweet, savory!
  • Homemade means avoiding all the sugars and additives in store-bought options- this is made with simple, wholesome ingredients!
  • This poppy seed salad dressing is gluten-free, oil-free, refined-sugar-free, and can even be made dairy-free!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Greek yogurt: I recommend using Greek yogurt that is at least 2%+ fat. You could also use natural yogurt (then omit the water).

Tip: Use yogurt with a fat content of 2% and higher. Why? Because non-fat 0% yogurt lacks flavor (and honestly tastes a little chalky to me) which you don’t want for this poppy seed dressing recipe.

  • Maple syrup or honey: You can alternatively use granulated sugar – for a sugar-free version, use a sugar alternative like swerve or monk fruit sweetener. 
  • Mustard: I use a teaspoon of Dijon mustard; however, dried mustard powder should also work. 
  • Vinegar: This is pretty versatile; I recommend white, apple cider, or rice vinegar. However, you could also use a fruity option like raspberry vinegar.  
  • Poppy seeds: You could toast the seeds for a more robust flavor in this poppyseed dressing.
  • Onion powder or flakes: While you could use fresh onion, I recommend putting that knife away because it’s just as simple to add in the dried powder for a delicious flavor!
  • Salt and pepper: To season, feel free to adjust the amount to personal preference.
  • Water: Depending on what yogurt you use, this amount can vary – needed to thin the poppyseed dressing slightly. 

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on recipe add-ins and variations!

How to Make Poppy Seed Dressing

When a recipe is this easy to prepare, like this poppy seed dressing recipe, there’s just no need to buy it from the store. In fact, this poppy seed dressing is ready in just one step and is wonderfully fresh and ‘clean’ too!

  • Combine the ingredients: Combine all the poppyseed dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Alternatively, you can add everything to a lidded jar and shake (I prefer using a mason jar, as I can then transfer that to the refrigerator). You could even use a small food processor (minus the poppy seeds to begin – then pulse them in for just a second or two at the end). 

The amount of water you need to add to the poppy seed salad dressing will depend on the yogurt you use. I recommend first mixing it without water and slowly adding water in as needed. For example, Greek yogurt will usually need some, whereas regular yogurt may not need any.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Leave it to marinate: Though it’s not necessary, leaving the poppyseed dressing for 30 minutes to ‘marinate’ in the fridge will allow all the flavors to meld and enhance the overall flavor – trust me!
  • Adjust to personal preference: Homemade dressings are easily adjusted, so feel free to tweak amounts to personal taste. Want it tangier? Add more vinegar. Sweeter? Add a drop more honey, etc. 
  • Don’t omit the sweetener: It might be tempting for those who limit sugar to try to do so with this recipe too, but don’t! The balance between the honey/maple and acidic ingredients is a must to get the best flavor!

Add-ins and Recipe Variations

There are several ways you can adjust this recipe, including the below options:

  • Even creamier: To keep the poppy seed salad dressing light but add some of the extra richness from mayo, you can substitute just 1-2 tbsp of the yogurt for mayo instead. 
  • Non-creamy version: Alternatively, want more of a poppy seed vinaigrette? Swap out the greek yogurt for high-quality olive oil (for stronger flavor) or neutral vegetable oil (for mild dressing). You could even combine the two – though this is nowhere near the ‘light’ and low-calorie yogurt version. 
  • Pureed fruit: This dressing is not only perfect for fruity salads and dishes, but it tastes delicious with fruit in it too. I recommend pureed mango or raspberry added ‘to taste.’ 
  • Orange: A couple of spoonfuls of orange juice will also elevate this poppy seed salad dressing flavor. Optionally you could even add in some orange zest.
  • Cardamom: I love the combination of poppy seeds and cardamom. All you need is a teeny weeny pinch of it, too.

FAQs

Could I make vegan poppy seed dressing?

You sure can – just swap out the Greek yogurt for a dairy-free option instead. I recommend using dairy-free Greek yogurt, but natural yogurt will also work. Just make sure it’s not flavored.

Where to buy poppy seeds?

If you are like me and were not sure, poppy seeds are located in the baking aisle of any supermarket, with the spices. This may be the case for your supermarket too!

All you need for this poppyseed dressing is a small bag since you only need a tablespoon. I store the rest in a glass jar in the pantry – though they can also be refrigerated/frozen for longer-term storage.

Is poppy seed dressing good for you?

When buying poppy seed salad dressing from a supermarket, maybe not as much, but homemade – sure thing! Unlike supermarket versions which often contain tons of added sugars and additives, this homemade version is made with all-natural ingredients and can be made refined sugar-free. More so, poppy seeds contain several minerals – including manganese which is important for bone health and blood clotting, and a combination of healthy omega fatty acids- which are great for heart and skin health. 

However, take note that the seeds can affect the results of a drug test for up to 48 hours after they are eaten – due to the natural amounts of morphine and codeine found in the poppy plant. While they are usually rinsed before being sold, they can still contain trace amounts.

Serving Recommendations

This poppy seed dressing recipe is the perfect accompaniment to fruity salads and ingredients like kale, arugula, and sprouts. Here are just a few dishes you may enjoy it with:

 You can also use it as a dip for fruits and veggies or drizzle over berries and tropical fruits.

poppy seed dressing on salad

Making Poppyseed Dressing in Advance

Make ahead: This poppy seed dressing recipe tastes even better with time to marinate and let all the flavors meld. I recommend making it a few hours in advance and storing it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. 

Storing: Once prepared, refrigerate the poppy seed salad dressing in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. 

Shake or stir the dressing before each use, as yogurt can settle on the walls of the container a bit.

Freeze: Do not freeze, due to the yogurt your dressing would alter in texture upon thawing.

More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

You might also enjoy browsing through my entire collection of healthy salads for more lunch inspiration!

salad with poppy seed dressing dripping off of spoon into salad
Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing {Light and Healthy}

This Healthy Poppy Seed Dressing recipe is made with yogurt instead of mayo for a light and creamy salad dressing or dip without all the added sugars and additives of supermarket versions. Drizzle this poppyseed dressing over salads, fruit, and veg to create healthy dishes you want to eat every day!
5 from 5 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 39kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 2%+ fat
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, honey or sugar
  • 1 tsp white, apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

Make ahead: Make dressing a few hours in advance and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. May need to shake or stir right before serving.

    Store: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 7 days. Do not freeze.

      Notes

      Regular yogurt: You can use regular (not Greek) yogurt, just omit water.
      See recipe post for more tips & FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 1mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      8 comments on “Poppy Seed Dressing

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      1. Somewhere in here you mentioned a website you use for exercising. I can’t find it anywhere. Would you mind posting it.

      2. 5 stars
        Had some of this tonight on my salad. Not sure I’ve ever had a poppyseed dressing before, so I don’t really have anything to compare this to. Regardless, this is really good! The flavor is somehow light and yet very present. The sweet onion really stands out. Thanks so much for the recipe! It’s only the second dressing I’ve made with Greek yogurt. 🙂

        1. That’s right – light flavour with a slight hint of sweet onion. I had a store bought one probably twice in my life. Glad you are enjoying.:) Greek yoghurt is amazing for salad dressing and dips!

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