Creamy Southwest Salad Dressing (5-Minute Recipe)

This creamy Southwest Salad Dressing has big and bold flavors! Made with Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime, and a smoky spice blend, it’s a quick 5-minute recipe that’s perfect for Southwest Chicken Salads.

This boldly flavored Southwest Salad Dressing will be the star of all of your salads! It’s easy to make by blending Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime, and pantry-staple spices together, leaving you with a crave-worthy creamy dressing with smoky and tangy flavors. It’s perfect for southwest salads but will upgrade any salad or taco you crave!

Jar of southwest salad dressing with spoon.

Why you’ll love it

The ingredients are just plain easy. Greek yogurt acts as a creamy base for the dressing, while a pantry-staple spice blend, fresh cilantro, and lime add layers of zest and smoke. You probably have most, if not all, of the ingredients at home already!

Even if you don’t, the recipe is easy to play with. Use the ingredients you already have on hand or make substitutions/additions to find your perfect flavor. For example, add chipotle peppers in adobo for a spicy kick or replace the Greek yogurt with sour cream or your favorite dairy free yogurt. 

The ingredients take less than 5 minutes to blend together in a food processor or blender. Once it’s ready, drizzle the southwest dressing over your favorite southwest salad recipes, green salads, and tacos, or store it away for later!

Ingredients for southwest salad dressing labeled on counter.


  • Greek yogurt – Full fat Greek yogurt lends a creamy, yet light base for the southwestern dressing. With its tangy undertones, every bite is better than the last! Sour cream or mayonnaise work well as substitutes.
  • Lime zest and juice – For a refreshingly tangy-zesty flavor.
  • Cilantro – Or leave it out if you don’t like cilantro.
  • Dry spices – Smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper give this dressing its signature spicy warmth.

Spicy variation: Blend 1 Tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo into the dressing! These smoked and dried jalapeno peppers are sold in small cans in most major grocery stores and give the salad dressing a big boost of rich, smoky, and spicy flavors.

How to make southwest salad dressing

Add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, then enjoy!

Jar of southwest salad dressing next to green salad with tortilla strips.

Recipe tips

  • If the consistency of the dressing is too thin, slowly blend in more yogurt until it thickens.
  • If it’s too thick, blend in a splash of water or lime juice until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Upgrade the flavor by substituting garlic powder for roasted fresh garlic.
  • As-is, the dressing has a mild level of heat. If you don’t want any spice, use regular paprika instead of smoked.


  • Make it spicy – Either blend chipotle peppers in adobo, chili powder, cayenne, or your favorite hot sauce into the dressing.
  • Dairy free – Make it with plain dairy free yogurt or vegan sour cream.
  • Play with the seasonings – Adjust the flavor of the dressing by blending in cumin, oregano, or diced chili peppers.

Make ahead and storing

Blend the dressing and transfer it to an airtight jar or container. Use it all week long! It keeps well in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

Salad dressed with southwest salad dressing.

Serving suggestions

The best way to use this dressing is on a southwest salad of course! Add washed and diced romaine lettuce to a bowl and add all of your favorite southwest toppings on top. Grilled corn, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, smoked chicken breasts, and tortilla strips are all tasty options. Drizzle the southwest salad dressing on top, toss to combine, and enjoy!

The bold flavors in this southwest dressing recipe make it a fantastic dressing or finishing sauce for these recipes as well:

Jar of southwest salad dressing next to cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

More salad dressing recipes

Did you make this creamy salad dressing?

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Spoonful of southwest salad dressing.

Southwest Salad Dressing

This creamy Southwest Salad Dressing has big and bold flavors! Made with Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime, and a smoky spice blend, it’s a quick 5-minute recipe that’s perfect for Southwest Chicken Salads.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 cup full fat greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1 lime (zested and juiced)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper (plus more to taste)


  • Blend all the ingredients together in a small blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


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Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 401mg | Potassium: 78mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 264IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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