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What is in Olive Garden seasoning?

Olive Garden is known for its delicious Italian food, particularly its pasta dishes and signature salad dressing. But what gives Olive Garden food its distinctive flavor? The answer lies in the seasonings and spice mixes used in Olive Garden recipes. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the key ingredients found in popular Olive Garden seasonings and spice blends.

Olive Garden Italian Seasoning

Many savory dishes at Olive Garden, including soups, pastas, and entrees, are seasoned with the restaurant’s house Italian seasoning blend. This versatile spice mix includes:

  • Oregano – The distinctive flavor in Italian seasoning
  • Basil – Provides a sweet, peppery taste
  • Rosemary – Earthy, pine-like flavor
  • Thyme – Lemony, woodsy notes
  • Marjoram – Warm, floral aroma
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – Subtle heat
  • Parsley – Fresh, herbaceous flavor
  • Garlic powder – Adds a rich, savory quality
  • Onion powder – Extra depth of flavor
  • Black pepper – Touch of spiciness

This combination of herbs and spices perfectly seasons classic Italian dishes like pastas, sauces, soups, and proteins. Olive Garden likely adjusts the proportions of each ingredient in their signature Italian seasoning blend to achieve the right balance of flavors.

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Creamy, tangy Olive Garden house salad dressing is the crowning touch on the restaurant’s famous salads. The exact recipe is a well-guarded secret, but some key components are thought to include:

  • Soybean oil – The base of many creamy dressings
  • Red wine vinegar – Provides tangy flavor
  • Garlic – Savory, aromatic ingredient
  • Salt – Enhances other flavors
  • Black pepper – Touch of spice
  • Onion powder – Extra richness
  • Sugar – Balances acidity of vinegar
  • Parmesan cheese – Adds nutty, salty flavor
  • Spices like oregano, basil, or Italian seasoning
  • Thickener like xanthan gum to emulsify

These ingredients likely combine to make a dressing that clings to lettuce leaves and packs the perfect amount of zesty, savory punch in each bite.

Olive Garden Garlic Sauce

Served alongside breadsticks and used as a tasty pasta topper, Olive Garden garlic sauce is a smooth, creamy dip with zesty garlic flavor. It may contain:

  • Canola oil – Provides richness and texture
  • Egg yolks – Give a velvety consistency
  • Grated parmesan cheese – For nutty, salty notes
  • Garlic, minced – Essential savory flavor
  • Black pepper – Extra spice
  • Lemon juice – Bright, fresh flavor
  • Onion powder – Further enhances savory quality
  • Parsley – Herbaceous accent
  • Xanthan gum – Helps achieve a smooth, thick texture

Blending these ingredients results in an indulgent, addictive garlic dip perfect for bread dipping or pasta topping.

Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

Creamy olive garden alfredo sauce transforms basic pasta into a rich, decadent dish. To make their signature alfredo, Olive Garden likely simmers components like these:

  • Heavy cream – Provides ultra-rich texture
  • Butter – Further enhances the creamy base
  • Grated parmesan cheese – For intense, nutty flavor
  • Garlic – Savory, aromatic backbone
  • Salt and pepper – Season to taste
  • Onion powder – Extra depth of flavor
  • Nutmeg – Warm, subtly sweet spice
  • Cornstarch or flour – Thickens the sauce

These simple ingredients come together to make a smooth, velvety alfredo worth savoring.

Olive Garden Spice Blends

In addition to their classic Italian seasoning, Olive Garden uses unique spice blends to add flavor to specific dishes. For example:

  • Tuscan Seasoning – Features rosemary, garlic, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and parsley. Used to season chicken, pork, and seafood.
  • Rustic Red Pepper Seasoning – Includes garlic, crushed red pepper, paprika, onion, and oregano. Perfect for steaks and heartier meats.
  • Ancho Chile Pepper Seasoning – Combines garlic powder, ancho chile pepper, cumin, and oregano. Ideal for adding smoky spice to chickens and ribs.

Experimenting with these spice profiles allows Olive Garden’s culinary team to put unique twists on classic Italian dishes.

Herbs at Olive Garden

In addition to including dried herbs and spices in their seasoning blends, Olive Garden utilizes plenty of fresh herbs to finish dishes and add bursts of flavor. Some of the fresh herbs typically used in Olive Garden kitchens include:

  • Parsley – The quintessential fresh garnish, adding a pop of green color and herby flavor.
  • Basil – The star ingredient of many dishes, providing sweet, peppery notes.
  • Oregano – Used as a finishing herb to lend an authentic Italian taste.
  • Thyme – Savory herb that enhances soups, sauces, and proteins.
  • Rosemary – Woody, pine-like herb ideal for roasted meats and vegetables.
  • Chives – Delicate onion flavor perfect for garnishing pastas.

Fresh herbs put the final stamp of flavor on Olive Garden’s meals, bringing dishes to life with vibrancy and authentic Italian character.


Olive Garden has mastered the art of Italian seasoning. Their proprietary spice blends and homemade sauces all strike the perfect balance of herbs, garlic, savory spices, and rich ingredients like cheese and cream. While the exact recipes are secret, understanding the key components provides insight into what makes favorites like Olive Garden’s Italian dressing, garlic sauce, and Alfredo so irresistibly flavorful. A combination of dried herbs, fresh herbs, aromatics, and rich ingredients all work together to create authentic, crave-worthy Italian food.