Gretchen’s Great Chicken

Russian dressing, another American original.

Oct. 7, 2019 update: Y’know, I realize the site gets a lot of traffic from Pinterest, which I love and appreciate, but it has the side-effect of bringing in a lot of people who don’t totally understand the context of Yesterdish recipes. I try to fill in the blanks when I can, but since these recipes generally came to me through estate sales, I can’t very well get clarification from the source without a Ouija board.

That said, I had the opportunity to revisit this post today and compare it to recipes in newspapers. I couldn’t find the original (only reprints in recent newspapers, which I don’t want to clip for copyright reasons), but here’s the issues:

  1. The Russian dressing here is NOT the creamy variety. It’s the Wish-Bone style, primary ingredient, corn syrup. And you want the 8-ounce bottle.
  2. You want a 12-ounce jar of marmalade.
  3. This works for either 4 bone-in chicken breasts or the pieces of one whole chicken, cut up.The newspaper that reprinted it (the Sept. 5, 2007 edition of the (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) Republican and Herald) indicates it originally circulated as a variety of “orange chicken.” Fair enough.

So, yeah, the original post discussed another form of Russian dressing unrelated to the recipe. Sorry for the confusion — the thing about Ouija boards is they kind of work on their own schedule.

Russian dressing isn’t as fixed a recipe as most; it absolutely contains mayonnaise, and then either chili sauce or ketchup, and some combination of pimento, chives, onions, pickles, horseradish, and herbs. You’d think we’d have a better idea about the composition of a recipe with a 20th-century origin.

Russian dressing was invented in the 1910s by New Hampshire’s own James E. Colburn, a caterer and grocer. Colburn’s company produced mayonnaise, and the early labels for the dressing described it as Russian mayonnaise. The advertisement above appeared in the June 5, 1930 edition of The [Nashua] Telegraph.

So why the name? It’s tough to say. Lots of sources (including the Food Lover’s Companion) theorize that early formulations included caviar, an ingredient associated with Russia, but I’m skeptical of that, given that there isn’t a single recipe for such a dressing anywhere.

From the box of D.W. from Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Gretchen’s Great Chicken

1 [8 oz.] bottle of Russian dressing [non-creamy; see update above]
1 [12 oz.] jar of orange marmalade
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix

Place chicken breast in a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Mix the above ingredients together and pour over chicken.

Marinate overnight or a few hours, turning once.

Bake at 350 deg. for one hour. Remove to serving platter and spoon sauce over top.


  1. Les


  2. Char

    Two observations. 1. The amount of Chicken breasts isn’t mentioned. 2. There is a Russian Salad Dressing but the side note mentions mayonnaise so it’s unclear which is used in the marinade.

    • Howdy–I had time to look into this today and updated the post with more info. Long story short, 4 bone-in breasts, and an 8-ounce bottle of Wish-bone style (non-creamy) Russian dressing.

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