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This easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe uses only 4 ingredients and whips up in minutes! With its balance of sweet, tangy, and savory, it will become your go-to salad dressing. Ditch store bought dressing for good!

Balsamic Vinaigrette
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Looking for a simple salad dressing to make at home? There’s really nothing better than this balsamic vinaigrette recipe! It’s creamy, tangy, a little bit sweet, and has that “something” that keeps you coming back for more.

What we love about this recipe: This is the recipe Alex and I have been using for over a decade and it always gets rave reviews from our friends and family! It’s extremely versatile, perfect on everything from a classic strawberry salad to a pear gorgonzola salad. It has a short ingredient list and it comes together in less than 5 minutes. So why ever buy balsamic dressing again?

Ingredients in balsamic vinaigrette

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is very simple to whip up, especially because you might already have the ingredients on hand in your pantry. For this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients (plus salt):

  • Aged balsamic vinegar: The quality of balsamic does make a difference! Look for a mid-priced commercial grade balsamic vinegar, also known as balsamic vinegar of Modena (IGP) or aceto balsamico di Modena. It has a developed, tangy sweet flavor and is perfect for salad dressings.
  • Dijon mustard: This ingredient adds tangy flavor and helps the dressing to become thick and creamy, locking in the emulsion. This technique works in many other vinaigrette salad dressing recipes, like this Italian dressing recipe.
  • Maple syrup: The sweetness balances the tang of the vinegar. You can also substitute honey.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: This rich oil makes the dressing come together.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients: balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, maple syrup or honey

How to make balsamic vinaigrette dressing: step by step

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is incredibly simple. The flavor is zesty and bright, tangy from the vinegar, balanced with a touch of maple syrup. Then it’s mixed together with extra virgin olive oil to form a creamy emulsion. We’ve also added a touch of Dijon mustard to give a little more zing and to help the creamy dressing stay emulsified. Here’s how to make this balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or go to the full recipe):

Step 1: Whisk the balsamic vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl.

Step 1: Whisk the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt in a medium sized bowl (make sure the bowl is large enough to enough movement of the whisk).

Step 2 Balsamic Vinaigrette whisk in the olive oil

Step 2: Add the olive oil gradually. We typically add it tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in between until the oil fully incorporates.

Balsamic vinegar bottle with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Step 3: Enjoy on the salad of your choice!

Types of balsamic vinegar

There are lots of types of balsamic vinegar at the store, and they vary widely in quality. A good rule of thumb for buying a good balsamic: look for a mid-priced bottle. Price is typically indicative of quality. There are three categories of balsamic vinegar:

  • Traditional balsamic vinegar, aka aceto balsamico tradizionale. This type of balsamic is aged 12 to 18 years, and has a very thick, syrupy texture. It’s the highest quality and most expensive.
  • Commercial grade balsamic vinegar, aka balsamic vinegar of Modena (IGP) or aceto balsamico di Modena. This type is aged less than 12 years and has a tangy sweet flavor. Try a commercial grade balsamic for this balsamic dressing recipe.
  • Condiment grade balsamic vinegar is the lowest grade. It has a thinner texture that’s more similar to other types of vinegar, and the flavor varies widely on the brand. Very cheap brands may even use sugar to mimic the sweetness of grapes.
Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe

Ways to serve it!

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is perfect on any type of salad that you throw together, especially salads with a sweet element like apples, berries, or sweet potatoes! Here are a few ideas of how to use it:

How would you serve this balsamic vinaigrette recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

More homemade salad dressing recipes

There are so many delicious salad dressing recipes to try! After this homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe, here some favorites to try:

Dietary notes

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Frequently asked questions

What is balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, aged vinegar made from concentrated grape must. It has a sweet and tangy flavor that deepens with age.

What kind of oil should I use in balsamic dressing?

Extra virgin olive oil is a classic choice, but you can experiment with other oils like avocado oil, walnut oil, or even grapeseed oil.

What’s the best ratio of oil to vinegar?

A good starting point is a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. You can adjust this to your taste preference – more vinegar for a tangier dressing, more oil for a milder flavor.

How long will homemade balsamic vinaigrette last?

Store your homemade vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe (4 Ingredients)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup 1x

Description

This easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe uses only 4 ingredients (plus salt) and whips up in minutes! With its balance of sweet, tangy, and savory, it will become your go-to salad dressing. Ditch store bought dressing for good!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons* pure maple syrup or honey
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and salt until fully combined.
  2. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon at a time and whisking until it incorporates, until an emulsion forms.* Serve immediately. Store refrigerated and bring to room temperature before serving (keeps at least 2 weeks).

Notes

*If you’re looking for a balsamic dressing on the sweet side for salads like a strawberry salad, use 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup. For a balsamic dressing with more savory notes, use 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup.

  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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6 Comments

  1. Cyn says:

    Made for a girls weekend and salad and dressing got rave reviews. Easy to put together and tasty each time we used it. Will definately make again.






  2. Josianne says:

    This really is the best balsamic vinaigrette! Made it last night to go with the beet and goat cheese salad and everyone raved. And my family isn’t that fond of salad, so that’s a pretty good endorsement.






  3. Tammy says:

    This is an awesome and filling salad. I love the pecans in place of bacon, too. Thanks for sharing.






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      You’re welcome!

  4. gail hammer says:

    I am really enjoying your recipes!! Was wondering though why the sodium content on each nutrition fact profile is not included.
    Again…thank you so much for the delish ideas! It is really helping me in my healthy living goals!






    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Hi! Unfortunately, our nutrition doesn’t do sodium calculation very accurately and we don’t want to provide poor information.