Best Vinaigrette Dressing

Want to make salad dressing at home? This vinaigrette dressing recipe shows you how to make an oil and vinegar dressing using ingredients in your pantry.

Vinaigrette dressing | Oil and vinegar dressing

When it comes to eating “off the grid,” one of the easiest things you can do is throw out those bottles of purchased salad dressing in favor of the homemade variety. Not only does it taste exponentially better and avoids suspicious ingredients, but you can also clear out your refrigerator of all those half-empty bottles of unknown origin (just what year did I buy this, anyway?). Learning how to make a vinaigrette recipe isn’t as tricky as you’d think. Keep reading for our best vinaigrette dressing.

See Also: All Homemade Salad Dressings

Vinaigrette salad dressing | Vinaigrette recipe

How to make vinaigrette

To make an emulsion for this vinaigrette salad dressing, you simply whisk the ingredients by hand. In order to get the oil and vinegar to incorporate well, we use a medium-sized bowl to allow for enough movement of the whisk. (Trust us, we’ve done it in small bowls before and it’s almost impossible to get the oil and vinegar to meld.) The other tip for reaching an emulsion is adding the olive oil little by little. We typically add it tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in between until the oil fully incorporates.

Interestingly, the Dijon mustard in this recipe also helps to form and lock in the emulsion. We’ve used this technique in our other vinaigrette recipes, like our Balsamic Vinaigrette and Italian Dressing.

Vinaigrette dressing | Oil and vinegar dressing

Ways to switch up your vinaigrette dressing

This oil and vinegar dressing recipe is a good starting point for a basic homemade vinaigrette, so feel free to tweak it as you see fit. For the acid, try different vinegars like balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or use citrus juices like lemon, lime, and orange. Add a little minced garlic or shallot (just be careful, because a little goes a long way). In the summer, chop some fresh herbs and add them to the mix—oregano, thyme, or chives are particularly good. Extra virgin olive oil is a particularly good base oil, and we generally stick with olive oil for most of our vinaigrettes. We like olive oil for its light flavor and versatility. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive compared to other oils on the market.

Ways to use vinaigrette dressing

Besides tasting delicious on salads, homemade vinaigrette dressing can be used to marinate fish or tofu, can be drizzled on sandwiches for a pop of flavor, can be tossed with potatoes to make a tangy potato salad, and more. The combination of oil and vinegar pairs well with a variety of foods and can easily jazz up any recipe. You can even use vinaigrettes as dipping sauces instead of ketchup and mustard. Baked potato wedges taste especially good with a honey mustard vinaigrette, but really anything is possible!

Vinegar salad dressing | How to make vinaigrette

How to store vinaigrette dressing

We recommend storing leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator in a jar or container with a lid. Refrigerating usually makes the dressing go solid. If this happen to your homemade vinaigrette dressing, just run it under warm water for a minute and stir it up prior to using. Vinaigrette recipes made with fresh herbs are best used right away, but otherwise they’ll stay good for up to two weeks.

Looking for more homemade salad dressing recipes?

Outside of this homemade vinaigrette recipe, here are a few of our favorite homemade salad dressing recipes:

Looking for easy salad recipes? 

This recipe is…

This vinaigrette dressing recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan (using maple syrup), dairy-free, and plant-based.

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Best Vinaigrette Dressing


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.17 out of 5)

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

Description

Want to make salad dressing at home? This vinaigrette dressing recipe shows you how to make an oil and vinegar dressing using ingredients in your pantry.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients except olive oil. Then slowly whisk in the olive oil tablespoon by tablespoon until the dressing thickens and an emulsion forms. Taste and adjust quantities as desired.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks; bring to room temperature and stir before serving.
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Mixed
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 TBSP

Keywords: how to make vinaigrette, homemade salad dressing, vinaigrette dressing, oil and vinegar dressing, vinaigrette salad dressing, vinaigrette recipe, vinegar salad dressing, how to make vinaigrette

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

19 Comments

  • Reply
    sally
    March 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Homemade vinaigrette is the best! I love your canning jar tip!

  • Reply
    Annie
    March 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Thank you for this! I have made a lot of homemade dressings that I love, and I think this will really help me kick the store-bought habit for good, especially with ingredients I pretty much always have on hand. Sur La Table also has some really nice and inexpensive glass bottles for things like salad dressing, just FYI.

    • Reply
      Sonja
      March 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation – we’ll have to check it out! :)

  • Reply
    simone
    March 16, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I love shaking my vinaigrette in a jar too. It’s so much easier! And you can never have too many basic vinaigrette recipes! Thanks for this one!

  • Reply
    penandra
    March 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for this basic recipe and the great hint about the canning jar. Funny — I make homemade mayonnaise (in the pint jars so it’s already in its storage container), but didn’t think of making my vinaigrette in a similar (albeit smaller) container!

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Wow! I’ve have been a Good Seasons dressing user because that’s what I grew up with and it was always just OK. But this dressing has my husband and me wanting salads every day instead of a couple days a week! I used 1/3 cup of vinegar and it was just right!
    Thanks for posting this recipe!

    • Reply
      Sonja
      March 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Glad to hear it! 1/3 cup sounds like a good ratio. The original recipe we started with used 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 cup olive oil, which to me was like drinking olive oil!

  • Reply
    Parsley Sage
    March 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    This is ace! Easy and tasty. Perfect combo.

  • Reply
    Fran {The Flavorful Fork}
    March 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I love homemade dressings. Lately I have simply been tossing my greens with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. It is light and delicious. I also love to use the “shake it if you got it” method for making dressings. So simple.

  • Reply
    Cook in a Bar
    March 23, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I hate storebought salad dressings, and always make my own dressings. I use the same ratio of oil and vinegar, and I really like champagne vinegar. It is light and crisp.

  • Reply
    Debbie B (DebaRooRoo)
    March 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Love basic vinaigrettes! They can be so flavorful and refreshing. Now that I’ve starting making my own, it’s really hard to buy store bought dressings.

  • Reply
    Lisa in Indianapolis
    August 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I always make fresh vinegarette. When you walk down the salad dressing aisle in the grocery and see all those bottles standing sentry, all I can think of is how cloying and full of preservatives, and expensive they are. Tip: That little bit of mustard goody left in the jar makes a great little dressing shake-up container. And you don’t waste the mustard. Also, I used to pour the dressing on top of the individual salads when setting the table, but a recent cookbook read says to toss the entire salad with the dressing (with your hands)and then serve. I use salad tongs to toss it but I’ve found that less dressing is needed and every piece of the salad has enough of it to add flavor without leaving a wasted puddle in the bottom of the salad dish.

  • Reply
    JS
    July 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Can you can this salad dressing?

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      I’m not sure, but it last quite a long time in the fridge.

  • Reply
    (a different) Alex
    January 29, 2014 at 12:54 am

    wait, shaking the dressing in a jar isn’t the traditional way to make it?
    that’s the way i grew up with.

  • Reply
    Mattie
    February 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe. Perfect addition to my favorite salad!

    Keep up the wonderful work,
    Mattie
    http://www.FitisChic.com

  • Reply
    Marissa
    February 16, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    excellent dressing! Made it the way it said to. Came out great :)

  • Reply
    Christine H
    July 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, I’ve been wanting to make my own dressings for some time now and so I greatly appreciate what you have provided!

  • Reply
    CT
    July 28, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Excellent! Thank you for a wonderful recipe, simple and perfect. I have made this several times and occasionally use garlic infused olive oil. Nice to try different oils and vinegars when you have a great recipe to start with.
    Thank you!!

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