In Sauce

Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Basic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing | A Couple Cooks

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, you can also clear out your refrigerator of all those half-empty bottles of unknown origin (just what year did I buy this, anyway?).

This recipe is a good starting point for a basic vinaigrette, and is easily customizable to your own taste. For the acid, try different vinegars like balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or use citrus juices like lemon, lime, orange. Add a little minced garlic or shallot. 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; we generally stick with olive oil for most of our vinaigrettes. We recommend storing leftover vinaigrette in the refrigerator in a canning jar with a lid. Refrigerating usually makes the dressing go solid; just run it under warm water for a minute and stir it up prior to using.

What are your favorite homemade dressings? We’d love to know!

Other Dressings We Love

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Healthy Green Goddess Dressing
Cilantro Lime Dressing


Basic Vinaigrette

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 1 cup


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


  1. In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients except olive oil, then slowly whisk in the olive oil 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.

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  • Reply
    March 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

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

  • Reply
    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
      March 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

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

  • Reply
    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
    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
    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
      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
    July 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Can you can this salad dressing?

    • Reply
      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
    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,

  • Reply
    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
    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!!

  • Leave a Reply

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