Easy Lime Vinaigrette

This lime vinaigrette is so easy to put together: it takes just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes! Its zingy flavor is perfect for salads of any kind.

Lime vinaigrette

Every home cook should have a go-to lime vinaigrette. This recipe is ultra versatile, zingy and tangy, and goes with all sorts of salads. This one is a paired-down version of our cilantro lime viniagrette, a dressing that highlights the bite of fresh cilantro. But if you don’t have any cilantro on hand (or are cooking for a cilantro hater!), this lime vinaigrette is where it’s at. All you need is 5 minutes and 5 ingredients. Ready to get whisking?

Looking for a few variations? Try our cilantro lime dressing or creamy cilantro dressing.

What’s in this lime vinaigrette?

The method for this lime vinaigrette is similar to our easy lemon vinaigrette, inspired by our long-time home cooking inspiration Julia Child. Julia’s dressing called for mashing lemon zest in a mortar and pestle to get a tangy flavor throughout. We’ve simplified the process even further, and adapted it to use lime. Here’s what you’ll need for this lime vinaigrette:

  • 1 lime (both zest and juice)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Kosher salt

How to make lime vinaigrette

This lime vinaigrette is quick and easy: just 5 minutes to whisk it up! When I don’t have lots of time or ingredients on hand, this lime or lemon vinaigrette are where I turn. Here are the main steps for this dressing:

  • Zest the lime, and use a knife to grind it into a paste. This part should only take a minute or so. Zest the lime, then use a knife to chop it very finely with a bit of kosher salt. You can use the knife blade to scrape it and help mash it into a paste.
  • Whisk in the lime juice and Dijon mustard. Add the fresh lime juice and Dijon mustard.
  • Gradually whisk in the olive oil until thickened. Whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time until a creamy emulsion forms. Here’s another trick for getting a creamy emulsion…
Lime vinaigrette

Making the perfect emulsion

An emulsion is when olive oil and an acid (vinegar or citrus juice) combine into one thickened liquid, instead of separating. How to get a perfect emulsion when you’re whisking? We have two tips:

  • Tip 1: Use a medium sized bowl. Using a very small bowl often doesn’t provide enough space for your whisk to move back and forth. It makes it impossible to combine the two liquids. Using a medium sized bowl, you have more room to whisk and it’s easier to whip them together.
  • Tip 2: Whisk in little bits of oil at a time until combined. If you try to add too much oil at once, it won’t whisk in correctly. Make sure each little bit is fully combined in before adding more.
Whisking a vinaigrette

A good citrus juicer and zester

Alex and I use citrus all the time in our recipes! Here’s what we’ve found are the best tools for working with citrus:

  • Use a juicer. Alex and I use a juicer to quickly juice citrus and keep the seeds out. Here’s the juicer we use: it works great!
  • For zesting: a microplane or grater. We use a microplane to make quick work of zesting. If you don’t have one, use a grater. Smaller zesters that are more like bar tools don’t work as well here.

Want more lime recipes? Head to 15 Zingy Lime Recipes.

Lime dressing

Ways to serve this lime vinaigrette

This lime vinaigrette we developed as the simplest dressing option for our latest Mexican side salad. But there are lots of ways to use it! Here are our favorites:

Mexican salad
Lime dressing is perfect on this Mexican side salad

This lime vinaigrette recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
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Lime vinaigrette

Easy Lime Vinaigrette


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 1/2 cup 1x

Description

This lime vinaigrette is so easy to put together: it takes just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes! Its zingy flavor is perfect for salads of any kind.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lime: 1 tablespoon lime zest and 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Zest the lime. Sprinkle it with the kosher salt, then mince it as fine as possible. Holding the blunt edge of the knife, scrape the sharp edge of the blade over the minced lime zest, holding the knife at an angle and mashing the zest into a paste. This should only take a minute or so: don’t spend too long on it!
  2. Place the zest in a medium bowl and it whisk together with the Dijon mustard, lime juice, and maple syrup. Gradually whisk in the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time (8 tablespoons total), until creamy and emulsified. If desired, season with additional salt.
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lime 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.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Carinjo
    October 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    I had a few limes that needed using and this made a lovely dressing to go with a throw together salad. Was quite a lot, so used some to flash fry basa fish fillets, adding a pinch of chilli flakes and topping with cilantro afterwards. Nice and versatile recipe.

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