How to Make Homemade Salad Dressing

In Essential Recipes/ Recipes/ Side Dishes & Salad Recipes

Homemade salad dressing is simple to make and comes together in minutes. It tastes delicious and helps to avoid preservatives in store-bought dressings.

Super Simple Homemade Salad Dressing | A Couple Cooks

Super Simple Homemade Salad Dressing | A Couple Cooks

Making homemade salad dressing is one of the first things Alex and I learned as new cooks, and we were fascinated. Nothing but a little olive oil and vinegar, and we could have dressing for days. Plus, we could avoid random preservatives and additives AND get rid of the centuries-old crusty bottles of ranch in our refrigerator. Sold!

When I first starting making homemade salad dressing, I made the mistake of lessening the amount of oil. Since then I’ve corrected my ways, because the oil is needed to correctly make the emulsion: that creamy, magical combination of vinegar suspended in oil. I’ve reworked our basic vinaigrette recipe (below) to reflect this, and made a few more changes to make it even simpler. Because salad dressing should be just that: simple. This one requires no mincing of garlic or shallot, just combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and a little honey, and whisk away.

Homemade salad dressing is easily customizable to your own tastes. A few dressing tips:

  • Use a 3 to 1 ratio of oil versus vinegar
  • For the acid, you can substitute balsamic, red wine, apple cider, or sherry vinegar, OR lemon, lime, or orange juice (play with quantities to taste)
  • Feel free to add in chopped herbs, minced garlic, minced shallot, fancy salts, you name it
  • Store in a glass jar with a tight lid in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature and stir before serving. (This dressing is likely shelf stable but we keep it in the refrigerator just in case.)

On the topic of homemade salad dressing, our latest


A Couple Cooks Podcast episode is all about it! Plus, it includes a sweet giveaway of 3 bottles of California Olive Ranch olive oil — see the podcast page for details.

Super Simple Homemade Salad Dressing | A Couple Cooks

What are your favorite homemade dressings? Below are a few of ours, as well as our Super Simple Salad Dressing.
Basic Vinaigrette
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Healthy Green Goddess Dressing
Cilantro Lime Dressing
Honey Chipotle Dressing


Super Simple Salad Dressing

1 Star (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade salad dressing is simple to make and comes together in minutes. It tastes delicious and helps to avoid preservatives in store-bought dressings.


  • 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.

Keywords: Homemade, easy, simple, salad dressing, oil, vinegar, ratio

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.


  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 10:29 am

    So easy, I’ve got to do this!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 11:02 am

    My default is two parts oil, one part wine vinegar (red wine and champaign are tied for frequency), and a good knob of stoneground mustard. Shake it and season it with salt and pepper and it goes with most things. Homemade dressing really is a game changer. It’s so much tastier and takes almost no time, but people who don’t cook are always beyond impressed with homemade salad dressing.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    This post comes at the perfect time! I’m sitting here, eating a salad tossed with my first attempt at a homemade salad dressing. Definitely thinking mine could use some tweaks, so it’s nice to have this as a guideline for the next time I attempt to make dressing again! The honey mustard combination sounds dreamy.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Homemade dressing is so much better than all of the mystery ingredients that come in the storebought kind!

  • Reply
    Kristi Rimkus
    April 30, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I love a basic dressing that works for almost any kind of salad and can even double as a marinade for vegetables and meats. The best part is we skip all the unnecessary additives and control the fat and sugar too!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    How timely, I’m in charge of salad for tonight’s dinner plans. Thanks for the recipes. ?

  • Reply
    Agness of Run Agness Run
    October 8, 2017 at 6:11 am

    This is probably one of the best salad dressing I’ve ever tried! Is it possible to use maple syrup instead of honey?

  • Reply
    February 15, 2018 at 9:38 am

    I often hear cooks say, “use a good quality olive oil.” I need brands or what things to look for. And do you use olive oil or extra virgin olive oil? I’ve tried to make my own but they do not turn out good and I have a feeling it is because of the olive oil I use (usually extra virgin – Bertolli).

    • Reply
      February 15, 2018 at 11:13 pm

      Good question! We always use extra virgin olive oil. In terms of brand, we love California Olive Ranch, very high-quality made in the US with a lovely flavor. You get what you pay for typically, so try something in the mid-range of prices and then gradually taste different bottles to see which flavors you prefer!

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.