Homemade Italian Dressing

This zesty homemade Italian dressing recipe is full of flavor and easy to make at home. Here’s how to make Italian dressing.

Italian dressing recipe

See Also: All Homemade Salad Dressings

Italian dressing: is it Italian? As you might imagine, it’s actually not! Italian dressing is a vinaigrette type dressing used in American and Canadian cuisine. Wikipedia makes the point well: “North American-style Italian dressing is not used in Italy, where salad is normally dressed with olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and salt at the table, and not with a pre-mixed vinaigrette.” It makes us Americans sound so backwards!

However, Alex and I wanted to create an American-style Italian salad dressing because we know many of you have grown up with it and love it. We love making homemade salad dressings since they are 1. very tasty 2. don’t have preservatives or added ingredients 3. are pretty quick to make! And this zesty Italian dressing is the perfect easy vinaigrette for salads. Keep reading for the recipe.

How to make Italian dressing

How to make Italian dressing

This homemade Italian dressing recipe is incredibly simple. The flavor is zesty and bright, full of garlic, white wine vinegar, and balanced with a touch of maple syrup. Then of course 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; it also helps with the emulsion. Add to that the dried herbs: basil, thyme, and oregano, which bring in an earthy flair.

Related: 10 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

To make an emulsion for this homemade Italian salad dressing recipe, simply whisk it 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 also helps to form and lock in the emulsion. We’ve used this technique in our other vinaigrette recipes, like our Classic Vinaigrette and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Zesty Italian salad dressing

How to serve this Italian dressing recipe

This homemade Italian dressing recipe is perfect on any type of salad that you throw together! Here are a few ideas of how to use it:

How would you serve this Italian salad dressing recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

Italian dressing recipe

Other homemade salad dressing recipes

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

This recipe is…

This Italian dressing recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Italian Dressing Recipe | How to make Italian dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (193 votes, average: 3.95 out of 5)

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


This zesty homemade Italian dressing recipe is full of flavor and easy to make at home. Here’s how to make Italian dressing.


  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated (about 1/4 teaspoon) or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup. Grate in the garlic clove, then whisk together with the oregano, thyme, basil, and kosher salt.
  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).
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: Whisked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Italian dressing recipe, Homemade italian dressing, How to make italian dressing, Zesty italian dressing, Salad dressing recipes, Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

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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.


  • Reply
    May 25, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    I used honey in place of maple syrup or sugar but thought it tasted great! Will definitely make again. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Shelly Hanson
    June 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Mixed up this dressing, saved a trip to the store, mixed with soy sauce (half and half), marinade chicken wings in mixture. Cook in oven or on grill. Take out and coat with butter, Lloyd’s Hot Sauce and a tablespoon of soy. I do broil just to crisp up. YUM. This dressing kicked it up a notch. BAM!!!!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      June 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      Sounds awesome!

  • Reply
    December 29, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Which olive oil to use ?? Extra virgin or regular

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      December 29, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      Extra virgin.

  • Reply
    February 26, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    IMO, This IS the best Italian dressing! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 26, 2021 at 7:48 pm

      So glad you enjoyed!!

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