This zesty homemade Italian dressing recipe is full of flavor and easy to make at home! This one will become a go-to on first taste.

Italian dressing recipe

If there one salad dressing that’s a total American standby, it’s Italian dressing! This zingy Italian American vinaigrette is a staple that many of us have grown up with! Ever tried making it at home instead of opting for the purchased bottle? 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 we think you’ll find this zesty Italian dressing recipe is the perfect easy vinaigrette for salads.

Is Italian dressing actually Italian?

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!

How to make Italian dressing

How to make Italian dressing: a few tips!

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.

To make an emulsion for this homemade Italian salad dressing recipe, simply whisk it by hand. Here are a few tips on getting the perfect consistency:

  • Use a medium sized bowl. To get the oil and vinegar to incorporate well, 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!
  • Add the olive oil little by little. We typically add it tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in between until the oil fully incorporates.
  • Use mustard. Don’t’ leave it out! 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.
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

More homemade salad dressing recipes

Homemade dressings are the absolute best! In addition to this homemade Italian dressing recipe, here are a few of our other favorite salad dressing recipes:

This recipe is…

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

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Italian dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing


  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About ½ cup 1x

Description

This zesty homemade Italian dressing recipe is full of flavor and easy to make at home! This one will become a go-to on first taste.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated (about ¼ teaspoon) or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  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, Italian dressing recipe, Homemade italian dressing, How to make italian dressing,

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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14 Comments

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

  2. 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!!!!

  3. When I try to print recipe I get the following along w/other notices about changing my browser to Yahoo. Is it me or you?
    “This free extension will update this browser’s search engine to one powered by Yahoo. By continuing, you acknowledge the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and that you may be presented with more optional offers.”

    1. The maple is a nice natural sweetener – you can’t detect any maple flavor! If you’d like, use an equal amount of sugar (or honey).

  4. Even tho we like our food pretty well seasoned (since I usually need to add a bit more seasonings & herbs if I follow a recipe I saw online) I feel that the herbs in this dressing were way too strong in proportion to the amount of oil & vinegar. If I ever make it again, I’ll cut all the herbs down to 1/4 tsp. each, instead of the 1/2 tsp. you used. BTW, I let the dressing sit in the fridge overnight, for the flavors to meld properly.