It’s super, duper easy to make your own homemade vinaigrette salad dressing. When you learn how to make vinaigrette, you’ll love knowing exactly what goes into it, and you’ll find it’s so much less expensive to make than buying it at the store. It’s just a huge win all around!

I’ve always loved a good green salad. The thing is, I’ve never been able to find a premade salad dressing that I like. Most of them – especially store-bought oil and vinegar dressing – taste weird to me.

That’s why I started making my own homemade vinaigrette, and once I learned how easy this simple salad dressing was, there was no going back.

How to Make a Simple Vinaigrette - jar of homemade vinaigrette dressing

In this Article

What is Vinaigrette?

Vinaigrette is a simple salad dressing made with oil and vinegar. From there, you can add many different ingredients to add flavor and make it your own.

Vinaigrette Ratio

The ratio is very straightforward!

It’s:

1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil
+ salt and pepper to taste

Simple, right?! But that’s not all you need to know! Read on for even more about making the perfect homemade vinaigrette for you.

Vinaigrette Ingredients

Ingredients for a simple vinaigrette include vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper

What are the ingredients in vinaigrette? Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and anything else you want to add for flavor and texture.

Oil

You can’t go wrong with extra virgin olive oil, which I use 95% of the time.

Or choose a light, flavorless oil like grapeseed oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Avocado oil can be delicious, too. For some extra flavor, you can even swap in a touch of nut oil like walnut oil or hazelnut oil; or a bit of sesame oil adds a nutty vibe that complements Asian foods nicely. Just use a light touch with the more potent oils.

It goes without saying that higher quality oil is going to taste the best. But personally, as you can see by the photo, I’m not opposed to a little Costco generic brand love. Tastes pretty great to me!

Vinegar

Ahhh, so many lovely varieties of vinegar. Most wine vinegars will yield a lighter vinaigrette. Rice vinegar is also a nice, light choice. Apple cider vinegar lends a nice little bite (I like using it in salads with apple). Balsamic vinegar is a bolder choice, but lends a wonderful sweet/tart flavor to the mix. Sherry vinegar is also nice, but can be bold, so tread lightly.

Lemon juice is often substituted for vinegar, but I prefer to supplement the vinegar with acidy citrus juices (orange and lime juices also fall into this category) rather than replace the vinegar entirely. Generally I’ll swap out half the vinegar for citrus juice if I’m going that route.

Other ingredients

As I referenced in the formula above, aside from oil and vinegar, the only other thing you really need for a superb and super-simple vinaigrette is a bit of salt (I like kosher salt or sea salt) and pepper (I prefer freshly ground black pepper).

Sugar or honey helps mellow the vinegar’s acidity. Bonus if you use honey, which works as a salad dressing emulsifier, too (more about emulsifiers in a bit).

Vinaigrette Variations

Balsamic vinaigrette

Use balsamic vinegar. A touch of sweetener – granulated sugar, honey, pure maple syrup, or even brown sugar – helps mellow out the acidity, while a bit of Dijon mustard helps round it out. I like to use white balsamic vinegar for a lighter balsamic dressing in both flavor and looks.

Herb vinaigrette

Add fresh chopped herbs like dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, or thyme (dried herbs work, too, but can be more potent – you’ll want to start with about 1/3 of dried vs. fresh.)

Ginger vinaigrette

Add finely minced ginger.

Garlic vinaigrette

Add finely minced fresh garlic or even some garlic powder in a pinch.

Raspberry vinaigrette

Add fresh or frozen raspberries along with the other salad dressing ingredients to a blender and puree. Also works with strawberries or blueberries! Go with about 1/2 cup berries per 1 cup of dressing. A bit of shallot and a drizzle of honey go nicely too.

Champagne vinaigrette

Use champagne vinegar for a light, elegant touch.

Citrus vinaigrette (lime, orange, or lemon vinaigrette)

Swap out half of the vinegar for lemon, lime, or orange juice. Blood orange is especially pretty! Throw in a little zest for an extra punch.

Spicy vinaigrette

Crushed red pepper flakes, a dab of horseradish, or even a bit of Sriracha add a touch of heat.

Shallot vinaigrette

Add a bit of finely minced shallots to the equation. Shallots add so much flavor! You can also add onion or scallions.

Dijon vinaigrette

Dijon mustard adds flavor and acts as an emulsifier – it’s kind of vinaigrette’s best pal. More about emulsifying in a minute. I like to add about a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of Dijon mustard per 1 cup of dressing.

How to Mix Vinaigrette: My Two Favorite Methods

Making a simple vinaigrette

Yes, oil and vinegar likes to stay separated. But for vinaigrette, we want it together – at least long enough to get it onto our salad.

One effective way of mixing it together (also known as “emulsifying”) is to use a blender. But I feel like that over-complicates the process and, let’s be honest, I don’t like the extra clean-up. And this is all about simple!

So I almost always mix my vinaigrette one of two ways:

Whisk it in a bowl

Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and briskly whisk until all of the ingredients come together. That’s it! You can also add all of the ingredients except the oil, then whisk while adding the oil in a stream, which can help with the emulsification.

A tip Brandy shared has been a bit life-changing, too: just whisk the vinaigrette right in the salad bowl, add the greens, and toss. It only works if you’ve got just the right quantity for your salad, but it’s still an incredibly convenient option when the stars align.

Shake it in a mason jar

This is my favorite method because it’s easier (read: lazier). Just add all of the ingredients to a mason jar, screw on the lid, shake for a few seconds, and: voila, vinaigrette!

Freshly shaken jar of homemade vinaigrette

Bonus: you’ve now got a ready-made container for storing leftover dressing in the fridge for later on!

Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve

Once it’s mixed, just taste and adjust the  seasonings if you like, and you’re good to go. Tasting tip: For the most accurate idea of what the dressing will taste like on your salad, dip a leaf into the dressing, shake off the excess, and try.

If you’re not serving your vinaigrette right away, you may have to shake it again right before serving. But here’s where the bonus of a couple of the add-ins come into play: both Dijon mustard and honey help emulsify the dressing, which keeps it together longer. So consider adding one or both of these if you’re entertaining and don’t want the embarrassment of a broken-down dressing (the horror!) or if you are just plain tired of shaking.

Jar of homemade vinaigrette

More Salad Dressing Recipes

When you know how to make your own salad dressing, you can take on the world! Or at least, it’ll feel like it. Here are some more recipes for homemade salad dressing:

Here’s the full, printable recipe!

4.97 from 32 votes

How to Make Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Prep: 2 minutes
Total: 2 minutes
Author: Kare
Yield: 2 servings
Homemade vinaigrette is so much better than store-bought – and EASY! This recipe yields enough to lightly dress a salad for four. Read the entire post for tons of variations and ideas!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil* (or a more neutral-flavored oil like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar** (or balsamic, apple cider vinegar, rice, sherry, or other wine vinegar)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • A turn of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients to a small mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake until blended. You can also whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or whirr them together in a blender.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Add to salad, toss, and serve.
  • Keep leftover dressing in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for 2 – 3 days.

Video

Notes

*Additional notes on oil

I recommend extra virgin olive oil. Other options are light, flavorless oils like grapeseed oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Avocado oil can be delicious, too. For some extra flavor, you can even swap in a touch of nut oil like walnut oil or hazelnut oil; or a bit of sesame oil adds a nutty vibe that complements Asian foods nicely. Just use a light touch with the more potent oils.

**Additional notes on vinegar & subbing lemon juice

Most wine vinegars will yield a lighter vinaigrette. Rice vinegar is also a nice, light choice. Apple cider vinegar lends a nice little bite (I like using it in salads with apple). Balsamic is a bolder choice, but lends a wonderful sweet/tart flavor to the mix. Sherry vinegar is also nice, but can be bold, so tread lightly.
Lemon juice is often substituted for vinegar, but I prefer to supplement the vinegar with acidy citrus juices (orange and lime juices also fall into this category) rather than replace the vinegar entirely. Generally I’ll swap out half the vinegar for citrus juice if I’m going that route.

Customization ideas

Balsamic vinaigrette: When using balsamic, a touch of sweetener – granulated sugar, honey, pure maple syrup, or even brown sugar – helps mellow out the acidity, while a bit of Dijon mustard helps round it out. I like to use white balsamic vinegar for a lighter balsamic dressing in both flavor and looks.
Herb vinaigrette: Add 1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs like dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, or thyme (dried herbs work, too, but can be more potent – adjust to 1-2 teaspoons instead.)
Ginger vinaigrette: Add 2 teaspoons finely minced ginger.
Garlic vinaigrette: Add a finely minced garlic clove or even some garlic powder (start with 1/4 teaspoon) in a pinch.
Parmesan vinaigrette: Add 2 tablespoons grated or shredded Parmesan. Pecorino Romano, Gorgonzola, or feta are delicious too.
Raspberry vinaigrette: Add fresh or frozen raspberries along with the other salad dressing ingredients to a blender and puree. Also works with strawberries or blueberries! Go with about 1/2 cup berries per 1 cup of dressing. A bit of shallot and a drizzle of honey go nicely too.
Champagne vinaigrette: Use champagne vinegar for a light, elegant touch.
Citrus vinaigrette (lime, orange, or lemon vinaigrette): Swap out half of the vinegar for lemon, lime, or orange juice. Blood orange is especially pretty! Throw in a little zest for an extra punch.
Spicy vinaigrette: A pinch of red pepper flakes, a teaspoon or two of horseradish, or even a bit of Sriracha (start with 1/4 teaspoon) add a touch of heat. 
Shallot vinaigrette: Add 2 teaspoons finely minced shallots to the equation. Shallots add so much flavor! You can also add onion or scallions.
Dijon vinaigrette: Add about a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of Dijon mustard per 1 cup of dressing. Dijon mustard adds flavor and acts as an emulsifier – it’s kind of vinaigrette’s best pal. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 2tablespoons (1/2 recipe), Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 29mg, Sugar: 1g, Iron: 1mg
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