It’s super, duper easy to make your own, homemade Vinaigrette Dressing. This easy salad dressing is way less expensive than store-bought, and you know exactly what goes into it.
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.
In this Article
- What is Vinaigrette?
- Vinaigrette Ratio
- Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Ingredients to Add to Make the Perfect Salad Dressing for YOU
- How to Mix Vinaigrette: My Two Favorite Methods
- Jump to Full Recipe
- Recipe Reviews & Comments
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.
The ratio is very straightforward!
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.
What are the ingredients in vinaigrette? Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and anything else you want to add for flavor and texture.
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!
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.
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).
Ingredients to Add to Make the Perfect Salad Dressing for YOU
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.
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.)
Add finely minced ginger.
Add finely minced fresh garlic or even some garlic powder in a pinch.
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.
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.
Crushed red pepper flakes, a dab of horseradish, or even a bit of Sriracha add a touch of heat.
Add a bit of finely minced shallots to the equation. Shallots add so much flavor! You can also add onion or scallions.
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
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!
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.
Here’s the full, printable recipe!
How to Make Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- 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
- 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.
Yeeeeah! Homemade vinaigrettes and salad dressings are my faaave! I love this guide – so perfect for making the most delicious dressings for all the summer salads!
I would like to make a dressing with only lemon and avocado
This is my favorite, favorite way to make vinaigrette — the possibilities are endless! Thanks for the reminder, since I haven’t done it in a while. Vinaigrette is perfect for a summer salad!
I’m so glad you decided to write a tutorial for us! I agree that bottled dressing never tastes very good. This formula is wonderful as it allows us to use what we have on hand and gives us endless options. Thank you!
Really nice post!! Homemade dressing/vinaigrette is so lovely and can be really easy! (especially now that you’ve broken it down) I feel like so many don’t know how simple and delicious it is. My mom always eyeballed it but I still get better results when I measure. I use old jelly jars for my dressings. If I were smart I would just mark the lines on the jar…
This is my favourite way to make vinaigrette too. Great tutorial. Thnaks 😉
Thanks for such a helpful and in depth tutorial!
You left out a word in the first sentence. “You can’t go wrong with”
Hi Frankie, another reader just pointed out my typo, too! Just fixed it. Thank you. 🙂
Wait.. you CAN’T go with Extra Virgin Olive Oil or is that a typo?
Yikes, that was a typo! Thanks for asking; I’ve fixed it.
I’m gonna make this tonight. I don’t see a reason why this wouldn’t last in the refrigerator for weeks, as all the ingredients keep well outside the fridge, except for the mustard, but even it keeps well in the fridge for months. I’m guessing this mix will keep until it’s used up, which won’t be long for me since I eat a big salad twice a day. Thanks for the recipe!
Made it today. Easy & tasty. Thanks
Thank you! This has made my salad dressing game much easier. I never quite got the proportion of oil to vinegar and add-ins right when I winged it, so I never made vinaigrette without a recipe. Just whipped up a very tasty dressing with EVOO, some raspberry blush white balsamic vinegar, shallots, wholegrain mustard, and a touch of maple syrup. By the way, I now love reading vinaigrette ingredients. They often sound disgustingly ill paired but somehow combine to make something delicious and complex!
I made it just now. Fun, simple, versatile, instant, and so tasty! Thank you so much. Oh and you mentioned coconut oil raising cholesterol levels, look up Bruce Fife regarding this topic.
I’ve been looking for a neutral flavored dressing for my veggie salad. Sometimes I add Mexican flavors, sometimes Italian, etc. It’s nice to have a yummy base to start with. Thanks!
How do you make a larger quantity of this recipe? 1/3 cup wouldn’t last very long in my household. Can I just increase the ingredients proportionately??
Hi Jimmy, yep! Just double/triple/quadruple as you see fit.
How long will this last before it goes bad? Does it have to be refrigerated if the ingredients are only olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper? Making this tonight! So simple.
I find it only lasts a couple of days in the fridge until the olive oil solidifies, though some time at room temperature and a good shake usually remedies it. Good question about it actually needing to be refrigerated – I actually don’t know the answer; perhaps it doesn’t! I’ll have to do some testing. Usually I just make it as I need it because it’s so easy.
Instead of getting right to the point on how to make it, the writer talks and writes to much. A reader shouldn’t hv to read so much just to find out how to make a simple dressing. Just stick to the main points and make it brief! To much writing before actually getting to the recipe can make a reader lose interest.
I feel that way when visiting food blogs too. That’s why each of my recipes includes a summary at the top of the page and a “skip to recipe” link for those who just want to get straight to the point with no additional info.
Replies should likewise be brief 🙂
Thanks so much for the recipe. I needed one in a pinch and this one came through with flying taste LOL We love spicy so I added a pinch of ground cayenne pepper and it was amazing.
This is great thanks!
Great. . thanks a lot. . mayb mary’s wil stand in place of lemon to sour it all up. .
This was just what I was looking for and oh so delish! I enjoyed it so much that I am now a subscriber and enjoying all the other delicious recipes, tips and trick. Thank you so very much! Be blessed!!!!
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I came here looking for vinegar and oil proportions, and got perfect vinaigrette dressing recipe. On the bonus side – keeping them together with mustard as emulsifier is really a treat. Thanks a lot for great sharing.
how the shade of that will be yellow?
i have made it but its color was willing to white.
I’d imagine it depends on your brand of olive oil.
I just loved it..I found what I was just looking for ..
I absolutely disagree with Mary who said that “the writer writes too much” – isn’t that a bit of a contradictory statement?
It’s very tempting to get nasty because such ignorance really infuriates me, but I’m choosing to refrain.
Either way, I don’t think she understands the point and likely didn’t read what you wrote. There is a recipe attached, but this isn’t a “recipe”, it’s a guide – a lesson – on vinaigrettes as a whole, breaking down each part and teaching the reader how to assemble a vinaigrette that is customized to their tastes and pantry. That’s SO much more than a simple “recipe”. You can take this knowledge and never need another vinaigrette recipe again. The suggestions here alone result in over 6000 possible recipe combinations.
That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t go to other websites to find more suggestions on what to add in, and definitely experiment and try your own ideas!
But no, in my opinion, the writer did NOT write too much.
Thank you. 🙂
Yeah, I wanted to read more.
I made the Apple cider dressing and added juice of 1 lime and 2 tablespoons of nonfat yogurt it turned out amazing.
This is an exceptional recipe- I made it fir dinner tonight to flavour my green salad and I am so happy to say it got polished off. Huge hit. Thank you. Saving this.
I just made it and is so tasty. Is simply amazing . Added sesame seed, almond and pumpkin seeds. Thanks for the recipe
This is my favourite manner to make French dressing too. Excellent academic. Thnaks 😉
I don’t think your ideas are lazy at all!! I would say creative and time saving, but still healthy. Thanks!
Thank you so much for this guide! Exactly what I was looking for as a vinaigrette novice!
Wow..vinaigrette salad dressing was soooo good, I had to try and make it. I used your suggestion and used 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. I’m also gonna pin this post on my Pinterest board my followers will love it. Thanks for sharing, Kare!
My mother made nothing but the basic oil and vinegar dressing that we call vinaigrette now. Thank you for sharing this. There are so many options to choose from to use.
Such a great and simple recipe. Once the basic oil:vinegar ratio is memorized, the options are nearly endless in terms of flavor just using seasoning and controlling the smoothness or adding bite (different vinegars). This shall be my go-to choice of dressing here on out!
Love it Jane! It’s so much fun to mix it up with different oils, vinegars, and herbs, isn’t it? 🙂
I am so grateful for this recipe as I have the dessert and salad for Easter dinner.
Here at home I usually just splash some extra virgin olive oil and rice wine vinegar on my greens
but wanted to be sure it was great for Easter dinner.
Question: is the lemon juice in addition to the vinegar or replacement?
I did EXACTLY what you said for the proportions of oil (canola) to vinegar ( I used red wine) but when I tried it…it was so acidic! could it be my red wine vinegar went bad? I don’t cook very often and I know the bottle has been open for a year… Just curious on what went wrong…
Other then that, pretty simple!
I used the ratio of 4 parts canola oil to 1 part white vinegar and it was absolutely tasteless, disgusting grease
That;s because you didn’t read the simple recipe properly. The ratio is 3:1 not 4:1… SMH
Thank you so much ,very informative segment,this is of big help.
This is so yummy and interesting vinaigrette salad dressing. I tried this kind of recipe before but this is unique.
it lovely recipe I have try it, it very nice
Made this tonite and was delish! Thanks for sharing!
Hello, thanks for the recipe. I was wondering if the vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic and ginger mixture has to be refrigerated. Will it go bad if I keep it at room temperature?
vanya has done all them
Had heard about the 3-1 rule in salad dressings previously; oil to vinegar, looks like now’s the time to give it ago. Looks so simple, ’cause it is? Thanks for all the inspiration I’ll need!
What kind of garbage are you peddling? Canola oil and vegetable oil are crap! Try some 21st century healthy oils!
Thank you! It seems hard to find simple, basic recipes lately? Just what I was looking for 🙂 <3
My fave version of this has always been extra virgin olive oil, Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, & shoyu or tamari sauce. (Esp on green beans w almonds or toasted walnuts). The options are of course endless!
Those options sound delicious!
Insturtions on how to make salad dressings that are healthy.
This was a good recipe thanks
Glad you liked it; thanks!
I can’t imagine that how many dishes I can combine with this one! Have to try, and I will feedback to you then!
This is a great basic recipe. I have been making our vinaigrette dressings for years and they keep for a couple of weeks in the frig. I use Grapeseed Oil or Avocado Oil (Grapeseed is preference of restaurants) so the oil doesn’t solidify. My basic dressing is just the oil, vinegar (champagne vinegar is a real treat at the holidays), a dollop of Dijon, a sprinkle of black pepper and a clove of smooshed garlic. I usually make quantity so put it all through the food processor, and everyone loves it. But the ratios are correct – 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil.