Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

5 from 2 votes

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Once you make your own homemade Vinaigrette Dressing you won’t buy it from the store ever again! It is a staple in my kitchen and soon to be one in yours too.

small jar with dark salad dressing in it on a brown board with salad on plate in background.
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Making a basic vinaigrette is ridiculously simple. You only need vinegar, oil, and a little mustard, and you are in business. I love to drizzle vinaigrette on salads – from green salads to grilled chicken salads – to give them a fresh and zingy taste.

Homemade vinaigrette takes about a minute to make and is cheaper than buying it at the store. Seriously, if you aren’t making your own vinaigrette IT IS TIME! Making delicious salad dressings will completely elevate your salad game and might encourage your family to eat more salads.

three small jars with dark and light salad dressings in them on a brown board with salad on plate in background.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • So much yummier than store-bought dressing
  • A simple recipe that has endless variations
  • Homemade is much cheaper than commercial salad dressings

Recipe Ingredients

The formula for any basic vinaigrette combines 1 part vinegar with 3 parts oil. If you are making a bigger batch, you would use 1/4 cup of vinegar with 3/4 cup oil. If you want to make a small serving, just adjust the volume but keep the same 1:3 ratio. 

  • Oil – extra virgin olive oil or another light or flavorful oil
  • Balsamic vinegar – change the vinegar to try a new taste
  • Dijon mustard – this is necessary for the emulsion (getting it to mix well!)
  • Honey – maple syrup can also be used
  • Garlic – fresh or powdered

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

small portion dishes labeled with the raw ingredients to make balsamic vinaigrette.

The variations of vinaigrette is limited only by what your taste buds or imagination or Pinterest search can come up with.

Classic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing: Uses red wine vinegar in place of balsamic

Lemon Vinaigrette: Replace vinegar with fresh lemon juice

Roasted Garlic Dressing: With a whole head of roasted garlic, red wine vinegar, and Parmesan

Honey Mustard Salad Dressing: Switch up the vinegar to white and be sure to use honey

Honey Poppy Seed Dressing: Keep the honey, add in poppy seeds, and use apple cider vinegar

There are so many ways to turn a basic recipe into gourmet-level salad dressings!

How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette Dressing

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar.
  2. Whisk or shake to combine really well.
  3. Adjust salt and paper as needed.
four image collage with steps on the process to make balsamic vinaigrette.

Recipe FAQs

What is the best oil to use for vinaigrette?

The best oil for vinaigrette depends greatly on personal preference. Some oils have a really strong flavor and might not be well-suited for a salad dressing. I suggest using an olive oil that you like the taste of. You can also use avocado oil, grape-seed oil, or whatever you happen to have on hand.

Why is vinaigrette dressing healthy?

Vinaigrette dressings tend to be healthier than their creamy counterparts because of the oil that contains healthy fats that can benefit your heart when eaten in moderation. Plus you know what’s going into the dressing, no preservatives needed.

How long does homemade vinaigrette last?

Homemade vinaigrette will last in the refrigerator for up to a month. Just let it come to room temperature and shake or whisk before serving.

green salad on a plate with red and blue berries with a hand pouring dressing out of a jar onto salad.

Expert Tips

  • For the best flavor, let the vinaigrette sit for at least 15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend together.
  • Make the dressing ahead of time, as it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Use it on more than just salads! Vinaigrette dressing is very versatile and can be used as a marinade for meats and vegetables, a sauce for grilled fish or chicken, or a dressing for pasta salads or grain bowls.
  • The secret to making a good vinaigrette is getting the right balance of acidity and oil. Follow the 3:1 (oil to vinegar) rule and adjust to your preferences.
three small jars with dark and light salad dressings in them on a brown board with salad on plate.

How To Mix Vinaigrette Dressing

If you are new to making homemade vinaigrette you will quickly come to  realize that oil and vinegar do not mix. Due to the molecular properties of oil, it actually repels vinegar. In other words, mixing oil and vinegar is like trying to connect two positively charged magnets – they will repel each other.

So we need an emulsifier to mix oil and vinegar together and a bit of mustard does the trick. The mustard is able to hold together these two liquids that otherwise wouldn’t blend together. How’s that for a science lesson!

There are a few different methods you can use to mix together vinaigrette dressing: blend, whisk, or shake.

You can combine the ingredients by using a blender which is simple and efficient or you can whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl using a fork or a whisk. The last option is to put the ingredients in a jar and shake by hand. I generally do the shaking option in the jar the dressing will be stored in. So easy!

Easy Salad Recipes to Consider

small mason jar of vinaigrette dressing
5 from 2 votes

Basic Vinaigrette Recipe

Learn how to make homemade salad dressing with this super simple vinaigrette recipe that only needs a few simple ingredients.
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 3 /4 of a cup or 6 generous servings


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 finely minced garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • Add the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder (or fresh), honey or maple syrup, salt, and pepper to a small bowl or a small mason jar. Whisk to combine or if you are using a jar, add a lid and shake to combine.
  • Test the taste on a little piece of greens, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve right away on your favorite salad.
  • Vinaigrettes is especially good on salad greens (opposed to just plain lettuce).
  • See content on recipe page for variations.


  • You can swap out the vinegar for just about any vinegar you like or have on hand. This is a great chance to try flavored vinegar like peach or strawberry vinegar, too; they are great in salad dressing!
  • You can use other light oils such as avocado oil in this recipe if you prefer.
  • I like to warm my honey up just a bit before adding it to encourage it to incorporate into the dressing better.
  • You can store leftover dressing in the fridge for a few weeks, just bring it back to room temperature and shake or whisk before serving.


Serving: 1 of 6 servings, Calories: 126kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Sodium: 127mg, Potassium: 17mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 0.03mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.2mg
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Recipe Rating

1 Comment

  1. Caroline says:

    5 stars
    Delicious dressing!!!