We’re going back to basics today with one of my most essential everyday recipes, vinaigrette! You know how much I love salads, and I’m surprised I didn’t think to share my basic vinaigrette recipe with you until now.
Vinegar and olive oil-based vinaigrette is a light, zippy, heart-healthy salad dressing. It’s great on greens, vegetables and fruits. You can change up the flavor by using different vinegars. Vinaigrette is easy to adjust to taste, and I’ve included notes how to do so in the recipe.
Once you start making homemade vinaigrette, you won’t go back. Whisk together some basic ingredients, and you’ll end up with dressing that tastes infinitely better than store-bought dressings. No preservatives here!
Homemade vinaigrette keeps for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, so it’s worth the 5 minutes it takes to mix it up. Then you can keep it on hand for all of your salad needs. Let’s get to it!
Basic Vinaigrette Ratio & Ingredients
The traditional French vinaigrette formula calls for 1 tablespoon vinegar for every 3 tablespoons olive oil. Modern vinaigrettes often call for a bit more vinegar than that, but it’s always up to you. Kale salads can tolerate more zingy dressings, while you’ll want to use less vinegar for mild greens like spring greens.
Here’s what you’ll need to make vinaigrette:
- Olive oil for your base
- Vinegar of choice
- Dijon mustard for some flavor complexity and creaminess
- Maple syrup or honey for a little sweetness that balances the vinegar
- Garlic for oomph
- Salt and pepper
While you can use any tasty vinegar you’d like to make vinaigrette, here’s how I choose between my three go-to vinegars.
Balsamic vinegar makes a bold, slightly sweet dressing that is wonderful on green salads with fruit, such as apples, strawberries or peaches. Examples include my strawberry arugula salad and favorite green salad with apples.
Red Wine Vinaigrette
Red wine vinegar packs a punch and works well with other bold flavors and bright veggies, like tomatoes, bell peppers, olives, feta and more (think Greek salads or Italian salads).
White Wine Vinaigrette
White wine vinegar a more mellow vinegar and it’s especially nice with more delicate flavors like spring greens, cucumber, zucchini and sweet corn. It’s lovely on just about every green salad out there. I’ve used it recently in my orange orzo salad and corn salsa.
Champagne vinegar is even more mild than white wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is sweet-tangy and tastes lightly of apples. Sherry vinegar is similar to red wine vinegar but slightly less intense.
Watch How to Make Vinaigrette
Please let me know how you like this vinaigrette in the comments! I love hearing from you and I’m dying to hear about the salads you make with it (#saladobsessed).
If you’re looking for more salad dressings that keep well, don’t miss my sunshine salad dressing (yogurt-based honey-mustard dressing), green goddess dressing, carrot ginger dressing or jalapeño-cilantro dressing (made a little creamy with some tahini).
You’ll also find four delicious salad dressings in my book, Love Real Food. Many more salads here!
Basic Vinaigrette (Plus Variations!)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: ¾ cup 1x
- Category: Salad dressing
- Method: By hand
- Cuisine: French
Here’s my go-to vinaigrette recipe! It’s so easy to make and tastes way better than store-bought dressings. You can change up the flavors by choosing the vinegar that suits your salad best. Recipe yields ¾ cup dressing, enough for about 6 medium salads (assuming 2 tablespoons per salad).
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons vinegar of choice (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well with a small whisk or a fork until the ingredients are completely mixed together.
- Taste, and adjust as necessary. If the mixture is too acidic, thin it out with a bit more olive oil or balance the flavors with a little more maple syrup or honey. If the mixture is a little blah, add another pinch or two of salt. If it doesn’t have enough zing, add vinegar by the teaspoon.
- Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for future use. Homemade vinaigrette keeps well for 7 to 10 days. If your vinaigrette solidifies somewhat in the fridge, don’t worry about it—real olive oil tends to do that. Simply let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes or microwave very briefly (about 20 seconds) to liquify the olive oil again. Whisk to blend and serve.
Balsamic vinegar: Makes a bold, slightly sweet dressing that is wonderful on green salads with fruit, such as apples, strawberries or peaches.
Red wine vinegar: Packs a punch and works well with other bold flavors and bright veggies, like tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, cabbage and more (think Greek salads).
White wine vinegar: This is a more mellow vinegar and it’s especially nice with more delicate flavors like cucumber and sweet corn. It’s lovely on just about every green salad out there.
Greek/Italian variation: Use red wine vinegar. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano and, optionally, a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Yummy! Made with red wine vinegar and added some fresh lemon juice.
This was simple, easy and great! I doubled up to make a large batch to last for several days.
I whisked in the olive oil last, a slow pour with quick whisking which thickened the dressing.
I’ll definitely be using this again in the future with some variations (shallot, some different herbs). Thank you!
Great to hear, Seri! Thank you for sharing your experience.
This is now my go-to dressing base! Thanks so much! Simple and perfect acidity.
Great to hear, Gwen! Thank you for your review.
i just made this quickly and added a squirt of lemon juice and it was the BEST vinaigrette on planet EARTH. definitely going to be a staple now thank you!!
I understand you ‘re dying to hear about the salads people make, but hey! Pls, don’t die on us now that we ‘ve found you sweetheart Kate! Your recipes come out sweet, lovely and happy as you are! From the bottoms of your heart and your lively great smile! Made a salad with special type of lettuce we have here Greece, and different, all freshly cut greens that their freshness aroma “brakes” your nose as we say here… hehe, Using YOUR recipe dear! It fly away the whole thing! Thank you so much! Come to Greece for some fresh right from the sea -food- and for some Ούζο, with Καλαμάρι, Χταπόδι, Γαρίδες!!! Wrote it in Greek and I’m sure you ‘ll find out! Many kisses to you lovely lady, Από Ελλάδα με αγάπη, Τρύφωνας. <— My name btw… :) Trifonas
I have made this vinaigrette recipe a few times. Today I used white wine vinegar and honey. It was delicious. Thank you for the recipe and the variations.
You’re welcome, Jane!
I made a sherry vinaigrette, it came out very nice. Will make again!
Wonderful to hear, Patricia! Thank you for your review.
My go-to salad dressing for my family! My son who is a picky eater loves the balsamic dressing on his salad. Thank you so much Kate for this recipe.
You’re welcome, Liza! I appreciate your review.
Made this today with balsamic vinegar, stone ground dijon and added a tiny bit of crushed ginger. Was fantastic on a basic greens salad with cucumber, kalamata & black olives, carrots, garlic croutons and blue cheese crumbles. Can’t wait to try with other vinegars.
Sounds delicious! I appreciate your review.
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Katherine D Emerson
If I only had dried mustard on hand when making this recipe, would that work instead of prepared mustard? And if so, how much?
I don’t know how well the dried mustard would combine, sorry!
Dried or ground mustard works fine. Tastes good
This is an excellent vinaigrette. I followed the instructions exactly and loved it. Thanks.
Thank you for your review, Patricia! I appreciate your review.
I used white wine vinegar and it was soo delicious! Very light:)!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Cindy!
What a fantastic quick easy dressing to make and so delicious. I have been trying for years to buy a nice basic dressing and all fall short and to think it was all there in my cupboard ready to me to make. I did the balsamic vinegar this time with maple syrup and will try out other variations, maybe …. this one was so so yummy I want to eat it all the time. :-)
I love this recipe. One thing I tweaked was the oil. Straight olive oil is too strong for me, so I used avocado and canola as well.
Dressing is delicious. I used only 1 small garlic clove and grated it. I have that after taste in my mouth of raw garlic. Should I have maybe finely chopped the garlic instead of grating it with a zester? Or should I have cooked the garlic first?
Hi! It could have been a large clove. The zester should have been able to get it small enough. I appreciate your feedback, Denise.
Roast the garlic before using it! That helps :)
Excellent. I’ve never made a good successful vinegarette, but this one came out really good! I used strawberry vinegar. Thank you.
Simple and delicious!!
I just made this with basic white Vinegar added a bit of fresh squeezed lime juice with honey mustard and Dijon. My girlfriend said that it was her favorite dressing she ever has had!
That’s great, Davin! I appreciate your review.
So easy and tasty and delicious!
I made this VInaigrette as is and used red wine vinegar; Maple syrup and minced the garlic. I am going to send the recipe to home I took iit to last night!
Great to hear, Faye! I appreciate your review.
This was delicious! I have tried many salad dressing recipes before and this is the best one yet. I did cut the oil in half just to save calories and it was perfect! I used red wine vinegar and maple syrup.
I’m so glad you love it! I appreciate your review, Naomi.
The only change made to the recipe was the addition of about 1/2 tsp. of Alessi Avacado Seasoning. My husband said I should bottle and sell it! It was a hit!
Great flavor. Refreshing change from store bought.
Thank you for sharing, Diane!
A little too much oil for my taste, so I use 1/4 cup EVOO. The rest is a good ratio though. I also add a splash of white wine and some hot pepper flakes. Yummm!
A little too much oil for my taste, so I used 1/4 cup EVOO. The rest is a good ratio though!I also add a splash of white wine and some hot pepper flakes. Yummm!
That is the cutest dog! She looks well loved. I came for the Vinaigrette but haven’t made it yet.
Only change I made was I used 3 table spoons of honey. Love it thks dc
This is a great vinaigrette recipe. I used apple cider vinegar and I was able to use a bit less oil.
Thank you, Zara! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.
This recipe hit all the taste buds, my husband and I loved it! I made it almost exactly as recipe except I did not add salt, seemed salty enough for us. Also, I added fresh sautéed garlic paste. Will definitely be a keeper, plenty left over. I used red wine vinegar and can’t wait to try other varieties!
Thank you for sharing how you made it, Autumn!
I absolutely love this recipe. It has such a clean, bright flavor!!
My husband absolutely adores this recipe!!! I just made it quickly for a salad! And wow!
I’m glad you and your husband both enjoy this. I appreciate your review, Miné!
The recipe is now a house dressing for us.
I didn’t have maple syrup so I used Karo Dark
It was delicious. Thank you
Love your vinaigrette’s recipe . Have tried it today with my greens.thanks for sharing ❤️
Thank you for the basics – I’ll love playing with ingredients from here!
I have a question – I have some orange olive oil and was wondering what a good combination would be for vinegar using some honey and maybe dijon mustard? Many thanks,
You can try it! Let me know what you think.
I love this recipe. I love the flexibility, the pictures, the clear directions – love, love , love! It is delicious salad dressing in all the variations.
This was delicious and nice and thick! I used 1/3cup Veg oil and the rest olive oil, and 1 1/2 tbs each red wine and rice vinegar. It was a bit sweet for me so I will use less honey next time. Thanks for a great recipe!
I recently found out I have some serious food sensitivities that have been making me sick and have had to start making my own dressings and sauces. I have made this recipe several times with different vinegars (balsamic and white wine) and we love them. I actually double the recipe so that I don’t have to make it as often because we like it so much. I put everything except the oil in the blender then gradually add that so it doesn’t get to thick. Thank you for sharing!!
You’re welcome, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Michael T Miller
I made this for a friend who is a chef. She thought it was very delicious .
Thank you for sharing, Michael!
The Sunshine Salad Dressing is absolutely marvelous. It makes my kale spinach salad sing!!
This was amazing!!! Needed something fast and easy with ingredients I’d most likely already have in hand! Loved it! I made mine when red wine vinegar. I look forward to trying other variations! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!
This is the best recipe I’ve seen for vinaigrette! Love it…..Thanks!!
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Joan! Thank you for your review.
My go to vinaigrette recipe! Have made all the variations and they’re all equally delicious and perfect
I haven’t made it yet since I just found this recipe but it’s good to know. I recently bought both red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar thinking there wasn’t a difference so I appreciate the info on how to use the types of vinegar appropriately.
Which vinegarette dressing recipe would you suggest would be best for a cold seafood sala? Or, is there a different one for salads that don’t include vegetables?
I am a vegetarian so I wouldn’t be much help there. Sorry!
thanks for this basic recipe which i use ALL the time. i have a couple of tweaks – i’m low salt so instead of that i add a splash of lemon for a bit of spark and whirl it in a mini cuisinart for a couple of minutes to thicken it up. i switch up the vinegars for a different flavours, depending on my mood.
Each month a group of us cook dinner at a homeless shelter. We bring all the ingredients except salad dressing. This month there was no dressing available but we found the ingredients in the shelter’s pantry. We used balsamic and olive oil, honey, garlic, and salt. We have been cooking there for over 12 years and this is the first time the clients RAVED about the salad! We served over 100 hungry people. No more bottled dressing for us! We’ll continue to use your delicious fresh healthy recipe. We served Brunswick stew, rice, cornbread, MIXED SALAD and chocolate cake. YUM! And now I’m going to make it at home and get my husband off of that awful ranch dressing he uses. I’ve been dressing my salads with a spritz of seasoned rice vinegar but your dressing is DA BOMB
I love that you do that, Erica! I’m so glad this was a hit. I appreciate your review, Erica.
Thanks for a foolproof vinaigrette! Keep cooking Kate, we appreciate your work!
I just wanted u to know that ever since I first tried this recipe (and I’ve used almost every single variation u mentioned and them some!) I haven’t spent a single moment on the dressing isle, overwhelmed by the choices (and disgusted by the prices). This is the PERFECT base for every salad and it even got my husband to like salad. Thanks!!!
Hooray! That’s great to hear, Eva.
It is one of our favorite salad dressing. My wife and I do not buy commercial salad dressing anymore. Delicious. That simple.
Wonderful to hear, Tony! Thank you for your review.
Did you know that any mustard can be used and it also changes the flavor profile of the vinaigrette.
And you’re so correct that once you make them at home, you’ll never go back to spending $8 for a bottle at the store that are made with the cheapest oils and vinegars they can find.
I use a pint mason jar to mix and store the dressing. Just chunk the stuff in and put on the lid and give it a shake.
Try sautéing minced garlic in some of the olive oil, instead of using raw garlic. Otherwise great gastronomic guru-ing.
I had lemon vinegarette dressing at Red Lobster and it was delicious. Could you send me a recipe.
I don’t have one, but I can add it to my request list.
I was looking for a place where I could find Healthy ways to cook
and found your Place.
This Recipe was Quick and most Important I had these simple ingredients in my cabinet.
How would champagne vinegar work with this?
I prefer these as written, but you could try it!
I have tried this recipe with various vinegars and all versions were amazing. Made it today with apple cider vinegar not expecting to like it, but it was probably my favorite version. thank you so much for the recipe.
You’re welcome, Jennifer! I appreciate your review.
Oh my word. I love this. Why I have never made this mysel!? Healthier than store bought on top of way more delicious! The only thing I did that was different to make it my own, was add a splash more of olive oil to break that sharpness of the white vinegar. Then after my final taste test I felt like it was just missing something. A few splashes of lemon juice and this took it from delicious to WHOA BABY! highly recommend!!
I’m so glad you love it, Chloe! Thank you for your review.
Great vinaigrette dressing recipe! Love it, thanks for this
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Jill! Thank you for your review.