Italian dressing has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. My mom always served a simple green salad with dinner, and I gravitated toward Wish-Bone’s Italian dressing for drizzling on top. I was especially glad to reach for the extra zesty variety when we had it.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—homemade salad dressings taste so much better than store-bought. This classic Italian vinaigrette is bold, lively and irresistible! My collection of salad dressing recipes was incomplete without it.
This dressing is easy to make with basic pantry ingredients. You’ll need olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and dried oregano. You’ll also reach for salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you like mild heat). Finely grated Parmesan is entirely optional, but lends a familiar Olive Garden vibe.
The beauty of making your own Italian dressing is that you know exactly what’s going into it—like real olive oil and no preservatives.
You can also adjust the flavors to suit your preferences. Whether you like extra zesty or more mellow dressing, you’ll find guidance in the simple recipe below. It’s ready in under five minutes and keeps for a week!
How to Serve Italian Dressing
Salad made with Italian dressing goes well with many meals. This homemade vinaigrette balances out heavier entrées—think anything cheesy, creamy, or marinara saucy.
Complementary Salad Ingredients
Make my Italian Chopped Salad, or improvise your own Italian salad with any of the following ingredients:
- Bell peppers
- Mozzarella, Parmesan or provolone cheese
- Pepperoncini peppers
- Red onion
- Romaine lettuce and radicchio, chopped
- Tomatoes, fresh or sun-dried
This lively Italian vinaigrette is the perfect accompaniment to Italian dishes, such as:
- Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables
- Hearty Spaghetti with Lentils & Marinara Sauce
- Italian Eggplant Parmesan
- Pasta alla Norma
- Pizza of any variety
- Vegetable Lasagna
Watch How to Make Italian Dressing
More Classic Salad Dressings to Make
Here are just a few more homemade salad dressings to keep in your repertoire:
- Greek Salad Dressing
- Homemade Caesar Salad
- Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Homemade Ranch Dressing
- How to Make Vinaigrette (Plus 3 Essential Variations)
Please let me know how your Italian dressing turns out in the comments! I love hearing from you.Print
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: Salad dressing
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
Serve this Italian dressing on salad with any Italian meal! This homemade dressing is boldly flavored and delicious—if it’s too zesty as written, simply whisk in more olive oil until it’s just right for your taste buds. Recipe yields 1 scant cup.
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, for heat (optional)
- To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a liquid measuring cup. Whisk until blended.
- Taste, and adjust as needed—add another teaspoon of honey if the mixture tastes too acidic. If the mixture is overall too bold for your liking, dilute it with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil at a time, or if it’s just not quite fantastic yet, add more salt and pepper.
- Use as desired. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week. It will separate over time, so just whisk it back together before serving (if the olive oil solidifies a bit in the refrigerator, don’t worry, that’s normal—just let it warm up for about 5 minutes at room temperature or microwave for 10 to 20 seconds).
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Change it up: Add ⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese before adjusting the mixture to taste.