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.
- 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.
Can’t wait to try this! Thanks so much!
Thanks Barbara! Hope you enjoy it!
Kate! I wanted to say a massive thank you, your recipes are my go to! I’m english but live in sicily with my husband.. I love your cookbook and have recommended it to my midwife (who bought it!) And loads of others.. thank you!!!!!
Jazmine, that’s so nice to hear! Thank you so much for your kind words and for recommending my book to your friends. My husband and I just watched the Sicily episode of Stanley Tucci’s show, and wow! We want to visit. Have a great day!
I made your salad recipe for Caesar Dressing, OMG what a winner!!! Love it and served to company and they love it. It is the best Caesar Dressing, and I have tried many. My husband would have it every night, but then it wouldn’t be as special. I give it 5*****s, 10 if there was a rating for 10!
I’m glad you loved it, Louise!
Many salad dressings have mustard as an emulsifier, but a family member is allergic to mustard and cow’s milk dairy products. Is there a substitute you can suggest?
Hi Joy, sorry to disappoint but I haven’t tried this with a substitute.
Try a vegan mayo.
I made this dressing this past weekend and loved it! Adding it in to my weekly rotation. I only make my own dressings now (people are impressed hah) because of your blog.
Hi Kate, just made this and as you say it’s so much better than anything you can get in the shops. Thanks, this is the new ‘go to’ for all salads!
Hooray! I’m glad you love it, Clive.
I’m going to have to try this. I like Italian dressing at Italian restaurants, but am never very impressed when trying to find one I like in the store.
Ih ope you love it, Emily! thank you for your comment.
I made a bunch of this tonight. I loosely measured everything and put it in a blender, then added the olive oil with the bender running. I put some of it over a salad of arugula, tomatoes, sweet peppers, feta, kalamata olives and pepperocinis. Oh, and some homemade croutons. It was so delicious. I’m glad I have more in my fridge.
Great to hear, Dodi! I appreciate you taking the time to review.