Basic Vinaigrette Dressing With 8 Variations

Total Time
5 mins
10 mins

Bottled salad dressing can be convenient but its expensive and often full of salt, sugar, and chemical additives. Making your own is simple and allows you to customize the seasonings to suit whatever meal you are preparing. The amounts given make about 1/4 cup and can be expanded infinitely for larger salads. It can be made several days ahead and kept in the fridge. Sorry about the slightly odd way of putting the ingredients for the creamy dressing variations. The recipe editor is picky about what it will accept.

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  • Basic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons oil (I prefer extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (white, cider, wine, ..., not balsamic)
  • salt
  • black pepper (I prefer fresh-ground)
  • Italian Vinaigrette

  • basic vinaigrette (use EVOO and red wine vinegar)
  • 12 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Lighter Bacon Dressing

  • basic vinaigrette (use canola or corn oil and cider vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled bacon
  • 12 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • 1 pinch celery seed (optional)
  • 14 teaspoon prepared mustard (optional)
  • 1 -3 teaspoon brown sugar or 1 -3 teaspoon another sweetener, to taste
  • Mustard Dressing

  • italian vinaigrette
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (I recommend Dijon or spicy brown)
  • 1 -3 teaspoon honey (optional) or 1 -3 teaspoon another sweetener, to taste (optional)
  • Basic Creamy Vinaigrette Dressing

  • basic vinaigrette
  • 2 -3 tablespoons mayonnaise or 2 -3 tablespoons sour cream or 2 -3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • Parmesan-Pepper Dressing

  • basic creamy vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 18 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Creamy Garlic Dressing

  • basic creamy vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 garlic clove, put through press
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch italian seasoning (optional)
  • Lemon Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer extra-virgin)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 12 teaspoon oregano
  • 12 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons oil (I prefer extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 12 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch italian seasoning (optional)


  1. Shake all ingredients for your chosen variation together in a tightly-lidded container OR whisk together in a small bowl.
  2. Let stand 10 minutes to rehydrate dried herbs and blend flavors.
  3. Shake again then dress salad as desired.
  4. Note -- I recommend the lemon dressing on spinach.
  5. Note -- I recommend the Bacon Dressing, Mustard Dressing, and Balsamic Vinaigrette on strong greens such as escarole, curly endive, and dandelion greens.
  6. Note -- The sweeter version of the mustard dressing is great for a vinegar coleslaw if you discover that you have accidentally gotten one of those occasional cabbages that are a touch on the bitter side.
  7. Note -- feel free to play with other seasonings, more complex blends, flavored oils, and flavored vinegars. Once you've learned the technique you can customize your salad dressing to suit just about any meal.
Most Helpful

5 5

We loved the lemon dressing! Which could also be called Greek dressing. I doubled the oregano since I used fresh, used one clove of garlic and added 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Next time I will cut the oil back by one tablespoon so it is more lemony. Had it over arugula and it was sensational!

5 5

Tried the mustard version tonight, we doubled it for a simple green salad with grilled dijon chicken and it was excellent. Will definitely make this again, thanks for posting.

Please note that the nutritional information is not correct, as the software cannot distinguish between the original an all the variations, so all ingredients in all versions have been added together. This has been asked several times in the Cooking Q & A Forum.