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Homemade Salad Dressing

homemade salad dressing recipeI never, ever, buy salad dressing.  Honestly, it is so easy to make and it tastes so much better.  You decide what to put in it (most dressings are loaded with high fructose corn syrup) and can add ingredients to pair with whatever salad you are making.  I have devised a formula that will allow you to make a million different dressings and make the most flavorful salads ever.  I have a very well-stocked pantry and like to experiment with different oils and vinegars.  I like to add a little sweetness to my dressings.  What makes a good dressing is a balance of acid, sweet, salt, and a ratio of oil to acid.  I make my dressings in mason jars and you can keep leftover dressing in the fridge for at least a week.  Most vinaigrette dressings are made with a 3:1 ratio.  I prefer a more acid based dressing so mine are more like 2:1.  It is completely up to your palette and how you are going to use the dressing.  This formula is merely a guide, play with it, and see what you like.

homemade salad dressing recipe


white sugar
brown sugar
maple syrup
jams and jellies
agave nectar

homemade salad dressing recipe


lemon juice (orange, grapefruit, lime, pomegranate, cranberry, etc)
balsamic vinegar
white vinegar
rice wine vinegar
apple cider vinegar
white wine vinegar
champagne vinegar
tarragon vinegar
specialty vinegars (herb vinegars, white balsamic, etc.)

homemade salad dressing recipeOils:

vegetable oil
olive oil
canola oil
grapeseed oil
nut oils (walnut, hazelnut, pecan, etc.)

homemade salad dressing recipeAdditional add-ins:

chopped shallots
chopped onion
mustards (Dijon, honey mustard, whole grain, etc.)
fresh and dried herbs (basil, tarragon, thyme, parsley, chives, are some of my favorites to use)
dried fruits (dried cherries, cranberries, if I use these, I make the dressing in the blender or food processor to puree them)

homemade salad dressing recipeThis dressing is one I use most often.  It is a very good, basic, all around dressing.  I even marinate chicken in it sometimes.

1 mason jar
local raw honey
white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic (I use a microplane to mince it)
salt and pepper
olive oil

homemade salad dressing recipeI always start with the acid and sweeteners.  Add a Tablespoon or so of honey to the jar and cover with about 1/3 cup white wine vinegar.  Add the minced garlic and season with salt and pepper.

homemade salad dressing recipePut the lid on the jar and shake until the honey has dissolved.  This is why I always start with the sweetener, that way you do not get grains in your dressing.

homemade salad dressing recipeAdd about 1/2 cup olive oil.

homemade salad dressing recipeShake well until the dressing comes together.  After it sits, it will break apart, but just shake it up again.  Here is one of my best tips: taste your dressing and adjust the seasonings accordingly.  You might need to sweeten it or add more salt.  Dip a lettuce leaf or a piece of parsley into the dressing and taste it that way.  You want to know what it will taste like on the salad, and that way you can tell.

homemade salad dressing recipeAnother thing to remember is to season your salad before you dress it.  A little salt and pepper makes an okay salad, fabulous.

homemade salad dressing recipeStart slowly with the dressing.  One of my biggest peeves is an over-dressed salad.  The dressing should glisten the leaves, not weigh them down.  You can always add more, but you cannot take it away.

homemade salad dressing recipeSo there you have it, homemade dressing and tips for making a fabulous salad.

Here are a few more salad recipes that might inspire you:

Mixed Greens with Berries and Glazed Almonds

Market Salad with Orange Tarragon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Curried Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Apples

Taco Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

What do you like on your salad?


About Bree

Bree is the founder and writer of, a recipe site that shares her love of cooking, baking, and entertaining with others. launched in February of 2010 as a way to merge Bree’s love of photography with her love of food, and share both with friends and family. Currently, Bree lives in the suburbs of Washington DC with her husband and 3 children.

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  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for this recipe formula! I had never made dressing before, but I’ve enjoyed experimenting with it every week since you posted it.

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  • Alexandra

    Seriously, I just saved this post to my hard drive! I love that you gave us a master recipe (so to say) to build many different kinds of salad dressings. I don’t think I will ever buy salad dressings again either, thanks!

    • Bree

      you are welcome Alexandra!

  • corey

    Love this! It won’t be the same as enjoying a delish salad at your house, but the homemade dressing will remind me of you.

  • Stacey Woods

    Mmmm what a wonderful post. I have yet to find a store-bought dressing that I like. No wonder! I’ll have to start playing more on my own. Thank you, Bree!

  • Life in Eden

    I make homemade honey mustard — canola oil, apple cider vinegar, honey and dijon. Just shake and go. It is always a hit with company when I put it on salad with apples, craisins and walnuts.

  • payton

    Thank you for this! I can’t eat bottled dressing (with the exception of Olive Garden bottled) anymore because it grosses me out but I am sick of the few recipes that I have. This will help add some variety. And I love Baked Bree!