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Homemade Salad Dressing: 10 Easy Recipes

Mediterranean Sunset Salad

Growing up, my family had a green salad with a red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard vinaigrette almost every night. And learning how to make that vinaigrette was one of my earliest cooking lessons.

At friends’ houses, though, I was always fascinated by the bottles of store-bought salad dressing that they had in their refrigerators and loved trying different flavors. Italian, goddess, ranch, raspberry vinaigrette, the wide-variety seemed endlessly intriguing and I looked forward to the day when I’d get to have different salad dressings in my own fridge.

Once I had my own kitchen and the opportunity to buy salad dressings, however, I found that I much preferred the homemade varieties for two reasons: 1) they were tastier and 2) they saved me money, which was essential as I lived on an intern’s salary of less than $13,000/year.

I began to experiment with different oils, vinegars, herbs, and seasonings and quickly discovered that I wasn’t limited to the red wine vinaigrette I had grown up with, that there were a huge variety of salad dressings that were easy to make at home.

The truth is, making salad dressing is simple and quick. When you find a favorite you can easily double or triple the recipe to use it consistently. Or, if you prefer to change things up, you can make a variety of options and create a stockpile of homemade options.

Ingredients Matter

While you can make a very solid salad dressing with the extra virgin olive oil and vinegars you use for daily cooking, if you want to make an outstanding dressing I recommend keeping a bottle or two of really high-quality extra virgin olive oil and vinegar for salads and for dipping bread. (You might have to taste a few to find your favorites.)

In fact, with the really fine oils and vinegars, you can get away with drizzling a little bit directly on greens, tomatoes, vegetables, or pasta salad. Season with a little salt, pepper, and some fresh or dried herbs, and you don’t even need to make a dressing because they taste so delicious on their own.

In order to keep food bills in check, a good trick is to keep a separate bottle of inexpensive extra virgin olive oil to use for cooking, and save the good stuff for dressing and drizzling so they’ll last longer. Some of my favorites are made or imported by Katz & Company, Robbins Family Farm, and Jovia Groves in California. (I purchase them from All Things Olive.)

10 Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

Here are 10 of my favorite homemade dressing recipes. For all of these recipes, all you need to do is whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, cup, or mug, or combine them in a jar and give it a really good shake (kids love doing this!).

Depending on the ingredients, homemade dressings will last anywhere from three days to two weeks (creamier dressings generally don’t last as long).

Caesar Salad

Caesar Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (or use soy sauce for vegetarians)
  • 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste (or use seasoned soybean paste for vegetarians)

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (you can use more or less, depending on how chunky you like the dressing)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise or use sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (or use soy sauce for vegetarians)
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar

Healthy Ranch Dressing

You can find our Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe here or watch the video below!

Maple-Dijon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar, or use red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. herbes de Provence or thyme

Apple-Dijon Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
Baby Lettuce with Pecans, Avocado, and Raspberry Vinaigrette

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup raspberry or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Light Honey Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 yellow or white onion, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1/2 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 lemon, juice only (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs, if desired
Israeli Chopped Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

Tahini-Lemon Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste) well stirred, or use hummus if you can’t find tahini
  • 1 lemon, juice only, about 1/4 cup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (about 1 tsp.)
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. water, or more to thin out the dressing further

Love tahini dressings? Then you’ll definitely enjoy this award-winning Israeli Salad with Tahini-Lemon Dressing.

Honey-Lime Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime, juice only (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste

Honey-Lemon Dill Dressing

  • 1/2 lemon, juice only (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped, or use 1/2 tsp. dried dill
Green Salad with Japanese Carrot Ginger Dressing

Bonus: Japanese Restaurant-Style Ginger Dressing

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 5 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce (or use any variety)
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter or tahini

Directions: In a blender or food processor, blend the ingredients until almost smooth.

Like these ideas? Then check out The Scramble’s family-friendly meal plans!

What are your favorite homemade salad dressing recipes? Please leave a comment here or on The Scramble Facebook page  with your favorite combinations so I can try them on our next salad.

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