Use four ingredients that you probably already have on hand to make a delicious homemade vinaigrette salad dressing. Plus, we've got some flavor combinations for you that will really up your dressing game!

Homemade vinaigrette and salad on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Salads are a great addition to any meal and for some, are part of the main course! However, it never fails that you run out of store-bought dressing at the absolute worst time. Never again! Start making your own homemade vinaigrette salad dressing and you won't have to worry about running out. Not to mention that it's a great money-saver, too!

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All it takes is 4 ingredients and a few minutes to make the basic recipe. But don't worry, we've got some great flavor combos if you want to give your dressing a little somethin' extra!


We're not joking when we say that it only takes 4 ingredients to make a delicious homemade vinaigrette dressing! The two main ingredients are vinegar and oil. You'll need 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, along with salt and pepper to taste.


Oils on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

You can really get creative with the type of oil that you use here! You can really get creative to change up flavors and use what you have! Here are a few notes on the more popular oils that you may be using.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the most common oil that you can use in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. It has a stronger flavor, so keep that in mind when you're mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Vegetable, Canola, Grapeseed and Sunflower Oils are lighter oils with pretty much neutral flavors, so they pair well with just about anything.
  • Walnut, Peanut and Hazelnut Oils are very fragrant oils that give the homemade vinaigrette dressing a nice, nutty taste. Just be careful you don't go overboard with them since they can overpower the other flavors that you pair with them.
  • Sesame Oil helps to give an exotic, Asian flavor to your salad.


There are also different types of vinegar that you can use! It's true that you can use what you have on hand when making this homemade vinaigrette dressing. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind about the different vinegars that you may use.

  • Red Wine Vinegar is the most common form of vinegar and pairs best with lettuce. It does have a strong flavor, so you can mix it with other flavors like soy sauce, honey and orange juice.
  • White Wine Vinegar goes best with a stronger-tasting lettuce, like romaine.
  • Rice Vinegar has a lighter, somewhat sweet flavor to it.
  • Balsamic Vinegar is a sweeter vinegar, so you should only use it if you're wanting a sweeter homemade vinaigrette dressing. It goes really well with a strawberry spinach salad!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is another sweet one, but it's less acidic and not as strong as balsamic vinegar. Since it has a milder taste, we wouldn't suggest mixing it with a strong-tasting olive oil or else it'll cover the flavor of the vinegar.


Honey mustard vinaigrette, from Shelf Cooking

While a homemade vinaigrette dressing is really easy to put together, the oil and vinegar don't always like to mix together. The best way to get your dressing to emulsify (or completely mix together) is to put it in a blender. However, this way is the most time-consuming because you have to take your blender apart and clean it when it's all said and done.

You can also use a salad shaker like this one. It's great because you can shake the tar out of the dressing to mix it! If you have leftovers, you can store it in the refrigerator as-is without having to dirty anything else. Score!

Your third option for mixing your homemade vinaigrette if you don't have a shaker or blender is a plain ‘ole mixing bowl or cup and whisk. Just know that it'll take some arm power to get it to mix together! If you let your dressing sit before you pour it, you'll definitely want to give it a good stir again right before drizzling it over your salad.


Blueberry homemade vinaigrette, from Shelf Cooking

If you want to pump up your homemade vinaigrette dressing, then try adding in these delicious mix-ins to your basic recipe.

  • Italian Vinaigrette – 1/2 tsp minced garlic + 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Mustard Vinaigrette – 1 tsp Dijon mustard + 3 tsp honey
  • Creamy Vinaigrette – 2-3 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Creamy Parmesan Vinaigrette – 2-3 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream + 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette – 2-3 Tbsp plain yogurt or sour cream + 1 clove of garlic
  • Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette – Use balsamic vinegar in the basic recipe + 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette – Use balsamic vinegar in the basic recipe + 1/4 cup blueberries + 1/2 Tbsp honey + 1 tsp lemon juice (You'll have to use a blender for this one)

Don't those all sound so delicious?! Feel free to double, triple or even quadruple your recipe to have enough to feed a crowd or for leftover dressing to use during the week. Store leftover homemade vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.


Seriously, we're not joking when we say that this recipe is super simple! Shelf cook with what you've got and you'll save some money while you're at it!

Homemade vinaigrette and salad on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Basic Homemade Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

Make this homemade vinaigrette dressing recipe any time that you need some for a salad! You can eat it as-is or add in extras for new flavor combos. Double, triple, or even quadruple the recipe to meet your needs!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Additional seasonings


  • Mix all ingredients together.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes if you're adding in extra seasonings.
  • Mix again, then add to salad.
  • Store any unused dressing in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.


Store leftover homemade vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Keyword easy, homemade, make-ahead

Do you have a favorite homemade vinaigrette dressing that you like to make for your family? Let us know in the comments!

3 different salad dressings, from Shelf Cooking

Looking for more ideas?