Topping salads with a homemade dressing is a nice luxury since they’re made with fresh ingredients, tastier than what you can buy and chances are–they’re a lot cheaper than ready-made. It typically just takes a few minutes to whip up a batch and many can be stored in the refrigerator for days at a time.
This Recipe Hit List is a collection of over 50 ways you can make your own, each of them look so good! I’ve separated them into two groups for easier browsing: Creamy versions and Vinegar/Oil based recipes.
You’ll also find instructions and tips at the bottom of the page for making homemade vinaigrettes.
- Ranch : Yields about 1 cup, ingredients include mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream (full fat or light), chopped green onions, chopped flat-leaf parsley, small garlic clove (smashed & peeled), apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper. From The Galley Gourmet.
- Buttermilk Ranch : Ingredients include mayonnaise, buttermilk, sugar, dried parsley, dried dill weed, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper. From Mother Thyme.
- Southwestern Ranch : Made with mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, white vinegar, minced jalapeno (canned), onion powder, dried parsley, hot pepper sauce, salt, paprika, dried dill weed, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder, black pepper. From Kitchen Simplicity.
- Low-Fat Ranch : Yields approximately 3/4 cup, ingredients include low or non-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat sour cream, mayonnaise, low-fat milk or buttermilk, salt, lemon juice, garlic clove (minced and mashed into a paste), fresh dill, parsley and chives (minced). From Craving Chronicles.
- Tangy Green Goddess : Yields 1 3/4 cups, made with an avocado (peeled & pitted), fat-free buttermilk, fresh chopped herbs (tarragon, sorrel, mint, parsley and/or cilantro), rice vinegar, salt. From Eating Well.
- Green Goddess : Made with an anchovy fillet, tarragon vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar), low fat mayonnaise, plain thick Greek yogurt, water, fresh tarragon (finely chopped), chives, Italian parsley, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a dash of hot sauce, salt and fresh cracked pepper. From Louise Mellor.
- Creamy Balsamic : Made with grated garlic cloves, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sugar, Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning, salt, balsamic vinegar and extra light olive oil. From My Life as a Mrs.
- Creamy Cilantro : Made with fresh cilantro, salsa, mayonnaise, garlic, juice of lime, salt and pepper. From See Jane Cook.
- Avocado : Yields 2 cups, made with buttermilk, fat-free plain yogurt, medium ripe avocado (peeled & sliced), chopped green onions, minced fresh parsley, salt, garlic powder, dill weed, pepper. From Taste of Home.
- Creamy Avocado : Made with minced garlic cloves, English cucumber, avocado, baby spinach, fresh mint leaves, spring onions (or green onions), fresh lemon juice, olive oil, freshly ground white or black pepper, sea salt and water. From My Recipes.
- Blue Cheese : Made with crumbled or finely chopped blue cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, lemon juice, white vinegar, salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and a drizzle of honey or agave. From Honest Fare.
- Blue Cheese : Made with sour cream, plain low-fat yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice or cider vinegar, minced garlic, creamy blue cheese (such as Roquefort) and freshly ground black pepper. From Culinate.
- French : Recommends making a few hours ahead, ingredients include vegetable oil, ketchup, sugar, white vinegar, minced yellow onion, lemon juice, paprika, garlic salt (or fresh minced garlic and white salt), fresh ground black pepper, mayonnaise (optional, for creamy-style). Can also add blue cheese. From Food.com.
- Creamy Pesto Version : Yields about 2 1/2 cups, ingredients include mayonnaise, low-fat buttermilk, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, fresh ground black pepper, freshly, finely grated Parmesan cheese. Recommends making an hour ahead of time so flavors can develop. From Cooking Classy.
- Sun-Dried Tomato : Made with light mayonnaise, sun dried tomatoes in oil (chopped), roasted red pepper, white balsamic vinegar, chopped fresh parsley, olive oil, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Found at Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen.
- Spicy Thousand Island : Makes 3/4 cup, made with mayonnaise, ketchup, sambal oelek (hot chile paste), coarsely chopped sweet pickles (or sweet pickle relish), coarsely chopped green olives with pimientos. From Martha Stewart.
- Caesar-Style : Made with mayonnaise, oil-packed anchovies (drained), garlic clove, drained capers, fresh lemon juice, water, Dijon mustard, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. From Delish.
- Roasted Garlic & Buttermilk : Makes about 1 3/4 cups, ingredients include garlic, olive oil, mayonnaise, buttermilk, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. From A Perfect Beginning.
- Poppy Seed : Made with mayonnaise, sugar, cider vinegar and poppy seeds. From Betty Crocker.
- Cilantro Orange : Made with mayonnaise, low-fat sour cream, sea salt, chopped cilantro, minced garlic, chopped green onions, apple-cider vinegar, soy sauce, fresh orange juice, orange zest, chopped orange pieces (peeled & seeds removed), honey. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. From Artsy Foodie.
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette : Made with apple cider, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, agave nectar or honey, pure maple syrup, ground cinnamon, Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper. Includes a recipe for an autumn salad. From Food + Words.
- Best Dressing : Yields approximately 3/4 cup, ingredients include extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, tamari sauce (or soy sauce), poppy seeds, sesame seeds, seasoned salt, black pepper, minced white onion, grated garlic clove. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. From An Edible Mosaic.
- Smoky Orange : Makes about 3/4 cup, ingredients include rice vinegar, orange marmalade, water, honey, smoked paprika, minced shallot, extra-virgin olive oil, minced parsley, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. From Food & Wine.
- Sweet Basil : Made with fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped), rice vinegar, canola oil, sugar, honey, garlic clove, Dijon mustard, sea salt and pepper to taste. From the cafe sucre farine.
- Basil : Yields 1 1/4 cups, made with fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt and ground pepper. From Whole Living.
- Strawberry Poppyseed : Made with garlic clove, small purple onion, sugar, fresh strawberries, raspberries or raspberry jam, white vinegar, extra light olive oil, salt and poppyseeds. From Cheeky Kitchen.
- Olive Garden Version : Made with Good Seasonings Italian Dressing (1 packet), dried Italian seasoning, table salt, black pepper, sugar, garlic powder, mayonnaise, olive oil, white vinegar, water. From The Country Cook.
- Catalina : Yields approximately 1.5 cups, made with ketchup, sugar, red wine vinegar, chopped onion (or onion powder), paprika, Worcestershire sauce, canola oil, salt and pepper. From Kitchen Simplicity.
- Honey Lime : Made with fresh lime juice, honey, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cumin, Kosher salt, ground black pepper, olive oil, canola oil. From The Yummy Life.
- Raspberry : Made with seedless raspberry fruit spread or preserves, seasoned rice wine vinegar and olive oil. From My Recipes.
- Raspberry : Made with minced shallot, raspberry preserves, honey, dry mustard, salt, white pepper, raspberry vinegar, water, olive oil and canola oil. From The Yummy Life.
- Lemon : Makes 1/2 cup, ingredients include Dijon mustard, finely grated lemon zest, freshly squeezed lemon juice, coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and extra-virgin olive oil. From Martha Stewart.
- Japanese-Ginger : Makes about 1 cup, ingredients include minced onion, vegetable oil, vinegar, water, lemon zest, minced fresh ginger root (with skin scraped off), minced celery, ketchup, soy sauce, white sugar, lemon juice, salt, ground black pepper. From Asian Supper.
- Ginger : Yields about 3/4 cup, made with minced fresh ginger, minced garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and olive oil. From Life’s Ambrosia.
- Greek : Made with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, pressed garlic clove, dried oregano leaves, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. From Simply Scratch.
- Greek : Made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, pressed or minced garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper. From Aggie’s Kitchen.
- Cilantro Lime : Makes 1 1/4 cups, ingredients include cilantro, extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper, minced garlic. From Eating Well.
- Fig Balsamic : Made with fresh figs (stems removed), good quality balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, sea salt or Herbamare, extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper. From The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.
- Carrot & Ginger : Made with carrots (peeled and roughly chopped), shallot, fresh ginger, miso, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil and water. From Live Love Pasta.
- Pistachio : Made with fresh lemon juice, chopped shallot, chopped fresh tarragon, red wine vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, olive oil and pistachios. From My Recipes.
- Balsamic & Mustard : Made with good quality balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard (recommends a grainy type), honey (or agave), dried herbs (ie. oregano, thyme), salt and pepper. From The Sweet Beet.
- Tomato Paprika : Makes 1 1/2 cups, ingredients include plum or other ripe tomatoes, red-wine vinegar, light-brown sugar, roughly chopped garlic, mild paprika, extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt and ground pepper. From Whole Living.
- Effortless Honey Dijon : Made with Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, dried tarragon, olive oil. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. From 24 Corners.
- Honey Mustard : Made with extra-virgin olive oil, white or red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper to taste. Ingredients are mixed in a jar and shaken vigorously. You can also add fresh herbs of choice, garlic or shallots, or try orange juice for some vinegar. From Rachael Ray.
- Blue Cheese Version : Made with crumbled blue cheese, reduced-sodium chicken broth (or water), extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, tarragon vinegar (or white wine vinegar), minced shallot, Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground pepper. From Eating Well.
- Honey Lemon : Ingredients include fresh lemon juice, finely grated lemon zest, honey, chopped thyme, extra-virgin olive oil, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. From Delish.
- Honey Mustard & Dill : Made with Dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, freshly chopped dill. Ingredients are combined in a jar and shaken until combined. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. From Daily Unadventures In Cooking.
- Creamy French : Made with white wine vinegar, walnut oil, creme fraiche, Dijon mustard, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, chopped parsley leaves, best-quality extra virgin olive oil. Ingredients are shaken in a jar until combined. From Jamie Oliver.
- Walnut Oil : Made with red-wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses (or frozen cranberry juice concentrate), salt, freshly ground pepper, walnut oil (or extra-virgin olive oil). From Kitchen Daily.
- Caesar : An egg-free version, this is made with juice of 1 lemon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, anchovy fillets, peeled garlic cloves and extra virgin olive oil. Can be stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator, recommends making at least one hour before using. From Sarah’s Cucina Bella.
- Caesar : Another eggless version, this is made with garlic cloves, anchovy fillets, red wine vinegar, Tabasco (just a dash), Worcestershire sauce, juice of one lemon, freshly ground pepper, good olive oil. From Urban Baker.
- Tarragon : Made with finely minced fresh tarragon, finely chopped garlic, Dijon mustard, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil. Mixed & shaken in a jar. From Smorgasbite.
How To Make Vinaigrette
*First published January 22, 2009 and moved to this page for better organization
Here’s a grocery bill buster: Homemade vinaigrette. It’s very easy to make, ingredients couldn’t be cheaper and it’s one of the most popular ways top a salad. Luckily, it’s super easy to make with the main two ingredients being vinegar and oil.
- 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil…You’ll find it may need adjusting depending on which types you use.
You want the result to be a nice balance with the vinegar not overwhelming so that it causes you to pucker.
- The vinegar can be pretty much anything you like, try a red or white wine vinegar, herb infused, a nice balsamic, sherry or cider.
- You can use fresh juices from lemons, limes or oranges as part of the vinegar ratio for added flavor.
- The oils used are light such as vegetable oil, salad oil, grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil.
- Choose an oil that’s light and has no strong taste.
- A basic version is seasoned with salt and pepper (sea salt or Kosher salt with freshly ground black pepper can’t be beat).
- You can also add things like minced garlic, ginger, shallots, herbs and assorted spices.
Because oil and vinegar won’t hold together when mixed, you need to emulsify the dressing which is just a fancy way of saying: vigorously mix it up. This will hold the ingredients together temporarily so you can enjoy it on your salad.
I find the easiest way to make a vinaigrette is by mixing all the ingredients but the oil first, then add the oil in three parts. Place the ingredients in a jar, twist the lid on tight and shake it up. You can also use a blender or whisk and bowl, any method that mixes the ingredients well will work just fine.
- For easier emulsifying, first mix the seasonings together, next add the vinegar then finally the oil (in three parts or slowly add the oil while mixing).
- The items are best mixed at room temperature since this will help the emulsifying process (the oil is trickier to emulsify when it’s chilled).
The sky’s the limit when making a vinaigrette, I’ve included a basic recipe below. Once you get the hang of making your own, experiment with different flavors by adding herbs and trying different vinegars.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Source: Rachel Ray 
- If it’s too strong, try adding a bit of honey or brown sugar to sweeten.
- Include a bit of good mustard (like Dijon), it adds flavor as well as helps prevent the oil and vinegar from separating (it helps thicken it a bit too). Mix it with the vinegar first before adding the oil.
- Before using, make sure all the salad ingredients are dry. Water on lettuce can dilute the vinaigrette and help it separate.
- Seal extra portions in an airtight container and refrigerate, take out before using to bring the it to room temperature. You’ll likely need to shake it up well again. Most will keep nicely for one week.
- Did you know: vinaigrettes make delicious meat marinades. Just adjust the oil and vinegar ratio to 50/50.