This is a variation of our vinaigrette base recipe. Shopping for salad dressing can be overwhelming when trying to balance flavor, price, quality, and nutrition. This simple balsamic vinaigrette recipe is nutritious and comes together in just minutes. Making salad dressing from scratch allows you to control the ingredients, flavor, and cost – triple win!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Making Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is a basic balsamic vinaigrette recipe, so we use the traditional oil to vinegar ratio: three parts oil to one part vinegar. This ratio can vary depending on the type of vinegar you use and personal taste. The less acidic the balsamic vinegar is, the less oil you will need. It’s all about balance!
Add the oil in a slow and steady stream for the best emulsion. Pause and taste as you add the oil; you might not need all of it.
If the vinaigrette is too tangy, add more honey to taste.
Use fresh garlic over pre-chopped. It makes a huge flavor difference!
- Balsamic Vinegar: substitute aged or infused balsamic vinegar for more complex flavors and a touch of sweetness.
- Honey: substitute agave or maple syrup.
- Dijon Mustard: substitute stone ground, spicy brown, or whole grain mustard. We don’t recommend substituting yellow mustard.
- Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallot, ½ teaspoon garlic flakes, or ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute infused extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. We don’t recommend using vegetable oil, as this is not a heart-healthy oil.
Once you know the basic vinaigrette ratio and ingredients, you can make any vinaigrette to your taste! Get creative with different types of infused oils or balsamic vinegars.
You can also add other ingredients such as mustards, jams, fresh or dried herbs, spices, sweeteners, or fruits. The sky is the limit!
Need some vinaigrette recipe inspiration?
Use our vinaigrette base recipe as a guide, or check out our other vinaigrette variations!
Equipment for Mixing the Vinaigrette
Mixing oil and vinegar creates an emulsion. Because oil and vinegar don’t like to stay together, this emulsion won’t last forever, but having the right equipment can help!
The traditional way to make salad dressing from scratch is to use a mixing bowl and whisk. Another easy way to make an emulsified vinaigrette is by shaking the ingredients together in a mason jar or shaker bottle.
Health Benefits of Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Making your own vinaigrette allows you to choose what goes into your body, which is a great way to promote your health. All of the ingredients in this recipe are ones that you can see, recognize, and pronounce.
Vinegar provides a lot of flavor without providing a lot of calories. The acidity in vinegar balances flavors and can help reduce the amount of salt needed in a dish. This may be helpful when trying to manage high blood pressure. (1) Vinegars also contain probiotics, vitamins, minerals, acids, and antioxidants that benefit health in numerous ways, from helping fight off diseases to controlling blood sugar levels. (2, 3, 4)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols. These nutrients may reduce inflammation. Additionally, certain nutrients require fat for absorption; using an olive oil-based dressing on your salad can help you get the most nutritional bang for your buck! (5, 6)
No Unnecessary Ingredients
Not all food additives are bad or dangerous. However, we believe that it’s best to be cautious when handing your health over to food manufacturers. Many store-bought salad dressings contain fillers, stabilizers, and flavor enhancers that may not promote your health. Making your own salad dressing can give you some peace of mind; you will be able to see, pronounce, and taste all of the ingredients!
Use the basic oil-to-vinegar ratio to make any quantity of vinaigrette – from a single serving for lunch to a large batch for a dinner party. Use balsamic vinaigrette tossed in a green salad, mixed into a warm farro salad, or as a marinade for meat.
How to Store Balsamic Vinaigrette
After you’ve made your delicious homemade vinaigrette, store it in the refrigerator for one to two weeks for best quality. If you used dried garlic instead of fresh, it will last longer than two weeks.
The vinaigrette may solidify in the fridge. Don’t worry if this happens! Simply let it sit at room temperature for 5-15 minutes, then shake vigorously to redistribute the emulsion. If that doesn’t work, microwave it for a few seconds until the oil liquifies again.
Want more healthy recipes?
Vinaigrettes aren’t just for green salads! Use this healthy balsamic dressing recipe in some of our favorite non-leafy salads:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (may sub ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder)
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Combine balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Slowly add the olive oil, whisking continuously.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!