These five easy salad dressing recipes are made with everyday ingredients and can be used in many different salads or marinades!

I always cringe when I open my fridge and see bottles and bottles of salad dressings, usually all at least half-full. I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a whole bottle and even though they last for a while, I never seem to go back to them. Once you realize how few ingredients it takes to make your own fresh salad dressing at home, it doesn’t seem worth it to buy them anymore.

These are five easy to-make-salad dressings made with everyday ingredients from the pantry or the fridge. You can make just enough to dress your salad, it’s fresh and it keeps all of those extra bottles out of the fridge. Dressings can also be used as marinades for most meats and seafood.

Classic Vinaigrette salad dressing

Good extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar and some minced garlic is all it takes to elevate any salad. As with all of these salads, I prefer to add all of the ingredients to a small jar or plastic container, seal with a lid and shake until the dressing has emulsified. That just means that the oil and vinegar has become creamy and isn’t separated. This dressing could be used with any green leaves such as arugula, or spring mix. The garlic is optional and can be increased or decreased depending on your love for the taste. All (or most) dressings should be seasoned with a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.

a classic vinaigrette for any salad dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic vinegar is always a great addition to any salad. It’s tangy flavor and deep rich smell tastes great with any Italian style salad. Some of my favorites are antipasto salads, Caprese and Panzanella salad. Don’t forget that just by adding together balsamic vinegar and olive oil, you have the perfect dip for some fresh crusty bread! This vinaigrette has fresh basil added to boost that familiar flavor.

classic balsamic vinaigrette

Red wine vinegar and Dijon salad dressing

Another classic salad dressing but this time using red wine vinegar instead of white wine. The difference between the two other than the obvious colors due to being made with red wine or white wine, is that red wine vinegar is much milder than white wine vinegar. The two can be interchangeable though but red wine vinegar will color your food slightly. The Dijon mustard gives this salad dressing a nice kick to it. This dressing would taste good with any greens, tomatoes, red onion or fennel. It’s creamy and delicious and even could be used as a marinade for chicken.

red wine vinegar salad dressing

Creamy Basil Pesto salad Dressing

This is such an easy salad dressing but tastes great on most salads with chicken or shrimp. Store bought basil pesto is perfect to use and just needs to be thinned down with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. Add extra garlic because pesto and garlic are a perfect match for each other! Be sure to make plenty to coat whatever protein you use, it’s that good. Add extra Parmesan cheese to your salad at the end and a handful of pine nuts for extra crunch.

basil pesto salad dressing

Sesame Oil Vinaigrette

Even though this salad dressing has the ingredients of a classic vinaigrette, it also contains sesame oil for a slightly sweet Asian flavor. Sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds to get that dark, syrup color. It has a really unique taste and can be used in all sorts of cooking and not just salad dressings. Whole grain mustard is also added to this dressing and can pack a punch due to the whole brown mustard seeds not being broken down all the way during processing like other smooth mustards. Drizzle this over your favorite Chinese chicken salad or use it as a dip for fresh spring rolls.

sesame oil salad dressing in a small jar

Tips to make the perfect salad dressings

  • Dressings need an acid to emulsify with the oil, you can switch up the white wine vinegar to pure lemon juice as an alternative.
  • Try adding fresh chopped herbs for a fantastic fresh tasting dressing.
  • The oil plays a big part in making salad dressings so try and use a good quality olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil or even hazelnut or walnut oil.
  • Always remember the ratio of liquid is 3 parts oil to one part vinegar for a basic vinaigrette, This should produce a good consistency.
  • No vinegar? You can still use real red or white wine.
  • Keep your dressing sealed in a jar and use at room temperature.

more great salad ideas

Five Classic Salad Dressings

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Author: foodnessgracious
Try these easy five salad dressings, perfect for any kind of homemade salad.
Print Recipe


Classic Vinaigrette

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped basil
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Red Wine Vinegar with Dijon

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Basil Pesto Dressing

  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 6 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • pinch salt and black pepper

Sesame Oil Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil


  • The same mixing method applies to all of these salad dressings
  • Place all of the ingredients into a jar or small plastic container, seal with a lid and shake until well mixed.