Homemade Italian Dressing

Ditch the processed stuff because this homemade Italian dressing tastes 1,000x better. You’ll actually crave salad.

salad in a glass bowl with Italian dressing on top

4 years ago, I never thought I’d post SALAD DRESSING (yawn) on my baking blog. Shocking turn of events in the past 1460 days, am I right? I realize next to mocha cheesecake brownies this is… salad dressing. But stick with me.

First, how was your weekend? Have you told me your exciting plans for 2016 yet? My weekend was busy busy and loads of fabulous. Had my sister’s bridal shower! If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that my 2 sisters and I all got/are getting married within 16 months of each other. It’s been a crazy 2 years of engagements, showers, and weddings. Saundra’s destination wedding at the end of this month will conclude it all and where better to celebrate than in sunny St. Lucia? 17 days until paradise!

Speaking of pics, I have a new post up on my photography blog this morning. Basically everything I’ve been doing in the kitchen lately. See a sneak peak of upcoming recipes right here!

Italian salad dressing in a glass jar

Back to the salad dressing stuff. Many of you, myself included, likely buy your own. I mean, it’s easy, there’s variety, tastes great, etc. And the whole convenience thing. But have you ever considered making your own salad dressing? You have complete control over the ingredients and flavor.

The ingredient list of most store-bought dressings is scary. What’s with all that added sugar! It certainly doesn’t keep me from buying it every now and then, but I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of processed foods in the house for awhile. And I’ve really enjoyed the ease of making and the flavor of homemade salad dressing, like this mixed berry vinaigrette. → have you tried that yet? So fresh, so flavorful, zero added sugar.

I began making my own Italian dressing at home last year. Italian is what we use most often in the kitchen whether that’s on a healthy green salad, chicken pasta salad, or even as a marinade. This homemade Italian dressing tastes a billion times better than anything you buy at the store. The fresh flavors are incredibly robust and rich. And making it from scratch is virtually effortless. Pour stuff into a jar, add herbs, shake. You’re done. And the icing on the cake (had to include dessert somehow here, people) is that you can adjust the herbs and seasonings to fit your tastes. Bottled stuff is no match.

ingredients for Italian dressing

drizzling Italian salad dressing onto salad in a glass bowl

The base ingredients of this homemade Italian dressing are extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. You can use a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil, but nothing is quite like olive. The vinegar can be changed to a red wine vinegar, but the taste will be different. I find white wine to be a little more acidic, but it works in this homemade Italian dressing. Play around with what you like. From there you’ll need a bit of lemon juice, grated parmesan, and a touch of honey to help balance out the harsh vinegar. Herbs and seasonings are next like: parsley, basil, garlic salt, and oregano. Allllllll the flavors in this zesty homemade Italian salad dressing!

Italian salad dressing in a glass jar

As I’m focusing on eating a little healthier this month, a necessary follow up to my Christmas cookie binge (I know you relate!), I’ve been making this ultra flavorful Italian dressing like it’s going out of style. Livens up my regular salads! And poured on top of roasted vegetables? Or over a small plate of fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes? I can’t even handle it. Talk about a flavor explosion!

Healthy tastes really, really good in my kitchen right now. I’m quickly becoming a salad dressing snob over here and soon, you will be too.

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Italian salad dressing in a glass jar

Homemade Italian Dressing

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: a little over 1 cup
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: Italian


Ditch the processed stuff for this fabulously flavorful and zesty homemade Italian dressing. It tastes 1,000x better than store-bought and you have complete control over the amount of herbs and spices!


  • 3/4 cup (180ml) extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine vinegar*
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion (I use dried minced onion)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey or granulated sugar (imperative to balance out that vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until the mixture well-combined. Taste the dressing and add more herbs or seasonings if desired.
  2. Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Shake before using.


  1. Oil: Instead of olive oil, you can use a neutral flavored oil such as vegetable or canola.
  2. Vinegar: You can use red wine vinegar instead of white wine. I do not suggest any other vinegars.

Keywords: homemade italian dressing, italian dressing

Try this Italian dressing in my slow cooker BBQ meatballs recipe.

bbq turkey meatballs in a white bowl

And over my chicken pasta salad instead of the creamy buttermilk dressing. This is wonderful with whole wheat pasta!

creamy chicken pasta salad in a pink mixing bowl with a spatula


  1. I’m all over homemade dressing! Don’t worry that this is a boring idea (I mean I’m not gonna lie, I kinda love your chocolate recipes too!), but this is a great way to inspire healthy eating this year, so thank you!

  2. The high sugar content alone in most bottled dressings is enough to make me want to shake up my own. Love that you put parm in yours! Parm always gives salads the best little flavor zing!

  3. Madeline @ Teen's Tasty Eats says:

    I love making my own homemade salad dressing but have never tried making Italian before. After reading about yours I think I will go change a meal or two this week to include it! My sister won’t eat any salad dressing BUT italian, so we often have the bottled stuff on hand. I hope I can trick her into eating yours, thanks Sally!!

    – Madeline<3

  4. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says:

    Make your own salad dressing? Eureka. Great idea! Convenience is great, but the processed stuff is so bad for you! So I have always just eaten my salad plain with nothing on it. But my girls love dressing and I do feel a bit guilty giving then the store bought junk just to get them to eat salad. This must be cheaper and taste so much better in the long run! 

  5. taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says:

    HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSING FOR THE WIN! Plus you added parmesan to it!!! How amazing is this?! I am so all over this one. Out of the park girl! Totally going to try using it as a marinade too!

  6. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    YUM!! As someone who’s 100% Italian I totally approve of this recipe. 😉 Lol can’t wait to make it Sally! 

  7. Layla @Gimme Delicious says:

    Italian dressing is one of our all time faves! This recipes looks perfect with that yummy salad <3 

  8. I always make my salad dressing at home. Usually a Caesar dressing or a balsamic dressing, so I don’t think I’ve ever actually had Italian dressing. Now that I’ve got a recipe for it from scratch, I’ll have to give it a shot! 

  9. You do not have to apologize for posting healthy recipes!  Just like you need sugar for this dressing, life is about balance.  We all need some salad to balance out the sprinkles or we wouldn’t be around very long to enjoy any of it.   And thank you for the great post, I was just at the grocery store this weekend balking in the salad dressing section because of the very same reasons you listed.  Have a wonderful time in paradise!

  10. Sally

    Thanks for posting this.  I always make my own dressing and you have solved a problem I have been having with my ingredients…sugar!  The dressing is just too acidic for me but my husband seems ok with it.  I will give this a try!  And I love that you change things up a bit.  


  11. Elaine @ FoodParsed says:

    I love your healthy recipes because it’s nice to know what you eat on a regular basis. I normally don’t like salads, but this dressing looks wonderful.

  12. lisa @ garlicandzest.com says:

    A somewhat red-faced admission:  I’ve never bought a bottled or pre-made salad dressing. I’m sure that makes me weird on many levels, but my mother and grandmothers never bought salad dressing, so it just never occurred to me.  Even my daughter (at 6 years old) could whip up a simple vinaigrette. I love your addition of parmesan cheese to this one and will have to try it tonight!

  13. Somewhere along the way I made my own ranch, then tried apple cider vinaigrette came up in a great root vegetable salad, and it has just spiraled from there. Homemade salad dressings are the only way to go and there is an endless variety to keep salads interesting. I have not had a good Italian dressing recipe. Can’t wait to try this.

  14. That sounds sooo easy to make. I love store-bought salad dressings, but the ingredients make me want to start a diet. The next thing after this should be homemade croutons! Actually, never mind. Croutons are so good they’re dangerous for me. 😉

  15. I’m soo over plain oil and vinegar dressing. This looks tasty AND easy!
    Going to be using this on most of our salads from now on 🙂

    1. Let me know how you like it!

      1. I don’t buy garlic salt. I have garlic powder and salt any advice?

  16. I make my own salad dressings all the time. Fiddling with the recipes. This looks good. I have been moving my family away from store bought dressings for awhile. 

  17. Are you kidding me? I love making salad dressing!! (and for the record, I do crave salad, like all the time and am a bit ashamed about it) For a craft boutique last year I packaged up different seasoning mixes I made (Italian, Ranch, Taco) and sold them in really cute packaging. They make great gifts, too! *wink*
    Thanks, Sally!

    1. I need to get working on homemade seasoning mixes. I buy way too much packaged taco seasoning!

  18. Alexe @ Keys to the Cucina says:

    I am so on the homemade dressing train. My mom made homemade dressing every night with salad and it just doesn’t compare to that bottle crap 🙂

  19. Italian dressing makes me think of pasta salad at my pool’s swim meets. I LOVED the pasta salad with a passion. SO.GOOD. I love the herbs and spices in the Italian dressings over any other kind. I’m not really a ranch or French or Russian dressing fan AT ALL. Blue cheese and vinaigrettes are my jam…. or dressing? 😉

    1. Yesssss swim meet pasta salad ha!

    Hi Sally! I've been following your blog for about a year (sadly, I've only had time to make about 5 things since I'm in college, but the recipes are inspirational anyways!) I wanted to make a request — would you work with some exotic, different, international, ingredients sometime? I saw this cake recipe: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017901-cardamom-cream-cake and then realized I've never seen you use cardamom, rose water, or make the classic "persian love cake"! It would be fun for Valentine's Day desserts!

    1. Neva, I love cardamom! Recipes using it: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/tag/cardamom/

      I don’t think I’ll get around to your other suggestions, but I’m so glad that you follow my blog and enjoy my recipes.

  21. My mouth is watering thinking about how zesty this must be! I don’t think I’ll ever revert back to the bottled stuff ever again. 

  22. This salad dressing looks wonderful.  

    I make a very similar dressing, but I don’t add lemon juice.  It tastes fantastic with balsamic vinegar too, I’m not sure if I don’t like it better that way.

  23. Sally, this is the best dressing I’ve ever tasted! As a vegetarian, I love salads but won’t use store bought dressings, so I have been using just olive oil.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I’m so glad you love it too, Maureen!

  24. Thanks so much for the recipe.  I made it today and loved it!  I will definitely make it again.

  25. Sally, you’re just awesome!!

  26. How long will this keep in the refrigerator?

  27. Will the dressing harden in the fridge? I’ve tried making my own balsamic vinaigrette a few times and the oil hardens :/ I want to try this one though!!

    1. It does not harden.

  28. Hi Sally! For second part of the direction, are you saying that the dressing will go bad after two weeks or that the dressing should be eaten after waiting two weeks? Just need a clarification! Thanks!

    1. Sorry! I meant it’s good for up to 2 weeks. Has a funny taste not much longer after that.

  29. I use a combination of white vinegar and malt vinegar. Delicious!!

  30. Juanita Chirino says:

    Can you use fresh herbs instead of dry? I always make my own dressings. Will for sure be trying this recipe. Thanks!

    1. Absolutely!

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