Homemade Salad Dressing

I’m a bit of a salad dressing snob. When I was a kid, I only liked French dressing, and only a certain brand. Eventually, I tired of the sweet red dressing on my salads and ate my lettuce leaves plain. Or, preferably, with lots of cheese. When I was in high school, I discovered Panera’s poppy seed dressing that they use on their fruity summer salad.

In the past few years, I’ve branched out and included a few vinaigrettes in my repertoire, green goddess dressing, and even some gingery Asian dressings. However, all these have come from the salad dressing aisle at the store. When we decided to eat more whole foods, I realized that the list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the back of my beloved ready-made dressings probably aren’t considered “whole.” For a few months, I bought some expensive organic dressing, but that didn’t agree with my budget.

One summer afternoon, I was assigned to bring a salad to my house church for dinner. The dressing I bought wasn’t gluten-free, which was a need for one member of my church, so I did some quick thinking. I threw apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a jar and shook it up. Maybe my gluten-free friend was just being polite, but she said the dressing was great.

A year and a half later, I realized, “Hey, I could do that for myself and probably save some money.” So I did. And it worked. And it was quick and easy. And you should try it too.

Balsamic Vinaigrette


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 pinches of salt
  • a pinch (or grind) of pepper
  • a small pinch of onion powder and/or garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced or grated (optional)


  • Put all ingredients in a jar.
  • Seal jar.
  • Check to see if the jar is really, really tightly sealed.
  • Shake.
  • Pour on top of salad and enjoy!

This has been so successful and so convenient that I’ve even tried my hand at other recipes. For example,

Orange-Lime Dressing


  • 3 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 3 oz. olive oil
  • 1-2 pinches salt
  • 1 pinch ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar


  • See super complex ingredients from Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe.

I’d really like to find a french dressing recipe since I don’t even know of a healthy brand to buy. I’m thinking of trying this one or this one.

Have you ever made salad dressing at home? What salad recipes do you love?

For more new adventures, visit Alicia’s Try New Adventures Thursday. Also, visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday.


12 thoughts on “Homemade Salad Dressing

  1. Visiting from Alicia’s Homemaking. 🙂

    I love making my own homemade dressings too! These look yummy. Definitely going to try the Orange-Lime dressing. That sounds absolutely amazing! I’ve found that making your own dressings is so easy. It takes more time to drive the store and back than it does to make your own. Plus making your own means you know EXACTLY what’s in it! Thanks for posting these!

    • I really dislike ranch in a bottle, but this local restaurant has a buttermilk cumin dressing that is probably a little like ranch, and I love it! I really want to figure out how to make it!

  2. Yum! I like making my own dressing too! You can definitely taste the flavor of all the ingredients this way. =) I usually just make enough for whatever I’m making for the day and a little bit for leftovers, so you know how and how long to store the dressings if I made more?

    • I don’t have an official answer, but I think I read somewhere that they should keep for a week. After that, the dressing seems to thicken in a weird way. It tastes fine, but it’s a little hard to detect an “off” taste with such a strong vinegar flavor. It’s so quick to make, I think your method of making just enough for leftovers sounds about right.

  3. Yum! I have a couple of yummy dressing recipes {one that calls for avocado} if you’d like!

    Also…. if you ever make it out to the discount store in Kalona {oh, how I miss that place!!}, they have a ton of organic dressing for cheap.

    • I would love to get your recipes–especially the avocado one! I’ve never been to the place in Kalona. I’ve heard it’s really busy on Saturdays, and I work the other day it’s open. I’ll have to try it sometime this summer.

  4. I have also tried just about every kind of salad dressing there is and have discovered that there is NOTHING like making my own. It’s one of those rare items that always seems to be a BIG disappointment when I buy it from the store. I don’t even bother measuring anymore. I just use varying amounts of walnut/almond oil or olive oil and balsamic vinegarette or red wine vinegar and shake in some garlic powder and herbs and salt. On occasion a little honey or brown sugar goes a long way. I also have a little salad dressing container that has a few recipes written up the side of the container that tells you how much of each ingredients to pour in. It got it at a garage sale for like 10 cents!!

  5. Pingback: Market Monday « Mrs. Dexter

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