DIY Salad Dressing is incredibly easy! It's also way tastier and healthier than store bought. Get tips for making salad dressing & 8 recipes!
I really believe that if everyone knew how EASY DIY salad dressing is, the bottled salad dressing industry would soon become obsolete. Making salad dressing only requires whisking or blending a few simple ingredients together and the result is SO much tastier and healthier than store-bought varieties!
My go-to is an easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe, which you'll find below. I do enjoy getting creative in the kitchen though and salad dressings are no exception! So if you're looking for homemade creamy salad dressing recipes like healthy ranch, you'll also find that below.
The best part of DIY salad dressing is once you get the hang of it, you can easily make up your own recipes! As long as you have the right ratio of oil and acid, you can feel free to add fresh herbs or spices to make it your own.
If you make one of these easy homemade salad dressing recipes and love it, or make up your own new combination, I'd love to hear about it! Share on Instagram and tag me @prepdish!
Tips for Making Salad Dressing
I've been making salad dressing for years. In my culinary school days, I interned for a health spa and realized how truly easy it is to make an incredibly fresh tasting vinaigrette or way healthier creamy dressing. For me, there was no going back. I make at least one homemade salad dressing pretty much every week as part of my meal prep and I've learned a few tips and tricks over the years.
- Get the Ratio Right: I can pretty much eyeball it now but if you're new to making salad dressing, I do recommend measuring at first to make sure you get the right ratio of oil to acidic ingredients like vinegar or citrus juice. You can adjust based on your preferences but I like 1/2 cup oil to 1/4 cup vinegar for a basic vinaigrette. You can replace some or all of the vinegar with citrus juice, as you'll see in some of the recipes below.
- Prep Ahead: While making salad dressing is super easy, you're probably still not going to want to do it every time you make a salad. I like to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and store in the fridge. I for one am way more likely to make a salad for lunch if my homemade vinaigrette is ready to go!
- Emulsify: Just like oil and water, oil and vinegar naturally separate. “Emulsifying” them means you're forcing them to combine into one single dressing. You can do this by slowly adding the oil to the vinegar/citrus juice while whisking or while blending in a food processor or blender. You can also add an emulsifying agent, like dijon mustard or honey, to help your dressing emulsify. Your vinaigrette may still separate over time, but that's okay! Just re-whisk (or shake if you've stored in a glass jar with a tight lid) to combine before using.
- Add Herbs: This step is not mandatory but it does add a hit of extra flavor and nutrition to your homemade salad dressings! Basil, thyme, oregano, dill – you can add pretty much any herb you have on-hand! This is an excellent way to avoid wasting those extra herbs if you have some lingering in the fridge.
8 DIY Salad Dressing Recipes
1. Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
This is my tried and true, most made salad dressing! For this easy balsamic vinaigrette, all you do is combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil and pepper to taste. That's it!
I love balsamic vinaigrette because it's naturally sweet from the balsamic vinegar. I find it pairs really well with salads with fruit in them, like my winter kale salad pictured on the left.
If you want to get a little fancier, try my Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette for a variation!
Also, don't forget, balsamic vinaigrette is not just for green salads. It's excellent on grain salads too, like my Summer Quinoa Salad.
2. Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
As I mentioned above, I'm a huge fan of adding fresh herbs to homemade salad dressings. This one uses parsley and basil though other herbs would be nice here as well – it's flexible!
Blend in the food processor or blender to make it really easy. If you want a visual for how my lemon herb vinaigrette comes together, check out this short video I made!
3. Strawberry Vinaigrette w/ Lemon & Poppyseeds
2 cups of fresh strawberries go into this lovely salad dressing. Lemon juice perfectly balances out the sweetness of the berries. This summery salad dressing is perfect for a brunch or dinner party, or any time you feel like giving yourself a treat!
4. Homemade Greek Vinaigrette
When you don't want your salad dressing to have any sweetness, homemade Greek vinaigrette is an excellent, savory choice. The acid comes from red wine vinegar and a bit of dried oregano brings out the Greek-inspired flavors.
5. Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette
This one is really nice for fall, though you could certainly enjoy it any time of the year. You'll combine olive oil, dijon, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar for a lightly sweet and tangy dressing.
6. Tahini Salad Dressing Recipe
Tahini salad dressing is excellent when you want a dairy-free, creamy dressing. My recipe uses tahini, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and salt. The result is earthy, savory and super creamy.
Bonus? Made from sesame seeds, tahini is full of healthy fats as well as a bit of protein, helping to make your salad more filling.
7. Easy Paleo Ranch Dressing
I'm a big believer that you never need to feel deprived, regardless of your diet. If you're paleo or dairy free, you can still enjoy the iconic flavor of ranch dressing with my dairy-free version! I use coconut milk for the creaminess while apple cider vinegar, garlic and fresh parsley give it the classic flavor.
You can see my short video on how to make dairy free ranch for more details!
8. Paleo Salsa Ranch Dressing
My paleo salsa ranch is a fun variation, perfect for a Southwest-inspired salad like my Southwest Steak Salad pictured on the left. I mix mayo (I love this one), coconut milk and salsa with dried herbs for a bold, creamy dressing you'll want to put on everything!
If you want more delightful salad inspiration on the regular, make sure to check out a Prep Dish free trial to try our healthy meal prep meal plans! Our gluten free and paleo meal plans always include a flavorful meal prep salad, along with homemade salad dressing of course.