Homemade Italian Dressing

Zippy, zesty Homemade Italian Dressing is delicious on salads and makes an excellent marinade...plus it's all-natural and easy to make!

"Better than Olive Garden" Homemade Italian Dressing recipe with text overlay.

Have you jumped on the make-your-own-salad-dressing bandwagon yet? Because if you haven't, there's no time like the present.

Why Make Your Own Dressing?

Fresh, homemade Italian Dressing is so much tastier than store-bought.

It's also way less expensive.

And best of all, it's free of any icky ingredients or additives!

I have always loved Italian Dressing, both for its flavor and its versatility. Not only is it tasty on green salads, but it's also delicious on sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, pasta salad, or as marinade for chicken, pork, or beef. And while I've enjoyed some yummy bottled Italian salad dressings over the years, nothing compares to making it yourself from scratch.

When I was growing up, my mom always bought the Italian Dressing seasoning packets that came with that special glass cruet marked with lines to indicate how much oil, how much water, and how much vinegar to add along with the seasonings. As a child, it was actually always my job to "make the dressing." So I'd do my measuring and then...shake, shake, shake! Salad was served.

Italian Dressing Recipe in glass jar.

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How to Make Italian Dressing

But would you believe that making your own from-scratch Italian Dressing recipe is just about as effortless?! Sure, there are a few additional ingredients involved beyond a packet of dry seasonings. But it still only takes a matter of minutes to whip up a fresh batch:

  1. Measure ingredients.
  2. Shake, whisk, or blend. And...
  3. Serve. That's it!

As a bonus, you can customize it to your own tastes, tweaking the herbs and spices as you see fit.

Italian Dressing mixed up in glass mason jar.

Ingredient Notes

I like to make this recipe with extra-virgin olive oil, but a neutral vegetable oil (like canola or safflower) will work as well, if that's your preference.

As for the vinegar, I honestly can't decide if I prefer white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar. Both of them yield a delightful dressing, but the results do taste slightly different. Dressing made with white wine vinegar seems slightly more acidic to me and the flavor is probably more akin to store-bought dressing, whereas I feel like red wine vinegar adds an extra undertone of flavor. I love them both and, as a result, I typically alternate which one I use...or sometimes I make a batch of dressing using half white wine vinegar and half red!

Aerial view of ingredients and jar.

Spring is here, so it's time to bid adieu to soup season and bring on the salads! And I really believe that once you try this Homemade Italian Dressing, you won't be going back to store-bought!

It's better than what you can get at The Olive Garden, yet it's made with real, straightforward ingredients.

Who can argue with that? 😉

More Homemade Salad Dressings

"Better than Olive Garden" Homemade Italian Dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing

Zippy, zesty Homemade Italian Dressing is delicious on salads and makes an excellent marinade...plus it's all-natural and easy to make!
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2-tablespoon) servings (approximately 1 cup total dressing)
Calories: 129kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil OR neutral vegetable oil, such as sunflower or safflower
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar OR red wine vinegar OR a combo of the two
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¾ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. (Alternatively, you may whisk ingredients together in a bowl, process ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Equipment Needed

Video

Notes

The honey mellows out the acidity of the dressing, but you may add more or less, to taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 129kcal | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 247mg | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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4.93 from 134 votes (60 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




110 Comments

    1. Sure! It's just a small amount to balance the acidity of the dressing, so the maple flavor shouldn't be noticeable. 🙂

  1. I like the refreshing quality of this, but I will omit the vinegar and just use lemon juice from now on. And maybe add some dijon. It was not the flavor I was expecting.

  2. Hi Samantha,
    Would you mind giving me suggestions for the brands of red and white wine vinegar you use? It seems these 2 can make a difference in the taste and I would like to have it taste like yours. Thanks for sharing your recipes. They are wonderful. I use the ranch all the time!

    1. Hi Jilly! The brands of red and white wine vinegar that I typically buy and use are either Napa Valley Naturals or the in-store organic brands from Whole Foods (365) or HEB (Central Market). Hope that helps, and so glad you enjoy my recipes! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly and WOW! This is the first time I’ve made my own dressing and I will do so from now on. I always hated how most dressings only use a mixture of olive oil and then some crappy oil…now I can control my ingredients. I shook mine in a mason jar but will try the food processor next time per one of the reviews. Thank you for sharing this!!! 💕

  4. 5 stars
    This was by far the most delicious dressing I have ever made!! 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!!! I have made this several times now, it goes pretty quickly in my house. First time I made this was for my pasta salad and I didn't have any Italian dressing. Not wanting to drive to the store just for salad dressing, I decided to look up how to make my own and came across this recipe. So glad I did. I will no longer buy store bought Italian dressing. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  5. 4 stars
    Trying to avoid the soybean/canola oil industrial complex and the ONLY way to do that is to make your own. Not trying to emulate Olive Garden at all, as I feel that Italian food ideally should be a local thang, not served up by some soul-less bottom line corporation (probably using soybean/canola oil to maximize their bottom line). But I digress with my pet peeves! This is a good basic recipe, trying different vinegars, this time balsamic for its strong flavor. I have also made this with avocado oil because I ran out of EVOO, it's good made with that as well.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this recipe to the letter! YEP!! Perfection WOW there was a party in my mouth! Used it as a chicken marinade! It really is better than any other Italian dressing recipe I have tried before. And YES make sure to blend it, it seems to bring out the flavor of the herbs much better than simply mixing it! Here in the Philippines? A bottle of Wishbone Zesty Italian Dressing is a whopping $9.50-10 for a 16oz bottle!!! This cost me right under $3.50 doubling the recipe. And it taste much better!

  7. 5 stars
    This dressing was really delicious and it went well with my Italian salad with roasted red bell peppers, olives and cannellini beans. Definitely my go-to Italian dressing from now on.

    1. 5 stars
      I’ve tried so many Italian dressing recipes only to be disappointed. They’re either too sweet or too tart. I’ve been making this for several months now and never get tired of it. I make up a batch every week so it’s ready to go. Sometimes I add the Parmesan and sometimes I don’t. It’s delicious either way. A little goes a long way even without the water, which is how I make it.

  8. 5 stars
    Very good...Followed the recipe except when I mixed it with the oil and vinegar, I used honey to mellow out the vinegar instead of sugar