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.

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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Recipe Rating




108 Comments

  1. Hi there. I am on a special detox where I cant have sugar or honey. Is it ok to just eliminate it?

    Thank you

    1. Yes, you may leave out the honey! It's only in there to curb the acidity, not add sweetness.

  2. 5 stars
    HOLY Cow! WOW this is amazing. Thank you so so so much for this. My husband and I went to Olive Garden last night and got more salad to go.
    I'm reusing yesterday's salad and notice how little dressing they gave (which is fine, of course, it's to go) 🙂
    Go I googled how to make home made one instead of going to the store and clicked on this link first.

    WOW
    WOW
    WOW

    PERFECT! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  3. 5 stars
    I used this dressing for a pasta salad. It was DELICIOUS. My 4 and 5 year old said, "mom, this is so good, you need to make it more often." Hard to deny that request.

  4. One step I like to take is adding all dried ingredients to the vinegar and allowing them to steep for about 5 minutes. It really brings out the flavor better, as emulsifying (blending) immediately locks the dried herbs behind the oil. Slightly chilling the liquid ingredients before blending also helps with emulsification, and prevents the oil from bittering if it gets too hot in a blender or food processor. Then pour the room temp oil into the processor of your choice slowly, and your dressing will be less likely to separate!

  5. 5 stars
    I love that the ratio of oil to vinegar is 2: instead of 3:1. I find 3:1 to be too greasy and not enough tang. I also liked the addition of grated parmesan cheese. I added this to a pasta salad and it's really tasty.

  6. Hi. Would this dressing recipe taste okay or make much of a difference without the red pepper flakes? I want to make it niw and that ia the only ingredient I don't have.

    1. It'll turn out just fine without the red pepper flakes, Jordan. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I actually used this recipe as a marinade for chicken breadts and it was so good. I marinated it for about 12 hours and then we used the chicken in our salad. There wasn't a piece of chicken left over. Thanks!

    1. Sounds delicious, Samantha! I agree...this dressing does make a great marinade. 🙂

  8. My mom used to make homemade dressings. While I cook mostly from scratch this is an area I have not tried. I am going to make homemade dressing tonight

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Jackie! Homemade dressings are so easy and so much better than store-bought. 🙂

  9. Great recipe except but I used olive oil. With all the research out there, canola oil needs to be avoided like the plague!!!

    1. Olive oil is what I prefer to use as well, but as the recipe indicates, pretty much any neutral oil will work. 🙂

  10. To emulsify it you will need a blender. If you don't want to bother with that and still want it emulsified, you can add a teaspoon of mayonnaise or mustard or both. Tastes even better this way.

  11. We don’t have cheese if any kind in our house. Do you think it would change the flavor much to forgo a cheese altogether?