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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4.93 from 134 votes (60 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




110 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    As Italian I can say that it was delicious, used fresh herbs instead of dry because didn’t have all the ingredients, otherwise. Thanks

  2. 4 stars
    I am also one who substituted some of the ingredients based on what I had on hand. I used rice wine vinegar and left out the basil and used the Parmesan cheese out of the jar/can. It wasn’t zesty enough for me so I added more lemon juice and vinegar to it. But now I have a aftertaste of oregano. Quick and easy to throw together and uses basic ingredients that you have on hand and if you don’t use what you do have. I am sure that Apple cider or white vinegar would work just as well also.

    1. Rice wine vinegar will have an entirely different taste that red or white wine vinegar. Really can't rate a recipe with such a huge change in ingredients.

  3. I subbed a little. Used rice vinegar because that's all I had, and I used just Italian seasonings instead of the rest because apparently im out of parsley lol. Still turned out delicious. Saving!!!

  4. 5 stars
    Oooooo this was soooo much better than any bottled dressing (I hate bottled). I forgot the honey at first and it was pretty strong, once I added the honey (a little more than 2 tsp) it mellowed out and was just fantastic. This will be my go-to all the time now. Thank you!

    1. Great recipe. I tweaked it a little after measuring to make it to my taste. I added a bit more garlic and parsley but it really had all the notes that are in Italian dressing.

  5. I messed up reading the ingredients and added 3/4 tsp of oregano but it was still great! Thanks so much! Next time I’ll try it with white wine vinegar (this time I used red wine vinegar) and next time I’ll also make sure to read the ingredients correctly. lol.

  6. 1 star
    Disgusting! My marine who has survived on MREs for months at a time, threw it out. Was there an ingredient missing like flavor? Omg awful!

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Anna. Your comment is so very opposite the reviews this recipe typically gets that I wonder if there could have been an issue with one of your ingredients? Like perhaps rancid oil? At any rate, I'm sorry you had a bad experience. And I hope you'll convey to your husband my thanks for his service.

    2. You know - there is a way of expressing an opinion. It's called Respect. Maybe try using your words and expressing with a little respect next time.

  7. 5 stars
    Great Taste! And Quick and Easy to make with the ingredients we had at home. My 4 year old helped me make most of it!