I couldn’t live in a world without homemade Italian Dressing. It’s quick, easy, and works delicious magic on anything from baby greens to a plate of homegrown tomatoes. So much better than Olive Garden, and not a filler or artificial ingredient in sight.

The best homemade Italian dressing in a clear jar with a spoon on a white plate.

Ingredient notes:

  • Red wine vinegar: Or substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Lemon juice: Throw in some lemon zest if you feel like it (zest the lemon before you cut it in half).
  • Dijon mustard: For flavor and emulsification. Or substitute Brown (whole grain) mustard.
  • Dried spices: I like a mixture of dried basil, oregano, and parsley. Or, substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of Italian seasoning.

The best Italian dressing ingredients in various bowls.

Instructions:

  1. Add the ingredients to a glass jar or blender.
  2. Shake or blast until combined.

If you want to make the dressing right in the salad bowl, just throw everything into the bottom of the bowl and whisk. Then pile your salad ingredients on top and toss. Maybe a little extra Parmesan sprinkled on top, just for fun.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Creamy italian dressing: Add ½ cup good quality mayo (Hellman’s or Best Foods) to the dressing.
  • Fresh herbs: Use about twice the amount the recipe calls for because the equivalent in dried herbs takes up less room in the measuring spoons.
  • Leftovers: This dressing will be good for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you want something that can last longer, leave out the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on your salad right before tossing.

The best Italian dressing being poured onto a pasta salad in a clear bowl.

Put your salad dressing to work:

The best homemade Italian dressing in a clear jar with a spoon on a white plate.

The Best Homemade Italian Dressing

I couldn't live in a world without homemade Italian Dressing. It's quick, easy, and works delicious magic on anything from baby greens to a plate of homegrown tomatoes. So much better than Olive Garden, and not a filler or artificial ingredient in sight. 
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Pantry
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 140

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon, see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (see note 3)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (see note 4)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove minced fresh garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper). Store covered in the refrigerator.

Notes

  1. Red wine vinegar: Or substitute white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  2. Lemon juice: Throw in some lemon zest if you feel like it (zest the lemon before you cut it in half).
  3. Dijon mustard: For flavor and emulsification. Or substitute Brown (whole grain) mustard.
  4. Dried spices: I like a mixture of dried basil, oregano, and parsley. Or, substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of Italian seasoning.
  5. Creamy italian dressing: Add ½ cup good quality mayo (Hellman's or Best Foods) to the dressing.
  6. Fresh herbs: Use about twice the amount the recipe calls for because the equivalent in dried herbs takes up less room in the measuring spoons.
  7. Leftovers: This dressing will be good for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you want something that can last longer, leave out the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle it on your salad right before tossing.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tbspCalories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. I thought this was the recipe that had celery, poppy, and sesame seeds in it, but I don’t see them listed in the ingredients. Has the recipe been changed to omit those, or am I thinking of a different recipe? Thanks.

    1. Hi Sally, your comment makes me laugh and feel sad at the same time. Sad because – yes I changed it! It’s not the same one. I woke up one day and looked at the recipe and I was like – this makes no sense, Italian salad dressing isn’t orange and doesn’t have all those seeds?? What was I thinking. So I changed it resemble something you might get at Olive Garden. And then I said to myself, well no one has ever made this anyway, no one will notice it’s different, and now I laugh because at least ONE person made it the old way. You. Long story to say, sorry about that! The original recipe with all the seeds was for my California Pasta Salad which still exists on the site, so I’ve copied and pasted the dressing from there below. So it’s not lost and gone forever, but I’m really sorry for the confusion. Maybe I’ll add it back to the site under a new name, like California Salad Dressing. LOL. Thank you! Sorry again. -Meggan

      Ingredients:

      1 cup olive oil
      1/2 cup red wine vinegar
      1/4 cup parmesan cheese
      1 tablespoon sesame seeds
      2 teaspoons dried oregano
      2 teaspoons poppy seeds
      2 cloves garlic finely minced
      1 teaspoon paprika
      1/2 teaspoon celery seed
      1/4 teaspoon Salt or more to taste

      Directions: In a small bowl, or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add olive oil, red wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, oregano, poppy seeds, garlic, paprika, celery seed, and salt. Whisk or shake until combined. Allow flavors to blend and store covered in the refrigerator.

  2. Hi Meggan – I just stumbled on your page and I will be doing some more investigating, ‘cause everything looks great so far! Question on this recipe: how long will it last in the fridge? It’s just the two of us here and we love salads (and Italian dressing) but ya gotta change it up now and then, amirite? LOL. Maybe I should halve the recipe for us? What do you think?

    1. Hi Melinda, the best rule of thumb is 4 days. With a recipe like this, you can likely go 7 days without any problems. But, the CDC and the restaurant management association will say 4 days. I hope this is helpful! Thank you! :) -Meggan

  3. At one point, you mention 3 seeds are in this recipe. Celery and poppy seeds…what is the third seed? Also, how long can you keep this in the refrigerator?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Suzanne, the third seed is sesame seed. But regrettably I decided not to list that in the ingredients! I’ve fixed the post now. So sorry for the confusion/my typo. I appreciate your patience with me. -Meggan

    1. Hi Lynn, I don’t see why it would be a problem. I also feel like nutritional yeast might also be tasty (or even if you leave the cheese out entirely, the dressing is still awesome). Can you let me know what brand of vegan parmesan cheese you are going to try? I would love to pick it up and try it out just for my own knowledge, and so I can update the post. Thank you!

    1. Hi Mary, yes! I’m guessing if you served it to anyone else, they couldn’t even tell the difference. Thanks for the question.

  4. We saw Alton Brown’s life show a while back (gah maybe 5 years) and at the end of it, he took questions from the audience. The one I remember was someone asked what are people not making at home that we should be and his answer salad dressing.

    You might even be able to add sesame seeds to this one, it is starting to look a lot like my favorite garlic bread topping. https://www.mccormick.com/spices-and-flavors/herbs-and-spices/blends/perfect-pinch-salad-supreme-seasoning