The Best Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

To make the best homemade Italian Dressing, upgrade red wine vinaigrette with lots of zesty flavors and Parmesan cheese! It's even better than the stuff at Olive Garden.

To make the best homemade Italian Dressing, upgrade red wine vinaigrette with lots of zesty flavors and Parmesan cheese! It's even better than the stuff at Olive Garden.
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I will never believe that a store-bought salad dressing tastes better than something you can make yourself. It just DOESN'T. Whether it's ranch dressing or blue cheese or French, homemade is ALWAYS better.

This homemade Italian salad dressing really is the best, and it beats the pants of Wishbone or Paul Newman or The Olive Garden "house dressing."

So bust open your pantry and grab a whisk! Let's make some dressing.

Normally, I just make Red Wine Vinaigrette. It's a 5-ingredient phenomenon that I could eat endlessly. However, I like something a little more zesty for my favorite cold pasta salad.

How do you make Italian Dressing from scratch?

Whisk it in a bowl, shake it in a jar, blitz it in a blender. Here's what you need:

  • Olive oil. I like extra virgin.
  • Vinegar. I like red wine vinegar, but white wine vinegar is nice too.
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated works well here.
  • Lemon juice. Throw in the zest if you feel like it.
  • Honey. A touch of sweetness. You can also use agave nectar.
  • Dijon mustard. For flavor and emulsification. Brown mustard is good too.
  • Dried spices. I like a mixture of dried basil, oregano, and parsley. You could substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning.
  • Garlic. I use dried garlic powder here because it's convenient and safer.

This delicious and colorful California Pasta Salad is always a hit at parties! Make it a day ahead if you want; the flavors only get better as it sits!

How long can you keep homemade Italian dressing?

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 in the moment.

Put your salad dressing to work:

5 from 1 vote

The Best Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

To make the best homemade Italian Dressing, upgrade red wine vinaigrette with lots of zesty flavors and Parmesan cheese! Warning: You may want to drink it.
Course Pantry
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword salad, salad dressing
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Servings 8 servings (2 tbsp each)
Calories 140kcal
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 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
  • 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 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Store covered in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal

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  1. Sally Wickland

    I don’t see the seeds listed in the ingredient list. Has the recipe been changed? Thanks.

  2. Sally Wickland

    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. meggan

      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.

  3. Kasack Weinrot

    Toller Artikel…

  4. Melinda

    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. meggan

      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

  5. Suzanne Wujceak

    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. meggan

      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

  6. Lynn

    Meggan, I will be using homemade parmesan cheese.

  7. Lynn

    Hi, can I use vegan parmesan to make it vegan, will it work. Waiting for your reply, Thank you.

    1. meggan

      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!

  8. Mary

    Hi could I use pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan?

    1. meggan

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

  9. Peyton Adkins

    Holy crap this is delicious…and can confirm, it beats Newmans Own!5 stars

  10. KNatGU

    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

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