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My Salad Dressing Formula

We eat a LOT of salads in my house. Not dull salads, but beautiful and delicious salads with lots of variety and flavor. One of the easiest ways to keep salads tasty, interesting, and healthy, is to make your own salad dressing.

A white square bowl with oil and vinegar

There are only 2 things required to make salad dressing - an acid and an oil. A simple vinaigrette using just these 2 ingredients can be just what you want when a salad is paired with strong flavors. However, I love to add additional flavors and I think you will too.

Why Homemade Dressing?

Admittedly, if you walk down the dressing aisle of your grocery store you will find a dizzying array of choices. While I love the variety, I don't love the list of additives, fake flavors, and unhealthy oil choices they often use. When I make my own dressing, I get to control the ingredients.


If you look up recipes for vinaigrette, you will find some are very flavorful, calling for 3 parts acid to 1 part oil; while others are on the bland side, calling for only 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. The trick is figuring out what you prefer. I'm a flavor person, so I typically do 2-3 parts acid to 1 part oil. Experiment and learn what you like.

5 Ingredient Categories

Like I said above, all you really need is acid and oil, but there are 3 other categories I often consider when throwing together a dressing. Within each category, there are lots of choices. Mix and match to make a unique and delicious dressing.

  1. ACID

    1. Vinegar such as balsamic, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, flavored balsamic.

    2. Citrus such as lemon juice, lime juice, or even orange juice (if using OJ, you may want to up the acid level with a little bit of white wine vinegar).

  2. OIL

    1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my go-to oil.

    2. Avocado oil is my runner-up.

  3. SWEET

    1. Jelly/Jam (any flavor)

    2. Honey

    3. Maple Syrup

    4. Agave Syrup

    5. Elderberry Syrup


    1. Dijon Mustard

    2. Soy Sauce

    3. Garlic

    4. Ginger

    5. Minced Onion/Shallots

    6. Fresh or Dried Herbs

    7. Salt & Pepper


    1. Mayo

    2. Avocado

    3. Yogurt

    4. Tahini

    5. Sour Cream

Note - You do not need to use every category and might choose to use 2-3 from the same category. There are so many options!! I have some ideas below for you to try.


The amount of dressing you make is up to you. If you are feeding a crowd, you obviously are making a bigger salad than if you are just feeding yourself. Therefore, you would need more dressing. I often choose to only make what I need at the moment, but you could also mix up a large portion of dressing in a mason jar and leave it in your fridge to use again in a day or two.

As I mentioned above, I typically use 2-3 parts acid to 1 part oil The rest is really just "to taste".

Watch Me Make Dressings Here

Recipe Ideas

I am not providing measurements, because I think it's best to experiment and learn what you like. You can always add more, but you can't remove ingredients. So when in doubt, use less and add more if needed.

Standard Dressing - Balsamic vinegar, Olive oil, Dijon mustard, Fresh thyme, S&P

Honey Mustard - White wine vinegar, Olive oil, Honey, Dijon mustard, Garlic

Strawberry Vinaigrette - Red wine vinegar, Olive oil, Strawberry jam

Asian - Rice wine vinegar, Olive oil, Soy Sauce, Sesame oil, Garlic, Ginger

Tahini - Lemon juice, Olive oil, Honey, Tahini, S&P

Creamy Lime Cilantro - Lime Juice (maybe a splash of white wine vinegar), Avocado oil, Agave syrup, Cumin, Cilantro, Avocado (blend to use avocado for creaminess)

Pin It For Later

pinterest graphic showing a salad in the background and a small pitcher of vinaigrette in the foreground



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