3-Ingredient Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

balsamic dressing recipe _ elizabeth rider

Are you looking for the perfect balsamic vinaigrette dressing for your next salad or dish? Look for further.

This balsamic dressing recipe is perfection! And you don’t even need a blender to make it.

You’ll love this dressing because it’s loaded with flavor, easy to make, and contains high-quality ingredients that are good for your health.

This dressing recipe has been a favorite since the first time that I made it. It contains only 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) that you may already have in your pantry and fridge.

Homemade Balsamic Dressing Is Better Than Store-Bought

I love this homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe for so many reasons:

  • It’s made with clean, healthy ingredients
  • You can customize based on what you want or have on hand
  • It tastes amazing on just about everything, from salads to roasted veggies to even chicken or fish
  • It’s super easy to put together and keeps in the fridge for at least a week

On the other hand, store-bought balsamic vinaigrettes are loaded with saturated fats, preservatives, and sugars.

Best Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients

Balsamic Vinegar

The most important thing to remember when you make balsamic vinaigrette: Not all balsamics are made the same. I repeat, not all balsamics are made the same!

If the vinegar you choose is too bitter or acidic alone, you’ll end up with a less-than-pleasing dressing.

Balsamic vinegar that comes in giant bargain bottles tends to be more acidic, so look for a smaller bottle of well-aged balsamic. A little goes a long way, and it is well worth the few extra dollars to use high-quality vinegar. I’ve been loving aged fig balsamic lately.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Look for cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil. You may also opt for another oil with a light, pleasant flavor, like avocado or grapeseed oil.

Dijon Mustard or Whole Grain Mustard

Time for one of my favorite condiments: I love grainy mustard.

A dash of mustard adds a gourmet flavor to your salad dressings and is a key ingredient in most vinaigrettes.

I’ve been using Sierra Nevada Stout grainy mustard a lot lately. I also like Grey Poupon in balsamic dressing, but any Dijon mustard will do.

Again, just make sure you like the flavor before adding it to your dressing. Most people consider this ingredient optional in balsamic vinaigrette, but I always add it as it enhances the taste and helps the emulsion process.

Sea Salt

I always use sea salt for its rich mineral content. Look for a finely ground salt, so it dissolves in your dressing. I use the brand Real Salt.

Black Pepper

Freshly ground black pepper is always best. I twist my grinder to a medium grind.

balsamic dressing vinaigrette recipe ingredients elizabeth rider 2

Optional Add-ins to Your Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

I don’t always add these because high-quality mustard will already contain these flavors, but it’s fun to mix things up sometimes.

Fresh Garlic (Smashed or Minced)

Raw garlic is robust. If you add garlic to your recipe, just smash the clove and let it sit in the vinaigrette for a few minutes then remove it to infuse flavor but not overpower it. One smashed or minced garlic clove per one cup should do it.

Fresh Shallots, Minced

Shallots have a mild, sweet onion flavor and work well in balsamic dressing. If I have a small shallot in the pantry, I’ll mince it up and add it to my dressing. It adds a nice little crunch to the salad as well.

Just say no to added sugar

If you use a good aged balsamic, you won’t need to add any extra sweetness. I’m ok with the natural sugars in the balsamic in my dressing and try to avoid any excess added sugar when possible. If your balsamic isn’t sweet at all, you can add a teaspoon or two of sugar or maple syrup if needed.

2 Ways to Make Balsamic Dressing

You can do the quick and easy “shake it up in a jar” version, or you can do the professional emulsion version when making any vinaigrette-style salad dressing.

Option 1: Here’s the quick and easy way to make balsamic dressing:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake it vigorously for about 3o seconds then use it right away.
  3. Store it in the fridge

Option 2: Make an emulsion if you want to get fancy.

If we were in culinary school or learning the professional chef’s way of doing things, you’d whisk the mustard and vinegar in the bottom of a large bowl, then slowly add the oil while whisking vigorously to make an emulsion. Then, mix in the shallot or garlic if using, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Both methods work! When I’m in a hurry, I just shake it up in a jar because life’s too short to not take shortcuts sometimes. #yolo

How to Store Homemade Balsamic Dressing

I always make this dressing in small batches and refrigerate it after using it to keep it fresh.

Due to the highly acidic nature of balsamic vinegar, it stores easily in an airtight glass container for about 1 week in the refrigerator.

Pro Tip: I simply store the dressing in a mason jar with a lid in the refrigerator until I use it next. This keeps the dressing fresh and tasting delicious!

homemade balsamic dressing recipe in jar

Tips for Making the Best Homemade Balsamic Dressing

  • High-quality doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive; it just means shopping smarter and choosing the right ingredients. When preparing a homemade salad dressing—or anything, for that matter—make sure that each individual component is delicious on its own.
  • The ratio of vinegar to oil in the perfect vinaigrette is up for debate. I really like half & half. Some people prefer a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil (for example, 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of oil) or even 1:3. Just play around with it until you find how you enjoy it most.
  • I also love to incorporate other spices, such as oregano and garlic powder, to give this recipe a little twist. Feel free to experiment with different spices to enhance the flavor of this recipe.
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Perfect Balsamic Dressing (aka Vinaigrette)

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Total Time: 2 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Category: Salad Dressing, Vinaigrette
  • Method: Mix or Whisk
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade balsamic dressing recipe is a top Google search for a reason—it goes with just about everything! It’s super simple to whip up a batch and makes any salad or veggie taste amazing. 

If you love it, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid (a mason jar works great).
  2. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified. You can also emulsify your vinaigrette in a blender or food processor (work on low, increasing the speed as you stream in the oil last). I only use a blender when working in extra large quantities. Up to about a cup, shaking it like crazy in a mason jar works great (and there’s way less clean up.)
  3. Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To use this method, whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl, then stream in the olive oil while you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified.

Notes

This yummy recipe also works great with any kind of vinegar you like, especially red wine vinegar. 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is full of health benefits and adds great depth to this recipe. It might separate, so shake up ACV before using it. 

The recipe below makes 1 cup, but you can use the proportions to make any amount.

Keywords: Balsamic Vinaigrette, Salad Dressing, Vinaigrette, Healthy

Ideas to use your Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

This delightful balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not limited to just one basic salad. It can be used in various ways, from superfood salads to pasta to roasted veggies.

  • Mixed Greens or Romaine Salad: Balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect salad dressing to dress up mixed greens
  • Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Cranberries, and Feta: An arugula salad topped with these delicious toppings just adds a new level to your salad game. Arugula is packed with micronutrients, and 3 cups of it provide vitamin C, folate, calcium, and your daily value of vitamin k.
  • Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Feta, and Walnuts: When I don’t feel like having a romaine or arugula salad, I use spinach as the base for my balsamic vinaigrette salad. It provides an excellent source of micronutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and other rich vitamins and minerals.
  • Pasta Salad: If you want to switch it up, try making pasta salad topped with this homemade balsamic vinaigrette. You can use regular noodles or gluten-free for this meal.
  • Roasted Veggies with Balsamic Vinaigrette: Roasted veggies with balsamic vinaigrette are a super easy and delicious way to incorporate more nutrients into your next meal.
    • For spring/summer veggies, try roasting a variety of tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions.
    • For fall/winter veggies, use an assortment of vegetables like radishes, turnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squashes.

Can You Swap the Ingredients for This Recipe? Yes, you can definitely swap ingredients for this recipe. I recommend using high-quality olive oil, but any mild-tasting (and high-quality) oil is perfect for this recipe. Grapeseed oil is a good alternative if you prefer not to use olive oil.

I also encourage you to use whatever ingredients work best for you. The beauty of this vinaigrette is that it is simple but customizable, depending on your needs.

More Delicious Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes:

 

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  1. Megan says:

    Do you have the nutritional count for this recipe? Calories and fat content per serving?

  2. heri fuentes says:

    I made this recipe and the result was great..! Thanks.

  3. Sandra Kersten says:

    Could you recommend a brand or two of high quality balsamic vinegar?

    • Hi Sandra, I like all of the balsamics available on Thrive Market, an online grocery store (we don’t allow links in comments, but you can easily find it online.) I also love the Oliver brand over at Williams-Sonoma (I received it as a gift, it’s amazing, but pricy). To be honest no specific brands come to mind—it seems like my store always has a new one. Look for one on Thrive Market or at your local natural grocery store. The more aged it is, generally the better it is. ~E

  4. Mohamed says:

    Thank You.

  5. Andrea says:

    Have you done this with half apple cider and half balsamic?

  6. Jeffrey Gottlieb says:

    I do exactly this, except that I also add fresh squeezed lemon – about 1/3 of the amount of each of the oil and vinegar. Also like to add some dried oregano.

  7. S H says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe.

  8. Lee Zelina says:

    I really enjoyed your recipe!! I really like that it did not have any added sugar. I did not have time to go to the grocery store and wanted to find a balsamic vinaigrette dressing that I had all the ingredients for already. I used yellow mustard instead of the kind you had listed. It was still really delicious! I served it on roasted beet and goat cheese salad with walnuts and red onion. Everyone loved it! Thank you for your wonderful recipe!

  9. OJ Avery says:

    Do you have nutritional info? I’m a heart attack survivor on a low sodium diet

    • Jim S says:

      My EV olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon and the balsamic vinegar is 30 per tablespoon. Grey Poupon is only 5 cal per teaspoon so that is negligible. If you follow the recipe with a 50/50 oil to vinegar mix, 2 tablespoons would be about 150 calories.

  10. Kathy King-Long says:

    Just made this tonight and it was delicious on my spinach and strawberry salad. Thanks!

  11. Melissa says:

    I made this & it’s delicious! I’m storing it in a mason jar in the refrigerator. It solidifies somewhat and even vigorous shaking doesn’t seem to blend it. Any suggestions? What’s the risk of leaving it at room temperature?

    • trixiejo302 says:

      That is a really good sign … it just means that your olive oil is of the highest quality and hasn’t been cut by the manufacturer. Just let it come to room temperature, then shake it up.

  12. Dana Dernberger says:

    How long would this keep and should it be refrigerated?

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Instead of prescribing what I think you should do, I help you find what works for you.

A health expert, author, and creative entrepreneur

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