15+ Salad Dressing Recipes
Make all of your salads next level with this collection of over 15 delicious Salad Dressing Recipes! They’re fresher tasting then anything you can buy at the store because there are no preservatives or artificial ingredients, and they’re so easy to make!
I crave salads pretty much every day, and it’s important to me to incorporate the freshest seasonal ingredients into each one for maximum flavor and nutrition.
Years ago I started making salad dressings at home because my salads deserve more than store bought versions laden with salt, preservatives and ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
I quickly discovered how easy they are to make, and the fresh flavors make my salads come alive.
A great dressing makes eating salads a lot more exciting, so they’re a part of my weekly meal prep routine now.
Be sure to check out the seasonal salad collections for plenty of delicious ways to utilize these dressings!
Types of salad dressing
There are two basic types of salad dressing — oil and vinegar based vinaigrettes and creamy dressings. Both types are very versatile and may be changed up a number of ways.
If you’re looking for a healthy salad dressing, look no further than a basic vinaigrette. This is an oil and vinegar based dressing, so it also works well as a marinade.
The ratio of oil to vinegar in vinaigrettes is typically 3 to 1, but I prefer adding extra vinegar for a nice tangy flavor.
The ingredients are temporarily emulsified after they’ve been combined, but the oil and vinegar separate as the dressing stands. Simply shake the dressing until emulsified once again before using.
The main ingredients are olive oil and vinegar or acid, with additions such as dijon, shallots, garlic, herbs, seasonings and sweetener added to enhance flavor.
- Olive oil. Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil as it’s the foundation for the flavorful dressing.
- Vinegar or acid. Use your favorite vinegar such as red wine, balsamic, apple cider, etc., or acid such fresh lemon, lime or orange juice. I love combining the two for added depth of flavor.
- Dijon mustard. The dijon is a great addition to any vinaigrette as it adds a nice savory flavor, it thickens the dressing, and it’s also a natural emulsifier.
- Shallots or garlic. Finely chopped shallot or minced garlic are often found in vinaigrettes as they add flavor and dimension. The acid in the dressing helps to mellow the flavors so that they’re not at all overpowering.
- Sweetener. A bit of sweetener such as maple syrup or honey helps to balance out the acidity in the dressing. It’s completely optional of course, but as little as 1 teaspoon can make a big difference!
- Herbs and seasonings. Fresh or dried herbs are a great way to change things up, and seasonings such as onion powder, ground cumin, ground ginger and more can really enhance flavor.
How to make basic vinaigrette
There are a few different ways to make vinaigrette as follows.
- Mason jar or container with lid. This is my favorite method because it’s it’s so easy. Simply place all of the ingredients in a jar or container, secure the lid tightly and shake until emulsified.
- Bowl and whisk. Place all ingredients except for olive oil into a bowl and whisk well. Add the oil in a steady stream while whisking constantly.
- Food processor. The food processor is a great method to use if the dressing includes shallots, garlic or herbs and you’d like a smoother consistency. Simply process all of the ingredients except for the oil, then with the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube.
Creamy salad dressing
Creamy salad dressings vary considerably. Some are basically vinaigrettes with just a bit of mayo or yogurt added to give it a creamier consistency, and many don’t include any oil at all.
Creamy dressings aren’t the healthiest options as many are laden with mayonnaise or sour cream, but there are ways to make them healthier with a few simple swaps.
They’re extremely versatile and may also be used as dips for veggies, chicken wings and more.
Creamy salad dressing ingredients
These dressings include 1-2 creamy components along with liquid to thin it out, along with acid, herbs and seasonings to round out the flavors.
- Creamy component(s). Mayonnaise and sour cream are typically the base of most creamy dressings, however all or some may be substituted with Greek yogurt for added protein and nutrition. Vegan mayo and dairy-free products may be easily substituted for special diets, and avocado and tahini are healthy additions/substitutions as well.
- Liquid. This is necessary in order to thin out the dressing to make it pourable for salads. Buttermilk, milk or non-dairy milk are ways to thin out the dressing and add additional richness, but water or citrus may be used as well.
- Acid. Every dressing benefits from a bit of acid such as vinegar or fresh citrus as it makes the flavors pop. Just one tablespoon makes a huge difference!
- Sweetener. Add a bit of honey or maple syrup to balance out the flavors.
- Herbs and seasonings. Fresh or dried herbs such as parsley, chives, basil, cilantro and mint add freshness, color and flavor to any dressing. Seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and more add a ton of flavor as well.
- Add-ins. Capers, anchovies or anchovy paste, dijon, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, shallots and pickles are great ways to add flavor and dimension.
How to make creamy salad dressing
The best way to make creamy salad dressing is in the food processor as most contain ingredients that need to be puréed such as fresh herbs.
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the dressing reaches the desired consistency.
The 15 easy salad dressing recipes below that are guaranteed to liven up all of your salads!