These 6 Basic Salad Dressing Recipes Are Ready in a Snap

Homemade salad dressings not only taste better, but they're better for you. Store-bought dressings can be pricey, not to mention full of preservatives and other unwanted ingredients. If you've never made your own dressing recipe at home, don't be intimidated because you'll have these six basic salad dressing recipes memorized in no time.

Salad dressings are easier to make than you think - all you need to know are the basics. A splash of olive oil here, some vinegar there, and a pinch of spices are really all you need. While store-bought can be way too sweet, high in calories, and let's face it, not exactly what you want, homemade is everything you're looking for. It not only tastes better, but it's exactly the dressing you've been searching for.

How To Make Salad Dressing Recipes in 4 Ingredients or Less 

Here to get you started are six easy homemade salad dressing recipes that everyone should know, and they only require four ingredients or less! With basics like these in your meal plan, you'll never have to buy dressing again, and you may find a new favorite salad.

1. Oil + Vinegar

Yes, it's really that simple. Oil and vinegar are the foundation of any good dressing. You can add some spices if you like - say a little paprika, black pepper or Italian herb seasoning - but it's fine on its own. When figuring out a ratio, one part oil to two parts vinegar pairs nicely. Give it a good stir or shake in a mason jar, then pour it over the salad.

While only two ingredients are required for this dressing, it never gets old. There are endless options as far as vinegar goes. You could try red wine, rice, or balsamic vinegar. Jumping into the balsamic world alone there are a plethora of flavors that are guaranteed to keep you happy. This is often the base of house dressing at Italian restaurants.

Whether you choose raspberry balsamic for some sweet notes or go with a habanero flavor for some heat, your salad dressing will never be boring, especially if you start trying infused oils!

2. Lemon Garlic Dressing

When making your own salad dressings from scratch, you more often than not already have all the ingredients in the kitchen for a great salad dressing. Take this lemon and garlic dressing for instance. It's goes great with veggies and you already have everything ready and waiting to go.

Simply measure out ¼ cup of your oil of choice - olive oil or avocado oil work nicely - ½ cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a few minced garlic cloves. Add it to a bowl, whisk, then you're ready to serve!

While garlic powder adds a nice touch, we find that nothing will replace the flavor of fresh garlic. This will easily become your favorite dressing for everything from a green salad to a spinach feta salad to an Italian salad. Lemon dressing pairs as a favorite dressing with everything.

3. Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Part of making a good salad dressing is having oil and an acid. While you could simply opt for olive oil and apple cider vinegar on its own, the addition of honey mustard adds a little zing. The honey helps balance out the bite from the apple cider vinegar, while the mustard adds a bit of a kick. This hybrid of apple cider and honey mustard dressing will put any basic balsamic vinaigrette dressing to shame.

To get started, measure out 1/3 cup olive oil, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, a drizzle of honey, and about 2 teaspoons dijon mustard. For extra Asian-flavored zing, add a few drops of soy sauce. Whisk the ingredients together, then pour over your bed of greens for a fresh take on a green goddess salad.

4. Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

In the line of keeping all things fresh, a good fresh herb dressing can pair nicely with a side salad. Basil, cilantro, oregano and parsley are a few herbs to being with. The ingredients in your salad are really the determining factor of your herbs.

Eating a taco salad? Then go with cilantro. Eating a Caprese? Fresh basil with a tiny bit of muddled mint is the only way to go. How about a Caesar? This would work well as a rich Caesar dressing or Italian dressing substitute. You can even add lemon to make it a fresh herb lemon vinaigrette. Just refrigerate until you're ready to mix your dressing in and serve!

When making your dressing, try using equal parts oil to acid. Olive oil and red wine vinegar pair rather nicely, and are versatile in flavor. Add in a ¼ cup of fresh herbs and you've got yourself a dressing! Oh, and if you find the acid in your vinaigrette recipe needs to be dialed down a touch, try adding in a sweetener like agave nectar, honey or maple syrup to balance out the flavors. You can also add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for a kick!

5. Creamy Greek Yogurt Dressing

Like creamy dressing recipes like Ranch dressing? Try a Greek yogurt-based dressing that gives you the creamy consistency you want with the flavor you need. Making yogurt-based dressings are easier than you may think, and Greek yogurt is a nice alternative from other creamy ingredients in bottled dressing that are loaded with unhealthy fats, like mayonnaise or sour cream.

To give it a try, measure out ½ cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lemon, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. If you're feeling fancy, you could kick it up with some spices. Dill, paprika, or even curry are a few options to choose from. You could even throw in some poppy seeds. It's all about experimenting and finding the flavors that meld well for your pallet.

This is perfect for anything from a Greek salad to pasta salad to a replacement for a creamy blue cheese dressing if you add blue cheese to the mix before combining.

6. Tahini Dressing


If you love hummus, then you'll go crazy for a tahini based dressing. It's smooth, nutty, and incredibly delicious.

To make this salad dressing recipe, use equal parts lemon and tahini - about ½ a cup should do - then add in ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and that's it! If you're finding the dressing to be too thick, stir in water until the desired consistency is reached.

If you want your dressing with a little kick, then I recommend adding a teaspoon of either paprika, cumin, or even turmeric. With the addition of extra spices, it's like a hummus dressing for your salad!

There you have it! These six basic dressings are easy to whip up in a snap.

With only four ingredients needed, there's really no excuse for not knowing how to make these simple dressings.

This post was originally published on October 30, 2019.

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