Italian Dressing is easy to make and comes together with ingredients already in your pantry. Making your own salad dressing is quick and allows you to control all the flavors and ingredients.
Without a doubt, one of the very first foods that I fell in love with, as a toddler no less, was Italian Salad Dressing. As odd as that sounds, I truly loved it from a young age. We even have a photo of me in a high chair with a bowl of salad coated in it.
Here I am a million years later raising kids who feel the exact same way. My kids, who were once opposed to dressing and salad all together, have fallen in love with Italian Dressing and will now happily eat a side salad at dinner time. Can you blame them?
The flavors of this salad dressing come together like a smooth symphony. Olive oil and red wine vinegar work together in perfect balance. To that we add a few herbs and spices, some garlic, and red pepper flakes and you have salad dressing perfection.
This Italian dressing recipe is delicious! I’ve been making dressing from scratch for 25+ years and I made your recipe last and thought it was the very best I’ve made! Thanks for sharing. Yum!
How to Make Italian Dressing
- Whisk together the red wine vinegar and mayonnaise. Read more about this step below.
- Add in the remaining ingredients. Whisk well to fully combine.
- Refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor. Please read more on this below.
Keep Dressing from Separating
If you never make your own salad dressing because you hate how it separates, I have a great tip for you.
Mix a small amount of mayonnaise with the vinegar. The mayonnaise works as an emulsifier. Emulsifying is a fun chemistry trick and the emulsifier works like a bridge holding the two parts (in this case oil and vinegar) together.
The mayonnaise isn’t required, but will hold the dressing together without changing the taste. It will even keep it from solidifying in the refrigerator.
Buying Olive Oil for Homemade Italian Dressing
Since olive oil is the base for this dressing, you want to make sure that you use a quality oil. For dressing recipes, you want to use extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is less processed and more pure than regular olive oil. It is better for you and also has a better taste, making it perfect for a salad dressing.
All of that being said, you want to keep both extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil on hand. Extra virgin olive oil is better for salad dressings and sauces that aren’t cooked, but for cooking you want to use regular olive oil as it has a higher smoke point and won’t burn as easily.
Letting Dressing Rest
While you can use this dressing recipe right away, I think you will find you enjoy it more if you use it 24 hours after making it. This resting time allows the flavors to marinate together and it is much more tasty after.
Storing Italian Salad Dressing
This dressing recipe, and really all salad dressing recipes, should be stored in the refrigerator. This is true whether or not you decide to use mayonnaise in the recipe, though adding the mayonnaise will keep the oil from solidifying in the refrigerator. This dressing can be stored in the refrigerator and used for up to 2 weeks.
As far as dressings go, this one is relatively healthy. It uses a healthy fat – olive oil – as it’s base, and the other ingredients are nutritious. As with all things, it is best in moderation.
Yes, this salad dressing is gluten free. As with all recipes, make sure to check the specific ingredients you are using if you are serving someone with a gluten allergy.
Using Italian Dressing
There are a number of recipes that this dressing would be great on.
- This would be perfect to use in my Italian Pasta Salad.
- You could replace the dressing in my Cucumber Tomato Salad with this.
- One of my favorite ways to eat it as a child was over steamed broccoli! You could toss it with my Air Fryer Broccoli for a similar affect.
If you make this Italian dressing recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I always love hearing from you.
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon light mayonnaise optional (read more here)
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- dash freshly ground black pepper
- dash dried red pepper flakes
- Whisk together the mayonnaise and vinegar until well combined.
- Whisk the rest of the ingredients, so everything is fully combined.
- For the best flavor, allow to rest overnight. (This dressing can be used right away, but the flavor improves with time as the flavors of the herbs and spices get absorbed into the oil.)
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.