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Italian Dressing

5 from 2 votes
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posted: 04/21/22

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

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.

italian dressing in a salad dressing container in front of a big white serving bowl full of salad

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.

Reader Review

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

  1. Whisk together the red wine vinegar and mayonnaise. Read more about this step below.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients. Whisk well to fully combine.
  3. 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.

FAQ

Is Italian dressing healthy?

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.

Is Italian dressing gluten free?

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.

homemade italian dressing being poured over salad

Using Italian Dressing

There are a number of recipes that this dressing would be great on.

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.

italian dressing in a salad dressing container in front of a big white serving bowl full of salad
5 from 2 votes

Italian Dressing

Serves: 16 tablespoons
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.
Serving: 1tablespoon Calories: 92kcal (5%) Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 10g (15%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 147mg (6%) Potassium: 6mg Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 1IU Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 3mg Iron: 1mg (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
italian dressing in a salad dressing container in front of a big white serving bowl full of salad

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Italian Dressing

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions

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  1. Yolande Fournier says

    5 stars
    Lisa I love every recipes you have on your site.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you like everything, Yolande!

  2. Jan says

    5 stars
    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!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  3. Michele Mastromatteo says

    Hi Lisa,I just made your Italian Salad Dressing,I’m waiting to have it tomorrow as subjected by your recipe.I’ve made your death by chocolate brownies and they were out of this world delicious,I’ve made your clams and linguine and it was better then some restaurants that we have been to.Have made your beef and broccoli.We love all your recipes!!!Thank you for sharing!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy to hear that you are enjoying my recipes so much! That Clam Linguine absolutely has my heart! Thank you for following along.

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