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Homemade Italian Dressing

This quick and easy Homemade Italian Dressing is deliciously zesty and perfect on salads or used as a marinade for meats, seafood and veggies!

Made from scratch with basic pantry ingredients, you’ll love that you know exactly what’s in it, that it’s less expensive and tastes fresher than bottled dressing, that it’s customizable, and that you can make it in 5 minutes or less!

Just put everything in a jar, shake it all up, and you’re good to go!

My love for Italian dressing started as a kid. Whenever we had salad, we had Italian dressing…not the bottled kind, but the seasoning packet that you put in that special marked glass cruet and then added your own oil, vinegar and water.

It was my favorite, and I loved it when my mom would let me help out in the kitchen and make it all by myself (that cruet made it fool-proof)!

I still love and enjoy that dressing from time to time. But these days, I’d much rather make my own homemade Italian salad dressing that’s similar to a vinaigrette (you could even call it an Italian vinaigrette).

And although it’s a little different than what I enjoyed growing up, I think it’s even better!

top-down view of a jar of homemade Italian dressing with a spoon and a salad on the side

Fun Fact: It’s Not Really Italian

Yep, it’s true. Italian dressing doesn’t come from Italy!

According to my research, although the ingredients are ones that we often associate with Italian cuisine, Italian dressing is actually an American creation. The owners of two American restaurants both claim to have invented it based on their Italian mothers’ salad dressing recipes.

Italians, on the other hand, usually dress their salads simply with just olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, and salt.

So, if you haven’t yet tried making your own homemade salad dressings, there’s no time like the present. It’s a game-changer, and this is a great one to start with!

Ingredients You Need

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Italian seasoning (dried; I use my Homemade Italian Seasoning)
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Sugar
  • Salt (I use kosher salt)
  • Black pepper

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the end of the post.

How to Make Homemade Italian Dressing

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake vigorously until well-combined.
  3. Enjoy immediately or keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Alternately, you can place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-combined.

3 numbered images showing the steps to make homemade Italian dressing, number 1 is of all of the ingredients in a jar, number 2 is of a hand shaking the jar, and number 3 is of the finished dressing in the jar with a salad in the background

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card at the end of the post for the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

Recipe Tips & Tidbits

  • Extra-virgin olive oil adds so much more flavor than a regular or light-tasting olive oil (but you can use one of those if that’s your preference).
  • The Dijon mustard is used mostly as an emulsifier…meaning it helps blend everything together into one homogenous mixture and helps keep it together longer before it separates. Without it, the oil and vinegar would separate very quickly after shaking it up.
  • The sugar is needed to balance out the acidity/tanginess of the vinegar.
  • Don’t skip the salt. It can be the difference between a so-so dressing and a really great dressing!
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of any ingredient to customize the dressing to your liking.
  • The vinegar makes this dressing very zingy. If you find it to be a little sharp for your tastes, add more olive oil and/or sugar (add a little at a time until it tastes how you like it).
    • Just remember: the dressing won’t be as concentrated after you’ve drizzled it on your salad, and so it will taste stronger when you’re tasting it all by itself with a spoon (try tasting it on a piece of lettuce instead). I have made many a dressing that I thought were too strong that were incredibly good on my salad!
  • Although you can absolutely use this dressing immediately, if I have the time, I do like to let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two before serving to allow the flavors to blend and mellow out just a bit.
homemade Italian dressing in a glass pitcher with a salad in the background

Substitutions & Variations

  • Red wine vinegar can be used instead of white wine vinegar; the flavor may be slightly different. I like to use white wine vinegar in this dressing simply because it keeps the dressing a nice golden color.
  • Honey or maple syrup could be used in place of the sugar. Add either to taste.
  • Want to spice it up? Add some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Grated parmesan cheese is a nice addition and kind of gives the dressing more of an Olive Garden-y vibe (maybe 3 to 4 tablespoons or to taste; freshly grated highly recommended).

Storage

Keep the dressing stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container (or the jar you made it in) for up to 2 weeks.

The dressing will separate again during refrigeration and the olive oil might solidify some, so just bring it out and let it come to room temperature for a bit and then give it a good shake or whisk before using.

homemade Italian dressing being poured over a bowl of lettuce

Ways to Use Homemade Italian Dressing

  • Green salads and tossed salads
  • Vegetable salads
  • Pasta salads
  • Veggie dip
  • Italian hoagies/subs
  • Marinade for chicken, pork, beef, fish, shrimp

What other ways do you use Italian dressing? Let us know in the comments below!

Up next, I’ve got a fantastic Italian Salad that goes perfectly with this dressing. Stay tuned!

I hope you try this Homemade Italian Dressing recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes to Try

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

homemade Italian dressing in a jar with a white kitchen towel and a salad in a white bowl in the background

Homemade Italian Dressing

This quick and easy Homemade Italian Dressing is deliciously zesty and perfect on salads or used as a marinade for meats, seafood and veggies!
Print Recipe Rate/Comment Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 (about 2 tablespoons each; recipe makes about ¾ cup total)
Calories: 170
Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning, I use my Homemade Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste (if using regular table salt, which is saltier, use half)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well-combined.
    Alternately, you can place all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-combined.
  • Use immediately or keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

  •  
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of any ingredient to customize the dressing to your liking.
  • The vinegar makes this dressing very zingy. If you find it to be a little sharp for your tastes, add more olive oil and/or sugar (add a little at a time until it tastes how you like it).
    • Just remember: the dressing won’t be as concentrated after you’ve drizzled it on your salad, and so it will taste stronger when you’re tasting it all by itself with a spoon (try tasting it on a piece of lettuce instead). I have made many a dressing that I thought were too strong at first but were incredibly good on my salad!
  • Although you can absolutely use this dressing immediately, if I have the time, I do like to let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or two before serving to allow the flavors to blend and mellow out just a bit.
  • Keep the dressing stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  •  
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Mention @nowcookthis or tag #nowcookthisrecipes!
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