Salad Dressings

It is easy to make your own fresh salad dressing. One of the most basic and versatile types of salad dressings to make is a vinaigrette. Just 2 or 3 parts oil to 1 part acid, plus salt, pepper, and herbs to taste. A bit of Dijon mustard or mayonnaise may also be added to make it a bit creamy and help it emulsify. Knowing what type of dressing you want and what the ingredients contribute will help you make a delicious salad dressing for any occasion.

Vinaigrettes can be as basic as mixing together oil, vinegar and salt. From there, build flavor with herbs, spices, shallots and garlic. Play with oils and vinegars, too: olive, sesame, walnut, peanut or hazelnut oils; and balsamic, Champagne, and sherry vinegars or citrus juice.

Creamy dressings deliver a lush mouth-feel. From a base of sour cream, buttermilk, cream, yogurt or mayonnaise, creamy dressings are constructed with herbs, spices, shallots, and garlic. Cheese, pickles, chili sauce and other ingredients can add big flavors.


    Different types of oils will give you different tastes for the foundation of your dressing.
  • Olive oil is a classic. While universal, it might not be the flavor you’re looking for.
  • Avocado oil is another smooth, richly flavored option.
  • Walnut oil (or another nut oil) is a nicely flavored option.
  • Seed oils like sunflower, flaxseed, or grapeseed oil are delicious choices.
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil is OK to use if you plan on having other strongly flavored ingredients.


    Experimenting with different acids will change your salad dressing completely. Most commonly used acid is vinegar, alternatively to vinegars is citrus juice, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange juice.
  • Balsamic vinegar has a lovely tang and complex flavor
  • Other vinegars like white vinegar, cider vinegar, or rice wine vinegar are mild and easy to dress up with other flavours.
  • Sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar
  • Try fruit-flavored vinegars for a sweeter option
  • Herb or chili-infused vinegars will add some kick

Creamy Additives

    For a creamy salad dressing you'll need to add a thicker ingredient which can give you more exciting flavors.
  • Buttermilk, Milk, or Cream
  • Honey
  • Mayonnaise or Avacado (These can also replace the oil component for a more creamy dressing)
  • Mustard (dijon, honey or spicy can add a nice twist)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt

Once your basic mix is ready, you can add other flavor components like herbs, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, nuts, dried fruit, cheese, bacon pieces, or whatever you dare to brave. What's the worst that could happen, it’ll taste awful, and you’ll throw it away and start over. No big deal, be creative and push yourself to those Iron Chef limits.

Salad dressings often make marvelous marinades and dipping sauces. Oil and vinegar dressings are popular for marinating meats, but don't overlook dairy-based dressings: the gentle acids in dairy tenderize meats slowly.

Because these do not contain any preservatives, their shelf life is considerably shorter than the bottled varieties, so only make a small amount at a time to avoid spoilage. Keep cream-based dressings refrigerated no more than a week to ten days; oil-based dressings slightly longer.

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