Homemade Italian Dressing

$1.89 recipe / $0.24 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 2 votes
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I love making simple homemade vinaigrettes, and this classic Italian dressing has been a favorite lately. This dressing is similar to the bottled “Italian dressing” that you’d find in the grocer store, except made with simple ingredients that you’ll find in your fridge and pantry. It’s the perfect mix of bright lemon and vinegar, flavorful herbs, and savory Parmesan to take your homemade salads up to the next level.

a small glass carafe with Italian dressing with a salad bowl in the back

What’s in Italian Dressing?

This all-purpose homemade dressing is a simple vinaigrette base packed with dried herbs and Parmesan. The base is olive oil and red wine vinegar, plus a little lemon juice to freshen things up and Dijon mustard to help emulsify the vinegar into the oil. I added a hefty dose of herbs, in the way of an Italian seasoning blend for convenience, plus a little garlic, and a touch of sugar to soften the acid every so slightly. Lastly, grated Parmesan adds so much umami and depth of flavor that it will make you want to eat the dressing by the spoonful!

Can I Skip the Sugar?

Technically you can skip the sugar if you really have to, but even that small dose of sugar goes a long way toward creating a really smooth dressing and reducing any bitterness, so I don’t suggest skipping it if at all possible. It’s only ½ tsp for the entire batch, so the dose per serving is extremely small.

Can I Skip the Parmesan?

Yes. This still makes a really stellar vinaigrette even without the Parmesan. I will say that the Parmesan totally takes the dressing to the next level, but I find plain vinaigrettes quite enjoyable on their own as well. So if you want to make a vegan dressing or just don’t have Parmesan on hand, don’t let it hold you back from making this homemade dressing.

How to Store Levtover Italian Dressing

Store your leftover dressing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for about a week. The olive oil may solidify when the dressing gets very cold but will liquify again if set out at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

How to Serve Italian Dressing

The flavors in this simple dressing are so universal that it will taste good on just about any salad. But it’s also great on pasta salad, on a simple sliced tomato and mozzarella salad, or even as a marinade for chicken! I think this dressing would also be amazing soaked into a crusty piece of bread as part of a pressed deli sandwich. YES!

Overhead view of a spoon in a jar full of homemade italian dressing
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Homemade Italian Dressing

5 from 2 votes
This simple homemade Italian Dressing is a zesty mix of flavorful herbs, savory Parmesan, and bright lemon to complement any salad.
Italian dressing in a glass carafe in front of a bowl of salad
Servings 8 2 Tbsp each
Prep 5 mins
Total 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ($0.84)
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.04)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.12)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder* ($0.02)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan** ($0.22)

Instructions 

  • Add all of the ingredients to a jar or bowl. If using a jar, screw the lid on tightly and shake until the ingredients are incorporated. If using a bowl, whisk until the ingredients are incorporated. Give the dressing a quick shake or whisk just before serving.

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Equipment

Notes

*You can use one minced clove of fresh garlic in place of the garlic powder if you prefer a stronger garlic flavor.
**Bottled grated Parmesan with cellulose (an anti-caking agent) may clump slightly, but will still taste great.

Nutrition

Serving: 2TbspCalories: 130kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 14gSodium: 180mgFiber: 1g
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How to Make Italian Dressing – Step by Step Photos

Italian dressing ingredients in a jar

Combine ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp Dijon, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, ½ tsp sugar, and 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan in a bowl or jar.

mixed Italian dressing in a jar

If using a jar, close the lid on the jar tightly then shake until the ingredients are incorporated. If using a bowl, whisk the ingredients together until incorporated.

Italian dressing being poured over a large salad

Serve your homemade Italian dressing over your favorite salad (Antipasto Salad pictured above), sliced vegetables, or even as a marinade for chicken!

Italian dressing in a glass carafe in front of a bowl of salad
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Comments

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  1. Is there a good substitute for the Dijon? Or would it be best just to leave it out? I’m cooking for one and I don’t care for mustard, so when I buy it the only thing I use it for is dressings like this. Most of the jar ends up expired and I would like to avoid the waste.

    1. Unfortunately, the Dijon is pretty important for this recipe. Not only does it provide a distinct tang, but it also acts as an emulsifier to help keep the vinegar and oil from separating so quickly.

  2. thank you, love making this from scratch and controlling the ingredients, maybe a little less sugar for instance, so thank you! Much better than any store brand as you write, much appreciated

  3. Will definitely try this. Your recipe is very similar to one found in “The North End Italian Cookbook” by Marguerite DiMino Buonopane. Hers is very good and I know your will be, too. Just looking at the ingredient list I know a winner when I see one.

  4. I was looking online for an Italian Salad Dressing recipe which had a lot less sodium, than the bottled ones contain.  I came across your recipe, which sounds delicious. I’ll definately give it a whirl.  The ingredients sound spot-on, so I’m pretty sure we’ll love it.  Thanks 💐

  5. This is such a high quality way to save money. Even commercial olive oil dressings have other oils listed first in the ingredients. This is the way i make vinaigrette but without parm. I think adding it will be a treat.

  6. I just started to make my own dressing as I used to find the recipes on line not very tasty.  However, ever since I found your site I have once again ventured into homemade dressing. I am a convert.  Thank you for the awesome recipes.  Keep them coming.

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I got that. I’ve had it for a few years and I’m always buying random props at different places. 😬