This Lemon Vinaigrette is my absolute favorite homemade salad dressing, and it’s incredibly simple to make. Store-bought dressings truly don’t compare to this fresh flavor, and it only takes 5 minutes to make!
I went back and forth for years over whether homemade salad dressing is worth making, since you can buy it so easily at the store. But my answer has undoubtedly become YES! Even after trying all the fancy, more expensive salad dressing lines, the flavor just doesn’t compare to homemade.
First, none of the store-bought salad dressings use extra virgin olive oil as the primary oil (as far as I’ve seen), and EVOO is not only the healthiest oil, but also the most spectacular in flavor.
Salad dressing is such a perfect example of how freshness can make things a million times better, and even the refrigerated store-bought salad dressings taste old and flat to me. Homemade is the way to go, with its unmatched bright flavor!
Tips for Best Results
Buy a fresh, high-quality olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil varies HUGELY in quality and flavor. Some brands are nearly flavorless, while good brands are peppery, fruity, and flavorful. Make sure you use a fresh bottle, because rancid oil will ruin your salad. I recommend some below.
Juice fresh lemons yourself – Do not buy already squeezed lemon juice in a carton. These substitutes do not compare to fresh lemon juice. It only takes a minute to squeeze yourself, and it will taste so much fresher and have no preservatives.
Press the garlic – While you can get away with minced garlic, I like to use an actual garlic press here, which more juices the garlic. It will distribute the flavor well in the dressing without any big pieces.
The beauty of this homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing is that it can be made in 5 minutes, and is versatile enough to go with just about everything.
Main Ingredients You’ll Need:
- fresh lemons
- extra virgin olive oil
- Dijon mustard
- kosher salt
- black pepper
I know it seems really simple, but the flavor profile is fantastic.
Olive Oils I Recommend
Good olive oil is essential to ensure that the dressing tastes good. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some of the best extra virgin olive oils for flavor, in my opinion:
Trader Joe’s 100% Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil – One of the more cost friendly options. Incredible flavor, but very peppery.
California Olive Ranch – The flavor and freshness is incredible. I’ve liked every variety I’ve tried.
Lucini Extra Virgin First Cold Press – Pricey, but amazing flavor and fruity notes.
I do not recommend bargain olive oils or cheaper brands like Pompeian, Mazola, Colavita, or Filippo Berio. Many extra virgin olive oils have been found to be fake, and diluted with seed oils.
Once you learn this recipe as a base, you can add different ingredients to it.
Sometimes I’ll add fresh herbs like minced rosemary, oregano, or chives, or even umami-rich ingredients like anchovy paste, to change up the flavor.
Step by Step Overview:
To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, pressed garlic, mustard, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl:
Whisk that together, until it has a milky beige appearance, then slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil:
Doing this slowly will help emulsify the lemon dressing:
Alternatively, you can place everything in a mason jar, or any container with a tight-fitting lid, and shake it together for a good 30-60 seconds, until combined.
How to Serve It
Tips and FAQ
Yes, store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
Yes, in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Note that it will not taste as fresh upon thawing.
This recipe is Whole30 compliant, low carb, keto friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc! It’s suitable for pretty much every eating style I know of.
The olive oil may solidify in the fridge because it’s so cold. Leave at room temperature for 10 minutes, then give a good shake or a whisk, and toss into your salad.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon (1/4 tsp packed)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves minced or pressed (1 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp salt*
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Or, place all ingredients in a jar, and shake to combine.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.