This Lemon Vinaigrette is my absolute favorite homemade salad dressing, and it’s incredibly simple to make. Store-bought dressing truly doesn’t compare to this fresh flavor, and it only takes 5 minutes to make!

Lemon Vinaigrette - In a Weck Jar with Salad Greens in Background

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!

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. 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 lemon vinaigrette dressing is that it can be made in 5 minutes, and is versatile enough to go with just about everything.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • fresh lemons
  • garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • salt
  • pepper
Lemon Vinaigrette Ingredients - On a Wood Board with Lemons, Garlic, Olive Oil, Pepper, Mustard, and Salt

I know it seems really simple, but the flavor is fantastic.

Olive Oils I Recommend

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.

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe - Stored in Glass Jar with Lemon and Garlic in Background

Once you learn this 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.

How to Make It:

To make the lemon vinaigrette, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, pressed garlic, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl:

Pouring Lemon Juice into Bowl with Mustard, Salt, Pepper, and More

Whisk that together, until it has a milky beige appearance, then slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil:

Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing - With Olive Oil Being Poured Into Bowl

Doing this slowly will help emulsify the dressing:

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette - In a Glass Bowl with Whisk

Alternatively, you can place everything in a jar and shake it together for a good 30-60 seconds, until combined.

How to Serve It

Salads are the best application, whether for leafy Kale Salad, Tomato Burrata Salad, or Zucchini Ribbon Salad.

You can also drizzle on fish like Grilled Salmon, Seared Snapper, or Grilled Lobster Tails with Sriracha Butter.

You can also brighten up vegetable sides like Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Fennel by tossing it with a few tablespoons.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe - Stored in Small Glass Jar with Salad Greens In Background

More Homemade Dressings

Basil Vinaigrette is another of my favorite salad dressings if you’re a basil fan. Cilantro Lime Dressing is also another favorite, which I pair with my Steak Salad.

Tips and FAQ

Does Lemon Vinaigrette need to be refrigerated?

Yes, store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Can you freeze Lemon Vinaigrette?

Yes, in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Note that it will not taste as fresh upon thawing.

Is Lemon Vinagrette healthy?

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.

What if the dressing hardens in the fridge?

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.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Lemon Vinaigrette

This Lemon Vinaigrette has bright and tangy flavor, and pairs well with nearly any salad.
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

If the dressing loses its emulsification, simply whisk it again (or shake it in the jar).
*Salt varies tremendously in terms of “saltiness per teaspoon” from brand to brand. A kosher salt such as Diamond Crystal brand is about half as salty as a typical iodized table salt. If you’re sensitive to salt or are using table salt, start with less salt and season to taste.
Storing leftovers: Keep in the fridge for up to 10 days. If the olive oil hardens in the fridge, leave at room temperature for 10 minutes, then shake or whisk, and toss into your salad.
Freezing: You may freeze for up to 2 months, but will not taste as fresh.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 204mg, Potassium: 10mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.