How to Make a Basic Vinaigrette.

Did you know it’s very easy to make homemade vinaigrette? It’s fast, easy and so worth it. I have never encountered a store-bought vinaigrette that is anywhere near as tasty as a basic homemade version. Bottled vinaigrettes are overpriced and they’re also often full of weird, unnecessary ingredients.

Vinaigrettes take almost no time to prepare and you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry to make a few varieties. All you need are:

  • A good quality oil (examples: extra virgin, hazelnut)
  • Vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon juice (examples: balsamic, white wine)
  • Salt and pepper

The classic ratio for vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part acid (vinegar or lemon juice). Personally, I like a bit more of a kick to my vinaigrettes so I usually go with a 2 to 1 ratio, which you’ll see in the recipe at the bottom of this post.

I found a neat little vinaigrette bottle at a local kitchen supply store, which you can see in these photos, but you don’t need to purchase special equipment. You can use measuring spoons or liquid measuring cups to portion out the ingredients and then place them into a jar or plastic container with a tight fitting lid.

After the liquids are measured out, you can add other ingredients. I definitely suggest using salt and pepper at the very least.

Other popular additions to homemade vinaigrette include:

  • Chopped shallots
  • Minced garlic
  • Citrus juice
  • Mustard
  • Chopped fresh herbs
  • Spices
  • Sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or brown sugar

Mustard can serve an important role aside from simply adding flavor. Mustard will help homemade vinaigrettes stay emulsified. See how the oil and vinegar are separate in the first few photos? That’s because these ingredients don’t naturally blend well. To blend (or emulsify) them you have to shake the bottle vigorously. But after several minutes they will separate again. Mustard is a binding ingredient that will allow the ingredients to stay emulsified for a longer period of time.

The key with vinaigrettes is to experiment, taste frequently and learn what you enjoy. I’ve included a basic recipe below to use as a baseline.

Basic Vinaigrette
Note: For a less assertive vinaigrette, add 2 additional tablespoons olive oil.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Several twists fresh ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid.
  2. Shake well, serve.