Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’ll admit: I like to keep things simple. At least when it comes to salad. After all, there are few better ways to dress up some greens and veggies than with a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette—the ingredients in the salad get to sing, and you still enjoy a pleasant tanginess from the dressing.

Of course, there’s a lot of joy to be found in creating simplicity too, especially in the kitchen. It doesn’t take much to whip up this homemade balsamic vinaigrette, which relies on a few common ingredients. It also lets you control the flavor and play around with some variations (plus, you can be sure you’re happy with everything that goes into it!).  

We’re going to be drizzling this over a berry-beet salad, grilled peaches and warm quinoa bowls, but feel free to get creative with this as a dressing and marinade.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar is pure, pure vinegar, with a dark brown color and a deep flavor. Quality matters for the optimal outcome, and an aged balsamic vinegar will be a little sweeter and milder. 
  • Olive oil: You want to use high-quality olive oil here for the best flavor. Look for extra virgin. 
  • Dijon mustard: Besides providing a nice sharpness, mustard also acts as an emulsifier, helping blend together the oil and vinegar, which don’t normally want to combine.
  • Honey: Lending a little bit of sweetness (most balsamic vinaigrettes have sweetener), honey also helps create an emulsion. You can cut back or add more, depending on how big of a sweet tooth you have. 
  • Garlic: Savory and complex, garlic fuels your vinaigrette’s flavors. Aim for fresh over what you might find in a jar.


Step 1: Make the dressing

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well until the ingredients are combined.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t have a shakeable jar? You can put your ingredients in a blender, slowly adding the olive oil bit by bit to emulsify. Stop when you reach your desired thickness and the ingredients are all mixed.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Variations

  • Get zesty: For a little extra freshness, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of citrus juice. Lemon is more typical, but orange will make it sweeter.
  • White out: Use white balsamic vinegar instead of regular balsamic vinegar to make a white balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a little sweeter and a little more mellow—some people also eliminate the mustard when making this version. 
  • An apple a day: For a fruitier, tangier dressing, use apple cider vinegar instead of balsamic vinegar.
  • Play with herbs: Try adding 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried herbs, like oregano or rosemary, to your balsamic vinaigrette recipe. Red pepper flakes are also an option to kick up some heat. 

How to Store Balsamic Vinaigrette

Store your dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. We don’t recommend freezing it.

Why did my balsamic vinaigrette dressing separate after I made it?

The vinegar and the oil naturally separate in the fridge. All it needs is a good shake to get mixed again!

Can I use something other than olive oil in this recipe?

You can use avocado oil in its place. 

Can I use something other than honey in my balsamic vinaigrette?

If you want to use a different sweetener, try maple syrup. You can also eliminate it entirely to reduce the sugar.

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