How to Make Salad Dressing

How to Make Salad Dressing – scroll down for salad dressing recipes

New collaboration video with Adriene from Yoga with Adriene! Watch the video above to see how to make a classic French tossed salad and to see a recipe for a homemade salad dressing you can store in the fridge.

There are about as many ways to make salad dressing as there are people on earth. Like all food, salad dressing is a personal taste. How tangy, how smooth, how salty, how sweet, even how much dressing you put on a salad — nobody can tell you how to do it! I’m exaggerating. Of course I can tell you how to do it. Or how to get started anyway.

As far as ingredients go, use any oil and any vinegar you like. Extra-virgin olive oil is perfect for salads, but so is any “nice” (read: expensive, cold-pressed, fancy oil) oil such as walnut or hazelnut or safflower oil. I might warn you to steer clear of really strong-flavored oils like peanut or sesame, but you might choose to ignore me and that’s fine! Try it! I really like unfiltered apple cider vinegar for its fruity flavor, but red wine vinegar, balsamic, champagne vinegar … they all work. No vinegar? Use lemon or lime juice.

tossed salad

Classic Tossed salad

First technique, the classic French method of building your salad dressing in the salad bowl. Start with a large bowl. You need lots of room for tossing that salad, baby!

If you want a garlicky bite, rub the inside of your bowl with a cut clove of garlic. Then add the oil and vinegar. The classic ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (or 1 tablespoon oil: 1 teaspoon vinegar) but I encourage you to mess with that to find what you prefer. Often I do 3:2 for a little more sourness in my salad.

Add in some fresh cracked pepper, then your salad greens. At least a couple big handfuls. Toss well until all the leaves are coated and glossy. Add some fresh herbs if you want. Salt the salad and toss again. And as the French say, Voila! Salad is served.

homemade salad dressing recipes

Second option is the more American-style of preparing a larger quantity of dressing at once and storing it in the fridge to use as needed. Here are two of my favorite homemade salad dressing recipes: Orange juice vinaigrette and Italian dressing (think Kraft “Zesty Italian” and you’re on the right track 😉 )

Link to the Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

Orange Juice Vinaigrette


Orange Juice Vinaigrette

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Yield: 1/2 cup 1x


  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons oil (olive oil, walnut or other nut oils, or mild oil like canola)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (or another kind)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, any kind
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.


Try this recipe with grapefruit juice, too! Add a little honey if you like.

Did you make this recipe?

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Bon appetit! For more salad recipes, check out this Vegan Caesar salad, Couscous salad, or Greek pasta salad!

salad with adriene


  1. The Other Randy on March 30, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Ever since I became a huge fan of quinoa bowls, my consumption of salad dressing has sky rocketed. There’s always an Oxo salad dressing shaker filled with your Italian dressing in my refrigerator and I suspect that one containing this dressing will join it. I’m still trying to find the right balance when I try to improvise an Asian style bowl where I use Vietnamese-style pickled shallots to supply the vinegar and Lion and Globe peanut oil (tons more peanut flavor and aroma than American brands) but I usually end up with either a bland dressing or one that’s too vinegary. Next time I’m going to try adding crushed red pepper flakes to the mix. Any other suggestions?

    • Hilah on March 30, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Ooh, do you ever add peanut butter or tahini to your Asian-style dressings? That might balance the vinegar better than straight oil. I add grated ginger and garlic, too, when I want an Asian-inspired sauce. Definitely red pepper flakes! Maybe some miso or soy sauce for the salty component.

    • Jo @ mostlyfitmom on April 6, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      This is perfect inspiration! I struggle to get my family to enjoy quinoa, and I bet this orange vinaigrette would be absolutely fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing, The Other Randy and Hilah!

      • Hilah on April 6, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        It would be great on quinoa, Jo! Coincidentally, I also posted this quinoa salad recipe last week, which also uses orange juice.

  2. larry kimball on March 30, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    You always make me laugh! Great smile, easy laugh, and you are beautiful. Great salad dressing basics. You nailed it. Again. I am not surprised. Signed: Your best Florida fan.

  3. Caroline on April 3, 2016 at 7:03 am

    LOVE this! I’m such a fan of both you and Andriene’s! The basic vinaigrette is a favorite of mine, but this orangey dressing sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I love how little oil you use in it. We eat salads daily, so I have a feeling I’ll be making it often!

  4. Mary Teague on April 4, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Just made the OJ dressing with Dijon mustard and it’s a bit strong. Do you think adding pure maple syrup or honey would help? If so, how much? Thanks.

    • Hilah on April 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Hi Mary,
      You can add a half-teaspoon or a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey if it’s too tart for you!

  5. Tracy on April 6, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    First time making homemade salad dressing—Never going back!!!!!!! Thank you Thank you

    • Hilah on April 6, 2016 at 1:39 pm

      SO happy to hear, Tracy!

  6. Russell on May 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    I did your classic French (although I did 3:2 like you as well–I like it tart) w/the greens, then dumped 1/2 lb. of lump crab meat mixed w/a shallot, some celery & mayo on top for a crab salad. That went over well.

    As for dressings yes I’ve made my own vinaigrettes for years: my mother clipped a basic recipe from some magazine decades ago then we all used it. It had 6 basic variations on the same theme: 1/3 c. olive oil, 2 TBSP of some type of vinegar or citrus, then varying amounts of herbs & seasonings. I’m normally not a huge one for sweet dressings but I’ll definitely try the OJ one–it looks good!

    My go-to salad is cucumber, red or orange bell pepper (green is too bitter), celery, carrots & radishes (if it’s winter) tossed w/smoked paprika, salt, pepper & then some type of oil & vinegar dressing. It was described as a “Hungarian salad” in The Frugal Gourmet many years ago. I think it also calls for romaine but when I make salads just for me I usually skip the lettuce. Totally different when making the French salad/dressing above of course: them-there greens are the whole-dang-raisin-dee-etree!

    Where can I find a nice wooden salad bowl I can season w/a garlic clove & some wooden salad serving bowls as well?

    • Hilah on May 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      I LOVE that idea to put smoked paprika in salad dressing. I’ll try that combination.
      My salad bowl came from an online company called Pacific Merchants. They make really pretty salad bowls and utensils from acacia wood.

      • Russell on July 16, 2016 at 10:55 am

        Thanks! I’ll go to that-there Amerzon & look. You know you can buy all-kinna-stuff on that-there Amerzon?..

        I liked your friends from the old days like Freakzone & Carlos & learning how to Grill Like a Mexican (pollo al carbon? mmmmm… pollo al car-booooonnnnn…) & all but I do have to say the Standard-O’-Pulchritude (in addition to yourself… ‘course–duh) did go up when you got to SoCA; so out of purely-idle curiosity–any more episodes coming up w/Adrienne or Lynn? 😀

  7. Elisia on December 12, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Wowza! The Orange Juice vinaigrette is so tasty, y’all! I will admit, my expections going into it were just kind of meh, because that’s how I feel about organge juice, but then I decided to trust Hillah because she has not led me astray, and the vinaigrette came out so tasty! Highly recommend. This dressing will have me eating those salad greens I purchased a few days ago (cause I was worried those were going to go to waste).

    (This recipe is also in her how to cook book, so that is originally where I found this recipe. :-))

    • Hilah on December 13, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Yay! So glad to exceed your expectations, Elisia 🙂 And THANK you for buying my cookbook!!

  8. Tonda on September 28, 2018 at 10:01 am

    I just tried the orange juice vinaigrette and it is soooo good! It is definitely a new favorite. As a new vegan I recently learned that Vitamin C assists with iron absorption. I have been looking for ways to add it naturally to my meals, and this fits the bill perfectly. Thank you!

    • Hilah on October 1, 2018 at 5:55 am

      Yes! You are exactly right about vitamin C and iron absorption 🙂 Glad you like this salad dressing!

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