Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

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Making your own homemade Italian dressing is a super easy replacement for the preservative-filled stuff you get at the store.

I love making my own Italian dressing. But this one, well, I wanted to keep this recipe extra simple. I thought I could just add some basic Italian herb and be done with it. But that’s not how it worked out. And that was actually a good thing.

Clean Eating Italian Dressing Recipe

Italian seasoning is usually made with herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, or any combination of those herbs or more.

The store-bought version is an herb blend you can pick up in the spice aisle at your local grocery store. Most stores carry it, and it makes life a little easier. I use it for a lot of recipes and it’s always a delicious blend.

I had hoped to use just that herb blend in this dressing but in the end, I added a little extra basil and a few other ingredients as well. The honey is an optional ingredient because I know a lot of folks watching their carbs and sugars read this blog. But it does add a nice flavor if you want it. At the end of the day, this is a good, classic Italian dressing that uses easy-to-find, basic ingredients.

Where Is Italian Dressing From?

Believe it or not, Italian dressing is American, not Italian! It got its name from the spices used to make it. You can either make it with individual spices, or you can do it the easy way and purchase Italian seasoning in your local grocery store spice aisle.

How Long Does Homemade Italian Dressing Keep In The Fridge?

This zesty Italian dressing will last a good week, maybe more. There isn’t anything here that will immediately go bad. So you can most likely keep it up to about 2 weeks if you store it in the fridge.

Note that these are all-natural ingredients. This will separate and “harden” a bit in the fridge. This is totally normal. Simply set it out on the counter for a bit before using it. If it has truly separated, you can give it a quick whiz in the blender again and it will be good as new!

Is Italian Dressing Healthy?

In general, Italian dressing is always a healthier choice. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Many mass-produced dressings have added preservatives, chemicals, and sugar in spades. So the best way to make sure it’s healthy is to make it at home yourself. Luckily, it’s super quick and easy.

What Kind Of Vinegar Is Best For A Homemade Italian Dressing?

There is some debate over what vinegar makes the best Italian dressing. Some folks swear by white vinegar, while others insist red vinegar is best. Personally, I like apple cider vinegar, which is what I’ve used here. You can use whatever vinegar you prefer in this recipe. Any of them will work.

Fresh Herbs Or Dry Herbs?

While some people may prefer fresh herbs, I really like dried herbs in a dressing. Mainly because the herbs last longer, which means your dressing will last longer. The same thing goes for using a fresh garlic clove.

Creamy Italian Dressing

If you want this to be a creamy dressing, you can mix in a few tablespoons of mayonnaise. Start with 2 tablespoons, and add more to your liking. You can also try sour cream if you prefer. But mayo tends to give this more flavor.

Italian Dressing Recipe Ingredients

Here are the healthy ingredients you’ll need to make this salad dressing. Use the best quality ingredients you can. Remember that this entire recipe can adjust to your personal taste. Any of these ingredient amounts can be changed or switched to your liking.

1 cup apple cider vinegar – Or the vinegar of your choosing. White wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar… they will all work well here.

1 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil – Here too, you can use pretty much any oil you prefer, though extra-virgin olive oil is traditional. Many store-bought dressings use soy oil or safflower oil. So don’t feel strange trying a different oil.

1 tbsp. garlic granules – Garlic powder works too.

1 tbsp. onion granules – Or onion powder.

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning – This is a 100% spice mix you can find in any spice aisle. However, you can also make your own. Here’s the Italian seasoning blend recipe I use. There are many versions of Italian seasonings. Any of them will work fine here.

1 tsp. dijon mustard – No sugar added

1 tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. ground black pepper

¼ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use whatever you normally use in the kitchen.

1 tsp. honey – This is optional but tasty.

2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese – Optional. I didn’t use it, but a lot of people like it.

½ tsp. red pepper flakes – Optional. I didn’t use it, but it will give your dressing some kick!

How To Make Homemade Italian Dressing

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and blend well to combine. You can also just give it a good shake in a mason jar with a tight lid if it’s easier. but it won’t blend as well. You can try blending this with a whisk in a medium bowl, but I find it doesn’t work as well.

Transfer the dressing to a storage container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to about 2 months.

Note that it is best to let this sit for 24 hours before using it for the first time. This gives the herbs time to infuse into the oil. Shake well before every use. The oil will solidify in the fridge. Simply let it sit out for an hour or so before shaking to use again.

Ways To Use Homemade Italian Dressing

This dressing will work on anything from a simple side salad, to a zesty, robust pasta salad. It works great as a marinade too.

  • Pasta salads – Simply mix into any pasta salad with some veggies. Delish!
  • Pork chops
  • Chicken – breasts and thighs in particular.
  • Dip – Mix this with cream cheese and a few extra spices for a delicious dip for vegetables.
  • Bruschetta
  • Pizza – Brush it on the crust before adding your toppings.
  • Corn salad
  • Flank steak
  • Sandwiches
  • Any type of green salads
  • Homemade salads using any grain such as rice, quinoa or millet.

Can Italian Dressing Be Used As A Marinade?

You betcha! It’s delicious as a marinade for beef, pork, or chicken!

How To Cook Chicken In Italian Dressing

Pour enough dressing over raw chicken to marinate it. Set it in the fridge for 1-8 hours. The longer you marinate, the better the flavor. Then bake the chicken in the oven. If you want to, you can also pour a little extra dressing over the top of your cooked chicken. Just don’t use the dressing you used to marinate the raw chicken.

How Much Italian Dressing To Marinate Chicken?

On average, it’s about ½ a cup per chicken breast or ½ lb. of chicken. But this is a loose rule. Use more or less as you like.

Are Italian Dressings Gluten Free?

If you are buying it at the store, some are and some are not. So you’ll want to buy a dressing that is labeled as such.

Can Italian Dressing Go Bad?

Yes, it can! Mostly, because the oil can go rancid after a while. You absolutely must store it in the fridge for it to last any length of time. The best way to tell if it’s bad? Smell it! Your nose knows!

How To Store This Italian Salad Dressing Recipe

You want to keep this in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.
This does not freeze well.

If kept in the fridge, this dressing will last quite a while, but you’ll want to let it sit out on the counter a bit before using it just so you can shake it up well before putting it on your salad.

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Easy Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

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Homemade Italian Dressing

This delicious salad dressing doubles as a wonderful marinade as well!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 36 tbsp. (2 1/4 cups)
Calories: 73kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. Italian herb
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard, no sugar added
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients together in a blender and blend well to combine.
  • Transfer the dressing to a storage container and keep in refrigerator for up to about 2 months.
  • Note that it is best to let this sit for 24 hours before using for the first time. This gives the herbs time to infuse into the oil. Shake well before every use. The oil will solidify in the fridge. Simply let it sit out for an hour or so before shaking to use again.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp. | Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 22mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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39 Comments

  1. That looks like the dressing I usually make, give or take what I have on hand. Not a fan of garlic or onion powder, so I don’t use them. Lemon juice instead of vinegar goes well with some of the tangy greens in my salads. My Italian grandmother always added a pinch of sugar to her oil and vinegar dressing. She also cut up a piece of garlic and let it infuse into the oil. Freshly sliced onion is a healthy salad addition and can always be left behind if one doesn’t like them. Fresh parsley is always good too. I wouldn’t add it to the bottle of dressing though. You could add dried.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jane – It’s certainly a versatile dressing. I’m sure those adjustments would be delicious! 🙂

    2. I wouldn’t add processed sugar to anything. Raw honey is much healthier if you can’t go without the sweets

  2. This looks amazing! I’m sure it will be a new favorite. I have a dumb question though, is Italian herb the same thing as Italian seasoning? Thanks!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stacey – I believe so. It’s something you find in with all the other spices at the store. Not the packaged seasoning mixes, but the actual herbs.

  3. I have the same question about the Italian herb. I don’t know what it is. So, it’s a herb that will be in produce?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – It’s a mix of herbs. Basically, basil, oregano, marjoram, etc. I’ve never seen it in the produce section, but I guess it’s all how your local store is arranged. Wherever they sell their spices (the dried herbs like basil and parsley in the jars) is where you will find it.

  4. 5 stars
    This is fantastic Italian dressing! I was in a rut of using only olive oil and vinegar on my salads (no herbs or spices) and forgot how flavorful a dressing could be. And simple – which is very important to me!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jacqui – Wonderful! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    We loved this! Finally found the Italian herb

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – Fantastic!!! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  6. How long does this dressing usually keep? And should it be stored in the fridge or counter?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tess – It states that information in the recipe.

  7. Heather Austin says:

    5 stars
    Just tried this and it is BETTER than store bought! Thanks for sharing!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Heather – My pleasure! So glad you enjoyed it!

  8. 5 stars
    I made the dressing and it is AMAZING. I followed it exactly and it is congealing (sp?) in the fridge. When I take it out and let it sit it returns to normal. Is it safe to just leave it out?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Meghan – It will last longer in the fridge, but I always set it out a in the morning if I know I will be having it for dinner.

  9. Hi I am not meant to eat garlic or onions, is there anything I could substitute these for, or would it make a big difference if I didn’t use them at all? Many thanks
    Georgia

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Georgia – You could try it, but yes, it would change the flavor a lot.

  10. Heather Austin says:

    5 stars
    I have already commented on here how much I love this recipe, but now I have to share more. I made this Easter Sunday and everyone loved it. My uncle was dipping EVERYTHING into it. He ended up taking the leftover dressing home! I was told that this now needs to be a staple at all our dinners.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Heather – Thanks so much! I’m so happy everyone enjoyed it! 😀

  11. Denise Passero says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious. Made this three times already. I keep a jar in my office since I eat salads pretty much every day. I had guests and I made about a quart for them thinking I would have some left over for the house. It was such a big hit that they ate the whole thing and the next day I had nothing left for the house. I even had one asking me for the bit that was left over to take home. So I made a third one for the house. I mixed the ingredients and buzzed it up with my submersible stick blender. The blender emulsified it so it doesn’t separate so quickly. I think it will make a great marinade so I plan to marinate some chicken in it and grill it. It should be delicious. It is so easy to make also which means you can throw it together last minute if you forgot to make it ahead.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Denise – Thank you! I might try blending it next time and see what happens. Glad everyone enjoyed it! 😀

  12. Hi,

    When making the italian clean dressing and when you say you use “italian herb”; what is that exactly please?

    Thanks Ranell

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ranell – It’s an herbal mix you can buy in most spice aisles at the store. It’s right in there with the Basil and Parsley. I also have a recipe for it here on my blog if you’d rather make it.

  13. I just made this recipe two nights ago and I’ve used it on my salads the past two days. I find the vinegar to be overpowering. Is there anything I can add to tame that? I followed the recipe except cut it in half for a smaller amount. I didn’t add the honey, as it was optional. Suggestions?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Margaret – You can certainly add more oil. The honey does offset the vinegar a bit as well, so you may want to give it a shot.

  14. I made this recipe and left it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. It congealed! Any idea what would have caused that?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Vanessa – Yep! It’s gets a bit solid in the fridge. Just let it sit out on the counter for a bit, then shake. It’s perfectly normal. 🙂

  15. Hi Tiffany! What is Italian herb?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Vanessa – It’s a purely herbal mix. You can find it in the spice aisle with the parsley and basil.

  16. Ayanna @ 21FlavorsofSplendor says:

    5 stars
    This is delicious!! In an effort to eat better and to adapt a lot of the clean eating principles, I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. This is definitely a keeper.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ayanna – I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

  17. 1 1/4 cup of olive oil had almost 2500 calories. Is there something you can replace that with.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Gary – But you don’t use the entire bottle of dressing on your salad. A tablespoon or two at most. It’s an oil and vinegar based dressing, so there isn’t anything you can replace it with. You could make a dairy based dressing though. I have a clean ranch dressing.

  18. Jerri Nedinne says:

    Hi! I’m very excited to try this, but all kinds of prepared mustards seem to give me headaches. Do u have a substitute, or could I leave it out?

    Thank in advance!
    -Jerri

  19. 5 stars
    So simple and so delicious. My new go to recipe. Thanks you for sharing

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