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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.
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.
- Pizza – Brush it on the crust before adding your toppings.
- Corn salad
- Flank steak
- 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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More Homemade Dressings
Homemade salad dressing always tastes best, and best of all, it’s super easy to make!
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Easy Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe
Homemade Italian Dressing
- 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)
- 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.