Are you looking for the perfect balsamic vinaigrette for your next salad or dish? This recipe has been a favorite since the first time that I made it.
It contains only 5 ingredients, but it is packed with flavor and so easy to make.
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette vs. Store Bought
I love this homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe for so many reasons. It contains clean, healthy ingredients that you can customize based on what you want. To make things better, it is low in carbohydrate count and overall calories (though I’m not a calorie counter, personally).
On the other hand, store-bought balsamic vinaigrettes are loaded with saturated fats, preservatives, and sugars.
How to Choose Ingredients for the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
The most important thing to remember when you make balsamic vinaigrette: Not all balsamics are made the same. I repeat, not all balsamics are made the same.
If the vinegar you choose is too bitter or acidic alone, you’ll end up with a less-than-pleasing dressing.
Balsamic vinegar that comes in giant bargain bottles tends to be more acidic, so look for a smaller bottle of well-aged balsamic. A little goes a long way, and it is well worth the few extra dollars to use high-quality vinegar. I’ve been loving aged fig balsamic lately.
Look for cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil. You may also opt for another oil with a light, pleasant flavor, like avocado or grapeseed oil.
Dijon Mustard or Whole Grain Mustard
Time for one of my favorite condiments: I love grainy mustard.
I’ve been using Sierra Nevada Stout a lot lately. Some people like Grey Poupon, and I’ve used it on occasion.
Again, just make sure you like the flavor before adding it to your dressing. Most people consider this ingredient optional in balsamic vinaigrette, but I always add it as it enhances the taste and helps the emulsion process.
I always use sea salt for its rich mineral content. Look for a finely ground salt, so it dissolves in your dressing. I use the brand Real Salt.
Freshly ground black pepper is always best. I twist my grinder to a medium grind.
Optional Add-ins to Your Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
Fresh Garlic or Fresh Minced Shallots
I don’t always add these because high-quality mustard will already contain these flavors.
Raw garlic is robust. If you add garlic to your recipe, just smash the clove and let it sit in the vinaigrette for a few minutes to infuse flavor but not overpower it. One smashed or minced garlic clove or one teaspoon minced shallot per one cup should do it.
Just say no to added sugar.
If you use a good aged balsamic, you won’t need to add any extra sweetness.
Also, aged balsamic contains a little sugar, so be mindful of how much you consume and skip any added sugar in your salad (candied nuts, etc.). Some naturally occurring sugar (like the sugar in an apple) is ok.
How to Store Balsamic Vinaigrette
I always make this dressing in small batches and refrigerate it after using it to keep it fresh.
Due to the highly acidic nature of balsamic vinegar, it stores easily in an airtight glass container for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
Pro Tip: I simply store the dressing in a mason jar with a lid in the refrigerator until I use it next.
This keeps the dressing fresh and tasting delicious!
Different Ways to Try This Recipe
This delightful balsamic vinaigrette dressing is not limited to just one basic salad. It can be used in various ways, from superfood salads to pasta to roasted veggies.
Balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect salad dressing.
Here are a few fun salad ideas to try with this homemade balsamic vinaigrette:
Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Romaine salad with balsamic vinaigrette is a staple in my house. It provides a quick, healthy dose of greens and tastes delicious. Win-win for me!
Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Cranberries, and Feta
An arugula salad topped with these delicious toppings just adds a new level to your salad game.
Arugula is packed with micronutrients, and 3 cups of it provide vitamin C, folate, calcium, and your daily value of vitamin k.
I even love to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on this for a zesty kick.
Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Feta, and Walnuts
When I don’t feel like having a romaine or arugula salad, I use spinach as the base for my balsamic vinaigrette salad. It provides an excellent source of micronutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and other rich vitamins and minerals.
If you want to switch it up, try making pasta salad topped with this homemade balsamic vinaigrette. You can use regular noodles or gluten-free for this meal.
Roasted Veggies with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Roasted veggies with balsamic vinaigrette are a super easy and delicious way to incorporate more nutrients into your next meal.
For spring/summer veggies, try roasting a variety of tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, and onions.
For fall/winter veggies, use an assortment of vegetables like radishes, turnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squashes.
Can You Swap the Ingredients for This Recipe?
Yes, you can definitely swap ingredients for this recipe. I recommend using high-quality olive oil, but any mild-tasting (and high-quality) oil is perfect for this recipe. Grapeseed oil is a good alternative if you prefer not to use olive oil.
I also encourage you to use whatever ingredients work best for you. The beauty of this vinaigrette is that it is simple but customizable, depending on your needs.
Tips for Making the Best Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
High-quality doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive; it just means shopping smarter and choosing the right ingredients. When preparing a homemade salad dressing—or anything, for that matter—make sure that each individual component is delicious on its own.
The ratio of vinegar to oil in the perfect vinaigrette is up for debate. I really like half & half. Some people prefer a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil (for example, 1/2 cup of vinegar to 1 cup of oil) or even 1:3. Just play around with it until you find how you enjoy it most.
I also love to incorporate other spices, such as oregano and garlic powder, to give this recipe a little twist. Feel free to experiment with different spices to enhance the flavor of this recipe.
If you want the balsamic vinaigrette to be slightly sweeter, try using a bit of honey or maple syrup to add sweetness.
This homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe is a top Google search for a reason—it goes with just about everything! It’s super simple to whip up a batch and makes any salad or veggie taste amazing.
If you love it, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community.
1/2 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid (a mason jar works great).
Shake vigorously for 30 seconds until emulsified. You can also emulsify your vinaigrette in a blender or food processor (work on low, increasing the speed as you stream in the oil last). I only use a blender when working in extra large quantities. Up to about a cup, shaking it like crazy in a mason jar works great (and there’s way less clean up.)
Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. To use this method, whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl, then stream in the olive oil while you continue to whisk until the dressing has emulsified.
This yummy recipe also works great with any kind of vinegar you like, especially red wine vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is full of health benefits and adds great depth to this recipe. It might separate, so shake up ACV before using it.
The recipe below makes 1 cup, but you can use the proportions to make any amount.