How to Make Italian Dressing

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There's no reason to buy Italian dressing when it's so easy to make homemade salad dressing. An Italian dressing, whether creamy or olive oil-based, makes for an unbeatable addition to any salad. This recipe is extremely versatile, as you can use Italian dressing for salads, pasta salads or dips. Once you've mastered the technique, you can get more creative with Greek, citrus or tahini salad dressing ideas.

How to Make Italian Dressing
(Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar
  • Oil
  • Herbs and spices
Step 1

Add vinegar to a mixing bowl. Commercial Italian dressings use regular white distilled vinegar, but you can use any flavored vinegar you like. Red wine and white wine vinegar both make good bases for an Italian dressing. You need 1 tablespoon of vinegar to make 1/2 cup of dressing.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 2

Add a pinch of salt to the vinegar and let it sit for a moment to melt. Pour three times as much oil as vinegar into a measuring cup. Flavored oils, such as olive and basil, add a layer of flavor that sets homemade Italian dressing apart.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 3

Add a few drops of oil while vigorously whisking the vinegar to start the emulsion. Continue to whisk while slowly drizzling in the remaining oil in a steady, slow stream.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 4

Taste the vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 5

Add freshly chopped herbs and spices to the vinaigrette. Classic Italian seasoning mixes usually contain rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano as the base herbs. You can add those and take it further with some sage and parsley, or pick two or three of the base herbs and add minced roasted garlic, finely chopped shallots and fennel seeds.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media
Step 6

Transfer the Italian dressing to a glass jar and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to marry the flavors. Shake the jar vigorously to re-emulsify the dressing right before serving.

Sarah Vantassel/Demand Media

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