Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

25 Comments
7 minutes
December 2, 2022
Carole JonesJump to Recipe

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe uses garlic and mustard as its base to give it an amazing depth of flavor. It comes together in less than five minutes and is worth the tiny amount of extra effort. Once you make this homemade salad dressing from scratch, you will never buy the store-bought junk in a bottle again. It comes together in just a few minutes and lasts for months in the fridge.

Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Why I Love This Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

This balsamic vinaigrette recipe has given me a reputation around town. Let me ask you this. When you attend a potluck, is there a certain recipe you have to bring every time or you will get in trouble? For me, it’s the big salad that I make and it has to be tossed with this dressing. And of course, homemade French bread!

About once a month, we have a potluck after our church services and if I don’t bring my salad with this balsamic vinaigrette recipe, all I hear are complaints. You know, a gal like me lives for the chance to try new recipes and show off her skills,  but it isn’t worth the hassle anymore. I give up. I hereby vow to always bring my salad with this dressing.

This salad dressing recipe is always on request after every potluck. But, I’ve always had a hard time giving out because I have never measured the amounts of each ingredient. I just whisk it all together in a bowl until it tastes right.

So this week, I took the extra time to measure it all as I whisked it together. This balsamic vinaigrette recipe has a lot of punch to it from the high vinegar-to-oil ratio. That is how I like my vinaigrettes. That punch is what everyone loves so much about it. It isn’t boring like most oil and vinegar dressings. Give it a try as written on a salad before trying to dilute it with more oil. Just be warned that if you bring this to a potluck, you will be bringing it until the end of time.

What is a Balsamic Vinaigrette

A balsamic vinaigrette is an Italian salad dressing made from balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Different seasonings are added to create a more robust flavor, such as garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and sometimes a sweetener such as honey. 
Balsamic vinegar is a naturally sweet acid made by fermenting and aging white grape juice in oak barrels. It is one of the most complex-tasting kinds of vinegar, which is why it is delicious in a vinaigrette. Authentic balsamic vinegar can only come from Modena, Italy but that doesn’t mean other quality balsamic vinegar can’t be found at your local grocery store. Just be cautious of inexpensive options. Lower-end balsamic are often nothing more than white vinegar with sugar and coloring added to it.

balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe Ingredients

Like all amazing recipes, this balsamic vinaigrette recipe includes all the best ingredients so the dressing is super flavorful. Quality ingredients lead to the best-tasting end result.

  • Quality balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh garlic
  • Brown or Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

How to Make a Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

If you can mix together a few ingredients, you can make this balsamic vinaigrette recipe. No intimidation about making a salad dressing at home. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to buying it at the store.

Time needed: 5 minutes

How to Make a Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

  1. Mix the balsamic vinegar and seasonings in a large bowl

    You need a large bowl to give the space needed to whisk in the oil.

  2. Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil very slowly

    As the oil goes in, whisk vigorously so the oil and vinegar emulsify together.

  3. Serve the dressing

    Store leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 30 days, or at room temperature for 7 days. The oil and vinegar might separate but you can whisk or blend it again before using.

balsamic vinaigrette during onto a salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe FAQs

Is there a difference between balsamic vinegar and balsamic vinaigrette?

Balsamic vinegar is an aged, fermented form of white grape juice. It is sweet but acidic like vinegar should be. Balsamic vinaigrette is a salad dressing made by combining balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil together in an emulsion, along with seasonings and other flavors.

What is balsamic vinaigrette made of?

A traditional balsamic vinaigrette recipe is a combination of quality balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil as its base. There are a variety of flavoring and seasoning additions that are added in with the vinegar and oil. Oftentimes, garlic, mustard, honey, kosher salt, and black pepper are used in the dressing as well.

What type of balsamic vinegar do you recommend?

Like most food products, the quality of the vinegar makes all the difference in this balsamic vinaigrette recipe. Lower-end balsamic can be nothing more than white vinegar with sugar and coloring added to it. Spend a few extra dollars for the quality balsamic. A little goes a long way so one bottle lasts for a long time. 

Do I have to emulsify this balsamic vinaigrette recipe?

No, you can simply mix the balsamic vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl with a whisk, or I sometimes make the dressing in an airtight container and shake it really well. The only downfall of not emulsifying the dressing is that it will quickly separate so you should dress your salad right after whisking or shaking it. 

An easier option for emulsifying your dressing is to use an immersion blender. It is simply a blender on the end of a stick and can go inside your bowl or container instead of having to haul out your favorite full-size blender. 

balsamic vinaigrette recipe in a clear jar

Can I substitute garlic powder for the fresh garlic?

Yes, you can make this substitution but the flavor will be slightly different. For this recipe, use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the fresh cloves of garlic. 

How to easily mince fresh garlic cloves

While you can certainly use a large chef’s knife to smash the garlic and chop it up, I prefer to use a microplane. I simply hold microplane over the bowl and grate the whole garlic cloves right into the bowl. Learned that trick many years ago from the amazing Rachael Ray. 

Can I add honey to this balsamic vinaigrette recipe?

This salad dressing is naturally sweet from the balsamic vinegar but if you are needing a recipe that is even sweeter, you can add a teaspoon or two of honey in the first step. You could also use agave nectar, granulated sugar, or brown sugar. I would start with one teaspoon, taste it, then add more if you feel it needs more. One of the most important cooking lessons: You can always add more but you can never take out too much!

Looking For More Salad Dressing Recipes?

If this balsamic vinaigrette recipe is just what you were looking for, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes. Go grab them now before you forget!

Craving more than salad dressings? Subscribe to My Kitchen Escapades to get new recipes delivered straight to your inbox! You can also stay in touch on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest,  and YouTube for all the latest updates!

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balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

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Homemade salad dressing recipe that is so delicious!  You won’t buy it from the store ever again.

  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 Cup 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 rounded TB dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 C quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 C extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the oil.
  2. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil to emulsify. You can also use a blender or immersion blender for this step.
  3. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 7 days or in the fridge for 30 days.

Notes

Recipe variation: add 1 – 2 teaspoons of honey in with the vinegar for a sweet dressing

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Fresh
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon
  • Calories: 92
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 221 mg
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 3 g

Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

25 comments

Ivana
9 years ago

Keeps at room temperature for 10-14 days? No, no no! PLEASE keep it in the fridge if you don’t finish it when you first make it. Raw garlic is highly susceptible to botulism, which is literally deadly. Any commercial dressings that contain garlic either contain a preservative, or are sold refrigerated, with instructions to keep them in the fridge at all times. No exceptions. You should not even leave it out overnight, let alone for 2 weeks. If you like your dressing at room temperature (as I do), or you don’t like how olive oil congeals in the fridge, just take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes or so before you want to use it, then shake it well. No homemade dressing or dip that contains raw garlic should ever be stored at room temperature.

Carole
9 years ago

Thanks Ivana for your tips!

Christine
8 years ago

Vinegar is a preservative Ivana, but better to be safe than sorry.

bobi
8 years ago

5 Stars! Finally a Balsamic vinaigrette I like. Other Balsamic dressings I’ve tried were too sweet for me. This dressing is fabulous!!

Carole
8 years ago

I’m so glad you loved it as much as I do!

Bill
8 years ago

Really good dressing, has a sharp fresh bite to it. Easy to make, I did cut back on the salt, but after tasting it I added the full amount. Vinegar is a preservative and I’ve found putting dressings with olive oil in them in the refrigerator causes them to break down and ruins the taste….Thanks for the recipie, it’s my go to salad dressing. One other thing, if you are watching carbs, this is a good thing

Carole
8 years ago

Howdy Bill! I’m so glad you love the dressing recipe as much as I do. Definitely a favorite for our family.

Angel
7 years ago

Is there calorie info on this?

Carole
7 years ago

Howdy Angel! I don’t have that information for this recipe but there are a ton of amazing online nutritional calculators out there. Just plug in the ingredients and it will give any type of nutritional info you are looking for!

Anne
7 years ago

I just made this as a marinade for chicken. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any dijon so I used honey mustard and extra garlic of course! It tastes great and I can’t wait to see how it works with my grilled chicken!

Carole
7 years ago

Glad you made it work Anne 🙂

Denise
6 years ago

I plan on trying your recipe, but would you please share the exact name and brand of Dijon mustard you used. I haven’t found a good one that I love that isn’t in a restaurant

Carole
6 years ago

Hi there Denise! Honestly, I’ve used many different brand names. The Dijon mustard flavor is very faint in the recipe and it’s main purpose is to be the emulsifier for the dressing.

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