Homemade Italian Dressing


This Homemade Italian Dressing is quick and easy to make, 1000X better than store bought, fresh and natural and is wonderfully versatile!


This easy Homemade Italian Dressing is a balanced tangy and testy blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, pantry herbs and spices and the best part – Parmesan Cheese!  It elevates and enlivens everything it touches from salads to vegetables and makes an excellent marinade for chicken, fish, pork and steak.  This Italian Dressing also keeps for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator!

Homemade Italian Dressing in a glass mason jar on a wood cutting board with vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper

My blog is full of fun and flirty recipes but I also want it to be a reliable resource for beloved staples that I use on a regular basis such as this sensational Homemade Italian Dressing.  I know it is extremely tempting to pick up a bottle of dressing at the grocery, and I’ve enjoyed my fair share of tasty bottled dressings, but I promise, nothing tastes as fresh and fabulous as your own Homemade Italian Dressing – and it takes MINUTES to whisk together!  As a bonus, you can customize the dressing to your personal preferences as far as acidity, garlic, herbs and Parmesan.

Showing how to make Homemade Italian Dressing by adding vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to a mason jar

How to Use Italian Dressing

The obvious use of Italian dressing is on a big leafy green salad – mmmm!  But this Homemade Italian Dressing with its dynamic zippy flavor offers a quick and easy solution to enliven many everyday boring or bland eats.  Try these delectable uses for your Homemade Italian Dressing:

  • Green salads
  • Shaved brussels sprouts (salad)
  • Coleslaws
  • Fresh Tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans
  • Pasta salads (My Italian Pasta Salad coming soon is out of this world!)
  • Warm pasta
  • A marinade for chicken, pork, fish, steak, veggies
  • Coating for roasted or steamed veggies
  • Dip or sauce for veggies
  • Spread for sandwiches, burgers or wraps
  • Added to cream, sour cream, cream cheese or butter for spreads/sauces/dips

The possibilities are virtually as endless as Italian Dressing deliciousness!

top view of Homemade Italian Dressing with dried parsley and basil on top

Italian DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil.  Use quality extra virgin olive oil for superior flavor.
  • Red wine vinegar.  I don’t recommend swapping with any other vinegar.
  • Lemon juice.  Adds a fresh, vibrant citrus pop without tasting “lemony.”
  • Parmesan cheese:  use freshly grated Parmesan grated on the smallest hole of your grater so it becomes powdery.
  • Sugar:  balances the vinegar and lemon juice.
  • Seasonings:  dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika salt and pepper.

Showing how to make Homemade Italian Dressing recipe by adding vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper to a mason jar

How to Make Italian Dressing

This Homemade Italian Dressing recipe uses pantry friendly ingredients so you can whip it up at a moments notice.  Our dressing includes:

  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • lemon juice (bottled is fine)
  • parmesan cheese
  • dried herbs (parsley, basil, oregano)
  • seasonings (paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper)
  • sugar (to balance the tart)

Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, cover and shake vigorously OR combine add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine – that’s it!  Taste the dressing and tailor it to suit your personal preferences.  The most accurate taste test comes by dipping a lettuce leaf in dressing as opposed to a spoon.  For less acidity- add more sugar, less tang – add more olive oil, more tang  – add additional vinegar.

shaking Showing how to make Homemade Italian Dressing by shaking vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper in a mason jar

Tips and Tricks for Italian Salad Dressing

  • Parmesan Cheese adds the signature taste to the Italian Dressing and the OH MY YUM factor so I definitely wouldn’t skip it unless you need to make the dressing dairy free.
  • You can substitute the freshly grated Parmesan cheese with canned but it will not taste quite as good because fresh Parm is the best!  Freshly grated Parmesan will also dissolve much better for a smoother texture.
  • As far as the dried herbs and garlic, I don’t recommend substituting them with fresh because you need 3x as much because they aren’t as potent which makes for an unappealing texture.  More importantly, fresh herbs and garlic don’t stay fresh very long once chopped so you would need to use the dressing within a couple days whereas if you use dried, the Homemade Italian Dressing can last for a couple weeks.
  • For a great shortcut, you can whisk up all of the dried herbs and spices in advance and keep them in a sealed container or bag.

How long Can I store homemade Italian dressing?

Homemade Italian Dressing can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks, just give it a good stir or shake before using.  If you use fresh garlic and fresh herbs  (as opposed to powders), it is good for up to three days. 

whisked together Homemade Italian Dressing on a wood cutting board

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Homemade Italian Dressing in a glass mason jar on a wood cutting board with vinegar, oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper

Easy Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

This Homemade Italian Dressing is quick and easy to make, 1000X better than store bought, fresh and natural and is wonderfully versatile! It's a balanced tangy and testy blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, pantry herbs and spices and the best part – Parmesan Cheese!  This Italian Dressing recipe elevates and enlivens everything it touches from salads to vegetables and makes an excellent marinade for chicken, fish, pork and steak.  This Italian Dressing also keeps for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator!
Servings: 1 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, paprika, pepper
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar or more to taste

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients to a mason jar, cover and shake vigorously OR combine add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Taste (most accurate taste comes by dipping lettuce in dressing) and adjust according to taste. For less acidity- add more sugar, less tang - add more olive oil, more tang - add additional vinegar.
  • Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Shake to recombine before serving.

Notes

  • The sugar mellows out the acidity of the dressing, but you may add more or less to taste.
  • Grate the Parmesan on the smallest hole of your grater.
  • You can substitute the freshly grated Parmesan cheese with canned but it will not taste quite as good because fresh Parm is the best!  Freshly grated Parmesan will also dissolve much better for a smoother texture.
  • Don’t  substitute the garlic for fresh unless you expect to use your Italian Dressing within a few days because minced garlic does not keep very long.
  • For a great shortcut, you can whisk up all of the dried herbs and spices in advance and keep them in a sealed container or bag.
Use Italian Dressing on:
  • Green salads
  • Shaved brussels sprouts (salad)
  • Coleslaws
  • Fresh Tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans
  • Pasta salads (My Italian Pasta Salad coming soon is out of this world!)
  • Warm pasta
  • A marinade for chicken, pork, fish, steak, veggies
  • Coating for roasted or steamed veggies
  • Dip or sauce for veggies
  • Spread for sandwiches, burgers or wraps
  • Added to cream, sour cream, cream cheese or butter for spreads/sauces/dips

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18 Comments

  1. Carolyn Johnson says

    Thanks– going to give this a try! I don’t know why we settle for the powdered stuff–but I never see recipes for Italian dressing, now that I think of it.

    “fun and flirty recipes” LOL– you’re awesome!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Carolyn! I think you will loooove this dressing – flirty in its own right 🙂

  2. Ann says

    Do you use Extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil?

    • Jen says

      I use regular olive oil and it is wonderful because we want the slightly more acidic and neutral taste. If you only have extra virgin olive oil then I’m sure that would work great as well.

  3. Diane Stevenson says

    Hi Jen, I have been making Italian Seasoning mix in batches, but the recipe I use never called for Parmesan cheese. My husband always says that there is something missing, I’m thinking this is it! If I make a bigger batch of the seasoning only, does it need to be refrigerated, due to the fresh parmesan?

    • Jen says

      Hi Diane, yes it needs to be refrigerated. Enjoy!

  4. Mimi says

    The very best Italian Dressing I’ve every had!!! So easy to make & very lettuce, pasta and even panini friendly! Also excellent to use as a marinade. This dressing makes food smile!! Love it!! Thanks Jen!
    Mimi in NorCal

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Mimi, you made my day! I’m thrilled you love this Italian dressing so much and I love your comment that it “makes food smile!” – I might have to borrow that 😉

  5. Debbie says

    Can you substitute balsmic vinegar for Red wine vinegar

    • Jen says

      Red wine vinegar is less sweet than balsamic vinegar so I would add less then add more to taste.

  6. Allison says

    Could I omit the sugar? I try to avoid added sugar whenever possible. I’m wondering how much that would affect this dressing. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      Hi Allison, the dressing is super tangy so the sugar is needed to balance the acid. You can try omitting it, taste and add to taste as needed. Food luck!

  7. Nancy Mcleod says

    Hi
    I definitely want to try this dressing, but I am currently following Weight Watchers. Can you list the nutritional Info please? Need: Cal,fat,Sat fat,sodium,carbohydrates,sugar,protein. It would be appreciated as looking for an awesome dressing.

    Thank You

  8. April says

    I made double the recipe for my pasta salad. We like ours a little more soaked. But my dear I threw out my recipe and kept yours. lol This dressing is beyond amazing. All the season blend so well. Thank you.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for the ultimate compliment April! I ‘m so happy to hear this dressing is a new favorite!

  9. Dick Reynolds says

    Just tried this dressing tonight and it was over the top one of the best dressings I’ve ever had. Wife absolutely loved it too. This will be in our frig from now on. Didn’t have any basil so added a little more oregano which I love, also added extra fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano . First time at your site and am looking forward to finding more delectable delights. Thanks Jen

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Dick! I’m so pleased you loved this dressing so much! I hope you have fun exploring my recipes and hopefully find many new favorites!