Go-To Balsamic Vinaigrette

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This easy balsamic vinaigrette combines balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a few seasonings to create a tasty salad dressing. It’s flavorful, balanced and pairs well with a variety of salads.

Balsamic vinaigrette was one of the first homemade dressings I ever learned to make and it’s still a staple in our kitchen.

Over the years I’ve perfected my go-to balsamic vinaigrette recipe to create a version with the optimal amount of vinegar, oil and seasonings. It has just the right amount of tang and sweetness and it’s seriously so delicious… you’ll want to drizzle it on everything!

Mason jar with balsamic dressing and a spoon in the jar.

Balsamic Vinegar vs. Balsamic Vinaigrette

These two things sound super similar so it’s easy to get confused! Balsamic vinegar is just vinegar (grape must), whereas a balsamic vinaigrette is made by combining balsamic vinegar with oil, sugar and other seasonings.

In general, if you’re looking for a super healthy option for salad dressing, you can stick to just oil and vinegar, which won’t have any added sugar or salt!

Is Balsamic Vinaigrette Healthy?

Vinaigrettes are the healthier salad dressing options, especially when compared to creamy dressings. And the primary ingredients in balsamic vinaigrette are balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, both of which have awesome health benefits.

Of course, homemade balsamic vinaigrettes tend to be healthier than packaged store-bought vinaigrettes, which have added preservatives, artificial flavorings, sugar and cheap oils.

The recipe I’m sharing here has a higher ratio of vinegar to oil. The typical ratio is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but I like a more tangy dressing and use 2 parts vinegar to 1 part oil! This saves on calories and fat as well.

What Type of Balsamic Vinegar Do You Use for Salad Dressing?

In terms of what type of balsamic vinegar to use for making balsamic vinaigrette, I personally like balsamic vinegar from Modena. Right now I’m loving this Cucina & Amor Balsamic Vinegar of Modena or the Trader Joe’s Balsamic Vinegar. Both are a great value!

You can also use white balsamic vinegar to make a white balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients measured out to make Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, basil or thyme, maple syrup and dijon mustard.

Ingredients Needed

This dressing is simple to make with just a few pantry staples. Here’s what you need:

  • balsamic vinegar – feel free to use regular or aged balsamic, but go for one that is high-quality (aka not the cheapest bottle on the shelf). Spending a little more is worth it when it comes to balsamic vinegar, especially when it’s the star of the show like it is when making balsamic vinaigrette. See my picks above!
  • extra virgin olive oil – I recommend using a higher quality extra virgin olive oil for salad dressings like this. Save your regular olive oil for cooking.
  • maple syrup – this is what makes this salad dressing in my opinion. The extra hint of sweetness really ties the dressing together and gives it the perfect balance. Honey or agave would work if you don’t have maple syrup on hand.
  • dijon mustard – it might seem like you can skip this ingredient but don’t! It adds flavor and helps to emulsify the dressing.
  • garlic – I love the flavor of fresh garlic in salad dressings, especially balsamic vinaigrette!
  • sea salt – a little salt balances the dressing and brings out the flavor from all the other ingredients.
  • dried basil and/or thyme – these dried herbs are totally optional, but I like adding them in for extra flavor!

Do you Whisk or Blend Balsamic Vinaigrette?

There’s no wrong choice here! Whisking or blending is up to your personal preference. Oftentimes, I will just whisk or shake this balsamic vinaigrette in a mason jar because it’s easy and requires fewer steps (and dishes), but if you’re looking for an emulsified dressing that’s creamy without chunks of fresh garlic, I recommend blending it up!

And if you want a really creamy version, try my creamy balsamic vinaigrette with Greek yogurt!

Spoon with a spoonful of balsamic dressing from a mason jar.

How to Use Balsamic Dressing

Balsamic dressing is such a powerhouse and works on just about any type of salad in my opinion. Some of my favorite salads to top with balsamic vinaigrette include caprese pasta salad, roasted tomato salad, spinach salad. And here are some other ideas for how to use it:

  • You can use it to jazz up a basic green salad, pasta salad or my favorite… drizzle it over caprese salad.
  • As a marinade for protein like chicken, salmon or steak. I highly recommend my balsamic salmon!
  • Add it as a dressing to wraps.
  • Drizzle a little on pizza after cooking.
  • Coat roasted vegetables with a splash of balsamic dressing.
Ingredients for a balsamic dressing in a mason jar and a fork.

How to Store Balsamic Vinaigrette

I like to mix my balsamic vinaigrette in a mason jar, which is easy for shaking and storing! In general though, you want to store homemade dressings in an airtight container with a lid in the refrigerator. This balsamic vinaigrette should last for up to a week in the fridge.

I use these 8 oz mason jars and plastic lids.

Mason jar full of homemade balsamic dressing.

More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

Be sure to check out all of my salad dressing recipes on EBF! No time to make your own dressing? Check out my favorite healthy store-bought salad dressings.

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4.70 from 86 votes

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

Everyone needs a go-to balsamic vinegar dressing and this one is absolutely delicious and works on just about any salad imaginable.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients  

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼-½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh or ½ teaspoon dried basil and/or thyme, optional

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until combined or alternatively you can add all the ingredients into a mason jar and shake or whisk until emulsified.
  • Store the vinaigrette in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. If the olive oil becomes solid (this is normal), simply let the dressing sit out on the counter for 10-15 minutes and then whisk or shake to combine and serve. Recipe makes about 3/4 cup.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 217mg | Sugar: 3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: balsamic viniagrette
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
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29 Comments

    1. Hi Theresa – It should be okay in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, I will update the recipe! Hope you enjoy!

      1. 3 stars
        Is that enough olive oil? Normally you put more oil than vinegar in a vinaigrette, no. I definitely had to add more. It’s good but I’d definitely cut back on the raw garlic next time. I like garlic but not that much raw in my vinaigrette.

        1. Hi Michelle – I typically recommend equal parts, but it will depend of your flavor preference. Glad you enjoyed this recipe!

  1. 5 stars
    My son recently had a heart attack. I found this recipe while searching for healthy homemade dressings for him to make to help him eat more salads. He loved it soo much!! He also uses it as a marinade and seasoning for proteins. My husband loved it as well. We only make homemade dressings now. Thank you so much!!

    1. Aw I am so excited to hear that you and your family are loving this recipe, Mimi. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I appreciate it.

  2. 5 stars
    Great dressing! I’m lazy, so I used .5 tsp. of garlic powder instead of minced. I like a little more tang, so I doubled the mustard. I also used Italian seasoning instead of basil/thyme. It tastes yummy on our homegrown butter crisp lettuce.

    1. Yay! So glad you loved this dressing, Carol. Thanks for making my recipe and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

  3. This sounds great and I’m going to try it, but I’m wondering why it says it will keep up to week in the fridge?
    Since it contains both vinegar and salt, both preservatives, and doesn’t contain anything that would go off as far as I can tell, wouldn’t it be good for a very long. time? I ask because I’d like to make up a bunch in advance.

    1. Hey Kimberly – You should be fine to store this dressing in the fridge for 2-3 weeks, I just say 1 week to be on the safe side and because mine never lasts more than 1 week. Thanks!