Dress up your salads with this simple recipe for Balsamic Salad Dressing! Made with just a handful of ingredients, Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette is slightly sweet, perfectly tangy, and exceptionally delicious.
It is beyond easy to make salad dressings at home. They only require a few ingredients (all of which you likely have on hand), and the quality and taste are superior to anything store-bought.
While I love ranch dressing, raspberry vinaigrette, and poppyseed dressing, the one dressing you will always find in my refrigerator is this Balsamic Vinaigrette.
This sweet and tangy balsamic salad dressing is not only perfect for dressing salads but it can be used to marinate meat or for dipping bread. It is truly one of the most versatile (and delicious) dressings to have on hand.
The Key to the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
Of course, the flavor is crucial when making any homemade salad dressing. You want a balance of acidity with fat and both sweet and tart undertones for complexity--which this recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette delivers.
But one thing that is often overlooked is how to properly emulsify the dressing. There is nothing worse than a watery or oily dressing that separates when used.
One added ingredient will keep your balsamic dressing perfectly creamy and emulsified--from the first pour to the last drop.
And not only does molasses keep the vinaigrette perfectly combined, but it also adds just the right sweet undertone to balance out the acidic notes of the dressing. It is the ingredient that makes this recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette the best.
Notes on Ingredients
- Balsamic Vinegar: Because balsamic is the star, be sure to use a good quality balsamic vinegar. I recommend looking for one stating it is from the Modena region of Italy.
- Olive Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Molasses: As stated earlier, molasses will add sweetness to the dressing and keep the dressing emulsified. While you can use maple syrup or honey to sweeten the dressing, neither will work for emulsification purposes.
- Dijon Mustard: The dijon will add a nice tangy undertone. Use Dijon or brown mustard, not yellow mustard.
My recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette is simple, yet balanced in flavors. However, the following additions add a delicious touch.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Oregano: Add ½ teaspoon of dried oregano for an herby punch of flavor.
How To Make Homemade Balsamic Dressing
For best results, use a food processor or blender to combine the Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Place ingredients into a small food processor or blender and process until smooth and well combined.
- Transfer the dressing to a jar or airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette is one of the most versatile recipes. While using it to dress salads is an obvious choice, this vinaigrette is suited to be used as a dip or a marinade as well.
- For Marinating Protein: Use ½ cup of the Balsamic Vinaigrette to marinate up to 1 pound of chicken breasts, chicken thighs, flank steak, London broil, pork chops, pork tenderloin, or even extra-firm tofu. Simply place the protein of your choice in a shallow dish or storage bag, pour the marinade over the protein of your choice, and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3-12 hours and then cook as desired.
- For Marinating Vegetables: Toss peppers, onions, summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes with enough balsamic dressing to evenly coat the vegetables. Refrigerate for 3-12 hours. Use to prepare Vegetable Kabobs or bake for a delicious side dish.
- As a Dip: Balsamic Vinaigrette is delicious and served with warm Italian Bread for dipping. It also makes a great dip for Antipasto Skewers in place of pesto.
- As a Salad Dressing: Use to dress Caprese Pasta Salad, Mediterranean Couscous Salad, Chickpea Salad, or Copycat Panera Greek Salad. Another great option is to drizzle this Balsamic Vinaigrette over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella for a delicious, simple Caprese Salad.
More Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes
If you enjoyed this simple recipe for Balsamic Vinaigrette, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons Molasses
- 1 clove garlic or 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a mini food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend or process until well combined and emulsified.
- Transfer the dressing to a sealed container and store for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano for an herby punch of flavor
- For Marinating Protein: Use ½ cup of the Balsamic Vinaigrette to marinate up to 1 pound of chicken breasts, chicken thighs, flank steak, London broil, pork chops, pork tenderloin, or even extra-firm tofu. Simply place the protein of your choice in a shallow dish or storage bag, pour the marinade over the protein of your choice and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3-12 hours and then cook as desired.
- For Marinating Vegetables: Toss peppers, onions, summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes with enough balsamic dressing to evenly coat the vegetables. Refrigerate for 3-12 hours.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 but updated in 2022 with new photos and tips.
This is so good paired with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella in a salad. I love how much the acidity adds!
Homemade dressings are always 100x better, this one included. yum!
This homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing is AMAZING! Love this easy dressing for all salads!
Love it too so delicious.
This is perfect to have on hand! I love making homemade recipes, so much better than store bought! So excited!
WHAT?! I have been buying this forever and it's so easy to make! Never turning back!
So happy to hear you enjoy this recipe, Allyson!
I love a good balsamic dressing for a tasty salad!
This recipe sounds great! I could not find a serving size. Is it like 1T per serving?
Hi Kathy! This recipe yields about 1 cup--which is 16 tablespoons. So I consider each serving 1 tablespoon 🙂
Looks very tangy! Thank you for sharing!
The maple syrup in this added the perfect amount of sweetness! We'll be keeping a supply of this in our fridge.
I love hearing that Dara!