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Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

This delicious homemade Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette with just six ingredients turns any basic salad into a dreamboat. It is the best balsamic vinaigrette recipe for any spinach salad, green salad, or pasta salad, blowing store-bought salad dressing out of the water!

Spoon drizzling balsamic vinaigrette in a jar with fresh produce in the background.

A good balsamic vinaigrette can really change the trajectory of a salad. It can transform a simple green salad with basic ingredients into a remarkably impressive experience worth repeating.

After learning over and over that homemade dressings are always superior to store-bought in flavor and quality, I resolved to turn over that leaf once and for all to henceforth make homemade vinaigrettes.

I’ve found less can be better when it comes to dressings, as we typically only need a handful of ingredients for the best results.

Such is the case here. With six simple ingredients, we’re left with amazing flavor to complement any salad.

You can even use this dressing recipe as a marinade for chicken!

My trick to the best balsamic vinaigrette is sourcing high-quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The quality of these two ingredients really does make the biggest difference.

While infused oils and vinegars aren’t mandatory, they can level up the experience, depending on the flavor you’re going for. My current favorite vinaigrette is this exact recipe using blueberry balsamic vinegar and rosemary olive oil.

You can easily use pantry staples to make your own dressing with amazing rich flavor to liven up any type of salad.

Drizzling balsamic dressing into a mixing bowl with salad ingredients to toss the salad.

Let’s discuss the basic ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients for Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Avocado Oil): olive oil brings richness and sultry texture to salad dressings. If you prefer the subtle flavor of avocado oil, feel free to make the swap. Either option adds healthy fats to the dressing, which is a win in my book.

I personally don’t use canola oil when I make my own balsamic vinaigrette because I avoid vegetable oils, but if it’s what you typically use, use it.

High-Quality Balsamic Vinegar: the star of the show here, a good balsamic dressing starts with a good balsamic.

It can be a challenge finding delicious balsamic vinegar at a regular grocery store, so you may consider seeking it out at a specialty store.

Nevertheless, this dressing is designed to be a win regardless of the balsamic, so if you can’t find a great one, don’t sweat.

I do love using infused balsamic vinegars in dressings to add flavor. Blueberry infused, garlic infused and any herb infused balsamics are great!

Pure Maple Syrup: You may not think of dressing as needing a sweetener, but I find it does round out the flavor so that your tastebuds are extra enticed. I especially recommend adding the pure maple syrup (or honey) if you aren’t using a flavor-infused balsamic, which tend to be sweeter. 

Fresh Garlic: one clove of fresh garlic goes a long way here! You can add more if you’re a garlic lover, or use 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

Dijon Mustard: A touch of dijon mustard goes a long way here too! It adds to the creamy texture and provides a tangy nutty flavor.

Salt & Black Pepper: Add salt and pepper to your personal taste. I add about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, but you’ll want to decrease this if you’re using iodized salt.

Herbs de Provence: I like adding a small amount of dried herbs like Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning for a little fresh herb flavor. I find going too heavy on the herbs can be a bit distracting but feel free to increase the amount if you love the flavor.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • During the fall and winter months, I love adding ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to balsamic vinaigrette for an amazing warmly spiced flavor.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for a little citrus flavor.
  • You can use equal parts oil and vinegar for more vinegar flavor if you’d like.
  • Replace the pure maple syrup with regular cane sugar or brown sugar if you prefer, or omit it altogether.
Jar of balsamic vinaigrette with a tomato, lemon, and avocado in the background.

This salad dressing recipe makes just under 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re looking to make this recipe in bulk to have on hand throughout the warm months, you can easily double it or triple it. 

It is the perfect way of keeping your salad flame alive. The best part is this homemade balsamic vinaigrette recipe requires so little time or effort that it makes meal prep a breeze. 

How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette: 

Add all of the ingredients to a small blender such as a Magic Bullet or a NutriBullet and blend until all of the ingredients are completely combined.

Ingredients for balsamic vinaigrette in a small blender.

If you don’t own a small blender, you can easily prepare the recipe in a small bowl or measuring cup by whisking all of the ingredients together.

Marinade for salmon bites in a measuring cup.

Use immediately on your favorite salads or as a marinade, or store balsamic vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find a mason jar works great for storing dressings, as do Wreck jars.

Give it a good shake before using it.

Tips for Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette:

I prefer using a blender to make homemade dressings because it ensures all of the ingredients combine into a thick dressing with no separation. 

In this same regard, my trick to making dressings where the oil and vinegar completely combine without separating is using a blender.

Store-bought dressing unusually contains xanthan gum or other emulsifiers to avoid the separation of ingredients, but I find a blender works just great. 

For creamy balsamic vinaigrette, use a small blender or a food processor and continue blending until the dressing is completely combined and is nice and thick.

Bowl of green salad with blueberries, avocado, sunflower seeds, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinaigrette mixed in.

You’ll want to come back to this simple balsamic vinaigrette recipe over and over! 

Stay tuned for an epic salad recipe featuring this homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing tomorrow. 

If you love homemade salad dressings, also try these classics.

More Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes:

May all your salads be dressed to the nines.

Spoon drizzling balsamic vinaigrette in a jar with fresh produce in the background.
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4.41 from 10 votes

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

Use this delicious creamy balsamic vinaigrette on a large salad when serving guests, or double/triple the recipe to have salad dressing on hand for all your delicious salads. Use it on any green salad or even pasta salad!
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Salsas, Sauces, Spreads, Dips, & Dressings
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 /4 cup dressing
Calories: 182kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil*
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 large clove garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp sea salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Use immediately on your favorite salads or as a marinade, or store balsamic vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find a mason jar works great for storing dressings, as do Wreck jars.
  • If the dressing has been sitting in the refrigerator for a while and is chilled, give it a good shake or stir before using it.

Notes

*You can also use avocado oil

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 237mg | Sugar: 2g

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Recipe Rating




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JP

Monday 29th of May 2023

Hi, this is a great recipe! My dressing turned out way too thick and goopy though. I tried adding more avocado oil to thin it out, but that didn’t help much. Any other tips or tricks to get it to more of a pourable dressing consistency?

JP

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

@Julia, thanks, I’ll try that!

Julia

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

Hi JP! You can add a little water to thin it out :)

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