How to Make Homemade Salad Dressings + Recipes!


The right salad dressing can transform a salad from boring to delectable. Unfortunately, dressings can also add extra calories and unwanted ingredients such as preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors, and more that you may want to avoid.

A simple solution to this is to make your own salad dressings at home. It may sound like extra work, but with a few ingredients you likely have in your pantry, you can make excellent tasting, healthy salad dressings at home. You just need a few minutes to save yourself some money and reap the health benefits.

Why Make Your Own Salad Dressing?

Is it worth it to take the time to prep your own dressings? It is, and here’s why.

  • It saves you money. Salad dressings can be expensive, especially those that have healthier, higher-quality ingredients.
  • It saves you time later. You don’t have to make your dressing fresh each time unless you prefer to. While initially, prepping it may take longer than picking something up off the shelf, you can make salad dressing in batches.
  • You get to control the ingredients. Depending on your health concerns, such as high blood pressure, you can control how much salt or high-carbohydrate ingredients are in the dressing. When you purchase pre-made dressings, you aren’t able to control the amount of salt, sugar, and other ingredients outside of controlling your portions.

Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Ingredients

The healthiest salad dressings are typically vinegar and oil-based. Other healthy dressings can be made with Greek yogurt which adds protein.

If that sounds bland or unappealing to you, never fear. There are tons of ways to play with flavor here.

You likely have some or all of the items below in your pantry or fridge right now. It’s a good idea to keep these items on hand to create your own dressings.

  • Apple cider vinegar. ACV has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One recent study found that regularly consuming ACV may help protect against neurological issues. It also has a slight sweetness behind it’s strong, tangy flavor, and pairs well with just about any other dressing ingredient.
  • White, Balsamic, or Rice wine vinegar. When consumed regularly, these vinegars have heart health benefits and can help reduce inflammation, just like ACV.
  • Mustard (can be yellow, coarse-ground, whatever your favorite is). Mustard has zero calories and is very low in sodium. It can add color and excellent flavor to dressings. It’s versatile and easy to find at most grocery stores at a low price. You can also use mustard seed powder if you prefer.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Like the previous ingredients we’ve discussed, EVOO is high in antioxidants. It makes dressings smooth and contributes heart-healthy fats as well.
  • Avocado oil. Avocado oil has similar benefits to olive oil. However, avocado oil is considerably more expensive and not everyone finds the flavor as appealing as olive oil.
  • Citrus juice (fresh or concentrate) such as lemon, lime, or orange (you can also use the zest). The acidity of lemon, lime, or orange juice compliments the oil and adds more flavor along with the vinegar. These juices also have small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
  • Greek yogurt. This adds protein to help make your salad more balanced. A salad will be more filling if you add protein and healthy fats. Greek yogurt has both. You can use low-fat or whole yogurt, or nonfat if you prefer.
  • Fresh berries (blueberries or strawberries work well). Fruit has small amounts of fiber, antioxidants, and adds sweetness to counteract the tanginess of vinegar and mild taste of oil.
  • Fresh garlic, ginger, green onions, and shallots. Garlic and ginger have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. Onions and shallots have similar benefits and all four of these help with flavor and texture.
  • Raw honey. You can use regular honey as well, but raw honey has the added benefit of being less processed and containing many of the antioxidant, antifungal, and healing properties.
  • Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. These ingredients help enhance the flavors of the rest of the dressing.

You don’t have to combine all of these to make a delicious and healthy dressing, but this list gives you some ideas of things you may have on hand now that you could use.

How to Make Healthy Homemade Salad Dressings

To create healthy salad dressings at home, it’s important to keep a few key details in mind.

  • Choose healthy fats and oils, and use them in modest amounts.
  • Using a variety of ingredients and switching them up often will help keep you interested.
  • Make use of herbs and spices before overdoing it on salt.
  • Make the dressing in good-sized batches and store it in a convenient spot in the fridge so it gets used. You can use mason jars to easily store dressings for a few weeks (if they last that long!).

3 Easy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

Here are some basic dressing recipes that you can make in a mason jar. These will pair well with most salads. They can also be used on sandwiches or in pasta salads.

Apple Cider Vinegar Salad Dressing Recipe | BrainMD

Apple Cider Vinegar Dressing by Eating Bird Food

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sea salt + more if needed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more if needed

Combine all ingredients in an 8 oz mason jar and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator.

Raw Honey Mustard Dressing Recipe by Love and Lemons

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 small garlic clove, grated or minced

¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in an 8 oz mason jar and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator.

Greek Yogurt Salad Dressing Recipe | BrainMD

Greek Yogurt Dressing Recipe by Foolproof Living

1 cup Greek Yogurt

2 cloves of garlic minced

4 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

Combine all ingredients in an 8 oz mason jar and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator.


At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.


Shavonne Morrison