Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe – Cooking Classy


An easy Homemade Italian Dressing recipe! It’s incredibly flavorful, brightly zesty, vibrant and tangy, perfectly herby, and it’s the crowning finish to a fresh, crisp green salad. So much to savor within every taste of it.

Photo: Italian Dressing in a glass bottle set over a wooden plate and a red cloth.

Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

One of the best sides is a simple salad of lettuce and mixed vegetables paired with a delicious dressing like this to toss over and highlight everything.

But it has got to be a good dressing, not just some watery, flavorless, waste of ingredients.

This dressing has so much flavor, and it even includes parmesan cheese. You read that right, cheese added right into the dressing!

It tastes like the infamous Italian dressing from Olive Garden but fresher, richer and more flavorful!

You’ll love that it’s made with basic everyday ingredients you likely keep on hand, so you can make it anytime you want a homemade salad dressing.

Turn a boring, everyday salad into something to get excited about eating with this easy dressing recipe!

Photo: Green iceberg and romaine salad with carrots, olives and tomatoes that has been topped with Italian salad dressing.

Italian Dressing Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive oil: You can use extra virgin olive oil for a stronger flavor or standard refined (just labeled “olive oil”) for a milder flavor. I prefer half of each.
  • Mayonnaise: This makes it a fairly creamy Italian dressing. It also acts as an excellent emulsifier to help prevent ingredients from separating after mixing.
  • White wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar will work well too.
  • Lemon juice: In a pinch you can just use more white wine vinegar but I love the pop of freshness lemon juice adds.
  • Dijon mustard: A common ingredient in homemade dressing, it adds flavor and helps emulsify dressing.
  • Honey: Only a hint of this is needed to help balance the tartness.
  • Parmesan cheese: I prefer to use freshly grated parmesan cheese (not the shelf stable stuff). To grate I cut a wedge of Parmeggiano Reggiano into 1-inch chunks (remove rind first), toss in a food processor and process for a few minutes until finely grated.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic, it adds so much flavor to the dressing.
  • Parsley, basil and oregano: I usually dried herbs here for convenience but fresh herbs work great too.
  • Red pepper flakes: Add this for a little kick of heat, adjust amount added to taste if desired.
  • Salt and pepper: I like a fair amount of both in this dressing. About 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Photo of ingredients used in making homemade Italian dressing. Includes mayonnaise, parmesan, olive oil, lemon, white wine vinegar, parsley, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

How to Make Italian Dressing

  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon, honey, herbs, mustard, garlic and parmesan.
  • Mix until dressing comes together nicely emulsified.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Helpful Tips and Storage

  • Preferably refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. A cold dressing is better over a chilled salad, plus the resting period allows some time for flavors to meld.
  • Whisk again before pouring over salad. Liquids and oils may separate upon resting.
  • Store dressing in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  • Dressing will likely thicken (due to the olive oil fully chilling through), let rest at room temperature as needed before serving for a more pourable consistency (about 15 minutes).Collage of two photos showing Italian dressing before and after mixing in a glass mixing bowl.

Variations

  • Toss over pasta salad, delicious!
  • Use fresh herbs in place of any of the dried listed. Amounts I’d use are 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil and 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano.
  • Make it creamier, use 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • Use as a marinade. If doing so increase white wine vinegar and lemon juice by 2 Tbsp each, omit the parmesan.
  • Drizzle over roasted vegetables.
  • Serve over slices of roasted chicken or baked potatoes.

Close up photo of salad tossed with homemade Italian salad dressing.

More Delicious Recipes to Try

Photo: Italian Dressing in a glass bottle set over a wooden plate and a red cloth.

Italian Dressing

An easy Homemade Italian Dressing recipe! It’s incredibly flavorful, brightly zesty, vibrant and tangy, perfectly herby, and it’s the crowning finish to a fresh, crisp green salad. So much to savor within every taste of it.

Servings: 7

  • 2/3 cup olive oil (see note 1*)
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all ingredients until well emulsified.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • Preferably refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

  • Whisk again just before using.

  • Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Dressing solidifies up some because of the olive oil once fully chilled, let rest a room temperature about 15 minutes before using if needed.

  1. *You can use extra virgin olive oil or regular olive oil. I actually prefer a blend of 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/3 cup regular olive oil. Just don’t use light olive oil as it has a very mild flavor.

Nutrition Facts

Italian Dressing

Amount Per Serving

Calories 222
Calories from Fat 216

% Daily Value*

Fat 24g37%

Saturated Fat 4g25%

Trans Fat 1g

Cholesterol 3mg1%

Sodium 58mg3%

Potassium 22mg1%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 60IU1%

Vitamin C 2mg2%

Calcium 23mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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