Home Recipes Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe (Easy Salad Dressing)

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe (Easy Salad Dressing)

Add some zip to your salads with this versatile lemon vinaigrette dressing.

It comes together in minutes with simple pantry ingredients you probably have at home. And every drop is bright, flavorful, and incredibly tasty.

Lemon vinaigrette dressing in a jar
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If you’ve never made homemade vinaigrette before, don’t get nervous. It’s actually insanely easy.

Most only call for a handful of ingredients. Yet the zippy taste will turn any sad bowl of greens into a scrumptious salad you’ll crave again and again.

And when you see how easy homemade salad dressings are, you may never buy store-bought again.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe Ingredients

As promised, you only need a few key ingredients for this. So it comes together in a flash.

Almost all vinaigrettes start will oil and include some kind of acid. And since there are so few ingredients, it’s best to get good quality oil and use fresh citrus.

  • Lemon Juice – Fresh lemon juice is always the best choice for something like this. The bottled stuff has a synthetic finish you’ll definitely taste.
  • Dijon Mustard – Dijon mustard adds tangy warmth and helps to emulsify the mixture. 
  • Honey or Maple Syrup – You need some sweetness to cut the sour and savory tastes. Honey is my go-to, but maple syrup should work in a pinch.
  • Garlic – I used one clove because fresh garlic is strong. But feel free to add more.
  • Seasonings – Thyme, salt, and pepper add just the right amount of aroma and flavor.
  • Olive Oil – Use high-quality extra virgin olive oil. It’s rich, flavorful, and utterly delectable.
Small jar of lemon vinaigrette dressing with spoon.

How To Make Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

In some cases, vinaigrettes are best made in a food processor. But that’s mostly for anyone making a bigger batch.

Yes, you’ll need to put in a bit of elbow grease here. But this is such a small amount that it’ll be ready before you know it.

1. Make the lemon mixture. Whisk the lemon juice, Dijon, honey/maple syrup, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  

2. Drizzle in the oil. Slowly add the oil to the lemon mixture, whisking continuously. As you whisk it, the lemon mixture and oil will emulsify and thicken until creamy. 

3. Use your lemon vinaigrette immediately! Add it to your favorite salads, veggies, or meat dishes. 

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Tips and Tricks

You already know my first tip: use fresh lemon juice. I promise it makes all the difference!

Other than that, here are a few tips and tricks for making lemon vinaigrette at home:

  • What does “emulsify” mean? It means forcing two liquids that won’t normally mix (like oil and lemon juice) to blend.  You have to use force and an emulsifier to bind the two liquids. In this case, vigorous whisking and Dijon mustard. 
  • Secure the bowl. Roll up a damp kitchen cloth and shape it into a ring on the counter. Place the bowl in the well, then start whisking and add the oil. This should keep the bowl still.
  • Add some extra seasonings. Lemon and thyme are great together. But you can also add dill, mint, basil, green onions, or rosemary.
  • Skip the raw garlic. Use garlic powder, paste, or minced shallots instead. 
  • Add the oil very slowly. It should stream into the bowl in a slow drizzle. Too fast, and it won’t emulsify.
  • Use an immersion blender. Don’t feel like an arm workout? No worries! Place all the ingredients into a glass or large measuring jug and blitz with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.
Lemon vinaigrette pouring in salad

How to Use Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

This tasty dressing is so versatile! Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy it. 

  • With salads, obviously! Try lemon vinaigrette dressing over a delicious Italian salad recipe. Or these fabulous feta salads (feta + lemon = YUM).  
  • With fish or chicken! Try it with any white fish or with your next batch of baked chicken

More Homemade Vinaigrette Recipes To Try

Dijon Vinaigrette
Strawberry Vinaigrette
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette
Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Lemon Vinaigrette

Course: PantryCuisine: Mediterranean, American


Prep time





Add some zip to your salads with this versatile lemon vinaigrette dressing. It comes together in minutes and is bright, flavorful, and incredibly tasty.


  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Whisk the lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously until the mixture emulsifies.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Whisk again before using. Enjoy!


  • Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until it emulsifies.
  • This dressing isn’t just for salads. Try it as a marinade for chicken or fish, a dressing for grain bowls, or drizzled over roasted vegetables.
Lemon vinaigrette dressing

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author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

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