Cool, fresh and colorful is the way we want to eat when the temperature begins to soar! And there is an abundance of garden and farm stand veggies to make spectacular salads… just what we crave in the summer!

Why make a salad with all of that just-picked flavor and put a bottled salad dressing on it? Enhance your salad’s in-season taste with a dressing as fresh as your salad!

Here are some of my favorite salad dressing recipes and  handy formulas for making your own…

dressing clockwise from 6:00… lemon vinaigrette, parmesan peppercorn, bleu cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, italian herb dressing

Salad dressings aren’t ROCKET SCIENCE so you don’t have to be exceptionally precise when measuring. Close is good enough! Don’t you love a recipe like that?
Let’s start with a vinaigrette. Most vinaigrettes follow an easy formula…
 3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar + emulsifier + add-ins + enhancer 

 This is the how I first learned to make homemade vinaigrette. A vinaigrette is  USUALLY made using at least 2 or 3 categories of the formula and some use all of them! 
This chart ( and the creamy dressing chart) are not an exhaustive list of ingredients by any means, but they are ones that will let you make a wide variety of delicious dressings! As you get more comfortable with making your own salad dressings you can move on to other ingredients.
Here are a few of my favorites vinaigrettes…
Lemon Vinaigrette
 So easy to make with an outstanding lemon flavor! It only uses 4 ingredients!
1/4 cup good olive oil
juice of 1 juicy lemon
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
good dash of kosher salt

Put all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake.

My favorite way to eat this is drizzled over arugula or boston bibb with shaved Parmesan and toasted pine nuts.

Italian Herb Vinaigrette
This is a beautiful soft, gently seasoned Italian viniagrette. Don’t expect that in-you-face bottled Italian taste. This dressing will caresses your salad… not stomps on it!
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1/4 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Whisk all ingredients together.
Printable Recipe

Balsamic Vinaigrette
I use this on steaks, roasts and even chicken as my go-to marinade! It is scrumptious on roasted vegetables… my hands down favorite! You can’t beat it!

2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped finely
2 tsp mustard
juice of 1 lemon (or two)
1 TBS Worchestershire sauce
pinch of salt and pepper
 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonades

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

The printable recipe is for my favorite grilled summer vegetables. The balsamic vinaigrette/marinade is at the bottom of the recipe. 

Now, on to Creamy Dressing…
Who doesn’t LOVE creamy dressing on a crisp salad. Cool and satifying!!!  I think we love creamy dressings because of their great bold flavors and FAT!

Here is an easy formula to remember when making Creamy Salad Dressings…

Mayo + Tangy + Add Ins + Liquid

It is important to remember that a creamy dressing tastes best when given time for the flavors to marry. I make my dressings up the day before I am going to need them…better yet, try to have a great dressing in the frig at all times!

Here is a chart to help you make a great tangy creamy dressing…

One thing to remember… use full fat mayo and sour cream for the best flavor. I would rather have a little of fabulous than a lot of just okay.

Here are a couple of my favorite creamy dressings…

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
This is a winner! Full of great Parmesan flavor
 2 tsp. finely grated onion

1 finely grated garlic clove
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
dash of hot sauce
1 1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
juice from 1 lemon
dash of salt
2 tsp. ground peppercorns
1/2~ 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients but the Parmesan cheese. When the ingredients are well blended, add the Parmesan cheese and mix.
Make the dressing 24 hours before serving for best results. Refrigerate.

Printable Recipe

Bleu Cheese Dressing
This dressing has a whole lot more going for it than the Bleu cheese. Filled with subtle flavors, it is just different enough to make an impression in the world of Blue cheese dressings!Bleu Cheese dressing on a wedge salad makes a fabulous meal! It is Bobby’s favorite!
1/2~ 2/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese (use good quality cheese)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream 
2 TBS cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onions, use green tops too
1 TBS fresh parsley
1 TBS fresh dill
salt and pepper
2 drops hot sauce
Mix all the ingredients in a blender. You can also mix by hand if you like a chunkier dressing. This recipe can be doubled.
This is such a great summer, when herbs are fresh, dressing!
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green
2 TBS chopped chives
2 TBS basil (or tarragon)
2 TBS parsley
1 TBS anchovy paste (don’t leave this out)
4 TBS lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 clove garlic

Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
Use immediately or refrigerate.
The Worlds Best Ceasar Salad Dressing
not bragging… just truth… If you try one dressing, this is it!
2 large garlic cloves (use 1 if you like less garlic)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce (I have a heavy hand with Worcestershire)
4 anchovy fillets~ don’t skip this!
juice of 1 lemon (I use 2- I like it lemmony)
1/2 ~2/3 cup LIGHT olive oil or vegetable oil
 coddled egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute

Add To Salad
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

To Make Dressing
Coddle egg and set aside.
To coddle egg: Boil enough water in a small saucepan to cover an egg.  Once the water is boiling, add an egg in it’sshell. Turn off heat and let it sit for 1 minutes. Take it out of boiling water to stop cooking. (When you crack the egg it will look raw. The white part of the egg will look just slightly opaque near the shell.) If you don’t want to coddle an egg, use egg substitute. See note above.

Put the garlic, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, anchovy fillets and lemon juice in the blender. Process until smooth.

While the blender is running add a continuous stream of oil, very slowly. Process until oil is incorporated.
Add coddled egg. Process until incorporated. If you add egg substitute the dressing will be a little thick, almost like a garlic lemon mayonnaise, but delicious.

Add pepper and process.

Printable Recipe

To see how to put the whole Ceasar Salad together click Culinary Tutorial

Here are a few helpful tips for making great homemade dressings…

~use a combination of olive and another light oil, like canola, for a less bitter dressing
~mix vinaigrettes in a jar with a tight fitting lid
~use kosher salt
~ keep all dressings refrigerated
~take vinaigrettes out of the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before serving for the oil to liquidify
~ vinaigrettes make great marinades
~creamy dressing taste wonderful as a sauce over fish
~ creamy dressings make great dipping sauces

Now throw out those bottled dressings and make your own delicious salad dressing!!!!

Remember to enter the TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBIT GIVEAWAY going on here at StoneGable.

Click HERE to enter!

Drawing  for the giveaway will take place Wednesday, June 27th at 6:00 PM.


  1. says

    Very informative! Thanks for this creative posting! I love a good homemade dressing, and you make them appear simple to make. Your pictures are to die for, what camera do you use?

  2. says

    I am definitely pinning this post! I find that anytime I have made a homemade dressing, it’s been delicious. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. says

    I’m like you that I keep homemade dressings in the fridge at all times. Nothing tastes as good as fresh! Thanks for sharing these salad dressing recipes!

  4. says

    I KNOW that yours is the BEST caesar dressing cause I have had it!!!!!!!!!! It is FABULOUS!!! Thank you SO much for this WONDERFUL primmer! I am printing out all the recipes to take on vacation!!!! We eat ALOT of salads!!!! XOXO

  5. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for these recipes. We love salads and these will
    make our dinners so much more interesting.


  6. says

    You make it sound so much easier to make home-made dressings Yvonne. Isn’t amazing what just 4 or five ingredients can make taste so delish!

    Art by Karena
    Artist Series 2012

  7. says

    You are absolutely amazing! I read your blog every day and even though I don’t always leave a comment, know that I love your blog, your recipes and your amazing sharing. I love the way you style your recipes…the props and bottles you used in this one are super!Thanks and keep up the great posts! A fellow foodie in Santa Barbara, CA!

  8. says

    Thanks for the beautiful pics and the great recipes. My husband likes a good salad but does not like store bought dressing so he will appreciate these. I have friends who save me their bottles such as Crown Royale, they make beautiful containers for olive oil based dressing and thanks for the printables makes handy reference guides for the “favorites” cookbook. I also use those “bottle” for the herb infused waters as the openings are large enough for orange or lemon curls. as always love to visit you everyday. Lyn

  9. says

    What a delicious post! I love homemade dressings they are the best! Thanks for sharing your tips and recipes! BEautiful pictures too!
    Miss Bloomers

  10. says

    Great post, Yvonne. All of these dressings sound absolutely delicious. I will be trying each of them in turn as salads and veggies are a big part of my current eating plan. And I’m with you; I’d rather have a little less of something delicious than more of something just so-so. These dressings will be the “icing on the cake” for me.

  11. says

    Yvonne~ What a beautiful, informative, and delicious post! I’ve bookmarked and am shamed into never buying salad dressing again :) I’ve wanted to make your Caesar dressing every time you mentioned your salad!

  12. says

    Your photos always make everything look so good! I have never found a bottled dressing that I really, really like so this is such a great resource for homemade dressings. We love lots of salads in the summer and I’m sure we will be trying out a lot of these. Thanks so much for the inspiration!


  13. says

    I love and eat a lot of salads, Yvonne, and always make homemade dressings. You’ve given me some great,new choices to try. Thanks for the great ideas.

  14. says

    I always make my own salad dressings. So much fresher and tastier than bottled ones. I am going to try your parmesan peppercorn dressing tonight. Sounds yummy!! Thanks for sharing.

    Susan and Bentley

  15. says

    Hi lovely lady.
    Thank you so much! I have been trying to make my own dressings for a long time this post has been very helpful! I also love your giveaway. I hope you are having a great weekend with your family. I have been taking a break from my Tablescapes to have some time with family. I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend.
    XXOO Diane

  16. says

    I haven’t made my own salad dressing in ages and I used to … wonder what happened??? Thanks so much for all this wonderful information. I’ll use it!

  17. says

    Yvonne, first of all, I’m so sorry it took me so long to come and visit this post. Life is in super crazy mode between graduations, school ending and camps beginning. I wish I could clone myself!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I HATE bottled dressings and always make my own (except for an occasional marinade where I just open the jar). You did such an awesome job with the charts. I love it. With fresh veggies abounding at this time of year, I can’t wait to expand my repertoire a bit.

    – The Tablescaper

  18. says

    Hi Yvonne!

    I am so excited that you made a guest appearance here at Favorite Recipe day. I blogged a couple weeks ago about you… maybe you caught that!?

    This is an amazing post! I have had had cooking classes before and they spoke of emulsifiers, but no one ever broke it down into a chart form! Brilliant!

    So many great dressings here.
    Will try them all for sure.

    Thanks SO much for sharing this info!

    Hope you are enjoying this lovely summer.

  19. says

    Ok… so my boys are bleu cheese fiends, but they don’t like their dressing to be “messed” with, just the straight stuff. So if I leave off the onion and the ingred’s at the end of your recipe will I have a straight up bleu cheese dressing?


  20. marlene says

    You are a wealth of information.
    I make salad evernight for dinner along with whatever we are having for dinner.
    I always make my own salad dressing……never buy bottled.
    A million thank yous for all of the information here you have given us.

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