Chile-Lime Salad Dressing

One of my joys in life is a really good, loaded taco salad topped with this dressing. It’s bright, citrus-y, and just a little bit spicy. I’m a weakling when it comes to heat, so if you like more of a kick, add more red pepper flakes. I also like to make a pinto, chickpea, and black bean salad and drizzle it with this dressing. Yum!

Why should I make my own salad dressing?

A good salad dressing can go a long way towards making vegetables more exciting. And when you make your own, you can save cash, control the ingredients, and customize the flavors exactly to your liking. For more on taking your salads to the next level with homemade salad dressing, as well as many more dressing recipes, check out our Salad Dressings 101 post.

What ingredients do I need to make this chili-lime vinaigrette?

This dressing requires only a handful of ingredients. You probably have most of what you need at home in your pantry.

  • Lime juice and lime zest—It wouldn’t be a chili lime vinaigrette recipe without it!
  • Red wine vinegar—To give your vinaigrette a bit of bite
  • Soy sauce—For a touch of salt
  • Honey—For a hint of sweet
  • Extra virgin olive oil—The base of your vinaigrette
  • Garlic, cumin, and salt—Spices to round out the chili flavor
  • Red pepper flakes—The source of the heat in this vinaigrette

Wholefully Protip

The red pepper flakes in the recipe will provide just the slightest bit of heat. However, if you’re a fan of spicy foods, you can increase the amount to really amp up the heat!

What else do I need to make this chili lime vinaigrette?

Making your own salad dressing is easy! The only thing you need to make it is a wide-mouth mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Simply add your ingredients to the jar, tighten the lid, and shake vigorously! If you prefer a smoother dressing, you can use a blender or food processor.

For more on making your own salad dressing, check out our master post on homemade salad dressings.

What if I don’t have extra virgin olive oil?

No worries! If you don’t have a good extra virgin olive oil on hand, you can use any mild-flavored oil. Avocado oil is one of our faves when we are low on olive oil.

A hand holds a spoon with teal handle. The spoon drips chile-lime salad dressing into a small jar. The jar is surrounded by small tomatoes, a lime slice, and red onions.

How should I store this chili lime dressing?

This vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight glass or plastic container. If you used the toss and shake method mentioned above, your salad dressing is already in a mason jar. As luck would have it, a mason jar is the perfect storage container.

Wholefully Protip

If you’ve pulled your vinaigrette out of the fridge and it appears hard or chunky, don’t panic! Olive oil hardens a little bit in the fridge—it’s completely natural. Simply let it warm up a little bit, give it a good shake, and it’ll be good as new!

How long will my chili-lime vinaigrette last?

Vinaigrettes tend to last a little longer in the fridge than dairy-based salad dressings. Your vinaigrette should be good for up to two weeks as long as it’s stored in an airtight container.

Can I use dried herbs?

Yes! In this recipe, you can substitute one teaspoon of garlic powder for the clove of garlic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that fresh herbs incorporate into your dressing faster than dried herbs do. So if you choose garlic powder over fresh garlic, let the dressing sit in the fridge for at least a few hours before using it.

How can I use my chili lime vinaigrette?

This vinaigrette pairs perfectly with a green salad such as my black bean fiesta salad in a jar. You can also add it to a taco salad for a citrusy, spicy kick!

But it has so many uses beyond a salad! This chili lime vinaigrette makes the perfect marinade for chicken, shrimp, or seafood—it even works for beef taco meat. It’s also delicious when you drizzle it right on top of your taco or sliced tomatoes.

And if you’re looking for a meatless option, mix some pinto or black beans with a little red onion, fresh cilantro, bell peppers, and this dressing. It makes for a delicious lunch or side dish!

8 Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

How do I make this vinaigrette vegan? What about gluten-free?

This chili lime vinaigrette can easily be made gluten-free and vegan! If you’re steering clear of gluten, you want to watch out for the soy sauce in this recipe. Most soy sauces are made by fermenting wheat and soy. Tamari or coconut aminos are good gluten-free substitutes.

Honey is the ingredient you’ll need to think about when it comes to making this vinaigrette vegan. Some vegans consider honey okay because it comes from insects and not animals. However, for other people, it’s still an off-limits food. If you want to avoid honey, you can swap it out for maple syrup or agave syrup in a 1:1 ratio.

Looking for more homemade salad dressings?

We have a whole collection of salad dressing recipes, including:

Chile-Lime Salad Dressing

Chili Lime Salad Dressing Recipe

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This simple dressing is a bright, vibrant addition to nearly any salad you can imagine. We especially love it on a taco salad!


  • Zest and juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons juice and 3 teaspoons lime zest)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake until well combined.
  2. Refrigerate and let flavors blend for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours, before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 262mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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  1. I noticed this Chili Lime dressing is different than the Chili Lime dressing for the Salad in a jar….the salad in a jar does not call for red wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey… is there a reason??

    1. Hi Jane! The salad in a jar recipe was developed first and it was the basis for the standalone recipe here. We love and still make both versions. The biggest deciding factor for us is what we have on hand whenever we mix it up. Feel free to use whichever you prefer—they’ll both be delicious!