Close view of a glass cruet filled with homemade vinaigrette with a salad and fresh lemons in the background.

If I had to pick my favorite homemade salad dressing, it’d be this tangy, citrusy lemon vinaigrette. I’m a little bit lemon-obsessed, and I could honestly eat this stuff on every single salad I’ve ever made. If you aren’t a fan of lemons, this dressing isn’t for you! But if you love that sweet-tart citrus, read on!

Why should I make my own lemon vinaigrette?

Vegetables can be a tad boring all on their own, so it’s helpful to spice them up with a homemade salad dressing. Making your own lemon vinaigrette is super simple, and it’ll even save you a bit of money.

When you make your own lemon vinaigrette, you have complete control over which ingredients go in and which you leave out. This allows you to customize your dressing to your own personal tastes without any of the preservatives found in store-bought dressings.

If you want to learn more about making your own dressing check out my Salad Dressing 101 post, where you’ll find tips, recipes, and more.

Close view of pouring homemade lemon vinaigrette on a fresh greek salad.

What is lemon vinaigrette made of?

Like most homemade dressings, this recipe is deceptively simple. It doesn’t take much, and chances are, you have all of these ingredients in your pantry at home.

  • Red wine vinegar—To give your lemon vinaigrette bite
  • Dijon mustard—A tangy addition with just a hint of spice
  • Extra virgin olive oil—The base of your lemon vinaigrette
  • The juice and the zest from a lemon—It wouldn’t be a lemon dressing without fresh lemon juice!
  • A clove of garlic
  • Honey—Sweetness to balance out the sour notes of the lemon
  • Salt, pepper, and freshly minced oregano—Spices to round out the flavor of the dressing

Protip: Oil swaps

If you don’t have extra virgin olive oil, you can use any other mild oil for this recipe. Make sure the oil you choose is relatively mellow and doesn’t have a flavor of its own that will overpower this dressing.

What tools do I need to make a lemon salad dressing?

All you need is a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Toss your ingredients in the jar, shake it like crazy, and you’re good to go. It really is that simple!

Birdseye view of a glass jar filled with an emulsified vinaigrette alongside a fresh greek salad.

Why is my lemon vinaigrette bitter?

There are a few reasons your salad dressing may come out bitter:

  • The lemon zest. When you are zesting the lemon, try to only take the actual zest—the bright yellow part. The white layer of the peel, also called the pith, can be bitter.
  • Too much vinegar and lemon juice. These acidic ingredients can make your mouth pucker and the dressing taste bitter. If the vinaigrette is too acidic for your tastes, try whisking in a bit more oil to balance it out.

How do I store my lemon vinaigrette?

Your lemon vinaigrette needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Choose an airtight plastic or glass container to maintain freshness. If you used a mason jar to mix your dressing, just pop the whole thing in the refrigerator; no extra dishes are needed.

How long will my lemon vinaigrette dressing be good for?

Because this vinaigrette doesn’t contain any dairy, it’ll last a little longer. You can safely use your vinaigrette for up to two weeks as long as it’s been stored properly.

Protip: Shake it off!

Don’t be alarmed if your lemon vinaigrette seems to have solidified a bit after a night in the fridge. Olive oil hardens when it’s exposed to cold temperatures. Allow your vinaigrette to warm slightly, give it another shake, and it’ll be good as new!

A glass cruet filled with a simple homemade lemon vinaigrette stands on a kitchen linen alongside a fresh salad.

Can I use dried herbs in place of fresh ones?

Absolutely! If you use fresh herbs, your dressing will only need to sit for half an hour or so in the fridge; however, if you use dried herbs instead, it should sit for a few hours to let the flavors mix.

You can substitute one teaspoon of garlic powder for the clove of fresh garlic, and you can swap out two teaspoons of dried oregano for the tablespoon of fresh oregano.

What foods can I use my lemon vinaigrette with?

This is one of my favorite salad dressings. I can’t get enough of the citrusy lemon taste, so I use it on pretty much every salad. It works particularly well on fruit salads and Greek salads. I’ve also used it as a drizzle for my gyros, and it’s the perfect summer marinade for chicken and fish.

Birdseye view of simple lemon vinaigrette in a jar with fresh oregano, lemon, and garlic cloves around.

Is this dressing vegan? What about gluten-free?

Yes, and yes! This dressing doesn’t contain any wheat or animal products, so it’s gluten-free and vegan. The only caveat is the honey. Some vegans consider honey okay to eat because it’s made from insects and not animals. However, if you prefer to leave it out, you can always sub it 1:1 with another liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or agave syrup.

Looking for more homemade salad dressings?

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

Close view of a glass cruet filled with homemade vinaigrette with a salad and fresh lemons in the background.

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

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

Lemon Vinaigrette makes a bright and flavorful dressing that is perfect for drizzling over green salads.


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 teaspoons zest)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano OR 2 teaspoons dried oregano


  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.


  • You can swap out the olive oil for any other mild-flavored oil (I like avocado oil!).
  • Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 367mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 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.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Hey! This recipe looks great. Where did you get your dressing dispenser bottle? I would love to get one just like it.