Take your salads to new heights with this homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
This sweet and tangy dressing strikes the perfect balance between rich, aged balsamic vinegar, and zesty garlic and dijon mustard. The maple syrup adds just a hint of sweetness, and the medley of flavors creates a homemade vinaigrette that puts bottled dressings to shame. Plus it is seriously so easy to make, you will never settle for bottled dressing again.
I love this recipe for homemade balsamic vinaigrette because it means I get complete control over the quality and freshness of my dressing, the flavors can be customized to my preference, it is so simple to make, and it just plain tastes great!
Plus I get to skip some of the preservatives, and I already have everything I need to make this on hand, which means I can whip it up in a matter of minutes for the best salad dressing ever.
What You Need to Make Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Making your own balsamic vinaigrette is eazy peazy and the ingredients are easy to find at any grocery store, you probably already have a lot of them on hand.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients: (full recipe is printable below)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Maple syrup
- Black pepper
How to Choose A Good Balsamic
One of the keys to a great balsamic vinaigrette is a good balsamic. Choosing a good balsamic vinegar isn’t complicated, but you do need to know what to look for, so here are a few tips for picking one that is going to make your homemade dressing amazing:
- Check the Label:
- Traditional balsamic vinegar is from Italy, and is a high-quality, artisanal product, so don’t skimp and get a crappy one. To know the difference look for terms like “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale” on the labeling, or origin notes.
- Look for Specific Origins:
- Authentic balsamic vinegar is usually from Modena or Reggio Emilia in Italy. The reason you want yours to be from one of these regions is for the highest quality.
- Ingredients List:
- Check the ingredient list, lower quality balsamic will have added flavors, sugars, and coloring. A quality balsamic vinegar will have minimal ingredients. Often only grapes.
- Aging Process:
- Is it aged? The best balsamic vinegars have been aged at least 12 years. The aging process contributes to the complex flavor and consistency.
- Look for a DOP or IGP Seal:
- The DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) or IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) seals indicate adherence to specific production standards.
- Viscosity and Color:
- Look for a balsamic vinegar that is rich and deep in color, and has a nice viscosity, often thick and syrupy. A slightly thinner balsamic is best for this vinaigrette.
- Taste Test:
- The best way to know if your balsamic vinegar will be good for a balsamic vinaigrette is to taste it. A quality balsamic vinegar will have a balance of sweet, tart, and a hint of acidity.
How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette
The process of making your own balsamic vinaigrette is super simple, here’s how:
Step One: Combine and Shake
The first step is to simple combine all of your ingredients into a mason jar or salad shaker.
Tip: Finely mince or press your garlic so that it can combine with your dressing ingredients well.
Once you have everything in a jar or shaker, shake or whisk, or stir, or whatever you want to do to get everything to combine well and form a dressing.
Step Two: Store or Serve
After it is all mixed up, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge, and simple give it a good shake before using. Or, you can serve it immediately.
Note: Keep in mind that when refrigerated it can thicken some, and may need to be thinned with additional oil or vinegar, or left to warm up a little to room temp.
How long will a homemade balsamic vinaigrette last in the refrigerator?
A homemade balsamic vinaigrette can typically last in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 weeks, as everything in it tends to be pretty shelf stable. However, it can depend on the ingredients and how it is stored, here is what you should know:
Homemade balsamic vinaigrette will last longer if you do the following…
- Use Clean Utensils: Mix it up in a clean container and using clean measuring utensils, etc. as contaminants from other recipes or ingredients can reduce shelf life.
- Store in an Airtight Container: Transfer the vinaigrette to an airtight container like one of these salad dressing containers, that contains a tight-fitting lid to prevent air exposure. A mason jar is also a great option.
- Refrigerate Promptly: Don’t leave it out on the counter, get it in the fridge once it is done being mixed up.
- Check for Spoilage Signs: Always give it a sniff, check the color, and the texture before using. Just in case.
- Separation is Normal: Oil and vinegar will separate over time in the fridge, so simple re-shake or whisk together to re-emulsify your dressing.
- Avoid Contaminating Ingredients: Make sure the garlic you use in the vinaigrette, is clean and free of moisture to prevent spoilage.
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy, here are a few tricks and tips to get the best results:
- Use High-Quality Ingredients:
- Because there is no cooking involved, it is best to choose the freshest and highest quality ingredients you can. Especially the balsamic and oil.
- Taste and Adjust:
- If you find your balsamic vinaigrette isn’t too your liking, it is simple to adjust, so taste it. If it is too tart, you can balance it with a touch more maple syrup. Too thick, add a little more oil. Etc. The garlic and dijon add depth and complexity to the flavor, and should not be left out, but can be adjusted for personal preferences.
- Season with Salt and Pepper:
- Season your vinaigrette with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, this is a great way to enhance the flavor.
- Emulsification Techniques:
- A smooth, well-incorporated dressing is key to enjoyment, and to do this you simply need to whisk, blend, or shake well in a tightly sealed container. This will help the oil and vinegar to emulsify (blend together). Use a whisk, blender, or shake in a tightly sealed container to emulsify the oil and vinegar. This creates a smooth, well-incorporated dressing.
- Let It Sit:
- Let those flavors meld by allowing the vinaigrette to sit for a while (about 30 minutes to an hour) before using.
Make Ahead and Storage
To store homemade balsamic vinaigrette and maintain its quality, follow these steps:
- Choose the Right Container: Use an airtight container that is glass or food-grade plastic.
- Fill and Seal Properly: Seal the container tightly to prevent air from getting in, and don’t over fill.
- Label and Date: If you won’t be using it right away, label the container and date it to help you keep track of how long it has been stored.
- Refrigerate: Store in the refrigerator.
- Shake Before Use: Before using the balsamic vinaigrette, give it a good shake.
- Check for Spoilage Signs: Safety first, always check for spoilage before using.
- Use within a Reasonable Time Frame: Homemade balsamic vinaigrette can typically last in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 weeks.
Other Great Recipes:
- Tomatillo Dressing
- Tzatziki Ranch Dressing
- Green Goddess Dip or Dressing (Protein Packed)
- Kumquat Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove pressed
- ½ Tbs maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with lid. Screw lid on jar tightly.
- Shake vigorously until all ingredients are mixed.
- Serve over your favorite salad.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
Pin to your dressing board on Pinterest: