Homemade Italian Dressing

This recipe for homemade Italian dressing is one of my all-time favorite dressings and marinades! I love that I pretty much always have the ingredients for this dressing, it comes together in about 3 minutes, and not only is it one of my all-time favorite salad dressings but it is THE BEST marinade, especially for grilled chicken or vegetables (it’s what we use in this recipe, which is one our most popular Our Best Bites recipes EVER!)

Homemade Italian Dressing

how to make it

You’re going to need fresh lemons (you’ll need 1/4 cup juice, so however many lemons it takes to get you there; sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s three. Lemons are fickle jerks.), white vinegar (I usually just use regular ol’ white vinegar, but you can use white wine vinegar if you’re feeling fancy), kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, dry mustard, and sugar.

Italian dressing ingredients

Toss all those ingredients into your blender and then add 3-4 cloves of garlic (mine are large, so I’m using 3.) If you’ve got a powerful blender, just peel the garlic; otherwise, you might want to give them at least a smash before adding them to the blender.

Get 1 cup of oil ready, but DON’T add it to the blender quite yet.

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You can use any neutral-flavored oil you want (read: I think coconut oil would be a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but if you want to use it more power to you, just be forewarned that if you come and tell me how gross it was with coconut oil, I will be prepared with a hearty, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”) When I’m using this as a marinade where I’m going to end up tossing a good portion of the dressing, I usually just use a vegetable oil (I usually have peanut oil on hand), but if I’m using it as a dressing, I’ll splurge and go with the extra-virgin olive oil.

Blend the vinegar/lemon juice/garlic mixture until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil in a steady stream so the oil and the vinegar combine (emulsify) together.

Remove the blender jar and add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated or canned, totally your call.)

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and 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning.

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Use a spoon or a small spatula to blend the cheese and herbs into the dressing–you don’t want to blend them they’ll make the dressing muddy.

Transfer to a serving or storage container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.

Homemade Italian Dressing


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3-Minute Italian Dressing

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Quick and easy Italian vinaigrette that is THE BEST marinade ever for grilled chicken or vegetables


  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this really doesn’t add much heat; it’s better with it!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup neutral oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (either fresh or from a can)
  • 3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning (add more if needed)


  1. Place vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and garlic in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. While the blender is running, add the oil in a steady stream. Remove the blender jar from the blender and mix in the cheese and Italian seasoning by hand. Transfer to a storage or serving container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. At least use avocado oil if you don’t want to use Olive oil. Vegetable oil is so bad for you! Coconut oil is generally solid at room temperature so that’s an overall bad choice.

    1. I’m using “vegetable oil” pretty broadly here—feel free to use whatever oil you like, I’m just recommending not using olive oil.

  2. Would it still turn out good if I didn’t put the parmesan cheese in? I was wanting to make it for a dinner party but my friend can’t have dairy.

  3. Thank you so much for this. My husband’s doctor recently scolded him for eating the bottled Italian dressing he’s been buying (I won’t touch it). I have all the ingredients that I need (including a lemon tree!) and am looking forward to making this in my Vitamix blender!

  4. This is one of our family’s top dressings, we usually use it as marinade and grill kebabs. I pulled it out from it’s winter hibernation this week, and it was met with all kinds of excitement. Even a request to put the leftovers in my kids lunchbox, haha. Thanks for a great recipe!

  5. Looks really yummy and easy. None of the questionable ingredients lurking in the prepared dressings, either!

    Any recommendations on how long to marinate the chicken with this? My sister usually uses the bottled dressing and adds Worcestershire sauce. It’s good, but I think this would be so much better and fresher tasting!

    1. My usual rule of thumb is at least 4 hours, no longer than 24–I usually stick it in first thing in the morning and then pull it out at dinner time. 🙂

  6. Italian dressing is my favorite. This looks so good! Where did you get that awesome container with the spigot? I need to have that…there is always dressing drooling down the side of the container…

  7. Look at you with your striped spices in the little leaf dish. Fancy!

    This dressing sounds delicious. I think I made it once before but then forgot about it. Clearly, it’s time to try it again.

      1. Okay, it’s called The Bride Regular, but I have no idea where I got it and I can’t find it online! How in the world did this happen?? Hahaha!

        1. That’s funny. And it’s too bad because I love it. If you happen to come across it again, please post a link. 🙂

  8. I’ve made this dressing for years. Now it’s kind of our “house dressing”. I have earned a good reputation for salad thanks to you ladies. All your salad dressings are amazing!!

  9. I have used this recipe for years and I love it. Thanks for sharing it again, I will have to make it today.

  10. Ohhh that sounds delicious! Sometimes you have those dishes that you know miss something, but you can’t figure it out… Might be a good idea to have some of this sauce ready! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Those spices in the little leaf container look so pretty. Amazing styling! This recipe was really hidden! And it looks soooo good, will try it this week!