This easy balsamic vinaigrette recipe has just 6 ingredients and is the best balsamic vinaigrette recipe, perfect for salads, pasta salads, marinades, and more.
There are only a handful of recipes I’ve committed to memory, most of which are salad dressings. It’s so helpful to have at least one or two of your favorite dressings or vinaigrettes memorized so you can easily pull them out of your back pocket (because there’s nothing more annoying than going to make a salad and having to stop and search for a recipe somewhere). I’ve got a plethora of go-to vinaigrettes I cycle through most weeks, like my Greek salad dressing, Dijon vinaigrette, the easiest lemon vinaigrette, and probably the MVP—this balsamic vinaigrette I’m sharing with you today.
Balsamic is one of the most versatile vinaigrettes you can make. It really goes with anything, and I love this easy recipe not only for its versatility but also because it doubles as an excellent marinade for meats or veggies. This version tastes balanced and tangy, slightly sweet, and savory. Whether you drizzle it over pasta salads or use it as a marinade for veggies, chicken, steak, or even tomatoes, this balsamic vinaigrette will be your new go-to dressing recipe.
What’s Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing Made Of
- Olive oil—use a fruity olive oil for the best flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar—avoid using the cheapest vinegar you find. An aged balsamic will be thicker, darker, sweeter, and syrupy, with more flavor.
- Garlic—you can leave this out if you prefer, but it adds great flavor. Use a garlic press or if you want a more muted garlic flavor, smash the clove and leave it whole to infuse the dressing.
- Dijon mustard—or try a grainy yellow mustard
- Honey—granulated sugar works too
How to Make Balsamic Vinaigrette
This vinaigrette couldn’t be simpler to make. There are two different methods you could choose from:
Shake it up: Simply add all of the ingredients to a 12 or 16-ounce jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously to emulsify.
Whisk it up: No jar? No problem. Add all of your ingredients (except for the olive oil) to a medium-sized bowl, then gradually stream in the olive oil while whisking until fully emulsified.
Is Balsamic Vinaigrette Healthy
Balsamic vinaigrette is a light dressing and is lower in fat and calories than thick and creamy dressings (like ranch, Caesar, and French, for example). The only fat in this vinaigrette comes from extra-virgin olive oil, which contains monosaturated fatty acids that have been linked to heart health. Also, I like adding just a tad of honey or sugar for a touch of sweetness, but not much, so I still consider this a healthy vinaigrette.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Additions
I love this balsamic vinaigrette as is, but if you wanted to mix it up a bit, you could try adding any of the following:
- Fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, or basil
- Try using white or golden balsamic vinegar instead of dark
- For a little umami, add a splash of soy sauce
- Try maple syrup instead of honey or sugar
- For some fruity notes, use a fig or raspberry-flavored balsamic vinegar
- For even more flavor, add some minced shallots
How to Use Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinaigrette is so versatile. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
- Peach Panzanella Salad with Burrata and Bacon
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Strawberry Arugula Salad with Watermelon and Feta
More Dressings & Vinaigrettes You’ll Love
- Dijon Vinaigrette
- Green Goddess Dressing
- Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Homemade Caesar Dressing
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