This Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is a quick and easy homemade dressing, with a luscious creamy texture. You only need a handful of ingredients to make this tangy vinaigrette. Dress your favorite salad and bring it to the next level!
Note: This recipe was originally published in June 2021, but has been improved and re-photographed. We hope you enjoy the new look!
This easy creamy balsamic dressing recipe packs bold flavors with little effort. Made with just a few good-quality ingredients, this healthy salad dressing is way tastier than store-bought dressings and is one of our favorite dressings for everyday salads.
Looking for more homemade salad dressings? Try this pesto vinaigrette dressing, this honey lemon vinaigrette, this Wingstop ranch copycat recipe, or this cranberry salad dressing.
❤️Why we love this recipe
- Simple ingredients - This recipe is made with good quality, everyday pantry ingredients. Anything you don't already have can be found at any grocery store.
- Quick and easy - Want something that's ready in 10 minutes or less? This recipe will elevate your next salad fast!
- Great taste - This recipe is tangy from the acidity of the vinegar and lemon juice, creamy from the help of mayonnaise, and has a touch of sweetness from the honey. It's balanced and yummy.
- Naturally gluten free, dairy free, low carb, & refined sugar free - This recipe is naturally sweetened with honey and is low in carbs and sugar. Plus, it's naturally gluten-free and free of any dairy!
Here are the ingredients we used for this recipe. You can find more information for substitutions below.
- Extra virgin olive oil - You want to go high quality here, as it's going to definitely impact the flavor. Make sure you're using pure olive oil.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Fresh garlic
- Italian seasoning
- Kosher salt & black pepper
- Dijon mustard - To add a zing of flavor, and to help stabilize the emulsion.
- Honey - To sweeten. Add to taste.
- Water* - Optional, add to thin if desired.
Visit the recipe card for the full quantities and nutritional information.
✨Substitutions & variations
Here's a few suggestions on additional flavors to try, or simple variations to this sauce.
- No mayo - Substitute with plain greek yogurt, or sour cream.
- Lower calorie - Swap mayonnaise for plain greek yogurt. You can also replace some of the olive oil with a bit of water, streaming it very slowly with the food processor running to make sure you don't break the dressing.
- Sweeter - Add more honey to taste.
- Herbed - Add more of your favorite savory dried herbs, like rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, or oregano.
- Roasted garlic - For a sweeter and more subtle garlic flavor, add roasted garlic.
- Alternative sweetener - Feel free to use your favorite sweetener, like maple syrup, agave, sugar, or a sugar alternative.
- Swap some of the acid - If you like, you can swap some of the balsamic vinegar for a little fresh lemon juice.
- Use different oil - While we really enjoy olive oil in this recipe, you can use avocado oil instead.
- Garlic powder in place of fresh garlic - No fresh garlic on hand? Just use some garlic powder instead!
- Vegan - Use a vegan mayonnaise, and swap the honey for maple syrup or agave.
- Roughly chop the garlic.
- Measure out all remaining ingredients.
Add half the olive oil, and all of the balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mayonnaise to a blender or food processor. (Image 1) Add the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. (Image 2)
If making by hand with a whisk or in a mason jar, please see the frequently asked questions.
Add the dijon mustard and the honey. (Image 3)
Blend or food process, allowing the mixture to emulsify. Stream in the rest of the olive oil very slowly while the machine is running. (Image 4) Continue food processing or blending until the mixture is completely emulsified and smooth, about 90 seconds - 2 minutes. (Image 5)
Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. At this point, you can also add water in a slow stream (like you did the olive oil) if you prefer the dressing to be runnier.
Allow the dressing to chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes if you have time before serving, as it may be a bit hot after processing or blending. Add to your favorite salad, like this arugula pear salad.
✨Tips & tricks
- Sweeten to taste. You may prefer a sweeter dressing.
- Food process, blend, or mix for a long time until everything is completely combined. Otherwise, your mixture may separate.
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💭Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can! Just follow these tips to make sure it goes smoothly.
Mince the garlic extremely fine, or just use garlic powder instead, since you won't have a high-power tool to emulsify everything.
You will need to whisk (or shake) vigorously to ensure everything gets emulsified.
The dressing will likely separate as it sits in the fridge. This is not a problem, and you can easily fix it by shaking it up again before using it. This is very common with homemade dressings, especially if you don't use a blender or food processor
Oil and vinegar will eventually separate, this is totally natural and unavoidable in time when it comes to this homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Homemade salad dressings are technically called "temporary emulsions" according to the Kitchn.
When you think of a bottle of dressing you buy at the store, and how creamy it stays in the fridge for long periods of time, keep in mind all of the additives in it!
Store-bought versions are usually made with a LOT of additives and emulsifying agents that keep the creamy balsamic dressing from separating.
Some additives are natural, while others are not. If you want to keep your dressing emulsified for longer, you have to add things like mustard, pepper, dried spices, honey, or mayonnaise. These additives make the dressing thicker and creamier.
Using a food processor, immersion blender, or high-powered blender will also help immensely. But don't worry if your dressing separates after a few days. You didn't do anything wrong!
Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. We don't recommend freezing this recipe.
Ways To Enjoy This Dressing
- On this simple arugula spinach salad or a delicious arugula pear salad.
- Try it with this apple cucumber salad, it's so delicious!
- On a burrata caprese salad, or this burrata and prosciutto salad.
- Toss it with this creamy pasta salad recipe for extra flavor.
- Use it as a marinade for your protein of choice, like chicken or pork. Simply add the dressing to a large bowl with your protein, toss, and cover. Let it sit in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before cooking. You don't want to wait much longer than that because the acidity of the vinegar may start cooking the protein.
More Recipes To Consider
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Creamy Balsamic Dressing Recipe
- food processor, immersion blender, or blender (see notes below for how to make the dressing by hand)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sweetener of choice)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup olive oil
- water if needed to thin
- Add half the olive oil, and all of the balsamic vinegar, garlic, mayonnaise, honey, dijon, salt, pepper, and all the dry seasonings to a blender or food processor. If making by hand with a whisk, see notes below.
- Blend or food process until completely smooth and emulsified, about 1 minute and 30 seconds, streaming in the remaining olive oil while you do so.
- Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your preference. Add in water and blend again if you prefer a thinner texture. Serve with your favorite salad!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days. Do not freeze.
- You can use any sweetener that you want in place of honey.
- You can use any dried seasonings you like. You can also substitute fresh garlic for garlic powder if you prefer.
- Avocado oil can be substituted for olive oil.
- Greek yogurt can be substituted for mayonnaise.
- Mince the garlic extremely fine, or just use garlic powder instead, since you won’t have a high-power tool to emulsify everything.
- You will need to whisk (or shake) vigorously to ensure everything gets emulsified.
- The dressing will likely separate as it sits in the fridge. This is not a problem, and you can easily fix it by shaking it up again before using it. This is very common with homemade dressings, especially if you don’t use a blender or food processor.
These nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy and are only estimates. We cannot guarantee the accuracy.
This is a winner. Originally made it for the Cucumber Apple Salad, but now use it on Chicken, Broccoli, and other salads. It was easy to make and didn't separate as much as I expected.
That is awesome, than you Jennifer! So glad you like it and are getting so much use out of it!
Alison W Strobel says
That's wonderful Alison, thanks so much for your comment! 🙂