Homemade salad dressing doesn’t need to be fancy. With this easy lemon vinaigrette recipe, you’ll have a zippy, peppery, and delicious dressing made with a handful of pantry ingredients in less than 5 minutes! 

A spoonful of lemon vinaigrette being lifted from a jar of lemon vinaigrette.
Photo Credits: Kathrine Irwin

Lemon vinaigrette is the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to homemade salad dressings. With fresh lemon juice and dried oregano, this easy vinaigrette recipe is similar to the classic Greek salad dressing Ladolemono, but with a spoonful of Dijon mustard for a velvety quality and peppery kick.

This lemon vinaigrette recipe will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week. Make a big batch to keep on hand and use it for more than green salads. It's also great as a chicken marinade, a sauce for cooked fish, or to dress roasted vegetables and grains salads.

Table of Contents
  1. Why Make Homemade Dressings and Vinaigrettes?
  2. Ingredients for this Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe
  3. Ingredient Spotlight
  4. How to Make Lemon Vinaigrette
  5. Best Vinaigrette Ratio 
  6. Ways to Mix It Up
  7. What to Serve with Lemon Vinaigrette
  8. You’ll Also Like: More Vinaigrette Recipes
  9. 5-Minute Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe Recipe
ingredients for a lemon vinaigrette recipe including lemon juice, dijon mustard, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.

Why Make Homemade Dressings and Vinaigrettes?

Buying a bottle of vinaigrette or creamy dressing at the store is quick, but it's far less expensive to make it at home, and the benefits of making salad dressing far outweigh the 5 minutes it takes to whip it up.

Just a few reasons why making a homemade lemon vinaigrette is better than store-bought:

  • Fresh ingredients have better flavor
  • High-quality ingredients equal better nutrition and flavor
  • No unnecessary extras like preservatives or stabilizers
  • You control the salt and sugar
  • Can make it according to your tastes

Ingredients for this Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

This is an extra simple homemade dressing meant to be made with easy pantry staples. Here's what you'll need: 

  • Lemon juice is the only acid, which is fresh and bright. 
  • Dijon mustard adds punchy, peppery flavor and a bit of body–otherwise, the lemon and oil won’t emulsify to become velvety as easily. Stone ground, seeded, or smooth Dijon all work well. 
  • Garlic adds a savory, spicy depth of flavor. 
  • Dried oregano gives the dressing a layer of complexity. You can substitute with other dried herbs if you prefer, like parsley or basil. 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper enhance the flavor. 
  • Extra virgin olive oil is a major component of the flavor—you need something high in quality with a pleasant taste. 

Ingredient Spotlight

The biggest benefit to making homemade vinaigrette—be it this one, balsamic, apple cider, you name it–is the olive oil. Most store-bought dressings and vinaigrettes use low-quality oils, which lack both flavor and polyphenols. By making your own, you can use a high-quality, antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil, which is not only better for you, but it also tastes better!

Once you're using a high-quality olive oil, the flavor is up to you. For example, I like to use a bold and peppery EVOO for my dressings and often opt for our Early Harvest Greek EVOO or our Spanish Hojiblanca EVOO.

But a milder, more buttery EVOO like Arbequina or a medium-bodied and somewhat fruity EVOO like Nocellara will work as well. It depends if you want your vinaigrette more bold and punchy or mellow.

a jar of lemon vinaigrette with a spoon next to lemon halves and a cloth towel.

How to Make Lemon Vinaigrette

Vinaigrettes are always to taste. If you prefer a more in-your-face citrusy flavor, start with less olive oil. Always taste and adjust the salt before dressing your salad. Here’s how to make this simple homemade dressing:

  • Whisk. In a mixing bowl, whisk together ¼ cup lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, and a big dash of salt and pepper (½ to ¾ teaspoon each).The ingredients for the lemon vinaigrette recipe in a bowl mixed together with a whisk, just before the olive oil is added.
  • Incorporate the oil. Continue whisking as you drizzle in ½ to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until fully emulsified.a cup of olive oil slowly being added to the bowl of the lemon vinaigrette as it's being whisked.
  • Use or store. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Store, covered in your refrigerator, for up to 1 week. Simply give it a good whisk to reincorporate the oil. The ingredients for lemon vinaigrette being mixed together with a whisk.

Best Vinaigrette Ratio 

The basic formula for vinaigrette is 1-part citrus to 3-parts oil. In this case, I do ¼ cup fresh lemon juice to ¾ good extra virgin olive oil. So this isn’t technically a vinaigrette since there’s no vinegar, but no one is complaining!

Ways to Mix It Up

This lemon vinaigrette recipe is really a formula that you can use to plug in what you like and what you have on hand. Here are some ideas: 

  • Mix up the herbs with other dried or fresh tender green herbs, like basil or parsley. 
  • Add sweetness: If you’d like to balance the tart flavor, add a drizzle of honey (I like our Greek Honey).
a jar of lemon vinaigrette with a spoon next to lemon halves, a small bowl of salt, and a cloth towel.

What to Serve with Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon vinaigrette is a very versatile homemade salad dressing–you really can’t go wrong with greens of your choice, from endive to arugula to kale. But don’t stop at salad! Here are more ways to use this lemon vinaigrette recipe:

  • As a marinade for grilled or baked chicken. Allow the chicken to soak in the marinade–ideally for at least 30 minutes and no longer than overnight as the acid can turn the chicken rubbery. You can bake the chicken right in the marinade (use this Greek Chicken Marinade Recipe for cooking instructions) or shake off the marinade and grill. 
  • As a dressing for roast vegetables. Toss roast veggies of your choice, like beets, fennel, potatoes, and more in enough dressing to coat. 
  • As a condiment for sandwiches and wraps. Drizzle on sandwiches, toasts or wraps instead of traditional condiments like mayonnaise, aioli, or mustard.

You’ll Also Like: More Vinaigrette Recipes

5 from 6 votes

5-Minute Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
A spoonful of lemon vinaigrette being lifted from a jar of lemon vinaigrette.
An easy, bright and delicious vinaigrette recipe you can make with a handful of pantry essentials and less than 5 minutes.
Prep – 5 minutes
Total – 5 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 16 servings, more or less (makes about ¾ cup)
Course:
Condiment, Dressing

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 to 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Whisk. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, Dijon, garlic, oregano, and a big dash of salt and pepper (½ to ¾ teaspoon each).
  • Incorporate the oil. Whisk and while whisking, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil. Continue to whisk until fully emulsified.
  • Use or store. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Store, covered in your refrigerator, for up to 1 week. Simply give it a good whisk to reincorporate the oil.

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 61.8kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 0.1gFat: 6.8gSaturated Fat: 0.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.7gMonounsaturated Fat: 4.9gSodium: 7.1mgPotassium: 8.8mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 4.9IUVitamin C: 1.5mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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