Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing


This is my new favorite salad dressing. It’s easy to make and goes beautifully with the salad I make for my family most nights — a mix of romaine, chopped red bell peppers, tomatoes, shaved carrots and olives.

It’s a classic oil and vinegar dressing with lots of garlic and a few surprise ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup. I know the syrup sounds odd but it doesn’t make the dressing even the slightest bit sweet — it just rounds out the acidity.

To make it, simply combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake to emulsify. That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

*When dressing salads, be sure greens are completely dry so the dressing doesn’t get watered down.

Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing

Print Recipe
Servings: 1-1/3 cups


  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Colavita or Lucini
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, best quality such as Pompeian Gourmet or Domaine des Vignes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 small garlic cloves, minced


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar. Seal tightly with lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. Store dressing in refrigerator for up to a week. As the dressing sits, it will separate (and solidify in the fridge), so be sure to shake well before using.

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  • Thanks so much for this recipe it is my new favorite salad dressing and was a hit at a recent family BBQ!! I have already made 3 batches in 2 weeks :)

  • Adrian

    Tasted great on a simple salad of cucumber, onion, and tomato with some grilled sliced chicken. The maple syrup added great flavor, be sure to use the real thing.

  • Martha

    I’ve been searching for a recipe just like this…simple and useful for a variety of salads. Thank you!

  • Carissa

    This is perfect and loved by all in my family – thank you!

  • barbara Wood

    just added this dressing to my tomato, cucumber and onion salad as suggested a few posts ago. Yummm

  • Allie

    Another winning recipe from Jenn! This will now become my go-to basic salad dressing recipe. I add just a pinch of granulated sugar in addition to the maple syrup because I like dressings that are on the sweeter side, but otherwise, this dressing is perfection. I never would’ve thought of adding Worcestershire sauce to salad dressing, but it does the trick! And another testament to how good this dressing is: my husband, who normally scarfs down his salad just so he can move on to the main course, went back and had another full bowl of salad, declaring, “This dressing is REALLY GOOD!”

    • Jenn

      Thanks Allie, so glad you guys enjoyed it!

  • Laurie

    Never would of thought about the maple syrup! It gives it a “what is that??” taste that’s so good.
    I also added some dried vegetable flakes to it. You can find them in the spice aisle. They re-hydrated overnight in the dressing and kicked it up another notch.
    This is a great go-to recipe!

  • barbara Wood

    @Laurie great idea!!! I make this dressing all the time. We love it.

    I had some leftover israeli couscous so I added some chopped red bell pepper, and red onion and use this dressing and mixed it all up. Yummm

  • Kristen

    This looks delicious…especially with the maple syrup! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Lori

    Great as a marinade as well. I used it on flank steak and it is amazing! I added some chopped shallots.

  • This homemade Italian dressing sounds wonderful! With all the hype these days on healthly eating, can you provide the nutritional information on this dressing please?


    • Jenn

      Wish I could, Teresa, but I’m just not set up to do that. Am looking into it though as I get a lot of requests.

  • Heather

    Has anyone tried this as a marinade? I am trying to not use bottled stuff anymore…

  • David

    Very tasty! Mmmm, mmmm good!

  • Lucy

    Very good! Yay! I’m all about making the fresh stuff!

  • Jennifer

    I made this last night and it’s GREAT! Thank you for an easy and delicious dressing recipe. Way fresher than store bought, super tasty and easy enough for a weeknight. Every recipe of yours I’ve tried has been so great, thank you for sharing them!

  • Tina

    Thanks for the recipe! How long would you say this lasts in the refrigerator?

    • Jenn

      Hi Tina, It keeps well for about a week.

  • Linda

    I am allergic to black pepper and gluten (found in Worcestershire Sauce). Any suggestions for substitutions?

    I have been trying to find a salad dressing to make for some time. My favorite dressing is French, but due to finding out I’m allergic to tomatoes I’m unable to have it anymore.

    I figured Italian would be the best dressing for me due to other allergies I have also.

    Thanks for your kindness in sharing your recipes and for your help.

    God Bless, Linda

    • Jenn

      Hi Linda, It’s hard to say without knowing all of your allergies but check out this recipe. It’s a bit more work since it’s made with fresh herbs but it’s quick in the food processor. It’s one of my absolute favorites. link to onceuponachef.com

    • Lynne

      There’s always a worcestershire vs. anchovy debate with caesar salad dressing. May be a good substitute for you. The paste is so convenient.

  • barbara

    This recipe got me started to follow your blog. So many good recipes. This dressing I make all the time. I also use it as a marinade for chicken and drizzle some on veggies when I roast them

  • Donal

    I’ve been in the mood for a big fat salad all day. Bought the greens, tomatoes, even fresh mozzarella, but wanted a dressing that wasn’t too overpowering. Just found this recipe and made up a batch. It’s wonderful. For me, it’s the Worcestershire sauce, more than the maple syrup, that makes it unique. Thank you for this!

  • r2p2

    Oh wow. I wasn’t sure about this dressing, but all the reviews raved, so I took the plunge. My husband and I have made short work of this. We’re making a second batch this week. YUM YUM!!

  • Papapopup

    Very midwest tasting. It’s definitely not bad, but it WAS on the sweet side. Authentic Italian should not be sweet at all. It also lacked a depth I can’t quite put my finger on. For someone not expecting a rockin’ real Italian style dressing in the line of Girard’s Italian Dressing, this recipe will be fine.

  • nicole

    Great all purpose dressing to always have on hand

  • M

    Delicious dressing that is fail-proof – love it! Friends have also liked it enough to ask for the recipe. A definite keeper!

  • H

    Super simple! This goes best with such simple salads as romaine and grape tomatoes. With a properly grilled medium rare rib-eye cut, this is golden.

    • Jenn

      Love this idea!

  • Christine

    I am out of real maple syrup at my house (and the grocery store is closed today for Christmas), can I substitute the maple syrup with agave nectar? We have the light-colored agave nectar. Or what about honey? Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • Jenn

      Yes either is fine, or even brown sugar.

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