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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  • Mary Tibbetts

    Love your recipes…they have helped me brighten
    up my meals…and after 60 years of cooking, they
    were getting boring…Thanks…

  • Our nightly salad is usually just tossed with olive oil, then given a few grinds of black pepper, salted a bit, and then tossed again with vinegar (usually white balsamic). We like it a lot. But I have to say, your Zesty Italian Salad Dressing looks fantastic! I’ll be giving it a try tonight. :)

  • MickMil

    Gotta try this one. Sounds ZESTY!!!

  • barbara Wood

    Sounds great. Will definitely make it!!

  • Deb

    can I use red wine that has turned to vinegar for recipes like this? is that then considered best-quality red wine vinegar? Thanks!

  • frances

    Thank you for your website! I am sorry I don’t comment after every recipe of yours I make, but you might get sick of hearing from me! My recipe folder is full of your printouts. Thank you.
    I love how your food is healthy, unfussy, and family friendly — yet I still feel that I am preparing something “gourmet” and very special. A lot of love goes into your cooking and it shows!

  • good one !

  • Edith

    Hello to you and your family, Jenn.
    I am definitely going to make this salad dressing.
    I have spriing lettuce ready to pick and this will be great on it.

  • Lori

    That is DAMN good salad dressing! Thank you!

  • Had to try it and so glad that I did. The family loved it. A breeze to make.

  • barbara Wood

    Made the dressing this morning and had it on my salad for lunch. It’s a winner!!! yummm

  • Val

    This was the absolute best; was even better the next day.

  • Deb

    can I use red wine that has turned to vinegar for recipes like this? is that then considered best-quality red wine vinegar? Thanks!

    • Jenn

      Hi Deb, I have never made homemade red wine vinegar but if this is something you know how to do, I imagine it would be very good. I do know it’s more involved than just letting wine turn. You need to add a “vinegar mother” (a bacteria to facilitate the process) to the wine, and then it takes several months to turn into vinegar. Hope that helps.

  • Kris Smith

    YUMMMY…love a good salad dressing! This one looks and tastes FABULOUS!! Thanks for sharing

  • barbara Wood

    I know I’ve commented twice, but the third time’s the charm. My husband will use no other salad dressing since I made this. We love it!!!

    I would love to win the cutting board!!!

  • Kelly Reece

    I have an easy pasta salad that I make but have to buy zesty italian dressing. I am so glad to find this so now I can make as much as I need. It sounds delicious and as simple as my salad.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Melissa Crawford

    Is there something I could substitute for the pure maple syrup? That isn’t something I keep on hand.

    • Jenn

      Hi Melissa, You can use pancake syrup, sugar or honey. Hope that helps!

  • Selma. Tannenbaum

    Easy and delicious. A winner.

  • Amy Masson

    Fabulous taste. Thank you!

  • NKRak

    This is a refreshing addition to my multicolored lettuce salad to be served with an outdoor barbecue of salmon and salsa!

  • Homechef Paul

    Great !! – BUT, just gotta’ have a couple of shots of Tabasco or Crystal, too !!!

  • Janice

    Love this recipe! I made it in seconds, and love that it can be made and also stored in the same jar. Makes no mess and no cleanup! Great recipe, thanks so much!

  • Cristy

    I love this dressing! It is so light and fresh. I can make it up in no time!

  • Maureen C

    can not wait to try this-looks so good

  • Maureen C

    looks like it will be so good, going to try it this weekend

  • Susan

    This was fantastic!!! I can use this for so many salads and on a few quinoa recipes I make!!
    Thanks you!

    BTW…I really WANT the cuttingboard:)

  • Andrea

    I love homemade dressing and this looks delish!

  • Ilysa

    I loved your Asparagus Soup recipe. I have made several things and they are all good. Thank you for your help in making my dinners a bit more special

  • Liesel

    This dressing had a great zippy flavor… everyone commented how good it was. My youngest (pickiest) really liked it and said it tasted like “restaurant” dressing.

  • Cynthia

    This was so easy and delicious! These are ingredients I always have on hand – never will I need to be buy Italian dressing again.

  • Renee

    I made this and everyone in my Italian family loved it – even my 91 year old mother, who thinks her recipe is the ONLY one for Italian dressing. She LOVED it! Thank you!!


    Made this dressing last weekend and loved it. I bought the olive oil you recomended and I could really tell the difference.

  • Eliana G

    Looks great! I’m going to try it as a marinade for chicken cutlets

  • This was so easy and soooo scrumptious!!!

  • Ellen

    I’m eager to try this one! My husband is a big fan of Italian dressing and I’m sure it will be a bit hit at our house. Thanks!

  • alicia

    This is a delicious dish – the leeks & cheese combo really makes it – of course, though you couldn’t do without the cream either!!!

  • alicia

    sorry – my comment was actually at the quiche with the leeks and parmesan reggiano cheese. But this dressing looks great – if you haven’t tried the quiche make it ahead for a bake while you cut up fresh fruit this weekend – you’ll be a hit!

  • Patty F.

    I usually make fresh dressing each night but this one is great as I can leave it in the fridge and have it on hand. It is terrific. Remember to take it out of the fridge 10 minutes before you need it as the EVOO will be congealed.

  • Sheryl

    My family absolutely loved this dressing! Will make it again.

  • teresa swann

    Unsual recipe, looking forward to trying it!

  • Terri

    I have made many homemade Italian dressings using red wine vinegar and they are always so bitter…this recipe is OUTSTANDING! Adding maple syrup instead of sugar added the perfect subtle sweetness that made this recipe a hit with my family. Thank you !

  • Valerie

    This dressing has become my new house dressing.

  • The Bonne Maman jar is a must to achieve the perfect flavor.

  • Maria

    Love the dressing. Keep a jar ready in the refridge. Found that it is also good on grilled fish and grilled or roasted vegatables. Passed recipe onto my daughter who gave it rave reviews also. Thanks

  • very easy to make! Great Taste.

  • Cheryl Wheeler

    Can’t wait to try this recipe looks great

  • Emily Pedersen

    I made this for my mom for mothers day! She loved it!

  • Danita

    I purchased all of the ingredients for this 2 weeks ago. Finally made the dressing last night and my husband and I both give it a thumbs up. We eat a salads frequently, but I always purchased SASS sesame ginger dressing in Austin (local brand). Since moving to Seattle I’ve been unable to find something we like. Looks like I’ll be keeping your dressing on hand. Thanks Jenn.

  • mindy t

    So yummy. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Sally

    This is now my go-to recipe for dressing salads. I can finally get rid of the 10+ bottles of dressings taking up room in my fridge now that we’ve found one that’s good on just about any salad combination.

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