Poppy Seed Dressing

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Brighten up your salads with a homemade poppy seed dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and easy to make.

Bowl of poppy seed dressing next to a salad.

Poppy seed dressing is a slightly creamy vinaigrette that strikes the perfect balance between tangy and sweet flavors, with a delightful nutty crunch from the seeds. It pairs nicely with simple mixed greens or more elaborate salads featuring fruits and nuts—spinach, strawberries, and almonds being a classic combination. Granted, those pesky poppy seeds have a way of getting lodged between your teeth (especially as we get older—ah, the joys of aging), but the delicious taste of this dressing is worth it!

Preparing your own poppy seed dressing is incredibly easy, and you likely already have the necessary ingredients in your pantry. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking to liven up your weekday salads, this dressing is a must-have addition to your recipe box.

What You’ll Need To Make Poppy Seed Dressing

poppy seed dressing ingredients
  • Honey: Provides sweetness to balance the tanginess of the vinegar and mustard, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.
  • Dijon Mustard: Adds a tangy kick and helps emulsify the dressing, ensuring a smooth consistency.
  • White Wine Vinegar: Offers acidity to brighten up the dressing and enhance its overall flavor.
  • Mayonnaise: Contributes creaminess and helps bind the ingredients together. Choose a high quality brand like Hellman’s or Duke’s.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: Season the dressing, enhancing its taste and bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Vegetable Oil: Acts as the base of the dressing.
  • Shallots: Add a subtle onion flavor and depth to the dressing.
  • Poppy Seeds: Offer a pleasant crunch and nutty flavor, as well as a visual appeal to the dressing. (If you’re a fan of poppy seeds, don’t miss my lemon poppy seed muffins and lemon poppy seed cake.)
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-By-Step Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.

honey, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in bowl

Whisk to combine.

whisked honey, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper in bowl

While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in the oil to create an emulsion; the dressing should be slightly thickened and emulsified when all the oil is added. If you see pools of oil forming on the top while you’re adding it, stop for a moment and whisk to emulsify before continuing.

whisking in the vegetable oil

Add the shallots and poppy seeds.

adding the shallots and poppy seeds

Stir to combine.

poppy seed dressing in bowl

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Store the vinaigrette in a jar for up to a week in the refrigerator. Shake to re-emulsify when ready to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make poppy seed dressing in advance?

Sure! The dressing can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Shake to re-emulsify when ready to use.

Can I freeze poppy seed dressing?

I don’t recommend freezing poppy seed dressing as it can alter the texture and consistency. The oil may separate upon thawing, affecting the overall quality. It’s best enjoyed fresh from the fridge.

Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil in poppy seed dressing?

While technically both vegetable and olive oil can be used in the dressing, I prefer vegetable oil for its more neutral flavor. This allows the other flavors in the dressing to shine through without being overshadowed by the distinctive taste of olive oil. However, if you enjoy the flavor of olive oil and prefer its health benefits, feel free to use it!

Spoon drizzling poppy seed dressing onto a salad.

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Poppy Seed Dressing

Brighten up your salads with a homemade poppy seed dressing that’s tangy, sweet, and easy to make.

Servings: About 1 cup
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons minced shallots, from 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour in the oil to create an emulsion; the dressing should be slightly thickened and emulsified when all the oil is added. If you see pools of oil forming on the top while you're adding it, stop for a moment and whisk to emulsify before continuing. Mix in the shallots and poppy seeds. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  2. Make-Ahead Instructions: The dressing can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. Shake to re-emulsify when ready to use.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 171
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 86 mg
  • Cholesterol: 1 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • Wow, Jenn! This is a lovely dressing. Even better than store bought – no surprise. You have weaned me completely off commercial salad dressings as you have all of them right here. I am saving money, eating healthy and no driving around when I throw a salad together. Thank you!!

    • — Judi Gibbs on May 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love the taste of this dressing. However, I would prefer it a little thicker. It seemed a little watery. Is there any way to make it thicker?

    • — Mary Ann on October 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary Ann, To achieve a thicker dressing, consider adding more mayo or mustard. Also, remember that wet greens can often lead to a watery dressing, so ensure your greens are thoroughly dried. Hope this helps you!

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • I really like this recipe but when I tried it for the first time, it seemed a bit too vinegary to me. I also don’t like using vegetable oil. So this is how I adjusted the recipe:
    1. balsamic vinegar (a little less than 1/4 cup) instead of white wine vinegar.
    2. extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
    3. Add some juice from mandarin oranges if using them in your salad.

    With these adjustments, it has become our favorite salad dressing. I use it to make strawberry and chicken salad. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    • — Tanya Petrova on August 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • The tip about the orange juice is perfect. It killed the vinegar taste in mine which is what was looking for! Thank you!

      • — Kyleah on November 30, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this today using avocado oil and Chosen mayo. So yummy! Used it with Eat Smart Sweet Kale Salad kit in place of their dressing (we are soy-free). I tell everyone about your site and that everything I’ve made has been fabulous! Thank you!

    • — Teresa V on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love poppy seed dressing and usually have a jar of Marzetti’s in my fridge. I made a salad and then realized that my dressing was expired. I had previously seen Jen’s recipe for poppy seed dressing so I of course looked it up in desperation and the hope that I had the ingredients on hand. I did – and WOW!! This dressing really is “next level!” I will NEVER buy Marzetti’s again. The shallots added a nice balance to the honey and I was glad to see that there was only 1T of mayo, as I typically like lighter dressings. It was FABULOUS on my salad with greens, berries and nuts. Is there a recipe of Jen’s that I don’t absolutely love? Can’t find one yet!

    • — Heather on July 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’d love that salad recipe that is pictured with the dressing!

    • — Lisa Alderson on June 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, it’s actually not a recipe — it’s just a combo of spinach, red onion, strawberries, and almonds. Hope you enjoy the dressing if you make it!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2023
      • Reply
      • We have a local tea room that makes a salad just like that with homemade poppy seed dressing! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

        • — Joy on July 19, 2023
        • Reply
  • Made this dressing today using champagne vinegar rather than white wine vinegar. It is superb!! It will be served on a green salad with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and shredded chicken. Like all of Jenn’s recipes that I have tried, this one is truly excellent!

    • — Tina on May 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made your poppyseed dressing and it’s delicious! I’m going to use a little less of the poppyseeds next time. Maybe it’s because the ones I bought seem a little gritty, even after chilling the dressing for several hours. I used this dressing on a green salad with mandarin orange segments and candied almonds. It was so good! Everything I’ve made from your cookbook and website have been really great! Thank you!!

    • — Louise R on May 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi, Could I use unseasoned rice vinegar for this?

    • — Dimar on April 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2023
      • Reply
  • Jen, The recipe is delicious and timely with fresh Spring strawberries. I decided to refrigerate the leftover dressing. (Not sure about leaving it on the counter due to the mayo) I am going to try the Chipolte Honey, and Cranberry- Dijon dressings as well. Dee

    • — Dee on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow, best dressing I’ve ever tasted/made! And so easy. Can’t wait to put this on so many wonderful salads this summer. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Ashley S. on April 23, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this last night. Didn’t notice it was WHITE wine vinegar and I used regular white distilled vinegar. Ended up adding like 1/2 tsp of cane sugar. Probably not needed had I used the specified vinegar. This is the first homemade salad dressing I’ve made. My wife and I agree that it’s excellent! I used California Olive Ranch oil that is a 50/50 blend of Olive & Avocado oils. Love the thought of making a great dressing that’s made with quality ingredients. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • — John M on April 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn I love poppyseed dressing! Will it be fine to use olive oil instead? We cannot have the other.
    Thanks so much

    • — Melissa Pickard on April 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Melissa, I use vegetable oil as it’s more neutral in flavor, but if you aren’t able to use it, olive oil is fine. Please, LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can you make the dressing with greek yogurt instead of mayo?

    • — Kim on April 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep, that should work, but I might reduce the vinegar just a touch.

      • — Jenn on April 20, 2023
      • Reply

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