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Zesty Homemade Italian Dressing

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Forget the bottled stuff: this zesty homemade Italian dressing is easy to make and packed with flavor.

Glass jar of zesty homemade Italian dressing.

This zesty Italian dressing is my go-to weeknight salad dressing. It’s a classic oil and vinegar salad dressing with lots of garlic and a few surprise ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup. Sounds strange, I know, but it works. It’s a cinch to make, too: simply combine all of the ingredients in a jar, give it a shake, and you’re done. The recipe makes enough dressing for one large head or three hearts of romaine.

What You’ll Need To Make Homemade Italian Dressing

ingredients for homemade Italian dressing

How To Make Homemade Italian Dressing

combining all of the ingredients in a jar

Simply combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake to emulsify.

emulsified Italian dressing in jar

As always, when dressing salads, be sure greens are completely dry so the dressing doesn’t get watered down.

Glass jar of zesty homemade Italian dressing.

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Zesty Homemade Italian Dressing

Forget the bottled stuff: this zesty homemade Italian dressing is easy to make and packed with flavor.

Servings: Makes 1 ⅓ cups


  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Colavita or Lucini
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar, best quality such as Pompeian Gourmet or Domaine des Vignes
  • 1½ tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 small garlic cloves, minced


  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar. Seal tightly with lid and shake vigorously to emulsify. Toss gently with the romaine lettuce right before serving. Store extra 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.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 155
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 151 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 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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  • Jenn, you’re absolutely on target with this salad dressing. I didn’t think these flavors would work together but they do, and it only improves with age. So easy to toss together when needed. Great on all salads, whether sweet or savory…even pasta salad! It’s a keeper.

    • — Pat on March 22, 2024
    • Reply
  • There’s something about the combination of flavors in this dressing (maybe the Worcestershire sauce and the maple syrup?) that makes it exceptional. I’d suggest the addition of two ingredients that would help emulsification–a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 1/4 tsp. gelatin, softened in a tablespoon of water and then microwaved for 10 seconds to dissolve. I’d also suggest using an immersion blender to mix instead of just shaking. If you use a jar that the head of the blender fits into, you don’t need to dirty up a bowl. Otherwise, poi-fect!

    • — Debi Simons on January 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Just made this dressing and Wow! The savory flavor is bumped the perfect amount by the addition of the maple syrup. I didn’t think it would be a compliment, but it totally is. I wouldn’t describe it as a sweet Italian dressing though. The ratio is just perfect to enhance the zesty Italian flair. So, so good!! I haven’t had one of your recipes disappoint. I’m so glad my friend recommended you!

    • — Christie on October 21, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, I’m looking for a dressing to go with a pasta salad (which will have mozzarella pearls, pepperoni, etc). Do you think this would work well? I really prefer to use your recipes whenever possible!

    • — Amanda W on July 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Amanda, I think it would work nicely (and thanks so much for using my recipes as go-to’s)!

      • — Jenn on July 26, 2023
      • Reply
      • Thank you for your response! This worked really well as a dressing for the pasta salad. I would definitely use it again!

        • — Amanda W on July 31, 2023
        • Reply
        • So glad to hear it — thanks for reporting back!

          • — Jenn on August 1, 2023
          • Reply
  • Have never cared for Italian dressing from the bottle and have never searched out a recipe.
    This is wonderful. Used my garlic crusher and quickly put this together. Keeps so nicely in the frig. Thanks Jenn for another winner

    • — Carol on February 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Yet another winner from Jenn! I made this the first time for a salad, and then as a marinade for chicken tenderloins. It’s an amazing dressing for salads, but I can honestly say using it as a marinade has made the chicken the best I have ever tasted. The recipe as written is more than enough for two pounds of tenderloins, which we make on the grill and then use throughout the week. What an amazing recipe. Thank you Jenn.

    • — Heather E. on January 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • I will say here that I tried it as a marinade for chicken breasts, and personally, I prefer Jenn’s Best Grilled Chicken Ever recipe. The recipe itself as a salad dressing is really superb and easy to make!

      • — Amanda W on July 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • This recipe is fantastic…the only italian dressing I make now. I use honey instead of maple syrup, and a teaspoon of garlic powder in place of the minced garlic to keep it shelf-stable in my pantry to avoid having to refrigerate it. Make sure you use Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce…all other brands are inferior.

    • — Matt Moreau on January 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • So good!! This will be my new go-to dressing!

    • — Flo on December 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • The salad I made using this dressing was a big hit at a weekly dinner gathering of former coworkers. When they raved about the salad, I knew that it was the dressing that made the difference. I stirred my non-lettuce veggies (tomatoes, red onion, artichoke hearts) into the dressing so that that they could marinade and refrigerated the mixture until serving time (about 2 hours). When it was time to serve, I scooped the veggies out of the dressing, added them to the lettuce, stirred the dressing in its container and added the amount that I wanted to the lettuce-veggie mix. I mixed the salad with tongs and added shredded Parmesan cheese to the top. I have added this dressing to my list of favorite recipes for the year! Thanks!!

    • — Ann O'Rourke on November 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Added about 1/4 extra Olive oil. Delicious.

    • — Edel Logan on June 24, 2022
    • Reply
  • Another big fat hit with my family!! This dressing was exactly as described- tangy, zesty and yummy. It was so delicious- My family asked for more salad. As always – thanks for sharing Jenn!!

    • — Renee Orozco on May 30, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    This homemade Italian dressing sounds wonderful. I’m having friends for dinner Saturday and making your shrimp saganaki and a green salad. I like to put blueberries, Strawberries and kiwi in my salad to give it a fresh taste. Do you think this dressing would work well with that type of salad?
    Thanks so much.

    • — Cindy on May 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, I don’t think the flavors in this dressing will pair very well with fruit. I’d suggest this one instead. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • Definitely a keeper!

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier
    • Reply
  • Don’t question the ingredients — you’re in for an amazing dressing you won’t forget.

  • Excellent dressing, only thing I changed was the amount vinegar since I like a little more tang

  • This is a wonderful dressing! Everyone loves my salads and requests this recipe. It is now our house dressing.🤡

  • This salad dressing was delicious and a nice compliment to a pork tenderloin I made for dinner. Next time I made it, I might add a pinch of Italian seasoning.

    • — Lori Rasmussen
    • Reply
  • Was delicious. I did use sugar free maple syrup. Thank you!

  • This is one of my go to dressing recipes. I don’t change a thing, it’s delicious and super fast to make.

  • Nice zesty & also rich dressing alternative to winter salads!

  • This is the best Italian dressing I’ve made – lots of flavor and quick to make! The worcestershire sauce enhances the flavor, as well as the fresh garlic. Thanks to this dressing, my son will now eat salad!

  • I love having this made and in the Refrigerator. It goes over Meat & Salad & Vegetables. I really enjoy your recipes. It is so nice to see a picture of what is needed in the recipe before you begin.

  • Okay… I am NOT that home cook who gets all, “Oh, Jenn… this was great, but I increased the salt by 1/29th of a teaspoon, and now it’s perfect.” In fact, a review of the game tapes will reveal an almost sycophantic enthusiasm for Jenn’s recipes. Having said that, I added a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to this and OMG.

    • — Rebecca Reynolds
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Besides romaine, is there anything else you would put on top of this salad or do you typically just stick with just lettuce and dressing here? I’ll be serving this as a side salad to your spaghetti and meatballs. Thanks.

    • Hi Chad, whatever greens you like would work nicely here! 🙂

  • I make this as my go to dressing – I cut the vinegar back to 1/4 cup and add 1 teaspoon of dried Cento Italian herbs. Excellent!

    • Karen, I agree with the addition of Italian herbs (otherwise how is it zesty Italian dressing?) My husband doesn’t like dressings to be very vinegary, so I did cut back to 1/4 cup. Adding a bit of dijon mustard adds to the emulsification and flavor. It’s a lovely dressing now.

      To the author, it’s not a reflection on the recipe, which would’ve suited me just fine, just a modification for our family’s preference.

      Thanks for the inspiration!

      • — Stephanie Marcotte
      • Reply
  • Hi, would this dressing be good for a pasta salad?

  • Yummy! Lots of compliments from the family on it!

  • Add I tsp Italian seasoning.

    • — Linda BayBridge
    • Reply
  • Excellent, will definitely be my go to dressing…..didn’t change a thing👍

    • — colleen mccormack
    • Reply
  • I would have never but these ingredients together for a salad dressing, but it came out really good and my husband loved it too! Definitely a keeper! Thanks again Jen.

  • I too happened to have this same jar and made this recipe today…I doubled it as I am sharing this with friends. Super delicious and made no changes. If people only knew how easy dressing is to prepare 😋 Thank you for this recipe!

    • — Terri J. Moore
    • Reply
    • Hi, how long does the dressing keep in refrigerator?

      • Hi Renee, I think it’d keep nicely in the fridge for up to a week.

  • Love this, Jenn! Hate buying dressings due to added ingredients, etc. including soy!! This was amazing—AND I love that you used one of my favorite jelly jars that I save for your dressings too!!! Bonnemaman! Thank you for the great ideas! Carol (Chadds Ford, PA)

  • No excuse not to make this, it’s delicious and it takes less than ten minutes to make!
    I use pure maple syrup for my husband’s coffee so I had that on hand. I love the generous amount of garlic. Also, I used apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and i think after tasting the dressing that it still came out perfectly.

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