This homemade Italian dressing is a combination of olive oil, vinegar, herbs and spices, all blended together to make a zesty and flavorful salad topper. An easy and versatile recipe that can also be used to add flavor to potatoes, vegetables, chicken and seafood.
My husband loves Italian dressing, in fact, he orders it on his salad every time we go to a restaurant. I decided it was time to learn to make this iconic salad dressing at home, and to my surprise, it is simple to prepare, yet totally delicious!
How do you make Italian dressing?
Place olive oil, white wine vinegar, parmesan cheese, shallots, bell pepper, dried herbs and spices in a bowl. Whisk until well combined. Pour the dressing into a jar or airtight container, then use immediately or refrigerate for later use.
Tips for the perfect dressing
- I primarily use dried herbs in this dressing because it extends the shelf life. You can substitute fresh herbs, you’ll just want to triple the amount that is listed for the dried herbs.
- Be sure to mince your bell pepper very finely. The pepper adds color and flavor, but you don’t want large pieces in the dressing.
- Try to use freshly grated parmesan cheese if possible, I find it has a lot more flavor than the pre-grated tubs of cheese.
- Italian dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to one week. The dressing may separate or solidify as it sits in the fridge. This is not a problem. Simply shake the container to emulsify the dressing. If you find that the olive oil solidifies from being chilled, let the dressing sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes and it will liquify again.
- This recipe calls for shallots, which taste like a cross between garlic and onions, except milder. I find that they add great flavor without the harsh bite that garlic and onion can sometimes provide.
This dressing is great as-is, but you can add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Vinegar: Swap out the white wine vinegar for red wine vinegar, lemon juice or even balsamic vinegar.
- Creamy: Add 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise for a thick and creamy dressing.
- Cheese Lovers: Double the amount of parmesan cheese, or use a blend of parmesan with romano or asiago cheese.
- Garlic Lovers: Add 1 teaspoon of fresh minced garlic to the dressing.
Ways to use Italian dressing
There are so many different ways to use Italian dressing aside from just pouring it over lettuce!
- Salads: A green salad is a classic choice, but this dressing also works for bean salads, antipasto salad and chopped salad.
- Pasta: Use the dressing as a sauce for a hot pasta dish topped with grilled chicken, or for a cold pasta salad.
- Chicken: Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours. Bake or grill the chicken as desired.
- Salmon: You can marinate salmon fillets in the dressing, or simply brush the dressing over the fish during the last 5 minutes of the cooking time.
- Casseroles: Stir a few tablespoons of dressing into a chicken and rice casserole to add a boost of zesty flavor.
- Dips: Add a tablespoon of dressing to a spinach or onion dip to elevate an appetizer into a fancy offering!
I almost always have a jar of this Italian dressing in my fridge; the bold flavors just can’t be beat!
More Italian style recipes you’ll enjoy
Italian Dressing Video
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red bell pepper finely minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons shallot minced
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the dressing into a jar or airtight container. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.