Just 5 minutes to whisk together this simple and easy-to-make Lemon Vinaigrette! And it’s so tasty you may never buy store-bought dressing again. It’s full of vibrant fresh flavor and elevates any salad you choose to serve it with. It takes just a few minutes to whisk together, and you’ll find some tasty variations to try below as well. It’s naturally gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and paleo with no additives and no refined sugar.
Sunshine color and vibrant flavor, Lemon Vinaigrette is a classic recipe you definitely need in your back pocket. It goes well with just about any combination of salad you can think to put together. And it’s also great drizzled over roasted veggies as well.
The key to this recipe is freshly squeezed lemon juice, do not use bottled juice for this recipe! If you don’t have a lemon in the fridge, simply substitute balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar. A good quality vinegar will make an incredible dressing, bottled lemon juice will not. Luckily lemons keep for weeks and weeks in the fridge, so it’s easy enough to keep several around.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Lemon juice – from a freshly squeezed lemon only, never from bottled! I can’t stress this enough. As mentioned above, it’s better to use good quality vinegar like balsamic, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or red wine vinegar rather than bottled lemon juice.
- Garlic – again freshly minced, not garlic from a jar. If you don’t have fresh garlic, try 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules instead.
- Dijon mustard – can be omitted, but it helps to emulsify the dressing and adds a nice subtle flavor.
- Sea salt and pepper – are super important to bring out all the yummy flavors of this dressing.
- Olive oil – extra virgin and the best quality you can really pay dividends for great flavor. A homemade Lemon Vinaigrette can taste bitter if poor-quality olive oil is used.
How to make Lemon Vinaigrette step by step
Step 1: Start by cutting the lemon in half and juicing it. I like to use a glass reamer/juicer that sits on the countertop rather than the handheld kind. It’s just a bit quicker to juice lemons with.
Step 2: Next whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. You can also add the salt and pepper at the end to your taste.
Step 3: Next drizzle the olive oil into the lemon juice mixture in a slow steady stream whisking constantly to emulsify the dressing. Keep adding the olive oil little by little allowing the oil to emulsify until you’ve added in all the olive oil.
Step 4: Transfer the dressing into a container to pour from. This dressing tastes the best the first day but can be made ahead.
Ways to serve this
- As a marinade for chicken, you’ll find baking and grilling instructions here in my Best Chicken Marinades.
- Use it as a dressing for pasta salad.
- Over my Easy Green Salad, you’ll find this lemon vinaigrette already listed in the recipe.
- Use it in place of the mustard vinaigrette in my Strawberry Cobb Salad.
- Drizzle it over my Roasted Broccoli or Roasted Asparagus.
My favorites are balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, and white wine vinegar when I don’t have fresh lemon around to make vinaigrette.
You can simply omit the Dijon mustard from this recipe. Mustard helps to emulsify the dressing and adds a subtle flavor that’s not noticeable as a ‘mustard’ flavor, so I do recommend keeping it in the recipe if possible.
A vinaigrette is a type of salad dressing consisting of an acid like lemon juice or vinegar and oil whisked together with other ingredients like garlic and Dijon mustard.
- To store – transfer the vinaigrette to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to a week, but this tastes better the fresher it is. If you’re looking for longer storage, try my 2-Ingredients Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Tips & Tricks
- Be sure to add the olive oil slowly and steadily while whisking constantly. This allows the olive oil to properly emulsify. Even so, this dressing will separate as it sits, simply whisk it back together. Or if you’re storing it in a sealed jar, shake it back together before serving.
- Try adding a large pinch of Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, or fresh herbs like chopped tarragon or basil for a fun variation.
I really hope you enjoy this Lemon Vinaigrette! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice - see notes
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard - optional can be omitted
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt - or to your taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Optional: 1 teaspoon maple syrup or to taste if desired
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and garlic.
- Then add the olive oil in a thin steady stream as you whisk constantly. It’s important to add the oil very slowly to make sure it emulsifies as it’s added.
- When all the olive oil has been incorporated, season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Also taste test for sweetness level, and add a touch of the optional maple syrup if desired.
- Serve with the salad of your choice, or with roasted veggies.