Lemon Vinaigrette

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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.

Lemon Vinaigrette in a glass jar with a silver spoon on the side.

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.

Downwards view of lemon vinaigrette in a glass jars with halves of lemons around it.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Olive oil, lemon, sea salt and pepper, garlic, and Dijon mustard on a wooden cutting board.
  • 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

Juicing the lemon on a glass reamer dish on a wooden cutting board.

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.

Whisking together the lemon juice, minced garlic, and Dijon mustard in a bowl with the olive oil on the side.

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.

Whisking in the olive oil to the lemon juice mixture.

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.

Finished lemon vinaigrette in a glass jar with a silver spoon and lemon halves on the side.

Step 4: Transfer the dressing into a container to pour from. This dressing tastes the best the first day but can be made ahead.

Pouring lemon vinaigrette over a big bowl of green salad.

Ways to serve this


What can I use in place of fresh lemon juice?

My favorites are balsamic vinegar, champagne vinegar, and white wine vinegar when I don’t have fresh lemon around to make vinaigrette.

How to make lemon vinaigrette without mustard?

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.

What’s the difference between a vinaigrette and a dressing?

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.

Storing leftovers

  • 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.
A glass jar filled with Lemon Vinaigrette with a silver spoon in it.

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.

Finished lemon vinaigrette in a glass jar with a silver spoon and lemon halves on the side.

Lemon Vinaigrette

5 from 2 votes
Author: Kari Peters
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield: 4
Course: Dressing


  • 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.
Bonus StepIf you made this recipe, please leave a rating/comment. Ratings really help us continue to bring you high-quality free recipes. Rate This Recipe!


If you don’t have freshly squeezed lemon juice, substitute balsamic vinegar, white wine, champagne, or red wine vinegar, don’t use bottled lemon juice.
This dressing will naturally separate as it sits, simply whisk it back together before serving.
This dressing makes 1/2 cup.
Category: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Keywords: Best Lemon Vinaigrette, Easy Lemon Vinaigrette, Lemon Dressing, Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

nutrition facts

Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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