balsamic vinaigrette gift

Balsamic vinaigrette

22 November 2010

I always have a jar of balsamic vinaigrette ready to go in my fridge. I use it almost daily on salads, spread on sandwiches, or drizzled over vegetables. It’s so versatile I rarely bother to make any other kind of salad dressing. And it certainly beats store-bought options with their cheap oils and high fructose corn syrup.

For Thanksgiving I’m using the vinaigrette on my favorite fall salad with greens, dried cranberries, candied walnuts and feta cheese. It is also fantastic drizzled over my go-to green beans or as a dip for grilled vegetables. I love using it on sandwiches, and it’s particularly great for make-ahead occasions when mayonnaise won’t do. And a beribboned jar makes a great holiday or hostess gift.

I’ve been meaning to post this vinaigrette for months, but because it’s one of those things I make without measuring, it took a while to sit down and actually formulate a recipe. Rest assured that with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar, you can’t go far wrong with balsamic vinaigrette – I’ve made it with more mustard, or more honey, or less olive oil, or without garlic – and it’s all good. My friend Josephine makes her balsamic vinaigrette with a squeeze of ketchup instead of mustard and honey, and that’s also great.

I rarely break out electronic appliances in the kitchen, but you can certainly whir this up in a blender or food processor. I’m too lazy to get out appliances, and cleanup always seems easier with a bowl and fork.

Honey, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic in a mixing bowl.

Not thinking ahead, I’d already measured out the oil and vinegar together. It’s a bit easier to mix the balsamic vinegar with the honey-mustard mixture first, and then whisk in the oil. But this works too.

Only takes a minute to emulsify to a nice, thick vinaigrette.

Store in a jar. I like to repurpose jam jars.

Mmmm. This doesn’t last as long as you might think.

One more baby step in Thanksgiving week. I’ll be lining up the jam jars after Thanksgiving to make more vinaigrette as holiday gifts (I hear my sisters-in-law cheering), along with batches of spicy candied nuts.

I have more holiday food gift ideas to share after Thanksgiving – my favorite gingerbread cake and my mother-in-law’s famous hot fudge sauce. So stay tuned.

Balsamic vinaigrette
A versatile vinaigrette with a touch of sweetness – so much better and healthier than store-bought salad dressings. I make a jar at a time and use it on everything – salads, sandwiches, drizzled over grilled vegetables. Also makes a fantastic holiday or hostess gift.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (whole grain dijon is also great if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (or minced if you like a stronger garlic flavor)

Directions

  1. In mixing bowl measure honey, mustard, salt, pepper and crushed garlic. Stir with fork to combine (you can use a whisk if you’re using minced garlic; the crushed garlic clove tends to get caught in the wires).
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and stir. Gradually oil, whisking with fork to incorporate. Stir until fully emulsified.
  3. Store in a jar with lid (a repurposed jam jar works nicely). Keeps indefinitely in refrigerator. I like to leave the garlic clove in, where it sits at the bottom of the jar and continues to release its subtle garlic flavor. But if you are afraid you’re accidentally going to get in your salad, you can fish it out with a fork and discard it.

Makes approximately 13 ounces of vinaigrette.

Note

  • If using a blender or food processor, mix mustard, honey, garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar first until garlic is well blended. Add oil in batches, pulsing to mix after each addition. Too much mixing will make the vinaigrette extremely thick. I learned this the hard way and had to make a runnier batch to whisk the two together. Alternatively you can whisk in a bit of water to loosen it up, but this will also lighten the color of the vinaigrette. But these adjustments are just for appearances – a too-thick vinaigrette is perfectly usable and will thin out when mixed on salad.

Here’s a link to the printable version: Balsamic vinaigrette recipe for printing.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Molly 6 January 2011 at 11:25 pm

oh my, how did i miss this?

Reply

The Flavor Carousel 18 January 2012 at 9:00 pm

This will be awesome to use in a salad. How long can i store this for?

Reply

cg 19 January 2012 at 1:04 pm

hi flavor carousel – regarding storage, honey and vinegar are both natural preservatives, and i’ve never had the garlic go rancid. normally i cycle through a batch of vinaigrette very quickly, but occasionally i’ve lost track of a jar in the fridge. many weeks or even a few months later it’s still good.

Reply

The Flavor Carousel 18 January 2012 at 9:02 pm

This will be awesome to use in a salad. Usually i just use balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper but this recipe with garlic adds that extra zing and just the fact that i can store this indefinitely makes it a keeper :-).

Reply

Christine 28 January 2012 at 4:23 pm

Do you ever find that it seems to solidify? I made a slightly different version and after a couple of days it did this.

Reply

cg 29 January 2012 at 8:10 am

hi christine – vegetable oils do solidify in the refrigerator, so the vinaigrette will as well. but it’s really a soft solid – use a spoon to scoop out the dressing, and it will quickly return to liquid as you toss it with your salad. hope that helps!

Reply

ky 13 February 2013 at 10:56 am

I run my jar under hot water for a couple seconds and a quick shake or whisk with a fork seems to mix everything back up pretty well.

Reply

cg 14 February 2013 at 12:53 am

hi ky – thanks for sharing back!

Reply

Christine 29 January 2012 at 7:03 pm

Thank you, it does help!! Great recipe btw!!

Reply

Devorie 1 February 2012 at 2:38 pm

Have you ever tried making this lower-fat? Do you think that I can substitute water for 1/2 cup of the oil?

Reply

cg 5 February 2012 at 1:27 pm

hi devorie – excellent question. the oil-vinegar balance here serves a couple of purposes. first, the proportion as is will hold an emulsion – that is, properly mixed, the vinaigrette will stay mixed. substituting water will essentially give you diluted vinegar (which is ok, oil dilutes the vinegar too) with some oil floating on top, which may not be a consistency that works for you.

but aside from aesthetics, the olive oil serves an important nutritional purpose. first, extra-virgin olive oil is a healthful, monosaturated fat that is derived with minimal processing. when you eat vegetables, you need some fat in order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. if you eat vegetables without fat, the fat-soluble vitamins will pass through unabsorbed.

hope that helps! thanks for taking the time to ask.

Reply

Devorie 6 February 2012 at 6:27 pm

Thanks!

Reply

Melinda 7 February 2012 at 12:54 pm

I absolutely LOVED this! Even my husband, who is a pretty die hard ceasar/thousand island kinda guy, loved it. I’ll have to double the batch next time!

Reply

cg 8 February 2012 at 11:00 am

hi melinda – that is fantastic! thanks for letting me know. =)

Reply

Crystal G 7 February 2012 at 1:03 pm

Just made this now. It’s awesome! Thanks for the recipe.

Reply

cg 8 February 2012 at 11:01 am

hi crystal – so glad you like it!

Reply

Isa 8 February 2012 at 11:22 am

I add one head of roasted garlic instead of the minced garlic

Reply

cg 8 February 2012 at 1:56 pm

hi isa – great idea, yum!

Reply

Scott P 14 February 2012 at 7:46 pm

I made this tonight for my valentine! we both loved it!! thank you for sharing the recipe!!

Reply

cg 14 February 2012 at 8:45 pm

hi scott – awww, that is so cute. thank you so much for sharing back!

Reply

Lori Kessler 28 February 2012 at 7:34 pm

Lately we’ve had trouble finding our usual favorite dressing (Drew’s Rosemary Balsamic) at local stores, and the other dressings that we’ve tried have not been cutting it. To the internet! This recipe is amazing (although we used more like 1 tsp of honey – don’t like our dressing too sweet), and is our go-to now. This recipe works really well mixed in a measuring cup with our immersion blender, provided you go with the minced garlic. Stays nice and emulsified.

Reply

cg 9 March 2012 at 8:58 am

hi lori – so glad you like it! it really is so convenient to make dressing at home, not to mention cheaper. thanks for sharing your modification too! it really is a flexible recipe.

Reply

Mary 30 March 2012 at 5:56 am

Made this a few weeks ago and we loved it. Thanks for the awesome recipe. My search for the perfect balsamic vinaigrette is over!

Reply

cg 30 March 2012 at 7:24 am

hi mary – fantastic! thanks so much for letting me know. =)

Reply

Leju 26 May 2012 at 5:54 pm

Hi,
Love your blog. Is there any brand of balsamic vineger you recommend.

Reply

cg 26 May 2012 at 8:50 pm

hi leju – thanks for visiting! among widely-available brands, i like monari federzoni balsamic vinegar of modena – it’s an excellent value.

Reply

John Ferguson 19 June 2012 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for posting this. I can’t wait to get home to try it tonight. I have 3 types of Basil growing on the back porch, and want to try a batch with a crushed basil leaf or two. Thanks again.

Reply

cg 19 June 2012 at 6:13 pm

thanks, john – hope you enjoy it! i’m envious of your three types of basil, sounds like summer bliss.

Reply

John 23 June 2012 at 12:30 pm

Ok, one sorta complaint about this dressing, it is so good that I continue to eat salad until I run out of dressing. Thanks for posting it, it is wonderful. Just raided the herb garden for some cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, speriment leaves, and Genovese basil. Topped it with your dressing and sent my toung on a trip to wonderland. Thanks again. My long term relationship with Good Seasons has come to an end. :)

Reply

cg 25 June 2012 at 4:47 pm

hi john – i know what you mean, it’s habit-forming! but at least it’s a good habit. =) wish i had your garden, it sounds delicious.

Reply

Sian 19 June 2012 at 10:23 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve been making this a few times now. I poach a couple cloves of garlic in the olive oil. Also I put the ingredients in a bottle and shake it. Less washing :^)

Reply

cg 19 June 2012 at 11:30 pm

hi sian – i love the poached garlic idea. and shaking in the jar…less to wash is always a good thing!

Reply

H4 24 July 2012 at 2:25 pm

Where can I buy Jam jar at?

Reply

cg 28 July 2012 at 6:52 am

you can use any glass jar with a tight lid. when i finish the contents of a jar, such as jam or mustard, i often save it for re-use. but you can also buy jars at stores like wal-mart, target, or large grocery stores.

Reply

Jan 27 July 2012 at 10:12 am

I am getting ready to try this for company (and myself) :) It will keep for sometime in the fridge?

Reply

cg 27 July 2012 at 10:36 am

hi jan – yes, it keeps for ages! it will solidify in the fridge but returns to normal at room temperature. hope you enjoy it.

Reply

stacysaurus 30 July 2012 at 9:23 pm

I was truly skeptical of this dressing as I’ve always thought of myself as a “ranch-only” type of person. I recently decided to branch out and thought I would give this a try after your glowing review… and I’m SO GLAD I DID! It was so yummy!!! I want to make it again and again! (first batch is already devoured!) Thank you for posting this!

Reply

cg 1 August 2012 at 4:18 pm

hi stacysaurus – a convert! i love it. thanks for sharing back.

Reply

Audra Rose 8 August 2012 at 1:27 pm

I literally just made this and had to come back to share just how wonderful it is!! Splendid! Simply splendid!!

I’m making my crockpot version of ratatouille tonight for dinner and desired a nice balsamic vinigarette to drizzle over too before serving. I found your recipe and went to make it, however I didn’t have any Dijon mustard. So I was forced to substitute your standard classic mustard instead. The outcome was still fabulous though!! Now I’m scouring the kitchen looking for anything I can put it on!!!

Reply

cg 31 August 2012 at 12:18 am

hi audra – i’m so behind on my comments, sorry! glad the vinaigrette worked out for you. it really does go with everything!

Reply

Dee 2 October 2012 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe!!! Only dressing I have now since trying it.

Reply

cg 9 October 2012 at 2:05 pm

thank you, dee! so glad it’s found a home in your kitchen!

Reply

Lori 13 January 2013 at 1:23 pm

Omigosh! I am not kidding, this is the best Balsamic Vinegar Dressing ever! I followed the recipe exactly, which I generally do not do, and it is perfect. I pressed the garlic in my Pampered Chef press and whisked until I thought my arm would fall off…WELL worth it!! Thanks for sharing such a delight! :-)

Reply

cg 15 January 2013 at 3:53 pm

hi lori – i am so happy you like it! thanks for letting me know. =)

Reply

Robin 18 March 2013 at 5:02 pm

Oh my gosh, how good this is!!!! I have NEVER liked Balsamic Vinegar on anything, but this looked good so I thought I’d give it a try and I am very glad that I did. The only thing that I did different, is that I used a balsamic glaze instead of vinegar since I didn’t have any balsamic vinegar on hand….still delicious and cannot wait to try it on my salads and for cooking!!! Thanks for the great recipe!!!

Reply

cg 19 March 2013 at 1:52 am

hi robin – i’m so excited that you are a balsamic vinegar convert! thanks so much for letting me know, i feel so fulfilled. =)

Reply

nancy 22 March 2013 at 5:51 pm

Made this tonight for our salad to go along with an Ahi Tuna recipe I wanted to try. I followed your recipe, but used a cruet to shake the ingredients together. I had planned to eat the tuna along side the salad, but I loved the dressing so much that I ended up tossing the tuna into the salad bowl. I wanted to lick the bowl, it was so good! I am making a note to make up some jars for gifts. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

cg 26 March 2013 at 10:47 pm

hi nancy – mmm, that sounds fantastic! i am so glad you liked the dressing.

Reply

Valerie 3 April 2013 at 5:35 pm

This is delicious! I added a 1/2 teaspoon of packed brown sugar for a little more sweetness. Thank you for such a great recipe.

Reply

cg 6 April 2013 at 4:06 am

hi valerie – i’m glad you liked the recipe! and a little more sweet is always good in my book. =) thanks so much for sharing back.

Reply

Katie 11 April 2013 at 8:19 pm

I made this tonight to go on caprese sandwiches, and it was fantastic! Thank you for an excellent recipe!

Reply

cg 15 April 2013 at 1:11 am

hi katie – yum, i love it on sandwiches, and caprese ones are a favorite. thanks so much for sharing back!

Reply

Eden 14 April 2013 at 4:35 pm

Ohh this sounds really good! But I don’t have dijon in my house- can I use a substitute? I only can seem to find whole grain German mustard- would that be ok? Or should I make a dijon substitute? (1 TBS mustard powder, 1 tsp water, 1 tsp white vinegar, 1 TBS mayo, pinch of sugar?) Thanks! :3

Reply

cg 15 April 2013 at 1:11 am

hi eden – whole grain german mustard will do just fine! hope you enjoy the vinaigrette.

Reply

ne 25 April 2013 at 10:00 pm

This is the best balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Definitely a keeper. I made it tonight minus the mustard as I didn’t have it at hand. The honey and garlic balances the acidity. Thank you!

Reply

cg 27 April 2013 at 12:13 am

great that it worked out for you! thanks so much for letting me know. :)

Reply

andrea 19 May 2013 at 9:11 pm

came across this via the Kitchn….and have now made it maybe 6 times in 3 wks??? yum! I have been on a pasta salad kick and it goes great with it!

Reply

cg 21 May 2013 at 1:54 am

hi andrea – wow! so glad you are liking it, and so nice of you to share back.

Reply

Cyd 6 June 2013 at 3:41 pm

I am just checking to see if the 3/4 cup of oil is correct. The link to your friends version of this dressing uses 1/4 cup of oil vs. the 3/4 listed here.

Thanks so much,

Reply

cg 6 June 2013 at 3:47 pm

hi cyd – yes, 3/4 cup is correct. thanks for checking!

Reply

Cynthia 6 July 2013 at 8:58 pm

Is there an easy but healthy way to modify this recipe to be a fruit vinaigrette, like strawberry or raspberry? Many recipes I find say to use a fruit jam or jelly, but that doesn’t seem very healthy since they are usually loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives (at least the kinds you can buy in the grocery store).

Thanks!

Reply

cg 8 July 2013 at 3:56 pm

hi cynthia – i’ve never tried that, but it sounds like a great idea! probably easiest to start with a good-quality jam and substitute it for honey. otherwise you’d have to make your own fruit puree with berries and sugar – but you’d need to cook it down to concentrate flavor, or it will make your vinaigrette too watery. good luck!

Reply

Megan 17 July 2013 at 5:59 pm

This looks great! Can I use agave as honey substitute?

Reply

cg 18 July 2013 at 10:32 pm

hi megan – yes, i haven’t tried it with agave but others have! i think agave is sweeter than honey? so maybe start with less and add to taste. good luck!

Reply

cbravo214 9 August 2013 at 10:49 am

I was searching for an awesome balsamic vinegarette recipe and this it! I just made it and it is seriously sOo delicious. I blended a little more than half the mixture with the magic bullet and then mixed it with the rest of the mix just whisked together and the consistency is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)

Reply

Judy 30 August 2013 at 12:43 am

After reading all the great comments & responses I’m making & serving your vinaigrette tomorrow to friends on a simple salad. I’ll learn how to make a Caprese sandwich but I could use some suggestions of basic sandwich ingredients that your much admired vinaigrette would enhance. With a suggestion or two, I could surely launch myself toward building on my own. Thanks so much in advance. Blessings.

Reply

cg 31 August 2013 at 6:07 pm

hi judy – hope you liked the vinaigrette! i use it on any kind of sandwich – i’m not big into mayonnaise, and i especially love balsamic vinaigrette on sandwiches for the plane, since doesn’t have any food safety issues. it really goes great with any meat, cheese or veggie sandwich – ham and brie, turkey and avocado, cheddar and tomato, or certainly any italian sub. it would even be great with tuna. enjoy!

Reply

Victoria 1 September 2013 at 3:12 pm

Hi. I like the idea of putting this in a jam jar and giving it as a gift. Do you need to follow the same steps as for jelly to preserve? Such as hot water bath?? Please let me know how you do this! Thanks!

Reply

cg 3 September 2013 at 9:44 am

hi victoria – unfortunately it’s not safe to can foods with oil at home. i believe that oil on the rim of the jar prevents formation of a tight seal, and oil in the food can create an anaerobic environment that is a botulism risk. so when i give people vinaigrette, i just tell them to refrigerate it. the vinaigrette is fine for day or so unrefrigerated. hope that helps!

Reply

Judy 1 September 2013 at 11:07 pm

CG–I didn’t like your Balsamic Vinaigrette. I LOVED IT!! Thanks for your sandwich suggestions–I’m off and running with my imagination working overtime–I’ve tossed all store bought dressings as this is all I could ever need or want. YUM! With this dressing sandwiches & salads have a new hierarchy in my kitchen along with ciabatta rolls. Fresh is the best. Tomato season is still going strong in NH. Tonight we had a Caprese salad followed by a Caprese sandwich. Looking forward to making my way through your recipe list. Many thanks & Blessings.

Reply

cg 3 September 2013 at 9:45 am

yay judy – i love a success story! so glad you are finding ways to enjoy the vinaigrette. you are a sweetie for sharing back, too. =)

Reply

Heather Lea 25 September 2013 at 4:48 pm

Greetings! I just wanted to let you know that I have loved your version of this delicious dressing for quite some time, now. It is a staple in our household. I have weaned my entire family off of ranch and onto balsamic vinaigrette! Even my mother loves it, and she prefers to eat her salads and veggies plain. So, thank you so much for sharing. You’re awesome!

Reply

cg 26 September 2013 at 2:51 am

hi heather – YOU are awesome for taking the time to write! i love hearing about your family’s conversion from ranch dressing. not that ranch isn’t great sometimes too…but homemade dressing is always better. =) keep up the balsamic evangelism, i’m with you too!

Reply

Arti 8 November 2013 at 3:46 am

How can all these ppl be wrong! Just made it & yummm…its addictive. Thank ypu for the recipe.

Reply

Carmie 11 January 2014 at 6:53 pm

I mixed up a cold bean salad for a after funeral luncheon at church…and need a dressing for it. Lots of good reviews about this one, so I am going to try it!

Reply

cg 14 January 2014 at 11:37 pm

hi carmie – hope the dressing worked out for you!

Reply

Julie 19 February 2014 at 2:43 pm

My family has proclaimed this the only dressing I ever need to make. I’ve made it exactly as written and also used white balsamic vinegar and garlic powder and it was also delicious. So easy to just shake up in a jar, no bowl or fork needed. Thank you for the recipe.

Reply

cg 21 February 2014 at 4:14 pm

hi julie – thanks for sharing, i am so glad your family loves it! i’ve never tried it with white balsamic vinegar, glad to know it works.

Reply

Rochelle 12 March 2014 at 5:02 pm

This is a great recipe! However, for some reason, the batch I made was more runny than the thick consistency I see in the photos :( I like my dressing like the consistency you had in the pic.. does that depend on the quality of the Balsamic Vinegar and EVOO? I bought both from Trader Joe’s…

Reply

cg 17 March 2014 at 1:05 am

hi rochelle – normally the mustard and honey in this recipe really help the dressing to emulsify and thicken. adding oil gradually helps too. the few times i’ve had problems with runny dressing, it was when whatever vessel i was mixing my dressing in was not totally dry. hope that helps – let me know if you have the same problem the next time!

Reply

Rochelle 17 March 2014 at 5:47 am

Hello, made a second batch and it was perfect this time! I think I didn’t whisk it enough the first time, lol thanks so much again for this recipe! :)

Reply

cg 18 March 2014 at 1:10 am

hi rochelle – yay, glad it worked out! thanks for letting me know.

Reply

Anne-Marie D. 19 March 2014 at 7:20 pm

I love this recipe..Thanks 4 the tip re thinning it down.

Reply

Lori 26 March 2014 at 1:22 pm

Can I substitute the olive oil for a different type of oil, like hemp oil or avacado oil? I can imagine it might change the flavor slightly but have you tried it?

Reply

cg 26 March 2014 at 1:26 pm

hi lori – i haven’t used other oils but it should work just fine. good luck!

Reply

NormL 16 April 2014 at 7:25 pm

I’ve been using your recipe for some time now and and like others have claimed, its GREAT!! Lately I’ve used brown sugar instead of honey because we’re running low and the bees are still wintering here. Still wonderful! I’ve been a great fan of balsamic vinegar for years and have cobbled up a mixture which I use as a flavour enhancer whenever something I’m cooking needs a boost. 50/50 balsamic and soysauce, a few shakes of Worcestershire (or lots of “shakes” if you want), herbs such as basil and thyme , pepper and garlic powder. I just spoon the dry ingredients into a bottle that had the balsamic vinaigrette I no longer buy in it and then pour the liquids in with it, shake to mix and its ready to use. If anyone tries this out I’d love to know how it went over. Also, variations on the concept. Sorry CG if I’m highjacking your forum :-}<

Reply

cg 17 April 2014 at 12:25 pm

hi norml – love it, thanks so much for the variation. please highjack anytime! =)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 22 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: