Homemade Italian Dressing and Marinade Recipe

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Italian dressing
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Homemade Italian Dressing and Marinade Recipe

I have a bit of a love affair with salad dressings, and Italian dressing is no exception. Before my switch to healthier foods, ranch was about all that got me to eat raw broccoli. Thankfully my journey to real food brought me to love all kinds of salads even without a lot of dressing.

A green salad doesn’t need much dressing when it’s freshly homemade and full of dried herbs and spices. A simple homemade dressing takes an ordinary salad to a completely different level.

And it’s worth it from a health perspective too. Most store-bought dressings have dangerous vegetable oils (high in omega-6, which we already get too much of in the American diet), MSG, and preservatives.

Homemade Italian dressing only takes 2 or 3 minutes to mix up. Plus it has healthy, real ingredients like olive oil, fresh garlic, and dried or fresh herbs. I also love that it stores well for weeks at a time. It’s a win-win!

Italian Salad Dressing in the Kitchen

This homemade salad dressing is one of my favorite vinaigrettes. It not only makes a great addition to almost any salad, but it also serves as a simple marinade for most meats. And not just meat… marinate fresh vegetables for an hour or two and then grill them! The smoky flavors of the grill and the herbal flavors in the dressing combine perfectly for a complex flavor blend.

I love using leftover dressing on a big salad with some chicken for a quick lunch or as a condiment alternative for dipping raw veggies. The healthy oils give an energy boost and the flavor is amazing! You can also use it to make Italian pasta salad along with some black olives, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes for delicious Mediterranean flavors.

Not an Italian dressing fan? You can also check out more of my favorite DIY alternatives to bottled dressing in this post.

How to Make and Store Homemade Italian Dressing

This dressing will last about 2 weeks in the fridge, but I highly suggest making it in small amounts as needed as the flavor is definitely the best in the first few days. Sometimes I’ll double the batch if I’m making it for a crowd.

For a great shortcut, make a batch of homemade Italian seasoning mix to replace the thyme, basil, and oregano. Just use 1 ½ teaspoons of the Italian seasoning mix instead of the herbs listed in the recipe. Then it’s easy to make this recipe from memory. You may not even need to measure after a few practice runs!

They make shaker bottles for homemade dressing, but I prefer a glass mason jar. I love these tops to give any mason jar a pour spout.

Ingredient Substitutions

I use white wine vinegar here, but you could also use apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar. They all add some acidity to counterbalance the olive oil. I prefer the smoother flavor or white wine vinegar in this recipe.

This recipe calls for all dried herbs but you could use fresh if preferred. And I use fresh garlic, but a little garlic powder will work if it’s what you have. Check out below the recipe for some favorite salads with Italian dressing.

Italian dressing

Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

A better-for-you Italian salad dressing recipe without the highly processed vegetable oils! This also works well as a marinade.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 127kcal
Author Katie Wells


4 Servings



  • Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar, close the lid tightly, and shake vigorously. Serve immediately.
  • You can also use an immersion blender for easier mixing.


Nutrition Facts
Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe
Amount Per Serving (2 Tablespoons)
Calories 127 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Sodium 306mg13%
Potassium 26mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 0.4g2%
Sugar 0.1g0%
Protein 0.3g1%
Vitamin A 12IU0%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 16mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If refrigerated, the dressing may solidify slightly. This is perfectly okay. It happens when olive oil is chilled. Simply remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature about an hour before you need to use it

Salad Combinations to Try with Italian Dressing:

  • Classic chopped salad – Toss with romaine lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives (and a bit of feta if you’re in the mood!).
  • Strawberry spring salad – Try Italian in place of honey mustard dressing on this favorite spring salad concoction with toasted pecans, fresh strawberries, and chicken.
  • Simple summer salad – Splash a little Italian dressing over thinly sliced cucumbers and red onion with a few cherry tomatoes thrown in. Top with fresh basil leaves.
  • Sweet pepper steak salad – Italian dressing isn’t only for chicken!

For other new recipes using Italian dressing, try out my favorite Real Plans meal planning tool!

What’s your favorite salad dressing? Have you tried making your own? I’d love to hear about your favorite dressings to shake up at home!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


26 responses to “Homemade Italian Dressing and Marinade Recipe”

  1. Heather Avatar

    5 stars
    OH MY GOSH this is my new fave. I have to make my own dressing now because of dietary restrictions and this is by far the best one I have made! It is SO flavorful! I’m so obsessed I’m even soaking Triscuit crackers in the dressing and eating them. ? Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Rachael Avatar

    5 stars
    Thank you for your great healthy recipe, the dressing was delicious and our home smells so good. You’re so right! Just a few minutes to make. So tasty!

  3. Leia Avatar

    I’m looking for a Kraft zesty italian substitute. Your recipe does not call for any red stuff but in the picture that you provided there was red stuff. Can you please clarify? Did you put dried bell peppers or tomatoes in it? Thanks! Love your recipes as always and am looking forward to trying it out.

  4. Joy Avatar

    5 stars
    I made this dressing last night and it was a perfect blend of ingredients. The spices were a great addition. Thank you for a great recipe!

  5. Cinque Avatar

    Wellness Mama you’re the best!!! I just made this dressing and it’s great!

  6. Evangeline Avatar

    Is it ok to have the following on the 30 Day Autoimmune Diet: Coconut Flour, Cassava Flour, White Wine Vinegar, and Apple Cider Vinegar?
    Also, is it ok to replace coconut oil with olive oil for most recipes?

  7. Billy Bob Avatar
    Billy Bob

    4 stars
    I’m just not sure about the Dijon mustard. That is decidedly French, not Italian. I think I would lean towards leaving it out. Perhaps a squirt of lemon juice instead? I see a lot of home recipes using sugar. Thank you for not putting it in your recipe. There is no need for sugar.

  8. Sara Avatar

    I make everything I can from scratch. This is now my go-to recipe for salad dressing. I had everything on hand and was able to whip this up in minutes. Best of all it was delicious! I’m glad I know exactly what was in the dressing too. Thank you for posting this 🙂

  9. jenny Avatar

    4 stars
    thank you so much for all your good hard work!! could you also share your sources for all your information for the future? (i had just read your very informative article on oils and found charts for example with no sources) as much as you can? my question for this is ..since olive oil is not recommended for cooking and you say in this article to use this dressing as a marinade for cooking…is there another good oil to replace it? thanks so very much!!

  10. Anne Temple Avatar
    Anne Temple

    I wanted to tell you that I used to put Kraft Zesty Italian on asparagus and let it sit for 1/2 hour or so and then throw it directly on the grill. It will change your life it’s so good. 🙂

  11. kelly Avatar

    5 stars
    hi! just wanted to stop by and say that i absolutely love your dressing recipe! i have featured a slight spin of it with an italian house salad on my site, thank you for inspiring! -kelly

  12. Kaylie Avatar

    Would mustard powder be okay instead of dijon mustard? if so, how much?
    And what about apple cider vinegar instead of white wine?

  13. julie Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi. new to your site but finding it extremely informative particularly the benefits of coconut oil. Could you/have you used coconut oil in your salad dressings? Thanx.

      1. julie Avatar

        That makes absolute sense… Don’t know what I was thinking haha. Thank you.

        1. Lindsey Avatar

          I followed the ingredients exactly and it tasted super good! Unfortunately it solidified over night in the refrigerator 🙁 pretty frustrating!

          1. Tracy Perez Avatar
            Tracy Perez

            I leave my small batch on the counter out of direct sunlight and it lasts for a few salads. If I make a lot and want to save it longer I try to remember to get it out of the fridge hours before needing it for my salad.

  14. Lorri Avatar

    The recipe is closer to a French vinaigrette than an Italian dressing. Italian dressing would usually not have Dijon mustard, and it usually has sugar and red pepper in it. Doesn’t really matter what you call it, it tastes good and that is what is important.

    1. Dee Avatar

      Well the name does matter. I was looking for “Zesty Italian Dressing and Marinade Recipe,” not a French vinaigrette. It’s like calling a recipe Spaghetti & Meatballs which is Italian only to find a recipe for Chinese noodles & chicken balls misleading title. Now going back to search for Zesty Italian Dressing.

  15. Janice DeLeon Avatar
    Janice DeLeon

    Good to know its dangers. I love Zesty Italian and did not know. Love the recipe ????

  16. Marlene Avatar

    In your Zesty Italian dressing-Are the following fresh or dried
    Thyme, basil & oregano.

      1. Valerie Avatar

        Hi Katie, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I really enjoy it! My question is, do you think coconut vinegar would be a good substitute for the white wine vinegar? I have some on hand. Thank you!

4.75 from 8 votes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating