The Spring season is upon us and to me, that means all things green, fresh and flavorful. The new season brings so many vegetables to life – spring lettuce, asparagus, green peas, the list goes on.

And I found one of my absolute favorite ways to enjoy all those fresh veggies is to drizzle them with a generous amount of homemade Lemon Vinaigrette. It’s incredible how much it brightens up their flavor.

A bottle of homemade lemon vinaigrette dressing recipe is photographed from the front

The beauty of making your own fresh lemon salad dressing is the control you have over the quality of ingredients. Many store-bought dressings contain hidden ingredients and additives I do not want in my diet.

It also makes a wonderful addition to my homemade vinaigrette dressing recipes. Much like my Chili Lime Vinaigrette, Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette, Greek Yogurt Dressing, Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette, Maple Dijon Vinaigrette, and Tahini Yogurt Sauce, this easy and simple Lemon Vinaigrette recipe is made with 6 ingredients in under 5 minutes – that’s much faster than a trip to the grocery store!

Ingredients

Lemon olive oil dressing is made with just that – olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.

Ingredients - lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, are laid out

A little note on the quality of the ingredients:

  • Lemon Juice: For the best vinaigrette recipe, use freshly squeezed lemon juice from the fresh fruit rather than the bottled variety found in most supermarkets. This will provide the most natural flavor and acidity. Lemon juice concentrate is controlled to provide a certain level of acidity and flavor – they sometimes contain added preservatives, too. Purchase lemons a half dozen at a time (organic, if possible) and store the remainder for up to 2 weeks in your fridge.
  • Olive Oil: For quality and flavor, it’s best to purchase a single origin, cold-pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil packaged in a dark bottle (olive oil doesn’t like light) (Source).
    Read the label to discover the country – or countries – of origin, the harvest date and to make sure it is “extra virgin” (if the label reads pure, light or just olive oil, those are not extra virgin). Look for certifications from the NAOOA (North American Olive Oil Association) or IOC (International Olive Council).

PRO TIP: Color is no indication of the quality of the oil, it all comes down to taste. In other words, the olive oil you choose to cook and make salad dressings with comes down to taste and personal preference. A good quality olive oil will taste grassy and somewhat peppery on the back of your tongue. My favorite all-purpose olive oil that’s affordable and won’t overpower this vinaigrette recipe is California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil (affiliate link).

How To Make Lemon Vinaigrette

All you need is a small bowl and a whisk (or a mason jar) to make this easy lemon juice dressing. Simply:

Shake, Shake, Shake! Place all the ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar and either use a small whisk to whisk until emulsified or seal the jar tight and shake for 30-60 seconds until smooth and silky.

Ingredients are placed in a bowl and a woman is mixing them

Now the dressing is ready to use for salads such as Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Chickpea Tuna Salad, vegetables, meat, breaded fish and more!

PRO TIP: To save on clean-up and time, use a hand grater or Microplane (affiliate link) to grate the garlic rather than a cutting board and knife or a difficult-to-clean garlic press.

How To Store

If you prepare the simple lemon dressing in a mason jar, you are already halfway there! Simply label and date and store the vinaigrette in the same jar you mixed it in for up to 5 days in the fridge. Keep in mind it might lose some of its bright flavors over time.

Since most store-bought salad dressings are made with manufactured oils, the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers the best in flavor!

This homemade lemon salad dressing is also Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Keto, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Whole30!

A bowl of lemon salad dressing is in bowl with a whisk

Variations for the recipe

This lemon salad dressing is simple enough as is, but there are a few ways we can dress it up even more:

  • Lemon Zest: Add ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest before you slice and juice the lemon.
  • Without Oil (Oil-free salad dressing): Although olive oil is an important ingredient, if you want a basic lemon sauce without the fat, simply omit the oil.
  • With Water: For a citrus juice dressing that is less acidic, add 2 Tablespoons of room-temperature filtered water to dilute the lemon juice’s acidity. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  • Basic: Omit the garlic and Dijon mustard and make a basic lemon dressing with olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper (follow the directions for using water in the notes above).
  • Fresh Herbs: Add 1 teaspoon of any minced fresh herb, such as rosemary, oregano, thyme or parsley for a fun, Mediterranean twist.
  • With Honey or Maple Syrup: Add ½ – 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup for a hint of natural sweetness.

A Few Helpful Tips

  • The Dijon mustard adds a hint of spice and helps the dressing emulsify. Add more if you like your dressing a bit creamier.
  • Swap in minced shallot for garlic: I think lemon garlic vinaigrette is delicious but for a milder flavor you can use a small minced shallot instead.
  • A classic vinaigrette recipe calls for a ratio of 3:1 oil to acid, but I like my dressings less oily and more flavorful, so I use a ratio of 2:1. As always, adjust to your liking.
  • When storing, the olive oil may solidify in the fridge. Simply remove the salad dressing at least 5 minutes before using it to allow the olive oil to loosen in terms of consistency.
  • The lemon juice and olive oil will separate in the fridge. This is completely natural since oil and vinegar do not mix. All you have to do is give it a gentle shake before drizzling over your meal of choice.

 

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Yields4 servings (2/3 cups)
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Learn how to make lemon vinaigrette instantly brighten your salad, seafood, and vegetable dishes. Follow the steps below and never buy lemon salad dressing from the store again.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Place all the ingredients in a jar and give it a shake.

Video

Notes

Notes:
  • The video in the recipe card shows you how to make three different quinoa salads using this simple lemon vinaigrette recipe.
  • The Dijon mustard adds a hint of spice and helps the dressing emulsify. Add more if you like your dressing a bit creamier.
  • Swap in minced shallot for garlic: I think lemon garlic vinaigrette is delicious but for a milder flavor you can use a small minced shallot instead.
  • A classic vinaigrette recipe calls for a ratio of 3:1 oil to acid, but I like my dressings less oily and more flavorful, so I use a ratio of 2:1. As always, adjust to your liking.
  • When storing, the olive oil may solidify in the fridge. Simply remove the salad dressing at least 5 minutes before using to allow the olive oil to loosen in terms of consistency.
  • The lemon juice and olive oil will separate in the fridge. This is completely natural since oil and vinegar do not mix. All you have to do is give it a gentle shake before drizzling over your meal of choice.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad Dressing
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @foolproofliving or tag #foolproofeats!

This recipe was originally published in March 2020. It has been updated with a quick video and some additional helpful information in July 2020. No changes made to the original recipe.

About Aysegul Sanford

Hello Friend! I'm Aysegul but you can call me “Ice." I’m the cook/recipe-tester/photographer behind this site.

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5 from 11 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This flavors of this salad dressing are so bright and beautiful! Just what I was looking for to use for our dinner salad!

  2. 5 stars
    My favorite dinner idea is a fish course+salad. And I will try this dressing next time. Thanks for your nice photos and recipe.

    1. I love a good fish & salad meal myself. This dressing is the best to use with seafood. Thanks for coming by.