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Lemon Vinaigrette is bursting with flavor! Fresh lemons, Dijon mustard, garlic, thyme and oil come together in an easy and delicious salad dressing.
Once you’ve tried this Lemon Vinaigrette recipe – you may never go back to bottled salad dressings every again. It’s SO easy to make a delicious homemade vinaigrette – you really must try it! Another good thing – you probably have most of the ingredients to make today’s Lemon Vinaigrette recipe on hand already. So what are you waiting for? 😊
Key ingredients and Substitutions
- Lemons – Both lemon zest and lemon juice are stars in this easy dressing. Please don’t be tempted to use bottled lemon juice – it just isn’t the same as freshly-squeezed.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can find. (See our Frequently Asked Questions below for the brands that we typically buy.)
- Fresh thyme – Fresh thyme will give your dressing the best flavor. In a pinch, dried thyme can be used, but cut the quantity listed in the recipe in half.
- Garlic – Use just enough fresh garlic to give this vinaigrette a hint of garlic. Avoid jarred garlic.
- Dijon mustard – This mustard gives the dressing a pungent kick of flavor, and it also helps emulsify the lemon and oil. You can try other mustard flavors if you’d like, but we think Dijon is the best.
Chef’s Tip – When combining oils with other watery liquids such as the lemon juice in this recipe, the two ingredients don’t typically mix together very easily. Mustard is used to emulsify the ingredients, so they mix and hold together instead of separating. Mustard has some physical properties that both absorb into the surface of the oil, and also prevents oil droplets from sticking together – that’s why mustard is often used as an emulsifier in recipes.
Special supplies needed
- A lemon zester and lemon juicer are helpful when cooking with lemons.
- A small food processor or blender will help puree and emulsify the ingredients into a smooth and well-mixed dressing. You can whisk this recipe by hand if you don’t mind little bits in your dressing.
How do I make Lemon Vinaigrette?
- Zest and juice the fresh lemons.
- Mix in the other ingredients, except the oil.
- With the blender running, add the oil slowly to emulsify the vinaigrette.
- Store refrigerated until you are ready to serve the dressing over salad, vegetables or pasta.
Frequently asked Questions
- How long does homemade lemon vinaigrette last? Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- My vinaigrette separated. How can I fix it? Just mix it up again in a blender.
- What brand of olive oil do you recommend for salad dressings and vinaigrettes? For years, we have been buying Italian olive oil from Costco under the Kirkland brand. Look specifically for Extra Virgin Olive Oil bottles sold in their stores at the beginning of the calendar year (olive oil is harvested in the fall and sold in stores the following winter), so stock up. When we can’t find the Costco olive oil, we sometimes buy California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Luccini Italia Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
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Zest of half a lemon
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or half that of dried
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, place zest, juice, garlic, sugar, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper and puree.
With blender running on low, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Then hit the high button for a few seconds to blend.
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