How Into Pumpkin Spice Lattes are You?

Put your spice-loving status to the test with this ultimate quiz of fall's signature sipper.

See More

Lazy Girl's Halloween Cupcakes (Shhh... They're Delivered!)

When you'd prefer to prep for your Halloween party by styling your zombie makeup instead of piping cupcakes, look to for a dozen creepy sweets just in time for All Hallows Eve.

See More

Ultimate Fall Dessert: Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies!

Lose yourself in tangy pumpkin and luscious chocolate in hot-from-the-oven brownies that feature pretty swirled tops.

View Video

Adorable Lunch Box Recipes for Kids

School lunch has never been this cute. See how mom Ashley Thompson combined fruits, vegetables, and some creativity for a week of noontime treats that are heavy on themes, light on groans.

See More

Easy Slow Cooker Appetizers

Looking for no-fuss appetizer recipes to kick off your party? It's time to whip out that slow cooker! Including juicy meatballs, creamy dips, and spicy wings, we've got all your favorite slow cooker appetizers to choose from. Try one of these easy slow cooker appetizer recipes for your next party or get-together.

View Slideshow

Wickedly Fun Halloween Cupcakes

Whip up a cupcake creation that is sure to dazzle your Halloween party guests by decorating store-bought or homemade cupcakes. Our Halloween cupcake monsters, black cats, witches, and ghosts are all magic to make and decorate!

View Slideshow
Popular in Food

How to Make Salad Dressing

Shake up a quick salad dressing and love the homemade difference. The recipe for vinaigrette can be as simple as oil, vinegar, and a jar with a lid. Learn a basic formula to use every time and tips for varying the ingredients with ease.

Salad dressings are generally made by mixing two ingredients that don't want to mix, such as oil and vinegar. This is called an emulsion and is accomplished by some enthusiastic shaking or whisking until the dressing is smooth.

  • Creamy dressings are often mayonnaise-based and are best whisked in a bowl or quickly whirled in a blender or food processor.
  • Vinaigrettes take just a couple of minutes to make and are a mixture of oil and vinegar plus any desired seasonings. They often separate after mixing and need a quick shake or whisking before serving.

Basic Vinaigrette

Instead of a recipe, vinaigrette is a simple ratio of oil to vinegar. Once you know your desired ratio, you can make as much or as little as you need. A French vinaigrette typically has a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar; for a lighter taste, try a 2 to 1 ratio or even equal parts oil and vinegar. With less oil, the vinaigrette will be a bit tangier and less viscous.

Best Oils for Salad Dressing

The oil you use affects the flavor of your vinaigrette significantly.

  • Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil offer mild flavor and color. Use one of these when you want the other flavors in the dressing to star.
  • Olive oil is a popular choice for vinaigrette, but keep in mind that olive oils vary significantly in color, flavor, and price range. Extra virgin olive oil, which is from the first pressing of the olives, is the fruitiest and most flavorful. For mild olive flavor, try olive oil labeled as light (this refers to the flavor and isn't lower in fat or calories).
  • Sesame oil and nut oils, including peanut, almond, walnut, and hazelnut, are full-flavor oils with plenty of personality. These are highly perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator.

Best Vinegars for Salad Dressing

Vinegar adds acidity and balance to the dressing. Purchase a few types and use them interchangeably or even combine them to taste. You can also replace all or part of the vinegar with wine or fruit juice such as lemon juice.

  • Balsamic: Made from the juice of white Trebbiano grapes. Balsamic vinegar is aged in barrels and has a dark color and sweet flavor.
  • Cider: Made from apple cider. This vinegar has a subtle apple flavor and crisp bite.
  • Fruit: Made by steeping fruit such as raspberries or blueberries in cider vinegar or wine vinegar. This process can also be used for herb vinegars.
  • Rice: Made from rice wine or sake. This vinegar comes plain or seasoned and has a pleasant, tangy-sweet flavor.
  • Wine: Made from red or white wine, sherry, or champagne. The vinegar's color and flavor depend on the wine used.

Salad Dressing Seasonings

While vinaigrette needs only a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper to finish it off, you can bump up the taste with additional ingredients.

  • Mustard: Dijon-style is a good choice. Mustard adds flavor and serves as an emulsifier, which means it helps to keep the oil and vinegar combined.
  • Herbs: Add just about any herb or herb combination. Snip fresh herbs with a scissors or knife. Keep in mind that 1 tablespoon fresh-snipped herb equals 1 teaspoon dried. Start with a generous pinch and season the dressing to taste.
  • Minced Garlic: Start with 1 to 2 cloves, minced, and add to taste. Other options worth trying include snipped oil-pack dried tomatoes, capers, chopped anchovies, crushed red pepper flakes, and grated cheese.

How to Mix a Vinaigrette

Choose from these two methods to combine the oil and vinegar:

  • Jar Method: Place the oil and vinegar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings. Cover the jar and shake vigorously. Shake again before serving.
  • Bowl Method: For a thicker, creamier consistency, make the vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk. Place the vinegar and desired seasonings in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil in a steady stream.

Tip: To thicken the vinaigrette quickly, add an ice cube to the glass jar with the ingredients and shake. Discard the ice cube once the vinaigrette is well mixed.

How to Store Homemade Salad Dressing

Most vinaigrettes can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Before serving, bring the vinaigrette to room temperature and shake. Oils tend to thicken and get cloudy when cold but clear up and become a normal consistency as they come to room temperature.


Loading... Please wait...