This lemon vinaigrette recipe is SO easy to make! With its zingy, bright lemon flavor, it'll blow any store bought dressing out of the water.
How is it possible that in 8+ years of writing Love and Lemons, I haven’t shared a basic lemon vinaigrette recipe until now?! Often, I post salad recipes with a dressing included – a kale salad with carrot ginger dressing, a watermelon salad tossed with lime juice. But a few weeks ago, as I was whisking together this lemon vinaigrette, I realized that tying a dressing to a specific salad recipe can sometimes sell it short.
This lemon vinaigrette is one of my favorite salad dressings. It’s zippy, fresh, and bright, it comes together in minutes, and it keeps well in the fridge. With its vibrant lemon flavor, it’s a dressing that you’ll use for so much more than salad. Sure, it peps up greens, but it also makes roasted veggies more exciting, adds life to grain bowls, and more. So whisk it up, pop it in the fridge, and start drizzling it over everything. Easy, versatile, and delicious, this lemon vinaigrette recipe is one you’ll make again and again.
Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe Ingredients
This lemon vinaigrette dressing recipe is super simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh lemon juice – To make it zippy and bright!
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It gives the dressing body and richness.
- Garlic – It adds a nice kick.
- Dijon mustard – For tangy depth of flavor.
- Honey or maple syrup – I list it as optional, but its sweetness perfectly balances the sharp garlic, lemon, and Dijon mustard.
- Fresh or dried thyme – Again, it’s optional, but if you ask me, herbs make everything better. With its fresh, aromatic flavor, it adds something special to this lemon vinaigrette.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
When you’re ready to make the dressing, add the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Then, add the olive oil. As you’ll see in the recipe below, I make my lemon vinaigrette with varying amounts of oil. If I’m tossing it with raw greens and vegetables, I want it to have a mellower flavor. Then, I use 3 parts acid to 4 parts oil. If I’m dressing heartier ingredients like roasted vegetables or potatoes, I want it to taste sharper, so I use a 1:1 ratio. I recommend starting with a 1:1 ratio and adding more oil as needed.
As you pour in the oil, whisk continuously until the dressing is emulsified. Stir in the thyme, and season to taste with more oil, salt, and/or pepper. Enjoy!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Use Lemon Vinaigrette
This lemon vinaigrette will keep in an airtight container or jar for up to 1 week in the fridge. Of course, it’s a great way to dress up a simple green salad, but there are so many other delicious ways to use it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Toss it with a cooked grain like farro, couscous, or quinoa and fresh herbs to make a hearty side dish.
- Use it as a marinade for cooked white beans, chickpeas, or French green lentils.
- Drizzle it over roasted veggies like potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, fennel, or cauliflower.
- Or use it in place of the dressing in any of these salad recipes:
How do you like to use lemon salad dressing? Let me know in the comments!
More Favorite Dressings and Sauces
If you love this lemon vinaigrette recipe, try one of these homemade salad dressing recipes next:
- Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Greek Salad Dressing
- Homemade Caesar Dressing
- Ginger Miso Dressing
- Easy Peanut Sauce
- Tahini Sauce (4 ways!)
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Basil Pesto (+ Variations)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, grated
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon honey, or maple syrup, optional
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme, optional
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and honey, if using.
- Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking and continue to whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Alternatively, combine everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.
- If your dressing is too tangy, add more olive oil, to taste.
- Add the thyme, if desired, and season to taste. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week. The olive oil will solidify a bit in the fridge. To soften, let the dressing sit at room temp for a few minutes and stir before using.
After reading every one of the reviews, I decided to try this tonight. I made it exactly and the recipe said. I did use dried thyme and I think it changed the flavor a bit. It was delicious. I did add a cap full of apple cider vinegar. I DO want to drink this. It’s SO good!!!! Thanks for the recipe. And thanks to everyone in the comments. I learned so much from all of you! Definitely using again.
Hi April, I’m so glad you loved it!
Can in make this dressing and bottle for shower favors? The theme is lemons and I would love to make this!
I loved this recipe. Also loved the cilantro dressing. Am working my way through your salad dressing recipes 😋
I’m so glad you loved them! Let me know what dressings you try next!
I made this with Meyers lemons (in season now), zested all of them, added more garlic than recommended (pressed), and doubled the recipe. Unbelievably delicious. I will buy more Meyers lemons while they’re still available, make as many batches of this vinaigrette as possible, and freeze them.
I added about a tablespoon of fresh dill instead of thyme. It was awesome!
Yum! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Love this salad dressing! Only thing I do is add the zested rind of the lemon too for extra lemony goodness.
Love that! So glad you’re enjoying the dressing.
I am obsessed with this dressing! It makes me want to eat salads for every meal!
So glad you love it!
Absolutely foolproof recipe. Perfect balance of tangy brightness and bittersweetness.
Question- where could I find the wooden spoon in the last photo? I have been looking everywhere for one just like it, but no luck so far.
I collect spoons from everywhere so it’s hard to remember – but I think there are some similar ones at Be Home: https://behome.com/
Two questions —
1. Should there be vinegar?
2. How intense/zippy is this? Looking for a vinaigrette that is sharp and punches me with the lemon…
Hi Jane, we think it’s zippy! No, vinegar isn’t necessary for this one – or you can do half lemon/half white wine vinegar if you’d prefer. If you taste it and want it more punchy, add more lemon or some zest. It’s easily customizable.
A vinaigrette with no vinegar.
Do you add any vinegar? Just asking cause it is a vinaigrette lol
Another reviewer wrote that this dressing is so good they want to drink it. After seeing that I had to try! I completely agree with that reviewer! Seriously good and it’s probably my favorite salad dressing recipe out there. Simple ingredients and easy to make! Yum!
Oops I forgot to rate it! 5 stars!
I’m so glad you love the recipe!
Totally agree with this! Couldn’t have said it better!
Delicious, salad dressing! I only used 1/4 c of oil and increased the lemon juice to almost 1/2; I do love lemons. I will cut back on the maple syrup next time, it was slightly too noticeable. I used fresh thyme as recommended, an excellent addition.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
I love beets, but rarely make them. I went online to search how to properly roast beets and chose your recipe b/c it looked amazing. (I roasted beets once before.)
The Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing looks delish. I’m thinking to use clemintines rather than a naval orange for your red and orange beet salad recipe ( I know you said, drizzle) since I have plenty and it is citrus too.
Have you ever used clemetines or tangerines for your vinaigrette?
Hi Bass, I think clementines or tangerines would be super delicious in place of the naval orange. Any orange-like citrus pairs great with beets.
Love this! Easy and bright and versatile! Buying more lemons to put this on everything. Thanks!
Yay, I’m so happy to hear!
What is the nutritional information? I count macros and calories.
Hi Serena, I’m sorry we don’t calculate nutrition info but you can plug the ingredients into a site like my fitness pal.
Wow! This recipe is a problem—I love it so much I want to drink it! 🙂 Delicious!
Ha, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.