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The Vinaigrette Formula

The Vinaigrette Formula

If you remember nothing else about vinaigrettes, remember this: the magic ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1. Some vinegar have different strengths, so the ratio might need to be adjusted somewhat. You also might want a more tart dressing sometimes, and other times something a little milder. For the most part, though, the 3:1 ratio represents the vinaigrette sweet spot. Everybody’s taste is different. Try different ingredients and have fun with it.

I use extra virgin olive oil for most vinaigrette but if you want tasteless oil you can use canola. You may want to mix it up a little and try nut oil as in walnut or hazelnut oil.

When you consider the wide range of flavored oils that are available today, including such distinctive oils as walnut or avocado, the possible variations on the basic vinaigrette formula are literally endless.

There are many flavors and types of vinegar available. Try using  a specialty vinegar like balsamic, sherry, tarragon or raspberry. Cider vinegar is made from apples and is a good choice for fruity vinaigrettes.

Lemon juice is a nice component to add to vinaigrettes. You may also want to try lime, grapefruit and/or orange juice.

A simple vinaigrette doesn’t need more seasoning than a bit of Kosher Salt and ground white pepper. But minced garlic, onion, and herbs (fresh and dried) add a nice touch. You can try different mustards like Dijon too. 

The most effective way of combining the oil and the vinegar is in a blender. You can also combine everything in a glass or stainless steel bowl and just whisk them together thoroughly. You could even seal the ingredients in a clean glass jar or bottle and shake to combine. Refrigerate after use.

Here is a basic Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

This classic balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for even the most basic green salad.


  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp minced fresh basil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the mustard, vinegar and fresh herbs in a glass bowl and whisk them together briefly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the oil until fully combined.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.

Makes 1 cup of balsamic vinaigrette.

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