HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Honey Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

I am venturing into the land of homemade salad dressings today as I have combined serious craving for salad, balsamic and Grey Poupon. I've never made a dressing at home and so have no idea what ratios are generally used. Does anyone have any tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Easy-peasy, you'll be glad you made your own. A general ratio is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Adapt that to your taste. I usually start with three tablespoons oil and one tablespoon vinegar, one teaspoon dijon mustard if I'm going to use mustard. Balsamic vinegar is quite sweet, you might want to taste before you add honey.

    Once you've made your own vinaigrette, you'll never resort to buying bottled ones.

    Also, here are a couple prior threads on vinaigrettes:

    4 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      Are there any spices in particular that you like to add?

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        I like to add fresh basil if I've got it, only rarely fresh garlic (but only because spouse won't eat it with garlic), salt and pepper of course, but no other spices. I've tried dried herbs and don't like them myself. I've used ground cumin in a lime-cilantro vinaigrette. Other than that I keep it pretty simple.

        In addition to using balsamic vinegar, try a good red wine vinegar. If you like a sweeter dressing, I'd be more inclined to sweeten one made with red wine vinegar rather than one with balsamic.

        One of my favorite dressings is to just toss a soft green, like butter lettuce, with apples or pears, blue or gorgonzola cheese and walnuts or pecans. Then toss all with walnut oil, and then toss with Alessi's Fig Vinegar. A vinaigrette like that doesn't get much simpler.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          If I add herbs, I add them to the salad greens, as they wilt when added to the vinaigrette.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            NOT sherry -- sherry vinegar. Sherry might work, though, just have never tried it.

        2. In general the ratio is 1:3 Acid to Oil
          This should be adjusted to personal taste and strength of the Acid used (whether Vinegar or Citrus) Though if you use all citrus it should be a Citronette rather than a Vinaigrette.
          Any herb or other flavoring that you like is fine.
          Garlic is a very common addition as well as Parsley, but Tarragon, Thyme, Shallot, Olives, Anchovies, Citrus Zest,Green Pepper, Parmesan, Chervil Etc... would all be possibilities. Really the variations are endless.

          1. Do you usually chill before serving?

            2 Replies
            1. re: fldhkybnva

              No. Often it will separate and the oil will semi-solidify. Keep at room temp for same day use.
              If you are storing, refrigerate it but allow to warm up a bit before you try to re-emulsify by shaking or whisking.

              1. re: chefj

                I actually use the microwave on defrost setting for about 30 seconds when I'm in a hurry to liquefy vinaigrette that has been refrigerated (say for about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of vinaigrette).

            2. This works beautifully:

              Pour a little out of a bottle of white wine vinegar and push in two or three garlic cloves. Add a sprig or two of tarragon, or a teaspoon of dried, replace what you can of the poured off bit, and leave it for a couple of weeks. Use this to make vinaigrette at 6:1 with EVO (yes, 6 EVO:1 vinegar, it really does work well), salt & pepper. Whisk thoroughly.

              The flavoured vinegar will last for ages.

              Edit: Just realised that this contains no balsamic, honey, or Dijon, which is what you asked about! Sorry, but please try it anyway. All these could be added, if you like. Let us know how you get on please.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Robin Joy

                I need to do this, my absolute favourite herb for salad dressings is tarragon.

                1. re: cleopatra999

                  I hope you like it. I prepare a new bottle when I'm about half way through a bottle. Leave the flavourings in the vinegar and the intensity deepens.

              2. Thank you! Delicious, and not just tasty but easy, quick and will likely not be near many bottles of salad dressing. I am a big vinegar fan so did a 2:1 vinegar:oil but made 3:1 oil:vinegar for SO who also greatly enjoyed. It was great dressing for the salad we whipped together - spinach, chicken, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes.

                1. I have not bought bottled salad dressing in 30+ years. Whichever recipes you try, bear in mind that the quality of ingredients stands out in a vinaigrette more than in any other recipe I can think of. Use good EVOO and vinegars. Cheap balsamic is really nasty in a salad dressing. Try branching out: Sherry vinegar and grainy mustard are both lovely. I go with the 3:1 oil/vinegar ratio, usually, and mix in a small screw-top jar.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pikawicca

                    I bought a bottle of sherry last night and look forward to giving it a try today.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      It's lovely stuff. Six glasses and you'll feel wonderful.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Sherry - check! It is quite good. I mixed half and half Balsamic and Sherry and had a lovely seared tuna spinach salad. In fact, I might drizzle it over roasted asparagus tonight.

                    2. I am now a homemade vinaigrette addict which is great as I've been craving a spinach salad nearly every day. I picked up a few new vinegars tonight to incorporate - red wine, apple cider and malt. Do you ever use any of these? I love malt vinegar on fries and wondered why it's not used more in other dishes.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        The vinaigrette in this recipe uses red wine vinegar and it's really good. http://cookingtipoftheday.blogspot.co... I would say red wine vinegar is probably my favorite to use for dressings.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          Yes, it's perfect for fries. Try making vinaigrette with it however, and you'll find out why it's not much good for anything else.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            Do not forget the Oils, you have many options other than Olive there as well.
                            Pumpkin Seed, Pine Seed and others, a multitude of Nuts, Avocado,Argan Etc........

                            1. re: chefj

                              Oh, yes thanks. I imagine milder oils work best, sesame oil probably a bad choice with say a rice vinegar?

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                Actually, sesame oil is an excellent choice with rice vinegar, sometimes I use it as the only oil with rice vinegar, and sometimes I cut it with some peanut oil. Walnut and hazelnut oils send me over the moon. Not very strong, they need a mild/tender green to allow the flavor of the oil to shine through.

                                Keep in mind, too, not all vinegar brands are created equal. Head over to general topics and search for vinegar threads to find favorite brands. Regardless, as Robin Joy already wrote, malt vinegar is only good for fries.

                            2. re: fldhkybnva

                              I'm not crazy about apple cider vinegar in vinaigrettes, but it's wonderful in buttermilk dressing.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Cider vinegar is my base for cole slaw and potato salad but I agree that I typically do not use it for a vinaigrette to dress greens.

                            3. I always make up my vinaigrette ala minute (I'm sure I misspelled that.

                              The only thing I have to add to the spot on instruction and advice (esp about experimenting with vinegars, etc) is to try a hit of soy sauce before you add the salt. It gives you a depth of flavor and umami.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                It is spelled
                                à la minute for next time ( - ;

                                1. re: chefj

                                  I love home made dressings. I have recently branched out into homemade creamy dressings. My favourite being a mix of mayo (home made best), sour cream, yogurt, tarragon, shallots, garlic, dijon, honey and vinegar or lemon juice.

                                  I find balsamic too strong to use a full ratio for dressing and usually cut it with a another vinegar.

                                  Asian dressings are really easy to make too, rice vinegar, oil, sesame oil, honey, soy.

                                  PS. does anyone have a good dressing for use with nutritional yeast?

                              2. I use Honeycup Mustard with EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar and a few Italian Herbs. Taste till I get it right. Great on some arugula with ripe tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions.

                                1. Here is my newest favorite honey mustard vinaigrette recipe. Not balsamic, but oh sooo yummy.

                                  I eyeball my vinegar vs oil ratio. I prefer a more tangy vinaigrette. I'm more of a 50/50 type of girl.

                                  A creamy homemade honey mustard dressing -- sweet and tangy!
                                  About 1 1/2 cups of dressing
                                  1/2 cup olive oil or flax seed oil
                                  3 tablespoons vinegar
                                  2 tablespoons water
                                  1/4 cup honey
                                  1/4 cup prepared mustard (Dijon or other*)
                                  1/2 teaspoon dried basil
                                  1 teaspoon salt
                                  dash of black pepper
                                  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-mixed. Or, place ingredients into dressing bottle/jar, seal with tight-fitting lid, and shake to combine. A glass pint jar with a screw-on lid works well for this recipe!
                                  2. Serve with your favorite lettuce greens, or use as a dipping sauce for chicken.