This homemade Italian Dressing recipe is creamy, zesty, and flavorful. Our copycat Olive Garden salad dressing is a family favorite.
When we made an Italian salad recently, we decided to make homemade salad dressing instead of store-bought. My girls think that this homemade Italian dressing is even better than the original Olive Garden salad dressing, and that’s saying something because they love the restaurant version!
Here’s What This Post Includes
Ingredients Needed and Substitutions
Although there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe list, they are primarily seasonings that you probably have in your spice rack!
- Oil: The main ingredient in this salad dressing is extra virgin olive oil. If you want to use a different oil, choose one with little to no flavor, such as canola oil or grapeseed oil.
- Acids: There are two acids in the salad dressing recipe. We use a combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice and white vinegar. You can substitute more of either one with the other depending on how you want your salad dressing to taste. we prefer less vinegar in our Italian salad dressing, so we used more lemon juice than vinegar.
- Emulsifiers: Both the mayonnaise and coarse ground mustard are emulsifiers. They help the olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice combine and help them stay together in a creamy dressing, even after refrigeration.
- Parmesan: Fresh, grated parmesan adds to the flavor and creaminess of the dressing.
- Sweetener: We used a little granulated sugar to balance the tartness of the dressing. You can also use honey if you prefer.
- Seasonings: This recipe uses lots of Italian seasonings to give it so much flavor! You’ll need dried parsley, dried oregano, onion powder, dried basil, dried thyme, garlic powder, coarse ground black pepper, sea salt, and crushed red pepper flakes are optional. If you want to use fresh herbs in this dressing, you will need to triple the amount called for in the recipe. For example, instead of one teaspoon of dried parsley, you will need three teaspoons of fresh chopped parsley. Also, keep in mind that dressings made with fresh herbs won’t last as long.
How To Make Creamy Italian Dressing
This creamy Italian dressing is considered a vinaigrette since it is a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. It comes together in seconds in a food processor!
- Measure: Put all of the ingredients into the food processor.
- Blend: Process until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
- Chill: Transfer the dressing to a container and chill it in the refrigerator for at least one hour or until ready to serve.
Ways To Use Italian Dressing
Here are a few of our favorite ways to use this salad dressing:
Use the Italian dressing as a marinade for chicken or steak. Marinate chicken in the dressing for 30 minutes before cooking it. You can marinate a steak for longer. We suggest at least four hours or up to overnight.
This Italian Salad is a copycat of the Olive Garden house salad recipe! We top it with tomatoes, onions, black olives, pepperoncini, and croutons.
An Italian Pasta Salad is made with pasta, veggies, pepperoni, cheese, and Italian dressing. It’s the perfect dish to bring to potlucks and barbecues since you can make it ahead of time.
Make Ahead and Storage Instructions
- Make Ahead: This homemade Italian dressing can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator! The dressing thickens when chilled, and it allows the flavors to really combine.
- Refrigerator: You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Homemade salad dressing does not freeze well, so only make as much as you plan to use within a few days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Homemade Italian salad dressing needs to be stored correctly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If it contains fresh ingredients such as minced onion, garlic, or herbs, it should be used within 2-3 days. Dressing made with dried herbs, mayonnaise, and freshly squeezed lemon juice should be used within 3-4 days.
Restaurant salad dressing is so good because it is freshly made with full-fat ingredients, just like this Italian dressing recipe!
This copycat Olive Garden Italian dressing is made with fat (olive oil), acid (lemon juice and distilled white vinegar), emulsifiers (mayonnaise and coarse ground mustard), parmesan, sugar, and lots of Italian seasonings!
More Dressing Recipes
Homemade Ranch Dressing is so much better than store-bought! You can use it as a salad dressing and dip for everything from veggies to pizza.
This creamy Lemon Vinaigrette recipe tastes like you are eating at an upscale restaurant and it works as a veggie dip too!
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Put all of the ingredients into a food processor.
- Process until smooth.
- Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve.