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Classic French Dressing Recipe

The salad dressing I make more than any other is this classic French dressing recipe. Containing only 3 ingredients and a little seasoning, this simple French vinaigrette recipe can be whipped up in just 5 minutes, and can be served with pretty much any salad.

A small jug of French dressing being poured over a white bowl filled with salad of lettuce, radish, tomato, cucumber, spring onions and sugar snap peas.

My best French dressing recipe is perfectly balanced, made with one part vinegar to three parts oil. This recipe makes a small batch to dress a salad for 3-4 diners. However, the recipe is easily doubled up if required.

This easy homemade salad dressing is easily adapted to include other flavours. Try adding fresh herbs, lemon zest, or some ground spices for extra layers of flavour.

I like to make my own homemade salad dressings and rarely buy store-bought dressings. My classic French salad dressing does not contain refined sugars, excess salt or unnecessary additives and preservatives.

Why you’ll love this French dressing recipe

  • Made with 3 simple ingredients and a little seasoning that most of you will have in your stores at home.
  • Make ahead and store the dressing in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  • Ready in 5 minutes just place everything in a jar with a lid and shake.

French dressing recipe ingredients

Classic French dressing recipe ingredients.
  • Mustard – I add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to this salad dressing.
  • Oil – use any variety of oil that you enjoy in a salad dressing, extra virgin olive oil, olive oil or sunflower will all work. You can also add a combination of oils.
  • Vinegar – I have used white wine vinegar in this dressing, you could also use red wine or sherry vinegar.
  • Seasoning – I keep the seasoning simple with 1/2 teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This might look like a lot, but bear in mind you are using this to season the ingredients of your salad.

How to make French vinaigrette

  • Place all the ingredients into a jar.
  • Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake to combine all the ingredients together.
  • You can also place all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to emulsify.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to dress a salad.
  • Give the salad dressing a good shake before using to incorporate all the ingredients together again.
  • You can also pour the dressing into a small jug for serving.

Recipe variations

  • I’ve used Dijon mustard but you could also use wholegrain mustard. Don’t use English or yellow mustard as it has too strong a flavor which will overpower the other ingredients in the dressing.
  • Swap white wine vinegar for red wine or sherry vinegar.
  • Add 1/4 a clove of finely crushed garlic to the dressing, no more or the raw garlic will overpower every other flavour in the dressing.
  • You can also add some finely chopped shallot to the salad dressing.
  • Add a touch of citrus with some finely grated zest of a lemon.
  • Add some freshly chopped herbs like tarragon, parsley, basil or chives to the dressing.
A hand holding a white bowl filled with salad of lettuce, radish, tomato, cucumber, spring onions and sugar snap peas with a jug of French dressing set alongside.

Serving suggestions

This simple salad dressing can be added to a variety of salads. One of my favourite salads to add it to is this Chicken Asparagus Salad with Bacon & New Potatoes, which is served warm over salad leaves.

Useful hints and tips

  1. Always check salad dressing for seasoning before you dress the salad, and adjust with a little more salt or black pepper if required. Remember the dressing might taste a little salty but that’s ok as you will be using it to season your salad.
  2. I recommend using a jam jar when making salad dressing as it makes it really easy to mix the dressing, place the lid on and give it a good shake. The lidded jar also keeps the salad fresh when being stored in the fridge.
  3. Containing no dairy this salad dressing is suitable for dairy free and vegan diners.
  4. Allergy advice: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soya free and nut free. For comprehensive and detailed allergy advice go to Allergy UK.
A black plate topped with a salad of lettuce leaves, sauteed chicken, asparagus, new potatoes and bacon with a small just of salad dressing set alongside.

FAQs

How long does French salad dressing dressing last?

Once made, this salad dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Ensure you shake the jar well before each use to emulsify the ingredients.

Why add mustard to salad dressing?

Not only does mustard provide flavor to a French dressing, it also acts as an emulsifying agent which helps the oil and acids to combine.

Why does French dressing split?

A homemade dressing is made with oil and vinegar which will naturally split when left to sit. It is easy to emulsify the dressing again, just give it a good shake in the jar, or whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.

Is homemade French salad dressing healthy?

Yes, this is a healthy salad dressing as it does not contain sugar, excess salt or any unnecessary additives or preservatives.

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Pinnable image with recipe title and a small jug of French dressing being poured over a white bowl filled with salad of lettuce, radish, tomato, cucumber, spring onions and sugar snap peas.

Additional recipe suggestions

Dressing and sauces pack a real punch of flavor to any dish they are added to. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

A small jug of French dressing being poured over a white bowl filled with salad of lettuce, radish, tomato, cucumber, spring onions and sugar snap peas.

Classic French Dressing

This classic French dressing recipe. contains only 3 ingredients and a little seasoning. It can be whipped up in just 5 minutes, ready to dress any salad.
5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 96kcal

Equipment

  • Glass jar with lid or use a small bowl with whisk
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil (or light olive oil)
  • ½ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp black pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients into a jar.
  • Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake to combine all the ingredients together.
  • You can also place all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to emulsify.
  • Place in the refrigerator until ready to dress a salad.
  • Give the salad dressing a good shake before using to incorporate all the ingredients together again.

Notes

Always check salad dressing for seasoning before you dress the salad, and adjust with a little more salt or black pepper if required. Remember the dressing might taste a little salty but that’s ok as you will be using it to season your salad.
I recommend using a jam jar when making salad dressing as it makes it really easy to mix the dressing, place the lid on and give it a good shake. The lidded jar also keeps the salad fresh when being stored in the fridge.
This salad dressing will separate when left to sit. Don’t worry this is easily fixed, just shake the jar, or whisk up the dressing when you are ready to use and it will emulsify.
Nutrition Facts
Classic French Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 96 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 9g
Sodium 309mg13%
Potassium 7mg0%
Carbohydrates 0.2g0%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 0.02g0%
Protein 0.1g0%
Vitamin A 2IU0%
Vitamin C 0.03mg0%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Dressing
Cuisine : French
Keyword : best french dressing recipe, easy french dressing, french dressing recipe uk, simple french dressing, simple french vinaigrette, traditional french vinaigrette recipe
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Recipe Rating




Hazel

Thursday 16th of May 2024

Such a delicious and simple dressing.

Lesley

Wednesday 22nd of May 2024

Thank you Hazel, it's so easy to whip this dressing together.

Chloe

Friday 10th of May 2024

I've never been great at getting the proportions right on a classic dressing but I actually followed the recipe for once and this worked perfectly!

Lesley

Tuesday 14th of May 2024

There are times when I just throw everything in a jar myself, then wonder why it isn't quite right. Whereas it always works when I measure out. As a rule of thumb I always use 3 portions of oil to 1 of acid, whether vinegar or lemon/lime juice.