Make it Yourself – Homemade Salad Dressings


(Oops…I spelled Caesar wrong on my label! Hope nobody notices)

I must admit, I was way behind on making my own dressings…over the last few weeks we have been using balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dressing, because the frig was bare of any dressings at all. This is a good alternative if you don’t have any on hand…but then I wanted to post on the topic of dressings today in continuation of the Make it Yourself section of the Natural Living on A Budget series, so I rushed down into the kitchen and threw my favorite recipes together! ;) That’s the truth. Just for you! Save on your food budget by making your own yummy dressings! Store bought dressings are steeply priced and often have added unnecessary preservatives and lots of sugar.

Today…Teriyaki Marinade, Ranch, Italian, Ceasar & Poppyseed Dressings!

Teriyaki Sauce

Makes 3/4 cup (Nourishing Traditions)

1 Tbls. freshly grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 Tbls. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbls. rice vinegar
1 Tbls. raw honey (I prefer mine sweeter, so I added about 4 Tbls of honey)
1/2 cup soy sauce

This is a wonderful marinade for chicken, meatballs, etc! I double the batch to last longer.

Ranch Dressing

Although this dressing is not pictured, as I did not make it this time around (due to running out of mayonnaise), this is a good thick ranch dressing, especially tasty for dipping with raw vegi’s!

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper

Creamy Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbls. poppy seeds (I always add more! Anyone know if these are good for you? I have always wondered…)

This is wonderful served over a spinach with any sort of fruit salad!

Italian Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

Caesar Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1 Tbls. red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbls. anchovy paste
1/2 tsp dijon style mustard
1 clove garlic
3 Tbls. sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

I may try adding an egg yolk next time around…

I prefer a lot of variety in my dressings, but if you like to keep it more simple, go with the basic Italian listed above and use it for everything…Have fun!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

42 Responses to Make it Yourself – Homemade Salad Dressings

  1. Carol May 27, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I am wondering how to make an oil and vinegar recipe using fruit juices, like a raspberry vinegarette? I used a steam juicer to make strawberry peach juice and blackberry juice.

  2. Lael March 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Hey! Thanks for posting these! i have a friend who makes her own ranch, and the ingredients look the same, so she probably got it from you! I was wondering for the ranch dressing if you could substitute mayonnaise for veganese or safflower oil and then use yogurt instead of sour cream? Not that i’m trying to be overly a health snob, we just happen to have these on hand and would prefer to use up instead of buying more. Thanks! Also, how long would it last?

  3. Alicia July 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Hi Lindsey! I noticed on your pantry walk through that you use powdered buttermilk for ranch dressing. Do you have another recipe that incorporates this? Ranch is our main dressing of choice! Also can you elaborate on the differences between red and white winter wheat? My husband grows wheatgrass from red winter wheat, but I never thought of grinding it to a flour! I am saving for a flour mill grinder like yours! Thanks!

    • Lindsay July 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      I just use the recipe above and add about 1-2 Tablespoons of buttermilk powder to flavor as desired. You can read more about the different types of grain here. Basically, they both of the same protein content but you get a better rise and more soft dough from the white winter wheat.

  4. Megan February 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    I just whipped up your Italian dressing. I was heading home and went, oops…no dressing in the house for my bowl of salad already prepped. Yummy, healthy and dirt cheap!

  5. Jaime July 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    Can anyone recommend an anchovy paste without sodium benzoate? The only thing I could find at the supermarkets has it. Thanks!

  6. Carmen July 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Here’s a list of possible benefits of poppy seeds according to an herbal website:

    Mineral source – Poppy seeds act as source for a variety of minerals like iodine, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper.

    Other important ingredients – Poppy seeds also offer a number of ingredients, which include thiamine, riboflavin, lecithin, oxalic acid, pentosans and amorphous alkaloid.

    Enzymes – Poppy seeds also help in enhancing the enzymes like diastase, emulsin, lipase and nuclease in the human body.

    Fatty acids – These seeds are also good sources of fatty acids, especially the omega-3 fatty acids, which are required by human body to ensure good health. Thus, you may consume these seeds in various forms and foods to supply these acids to body.

    Carbohydrates – Poppy seeds may also be considered as good sources of carbohydrates and thus, these are helpful in enhancing the level of energy supplied to human body for routine functions.

    Digestion – Poppy seeds are also considered as useful remedies for facilitating effective process of digestion in human body.

    Seeds oil – Poppy seed oil is also used as condiment to add flavor to different types of recipes.

    Heart diseases – The presence of linoleic acid in poppy seeds protect human body from heart attacks and other heart disorders.

    Breast cancer – The oil made from poppy seeds is helpful in treating breast cancer, as it contains oleic acid.

  7. Julie April 28, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    What would you suggest as a dairy free substitute in place of the sour cream in the Ranch and Caeser? We are a wheat-free/dairy-free/corn-free/soy-free family. My son loves ranch and I have to tell him no everytime he asks for Ranch. I am looking for a dairy free ranch.

    • Lindsay April 28, 2010 at 8:25 am #


    • Amanda July 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

      To make it dairy free, try Vegenaise for the mayo and 1/4 cup olive oil with a little lemon juice instead of sour cream.

  8. Ginny J. February 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    I believe if you add a little whey to your mayo. and leave it on the counter for a bit before refrigerating it makes it lacto-fermented and that will help whatever you make from the mayo stay fresh longer, right?

  9. Kristen January 21, 2010 at 4:58 pm #


    I realize that this post is a few years old, however I read over the comments and noticed that no one answered your question about the health value of poppy seeds. I once read somewhere that eating a large amount of poppy seeds (I believe it was a whole lemon poppy seed loaf cake in the study) will cause you to test positive for opiates on a drug test. Now, a whole loaf cake is a ridiculous amount of poppy seeds, but either way it shows that they are a source of opiates. Apparently the poppy (flower) is what they use to make opium. Outside of that I don’t know of any benefit or drawback, but I wanted to share what I know!

  10. Elizabeth June 25, 2009 at 10:24 am #

    Love the poppyseed dressing! I upped the mayo a bit because I was shaking it and having a hard time getting it creamy enough, and added a smidge more honey because I think I overdid the lemon juice (5 yo having too much fun doing the lemons for me). I used in for a green salad with sliced pears, fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, crispy almonds and blue cheese. Delicious! :)

  11. Mindy June 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    1/4 cup of Parmesean Chesse is a great addition to the Italian Dressing and/or the Ranch Dressing. When I take the Parmesean Ranch Dip to parties people can’t believe it’s homemade and tastes so good.

  12. Linda February 9, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    Wondering if some out there can tell me which is the best oil to use when making salad that does not go solid when refrigerated!

    • Lindsay February 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

      The most nutritious oil to use in dressings is olive oil. I wouldn’t recommend any other alternative. You simply have to take it out of the fridge about ten minutes before serving. It softens relatively quickly. Otherwise, you can put it in a saucepan to thaw.

      • Erin H. July 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

        You can also put the oil under warm water for a few minutes to thaw, works great!

    • Anna August 14, 2009 at 7:01 am #

      My mom never stores vinegarettes in the fridge.
      (Nothing in it requires refridging…why refridge it)
      (I’d say olive oil is the Healthiest one out there:)

  13. Kelly July 28, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    Yum – the Ranch is fantastic! I thinned it with a little milk & doubled the spices. It’s really good!

  14. Kathleen April 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    Lindsay, would you post sometime on the idea of eating full-fat foods (the Nourishing Traditions idea)? I’m curious and a bit mystified by it…

    • Anna August 14, 2009 at 6:57 am #

      It’s the animal fats that have the vitamins:)
      Our whole family has taken cod liver oil for nearly 6 years now…my young ones don’t have crowded teeth:D
      Yah for fats and no braces!

      …and for raw milk!

  15. Alissa April 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    Thanks Lindsay! Great tips. I look forward to seeing your ketchup recipe!!


  16. Alissa April 4, 2008 at 6:57 am #

    HI Lindsay,

    I realize this is an older post, but I remembered reading it awhile back, so I decided to search for it. I’m in the middle of cleaning out my fridge, and I have a question! You sort of answered it already for someone else – how long do your homemade condiments keep? I’ve been starting to make my own, but the only drawback is there is no “best before” date on my jars. :) I have a couple of homemade salad dressings, and a jar of homemade pizza sauce that has been in the fridge since March 14th (I dated it!)… we have pizza on the menu tonight, but I find myself questioning whether I should use the sauce. It’s not really saving us any money if I keep throwing stuff out. :( I also want to start making my own ketchup and such, but again, I’m not sure how long it would keep! How do you decide what keeps for how long? Any tips would be much appreciated. :)


    • Lindsay April 5, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

      Alissa, I always taste my condiments or smell before using to make sure they are still palatable, but I honestly have never had an issue with them going bad. I think the average recommendation is that they last for 2 weeks (that is specifically recipes made with dairy products). The mayonnaise recipe I use says two weeks unless you add whey, and then it lasts a month. Definitely date your jars when you make them and go from there. I have a ketchup recipe I will be posting soon. Make in small batches if you are worried about using them beyond two weeks.

      In regards to tomato products (pizza sauce, etc), tomato products last a long time. I know they are bad if they start to grow things. ;) Store them in the freezer instead of wasting it in the fridge! I make a large batch of spaghetti sauce at a time and divide into smaller batches for freezing. When it’s time for pizza, etc. I just pull out a bag!

      The thing to keep in mind is that store bought dressings and condiments have the preservatives to make them last forever, which we are trying to avoid, as they are not good for you. Don’t worry too much about it. Once again, I haven’t had any problem using them up or going bad.

      Hope that helps!

  17. Jessica February 25, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    Here is how I make Caesar dressing, not traditional, but everyone likes it.

    1-2 garlics cloves, add sea salt and smash with knife or fork (basically make a paste)
    1 tsp anchovy paste
    juice of 1-2 lemons depending on how juicy they are
    1/2 cup of mayonnaise
    pepper and salt to taste
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese

    After you smash the garlic, add the anchovy paste and mayo and mix well. Add the lemon juice until you get the consistency you want and season to taste. Then add lots of parmesan cheese. I serve it on romain lettuce with extra cheese and homemade croutons :) I haven’t made this in a long time either.

  18. Jen February 23, 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these! I found your blog through Frugal Friday. I am enjoying so many entries!

  19. Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home February 22, 2008 at 9:51 pm #

    I’m excited to try the lemon poppyseed dressing. I love making my own vinaigrettes, but there’s this restaurant salad I adore that comes with a creamy, sweet and tangy lemon dressing and it’s really what makes the salad. As soon as I can have honey again, it’ll be on my to-make list!

  20. Tia February 22, 2008 at 4:44 pm #

    Very rarely. But I keep mayo in the house, only because my husband likes it. If I make potato salad, I use sour cream. Reduced fat of course. The only thing I’ll use mayo in is egg salad. I use a little of it, and add some sour cream to it.

    I try and keep my dressings simple, most commonly I’ll just use oil and vinegar. But sometimes I’ll see a chef (on tv) make a new dressing and I’ll want to try it. So I try and keep the popular vinegars around, some fresh herbs, and some garlic. But I tend to buy the garlic around in a jar for me. I’m a little lazy in that sense.

  21. Peggy February 22, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    Thanks for these recipes! I about cried yesterday when I had to pay $3 each for some organic dressing!!

  22. lori February 22, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    What a neat idea! I am always trying to save money, and it has never occured to me that I could make my own dressings. I’m definitely going to try this. (I found your blog today on Frugal Friday, thanks for the link to StoryOfStuff. My husband and I are just starting to join the “green” revolution and I really enjoyed the video)

  23. Mrs. Taft February 22, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    I [email protected]! Thanks for sharing all of this. I would love to make my own dressings, and now I think I will try some of these :D How long do they keep?

    • Lindsay February 22, 2008 at 10:18 am #

      My dressings keep for a long time. Let’s just say I have never had one go bad on me, and there is just the two of us. I just started using my homemade mayo, so we’ll see about the duration of the poppyseed. I would probably estimate the poppyseed and ranch to last about two weeks, but it also just depends on how fast you use it.

    • Mrs. Taft February 22, 2008 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks :)

  24. N.& J. February 22, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    Have you ever used anything like a homemade mayonnaise in your ranch dressing? I’m not a fan of the store bough stuff, except in this one cookie recipe (I know, scary…right?) So I was curious how it might hold up. Thanks for all of these great recipes!
    We’ve actually used your butter recipe, and posted the results on our blog:)
    -N & J

  25. Kristi February 22, 2008 at 8:20 am #

    My father was a pro at making Caesar dressing. My sister always paid attention to how he made it, so after his passing, she became the go-to person for perfect Caesar. FINALLY, I started paying attention and now I am also a “pro”.

    Anyways, start with 1-2 garlic cloves and slice them up into small pieces. Put in a medium bowl (preferably wooden. Don’t ask me why, it is just better!) and add some salt. With the back of a fork, smush the garlic into the salt to create a paste. Then, add all the other ingredients you have listed, minus the sour cream and anchovy (yuck!), and up the Worcestershire, the vinegar and the Dijon amounts and add freshly ground pepper. Whip it all up with the fork. I wish I could give you exact amounts, but my dad never measured anything so we just go by looks, feel and taste! He also used a egg yolk, but I have since omitted that and taste no difference.

    How long do these other dressings stay fresh in the fridge?

    • Lindsay February 22, 2008 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks Kristi for sharing! That is very helpful!

  26. Barbara February 22, 2008 at 2:49 am #

    You post is perfect timing as I’m just learning how to make salad dressings. I love poppyseed dressing; however, I do not like lemon-flavored anything. Can I omit the lemon juice and still get a great PS dressing?


    • Lindsay February 22, 2008 at 10:19 am #

      Yes, you can definitely eliminate the lemon juice and increase the oil, to your taste!

  27. Tia February 22, 2008 at 1:51 am #

    I’ve never used store bought dressings. I’ve been making my own dressings for years. I experiment all the time. If you have the right vinegars around, some olive oil, you can pretty much add anything to it. I try to stay clear of mayo in dressings, because of the fats, I’m too lazy to make my own mayo, so I buy store bought. And store bought is pretty high in fat. They say if you can’t see tru your dressing, that it’s high in fat!

    Lindsay, do you use Kosher salt?

    • Mrs. Taft February 22, 2008 at 10:02 am #

      What do you use instead of mayo? if you ever do? I think mayo is disgusting :P and I can’t eat it! I can taste it immediately no matter how “hidden” in a dish it is, and I have to spit it right out or I gag. My Grandma makes this delicious potato salad, and just for me, she puts sour cream in it instead. <3

      • Anna August 14, 2009 at 6:47 am #

        I make my ranch with all sour cream (no dill, 1T parsly).

        I have used sour cream in a baked casserole dish in place of mayo. Had to add more salt and also garlic powder to help lack of flavor. I thought it turned out great…no questionably fats or high fructose corn syrup.

        (I even tried a little sour cream/vinegar/salt/dash of galic/drip of honey to make “angeled eggs”…still needs perfecting:)

        Hope this helps,

        • Andrea October 22, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

          I use mayo but buy a healthy one from whole foods and instead of sour cream I use kefir and do the same amount of mayo to kefir. I also add basil and chives to the other spices listed.