This homemade version of Olive Garden’s Italian Dressing tastes just as good and is quick and easy to mix up in less than 5 minutes! This recipe blends together olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasonings, garlic, and Parmesan cheese into a simple vinaigrette. Drizzle over a salad for a healthy vegetarian meal, or use as a marinade for chicken!

Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe | Homemade Salad Vinaigrette

Homemade Italian Dressing Recipe

We lived in a small town in Southeast Texas, on the border between Texas and Louisiana.  It took us 30 minutes to get to a “city” with a mall and an Olive Garden.

But even as a young kid who would turn up her nose at a head of iceberg lettuce, I found myself scarfing down an entire bowl of Olive Garden’s salad with their delightful Italian dressing.

And then Olive Garden released their bottled salad dressing – and I was in LOVE!!

I put it on everything from this Italian Dressing Pasta Salad, use it as a marinade on chicken, or douse a big ole’ chopped kale salad in it.

But to be honest, the store-bought dressing is made with a few ingredients that are not great to consume on a daily or weekly basis. (I.e. – soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)

So instead, why not make your own healthier homemade Italian dressing when it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up!?

If you like homemade salad dressing recipes, you should check out this Honey Mustard Vinaigrette, Healthy Balsamic Vinaigrette, Homemade Ranch Dressing, and Spicy Cashew Dressing next!

Olive oil, Parmesan cheese, honey, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt, lemon, and Italian seasonings as the ingredients for a homemade Italian dressing recipe.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients you need to make this homemade Italian dressing recipe include:

  • Oil. A good quality extra virgin olive oil is the best option. Avocado oil is a good alternative since it is mildly flavored and won’t compete too much with the other ingredients. Sunflower or safflower oil can also be substituted for olive oil, but it will affect the taste slightly.
  • Italian Seasoning. You can mix in a homemade Italian seasoning blend of dried oregano, basil, and other herbs; or you can find the dried Italian seasoning in your herb and spices aisle at the grocery store.
  • White Wine Vinegar. This is the most classic type used, but feel free to swap it out with apple cider vinegar.
  • Sweetener. Honey was tested in this recipe, but agave nectar or regular sugar can also be substituted.
  • Garlic. Crushed garlic (using a garlic press!) is the way. Do not leave this ingredient out! If substituting with garlic powder, you’ll want to use about ½ teaspoon.
  • Lemon Juice. A little citrus gives an extra bit of freshness.
  • Parmesan Cheese. This is the secret ingredient that makes this the best recipe there is!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Italian Dressing

The basic steps for making Italian dressing are simple to follow. Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

Measure the Ingredients

Place everything in a high speed blender, food processor or mason jar.

Homemade Italian salad dressing ingredients in a food processor.

Emulsify the Dressing

There are a few different ways you can mix up this dressing:

High Speed Blender – The NutriBullet is the preferred tool. It blends and emulsifies everything up beautifully and is super easy to clean.

Mini Food Processor – The second best way to make a vinaigrette is to add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

Whisk by Hand – Lastly, if you do not have a blender or food processor you can always whisk the ingredients together by hand. Just note, it will not be nearly as smooth or emulsified.

A glass bowl with homemade Italian dressing being whisked together.

Serving

Drizzle over a salad with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

A spinach or mixed greens salad with some sliced bell peppers, tomatoes, homemade croutons and Parmesan cheese tastes great with an Italian vinaigrette. You can also make this Italian Dressing Pasta Salad for picnics or a barbecue!

Storage

Homemade dressing can last for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container (such as these cute glass mason jars!) in the refrigerator.

Let this dressing sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before using. Just before serving, shake or blend it up again and then pour it over your salad, pasta salad, or chicken.

A small glass jar full of homemade Italian dressing that tastes like Olive Garden's.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free and vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Dairy-Free – Select a plant-based Parmesan cheese.
  • Vegan – Use agave nectar or sugar in place of the honey, and choose a plant-based Parmesan cheese.

FAQs

Is Italian vinaigrette the same as Italian dressing?

Yes, the two terms are used interchangeably. A vinaigrette is a type of dressing that includes oil and vinegar.

What is the difference between zesty Italian and Italian dressing?

The zesty version of Italian dressing generally contains more spices and occasionally red pepper flakes for more of a bite.

Is Italian salad dressing healthy?

Yes. Homemade salad dressing is a much healthier alternative to store-bought. It is made with a good quality oil, unrefined sugar, and does not have any additives or emulsifiers. It’s gluten-free and can easily be made dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan by using a vegan Parmesan cheese.

Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe | Homemade Salad Vinaigrette

Recipe Tips

  • High quality. Select a great-tasting olive oil for the best results.
  • Mix homemade. Making your own Italian Seasoning is easy and you can adjust the spices to your preferences.
  • Go high speed. Use a blender to thoroughly mix the dressing into a smooth consistency.
  • Fresh is best. Mince garlic cloves for a wonderful flavor.

More Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

Drizzle any of these homemade dressings all over your favorite salads for a burst of flavor!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 15 votes

Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe

This homemade version of Olive Garden's Italian Dressing is quick and easy to mix up in less than 5 minutes and lasts for weeks! Drizzle over a salad for a healthy vegetarian meal, or use as a marinade for chicken.
A glass bottle full of Italian dressing with a white bowl full of salad and two wooden salad bowls.
Yield 5 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice fresh
  • 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 tsp. honey to taste
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions 

  • Add ingredients to a 16-ounce mason jar and shake until well combined. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend for 10-20 seconds, or until smooth.
    ½ cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, 2 tsp. honey, Pinch of salt
  • Use immediately or store Italian dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week between servings. Bring to room temperature and shake well before using.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 15 votes

Video

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 239kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 143mg, Potassium: 33mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 105IU, Vitamin C: 0.9mg, Calcium: 136mg, Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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Comments

  1. OMGoodness this recipe is just amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I really struggle with good recipes for a lovely salad dressing and this one is just awesome. LOVE LOVE LOVE it 🙂

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Lynda! It is hard to find good dressing recipes. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. It is my favorite dressing and I never tire of it. It adds so much flavor to salads.