The Best Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

Lemon dressing vinaigrette with spoon

Introducing the Lemon Vinaigrette — a zesty, refreshing dressing that invigorates salads and dishes. It combines vibrant citrus notes and a touch of sweetness for the perfect balance of tang and savory flavors. Made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, natural sweetener, minced garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, this simple yet versatile recipe yields a homemade dressing that brings delightful tanginess to any meal. In just a few easy steps, you can enjoy the burst of flavor it adds to your culinary creations.

Ingredients & Substitutions

This Lemon Vinaigrette recipe incorporates a variety of ingredients that contribute to its vibrant and tangy flavor. Fresh lemon juice serves as the foundation for its citrusy essence, while the addition of lemon zest intensifies the zingy aroma.

For the desired texture and richness, extra virgin olive oil is used. However, if you prefer a different oil, you can experiment with substitutes like avocado oil or grape seed oil.

Dijon mustard adds a tangy and nuanced flavor profile. However, you can substitute it with whole grain mustard or a touch of yellow mustard.

To achieve a balanced taste, a natural sweetener, such as honey, agave, or maple syrup, is incorporated, but feel free to explore other alternatives like stevia or coconut sugar.

For those who prefer a milder garlic flavor, you can reduce the amount of minced garlic or opt for roasted garlic for a mellower taste.

Finally, seasoning with salt and pepper is left to personal preference, allowing you to adjust the levels of saltiness and spiciness to suit your taste buds. By embracing these substitutions, you can customize the Lemon Vinaigrette according to your own unique flavor preferences and dietary needs.

Helpful Tools

  • Mason jar: A mason jar is recommended for combining and shaking the vinaigrette ingredients. Its secure lid allows for thorough mixing and easy storage.
  • Citrus zester or grater: This tool is essential for obtaining lemon zest, which adds a bright and fragrant citrus flavor to the vinaigrette.
  • Citrus juicer: Using a citrus juicer simplifies the process of extracting fresh lemon juice, ensuring you get the most juice from your lemons without any seeds.
  • Garlic mincer: A garlic mincer efficiently minces the garlic cloves, ensuring that the flavor disperses evenly throughout the vinaigrette.
  • Whisk or fork: If a mason jar is not available, a whisk or fork can be used as an alternative to combine the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring a well-emulsified vinaigrette.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is convenient for whisking the vinaigrette ingredients together before transferring them to a serving container, allowing for easy mixing and less mess.

How to Make Lemon Vinaigrette

Start by gathering all the ingredients. Then, grab a mason jar or a mixing bowl to combine them.

First, add the fresh lemon juice, followed by the lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, natural sweetener of your choice (honey, agave, or maple syrup), and minced garlic. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.

Lemon vinaigrette dressing top view in jar

Secure the lid tightly on the mason jar or whisk the ingredients vigorously in the mixing bowl until well combined. Take a moment to appreciate the invigorating aroma.

Lemon vinaigrette dressing with spoon

Once mixed, your Lemon Vinaigrette is ready to be enjoyed. Serve it over salads, roasted vegetables, or as a flavorful dressing for your favorite dishes. This versatile dressing will bring a delightful tanginess to your culinary creations and elevate the overall flavors.

Tips & Tricks

  • Freshness matters: To achieve the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest, ensuring a vibrant and zesty taste.
  • Adjust sweetness and acidity: Taste the vinaigrette as you go. Adjust the sweetness and acidity of the vinaigrette according to your preferences by tasting and adding more lemon juice for tanginess or increasing the natural sweetener for a sweeter profile.
  • Emulsify for a smooth texture: Create a smooth and well-emulsified vinaigrette by vigorously shaking the mason jar or whisking the ingredients together. This ensures even distribution of the oil and other components.
  • Customize with additional flavors: Personalize your vinaigrette by experimenting with additional flavors. Consider adding fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or parsley for added freshness and complexity.
  • Make ahead for enhanced flavor: For enhanced flavor, make the vinaigrette in advance, allowing the flavors to meld together over a few hours or even overnight, resulting in a more pronounced and well-rounded taste.
  • Serve at the right temperature: For optimal taste, remove the vinaigrette from the refrigerator a few minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. This will enhance the flavors and aromas.

FAQ: Lemon Vinaigrette

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice?

While fresh lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor, you can use bottled lemon juice as a substitute if fresh lemons are not available. However, keep in mind that bottled lemon juice may have a slightly different taste and may not provide the same level of freshness as freshly squeezed juice.

Can I make the vinaigrette in advance?

Yes, you can make the Lemon Vinaigrette in advance. In fact, allowing the flavors to meld together for a few hours or overnight can enhance the taste. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

Can I adjust the sweetness of the vinaigrette?

Absolutely! The sweetness of the vinaigrette can be adjusted according to your taste preferences. Feel free to add more or less of the natural sweetener (honey, agave, or maple syrup) to achieve the desired level of sweetness.

How long can I store the vinaigrette?

The Lemon Vinaigrette can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, always check for any signs of spoilage before using, such as an off smell or unusual texture. If you notice any changes, it’s best to discard the vinaigrette.

Can I use the vinaigrette for anything other than salads?

Absolutely! While the vinaigrette works wonderfully as a dressing for salads, it can also be used as a flavorful marinade for grilled vegetables, drizzled over roasted chicken or fish, or even as a dip for crusty bread. Get creative and explore the various ways to incorporate this versatile vinaigrette into your dishes.

Lemon vinaigrette dressing with spoon

The Best Lemon Vinaigrette

Lemon Vinaigrette is a zesty and versatile dressing made with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and flavorful ingredients, adding a refreshing twist to salads and dishes.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Dressing, Vegan Basics
Cuisine American, French
Servings 4



  • Add lemon juice, zest, olive oil, dijon, agave, garlic, salt and pepper to a mason jar, close the lid and shake well to combine. Serve, and enjoy!
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Enhance your culinary repertoire with the delightful Lemon Vinaigrette. Its zesty and tangy flavor brings a refreshing twist to salads, roasted vegetables, and a variety of dishes. Enjoy the vibrant taste of freshly squeezed lemon juice, aromatic zest, and the harmonious blend of olive oil, Dijon mustard, natural sweetener, garlic, salt, and pepper. Tailor the vinaigrette to your taste preferences by following tips and making personalized adjustments. Whether elevating a salad or adding flavor to favorite recipes, this versatile dressing is certain to impress.

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