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While a 1-to-2 acid-to-oil ratio is common for vinaigrettes, shifting it to 1-to-1½ yields a dressing with a brighter flavor and fewer calories. That means for every ½ cup of acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, use 3/4 cup of oil. Here's a good all-purpose take on the formula.

EatingWell Magazine, March 2021; updated October 2022


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

5 mins
5 mins

Salad Dressing vs. Vinaigrette: What's The Difference?

Salad dressing is often used as an umbrella term for any sauce that dresses a salad (which includes vinaigrettes) but technically speaking, the two are different. At their core, salad dressings, including vinaigrettes, are simple combinations of fat and acid. What differentiates the two is the fat that's used. A vinaigrette features oil whereas a salad dressing can feature oil, but also typically includes a creamy element like mayonnaise, buttermilk or yogurt. Vinaigrettes tend to be thinner with fewer ingredients and a sharper taste while dressings have more viscosity, a few more ingredients and a more rich, rounded flavor.

How To Make Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette

Vinaigrettes are easy to make and with this recipe, all you need is a jar with a tight-fitting lid to mix and store it in. A good vinaigrette strikes the perfect balance between smooth and tangy. The tangy element here is a combination of red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Red wine vinegar adds an acidic punch while lemon juice adds tang plus a bright, lemony flavor. While a 1-to-2 acid-to-oil ratio is common for vinaigrette, using 1-to-1½ yields acid-to-oil ratio like we do here provides a brighter flavor and fewer calories. To make the vinaigrette, simply combine the ingredients in a jar and shake. The shaking action emulsifies the dressing, bringing the acid and oil together into a uniform mixture that's ready to coat greens, roasted potatoes or anything else you want to jazz up.

Can I Make Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette Ahead?

Yes! You can refrigerate the vinaigrette for up to 1 week. It will separate as it sits, so shake it again before serving.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer 


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine 3/4 cup oil, 5 tablespoons vinegar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well blended.


Nutrition Facts

2 Tbsp.
130 calories; fat 14g; sodium 191mg; saturated fat 2g.