It’s hard to beat the versatility of this 6-ingredient honey balsamic vinaigrette recipe! This easy-to-make salad dressing goes with almost anything (think simple side salads, bowls, chicken, roasted veggies & more). PS - It’s also a tasty chicken marinade.
🥗 Reasons to love this recipe
I love the brightness & acidity of a good homemade salad dressing recipe, and this honey balsamic vinaigrette never lets me down!
Plus it can easily double as a marinade for making the tastiest grilled chicken ever.
Wanna know the BEST part?
Five minutes and six ingredients is all you need to make it (and I have a hunch you might already have everything you need in the pantry right now!).
This recipe is naturally gluten free, dairy free, paleo and vegetarian but can easily be made vegan friendly with a simple ingredient swap (sharing options for you below!).
🍯 Ingredients you need to make it
Balsamic vinegar: This is the star ingredient of this vinaigrette but you could also use a flavored dark balsamic vinegar, or even use white balsamic vinegar to make a white balsamic dressing instead.
Olive oil: I used extra virgin olive oil for this recipe but you could use any other neutral flavored oil that you like. Including avocado oil, vegetable or canola oil.
Dijon mustard: Every vinaigrette recipe needs a good emulsifying ingredient that can help bind the vinegar and oil together, and Dijon mustard is a great one to have on hand! I use it a lot in my dressings because it adds a little extra savory flavor.
Honey: The natural sweetness of the honey provides a lightly sweet flavor that’s a nice balance to the tart, tangy and bright flavors of the vinegar & mustard. You could also use another refined sugar free sweetener like maple syrup, agave or cane sugar. If using a granulated sweetener like cane sugar just make sure it’s fully dissolved before serving.
Salt: I used kosher salt but you could also use another salt like pink Himalayan salt if you prefer.
Black pepper: I love adding a little fresh cracked black pepper to my dressing but if you don’t like or don’t have it on hand you can skip it.
💭 Top tips
Adjust your dressing to taste: Everyone has specific ideas about what makes a recipe taste extra delicious - so don’t be afraid to taste and adjust to your liking! You can use more or less salt and sweetener, and even adjust the ratio of vinegar to oil (use as-is for a more classic tangy vinaigrette, or decrease the vinegar for a more buttery & light flavor).
Use a lettuce leaf dipped in the dressing to taste-test: Let’s be honest, no one really eats dressing straight from the bottle (so why would we taste-test that way?). If you struggle with the direction to “adjust to taste” try dipping a single leafy green into your vinaigrette and seeing how you like it when used as intended.
Make it in a lidded mason jar for easy storage & clean up: You can whisk or blend this dressing together in a small bowl per the recipe card directions, or you can make it in a lidded container (like a mason jar or weck jar) and shake until well combined. Then when you’re done you can just pop the lid back on and store it right in the freezer without any extra dirty dishes.
Make a big batch for parties or weekly meal prep: This recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled) for the holidays, family dinners, or even just for weekly meal prep. Bonus points that it can be made ahead several days in advance for even easier hosting.
For a less tangy vinaigrette you can reduce the amount of vinegar down by 1-2 tablespoons.
For a sweeter vinaigrette you can double the amount of honey (or other sweetener) used.
To make a creamy balsamic vinaigrette recipe, add in 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
For a vegan friendly version, be sure to use maple syrup, agave or sugar in place of honey.
🍴 Ways to use it
As a salad dressing: Balsamic vinaigrette is a classic dressing that pairs with almost any greens you like. But I especially love it with dark leafy greens like spring mix, spinach, arugula and even romaine. Here's some fun topping ideas:
- Fruits & Veggies: Strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, roasted butternut squash, shaved Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots.
- Protein: Chicken, grilled steak, pork tenderloin, crispy chickpeas.
- Nuts & Seeds: Slivered almonds, candied pecans or walnuts, sunflower seeds.
- Extras: Feta, fried goat cheese, dried cranberries, buttery croutons.
As a sauce for savory bowls: Try building your own nourishing bowl by using a grain base (brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice), adding a cooked veggie (steamed or roasted broccoli, brussels sprouts or butternut squash), and a protein (like shredded chicken breast, grilled shrimp, or crispy tofu). Then use this dressing as a sauce drizzled on top to tie everything together.
As a pan sauce for chicken or roasted vegetables: When cooking a skillet or roasted chicken dinner, you can add a little of the dressing plus some chicken broth to create a delicious pan sauce. It can also be a tasty addition to toss freshly roasted vegetables in (they soak up all the flavor!).
Did you know that many dressings double as great marinades? Try it with chicken, fish, or shrimp. Simply add your protein of choice to a ziptop bag or large bowl, pour over your dressing and let marinate for 30 minutes to 4 hours before grilling or baking.
💬 Answering your vinaigrette FAQ’s
Do honey and balsamic vinegar go together?
- Yes! The acidity of the balsamic vinegar and light sweet flavor pair beautifully with the sweetness of the honey. Plus the honey gives your homemade dressing a little extra body and helps to thicken it.
What does honey balsamic vinaigrette taste like?
- It’s lightly tart, sweet and has that signature balsamic vinegar flavor. It’s a great contrast to pair with dark or delicate greens and goes with almost anything (including roasted chicken dishes!).
Is balsamic vinaigrette healthy?
- It’s easy to make your own healthy balsamic vinaigrette at home with simple good-for-you ingredients like balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and a touch of honey. It adds flavor and healthy fats to greens, roasted vegetables and lean protein.
What is the difference between balsamic vinegar and balsamic vinaigrette?
- Balsamic vinegar is a single ingredient that can be used (along with olive oil, mustard, and honey) to create a balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing.
🧊 Storing leftover dressing
Homemade dressings will keep well in the refrigerator (in a tightly sealed, lidded container) for up to 3-4 days - and according to Tasting Table vinegar based dressings can keep even longer than dairy or mayo based ones, as long as 2 weeks.
Just like with many storebought oil & vinegar dressings, some separation is natural so if you see it do this in the fridge don’t worry (it hasn’t expired, it just needs to be mixed back together!).
The oil may solidify upon refrigerating which is also normal - all you need to do is take it out of the fridge and let it sit on the countertop for a few minutes & give it a shake.
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Mason Jar
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- Add all your ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined (or you can add to a tightly lidded jar and shake until combined, or use a blender).
- Adjust to taste for salt and sweetness.