fb pixle

Homemade vs Store Bought Salad Dressing (Recipes Included)

by | Jul 28, 2022 | Healthy Food, Healthy Living, Nutrition Info, Weight Loss and Maintenance

Odom Health & Wellness is unable to provide nutrition and weight loss services for individuals living outside of Minnesota

A woman pours homemade salad dressing over her salad.Clients often ask about whole foods versus processed foods. When it comes to salad dressing there is plenty to unpack around the make vs buy schools of thought. Homemade vs store-bought salad dressing isn’t on everyone’s radar but consider the benefits of DIY dressing.

Warm weather fare like caprese salad, dark greens with cucumber and a vinaigrette or a cold quinoa salad with bell peppers, tomatoes and spinach are healthy meals that are perfect summer fare or potluck side dishes. For those who don’t eat a lot of salad,  you probably still use salad dressing occasionally for marinades, sauces or grilling recipes. Is it worth making your own? The delicious recipes at the bottom of this page might change your mind! 


The Pros and Cons of Homemade Salad Dressing

Let’s lay out  the basic pros and cons of making your own dressing versus walking down the salad dressing aisle at the store. Most of these will come as no surprise to you. 

                              The Positives

Homemade Dressing

Store Bought Dressing
Less artificial ingredients and preservatives Convenience
Better taste Longer shelf life
Less expensive Less work
Less sugar Greater variety
Better absorption of nutrients Dependable flavor

                           The Negatives

Homemade Dressing Store Bought Dressing
More time/ work More expensive
Requires ingredients on hand Fewer nutrients (if any)
Need recipe or experience Unhealthy preservatives and dyes
Shorter shelf life No control over ingredients


Is Making Salad Dressing Worth It? Several glass containers with various homemade salad dressings.

Making your own salad dressings is likely a matter of time, budget and how high nutrition ranks in your priorities. For those with allergies and dietary restrictions, it may be necessary to whip up your own gluten free salad dressing or low sodium salad dressing. Doing it yourself puts you in control of your ingredients and, once you perfect your recipe, your dressing will taste fresher and better. 

Taking the time to make your own dressing is healthier and less expensive than store-bought alternatives. For those who garden, you can use your own ingredients like garlic and herbs for extra freshness. Most dressings are simple and quick to make with a minimal amount of ingredients. We recommend you choose a few “go to” homemade salad dressings and keep those ingredients on hand. The options are limitless and your body will thank you.


How to Choose a Store Bought Salad DressingA woman compares two types of dressings in the salad dressing aisle.

While making your own dressing is the best for your health, we understand that it’s not always possible. If you’re going to use store bought dressings, select one or two  brands you’re comfortable with.

Not all commercial dressings are equal. Here are a few things to consider when buying salad dressing:

  • Read the ingredients label. 
  • The fewer the ingredients the better and the more whole food based the better.
  • Do you know what each ingredient is? Is it an emulsifier, thickener, dye, preservative or flavor? Don’t accept chemical names just because you’ve seen them before.
  • Avoid fat free or sugar free. If the manufacturers take something out, they have to put something back in for taste and texture and it typically is not as good for you as the real deal would have been in a normal amount.
  • The first three ingredients are the most important. Ideally those will be an oil, water, vinegar or a natural flavor like garlic, sun dried tomato, etc.
  • Read up on the quality of oils so you can make an educated decision. Some vegetable oils like safflower, cottonseed and palm kernel oil can be inflammatory. 

Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

Here are a few tasty homemade salad dressing recipes to help you get started. Using the right kitchen tools will help you whip up, emulsify and store your homemade salad dressing. You may want to invest in a great blender or food processor, dressing shakers and dressing pourers. 

Easy Balsamic VinaigretteOlive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper laid out to make dressing.
Makes 1 cup

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Fresh-ground pepper
Optional extras: spoonful of mustard, minced shallots, minced garlic, minced fresh herbs, teaspoon dried herbs, spoonful of honey or brown sugar

Mix and refrigerate.

Green Goddess Dressing

Dressing Ingredients:
1 medium avocado
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
1 ½ tbsp honey
½ tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne
½ garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/8 cup parsley
1/8 cup green onion
¼ cup spinach

Half the avocados, remove the pit, scoop the flesh into the blender, add everything else and blend very thoroughly.

Blackberry VinaigretteA large dinner salad with blackberries and blackberry dressing.
Makes 4 cups

3 T. blackberry jam
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2 t. dried rosemary (or 1 T. fresh)
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/3 c. honey
1/4 t. salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 c. olive oil
Optional: 2 T. sour cream or yogurt
Whisk the first 7 ingredients together.  Keep whisking briskly while drizzling in olive oil.  Add in sour cream or yogurt (if using) and herbs and whisk again.

Basic Creamy Salad Dressing

Makes 1 cup

8 oz plain yogurt
1/4 cup unrefined extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon chives, dried
2 tablespoon dill, dried
2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix and refrigerate.

Creamy, Herby Ranch DressingA homemade creamy salad dressing with veggies to dip.
Makes 2 cups


3 scallions
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon nice olive oil
1 small garlic clove
1 scant teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup plain yogurt

Mix it up and refrigerate.

Teriyaki Marinade
Makes 1 cup


1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 oranges, juiced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 cup scallion, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Mix it up and refrigerate at least 1 hour.


Eat Healthier Salads

Salad therapy is a great way to inject more nutrition into your diet. If you’re looking to feel better and perform better, our nutritionists can help you with meal planning, recipes and dieting. Schedule an in person or virtual consultation with Odom today and let our team be your guides to a healthier you.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.