Salad Dressing Recipes That Are So Much Better Than Store Bought

Save money, customize the flavors, and trim down on unnecessary additives by going the DIY route. (We promise it’s easy.)

Oval gray plate with mix of bets and greens with bowl of vinaigrette
Photo: Brie Passano

Store-bought bottles and jars work in a pinch, but if you ask our Test Kitchen experts and editors (and many readers), we’ve yet to discover a purchased product that can top our homemade salad dressing recipes. Easy to stir or shake up and far more affordable than supermarket salad dressings, these homemade dressing recipes might just inspire picky eaters to beg to start each meal with a salad.

01 of 14

Buttermilk-Miso Ranch

Buttermilk-Miso Ranch
Blaine Moats

Fan feedback confirms that regular ranch dressing is the top choice for Better Homes & Gardens readers. While the classic is a certified hit, we couldn’t resist taking things up one more notch by adding ¼ cup white miso paste to the creamy base, which features a triple-play of sour cream, mayo, and buttermilk to please all ranch lovers. That scoop of miso makes a subtle but sensational difference; the savory element it adds accentuates the freshness of the herbs—and the veggies you pair the dressing with.

02 of 14

Orange-Poppy Seed Dressing


We’re already fans of the poppy seed dressing that tops the popular fast-casual deli’s popular strawberry salad. But we think it’s missing a little something: a fresh burst of citrus. So in this Panera copycat recipe, we call for both orange juice and zest, which brighten up the vinegar and mustard foundation.

03 of 14

Blender Caesar Dressing

Radicchio Caesar Salad
Jason Donnelly

Originally designed to dress our Radicchio Caesar, this homemade salad dressing recipe is a breeze to make. Simply combine garlic, olive oil, anchovies (trust the process; they add a pleasant nutty-salty note!), lemon juice, hard-boiled egg yolks, and mustard. Cover and blend or food process until smooth, then drizzle or dunk as desired.

04 of 14

White Balsamic Salad Dressing

White Balsamic Salad Dressing
Lisa Romerein

This is it: The ultimate backpocket vinaigrette that you can whisk up in a matter of minutes to top any and all greens. (The salad dressing also doubles as a stellar marinade!) White balsamic vinegar is like regular balsamic’s slightly sweeter, color-free, and milder cousin. It plays nicely with Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and olive oil in this ultra-easy recipe.

05 of 14

Vegan Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing

Avocado Ranch Salad Dressing

If you don’t do dairy, you might think you’re destined to spend your salad days eating vinaigrette-topped platters only. Thanks to the magic of cashew cream, buttery avocado, and unsweetened coconut milk, you, too, can douse your salad in creamy ranch. Garlic, dill, and chives help this plant-based homemade salad dressing recipe taste surprisingly similar to its sour cream-based counterparts.

06 of 14

Gluten-Free Fresh Herb Vinaigrette

ingredients for Gluten-Free Fresh Herb Vinaigrette on red background
Brie Passano

This fresh herb-stoked dressing recipe is the light and lovely one we turn to when feeding a crowd. As written, it yields a whopping 28 servings!

Test Kitchen Tip: No fresh herbs handy? Dried will do. Since dried herbs are more potent than fresh, replace every 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs with ½ teaspoon of dried.

07 of 14

Buttermilk Dressing

Buttermilk Dressing

Here’s a homemade salad dressing recipe that looks a lot like ranch, but packs a totally unique flavor punch. Buttermilk lends tanginess, while dry mustard, onion powder, garlic, and parsley spice things up. The finished product is ideal for tossing with greens or starring in pasta or potato salads, or using as a dip for crudités.

08 of 14

Sunflower Seed Turmeric Vinaigrette

Oval gray plate with mix of bets and greens with bowl of vinaigrette
Brie Passano

Available as a ginger-like knobby root or in ground spice form, turmeric is naturally peppery, earthy, mildly sweet. Blitz that flavor bomb of a spice cabinet star with water, sunflower seeds, cilantro, garlic, and a few other pantry staples for this homemade salad dressing. The result? A luscious, golden vinaigrette that really shines when paired with earthy-sweet roots like beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes (or honestly, when drizzled over any veggie or sampled by the spoonful).

09 of 14

Cottage Cheese-Dill Dip

Cottage Cheese-Dill Dip on white plate with assorted raw vegetables
Andy Lyons

Yes, we know that this is billed as a dip. But since cottage cheese continues to have a moment—and since this could easily become a drizzle-able salad dressing if you add a splash of buttermilk—we definitely deem it worthy of consideration as a greens garnish. Speaking of greens, green onions, dried dill, and fresh parsley perk up this dip, while Worcestershire sauce joins the party as a welcome umami-booster. No need to scroll past if you’re averse to the texture of cottage cheese; blending it grants the dairy product a consistency akin to a thick Greek yogurt.

10 of 14

Creamy Feta Dressing

Hearts of Romaine with Creamy Feta Dressing
Karla Conrad

Another cheese that’s certainly making a splash lately: feta. Ever since the internet exploded with riffs on baked feta pasta and whipped feta, this tangy-salty cheese has been one of the most buzzy items in the refrigerator section. For this quick salad dressing, we recommend blending an ounce of the crumbly cheese into a blender alongside garlic, oregano, and a glug of our 3-ingredient basic vinaigrette. It’s designed to serve atop romaine, however, we’ve been known to scoop this up with chips and pita wedges, too.

11 of 14

Guajillo Chile Dressing

Tomato Salad with Queso Fresco, Pan-Roasted Green Onions, and Guajillo Chile Dressing
Carson Downing

Guajillos fall near the middle of the spice spectrum, so they won’t make you sweat—especially once you pair the hot chile peppers with garlic, oil, and vinegar. That’s all you need to make this smoky-spicy sauce sing. (Psst…try it on tomatoes, leafy greens, tacos, or eggs. You can’t go wrong.)

12 of 14

Creamy Dill Dressing

Marinated Shrimp Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing
Carson Downing

Listen up, dill pickle fans: we’ve found the ultimate salad dressing recipe for you. This formula that one BHG fan deems “scrumptious and easy,” is like a welcome burst of spring flavor you can enjoy any time of year. Zippy lemon juice, fresh dill, plain yogurt, and salt look and taste silky and sunny all at once.

13 of 14

Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette

plate with Crispy Chicken confit and Citrus Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
Kelsey Hansen

Honey mustard is an MVP on many restaurant salad menus. There’s no reservation required to enjoy this homemade salad dressing, though. All you need for the easy and affordable salad topping: white wine vinegar, Dijon, EVOO, salt, and pepper. Shake or stir those ingredients together, and everyone will declare you the top chef.

14 of 14

Fresh Horseradish Dressing

Grilled Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Mayo, sour cream, milk, and garlic are mainstays in many creamy salad dressings—including this one. It’s the scoop of spicy, pleasantly pungent horseradish that gives this sauce its personality. We especially adore this on any meat-topped salads, but we recommend trying it on any of your favorite vegetable combinations to find your favorite. 

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