Classic French Vinaigrette

Classic French Vinaigrette

The Spruce Eats / Abby Mercer

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
182 Calories
20g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 182
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 113mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 6mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This French vinaigrette dressing is traditionally whisked together in the bottom of a large salad bowl. After it's made, lettuce and any other ingredients are added to the bowl and gently tossed to completely coat the greens, while leaving any excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl. It's a fabulous technique that leads to perfectly dressing salads, but whipping up a double, triple, or quadruple batch in a small jar to use over the course of a few days is a nice option, too.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic French Vinaigrette ingredients

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  2. Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot if using, and mustard in the bottom of a large salad bowl.

    Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot if using, and mustard in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Salt and pepper added to the mixture in the bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer

  4. Add whatever salad you're making and toss to combine.

    Classic French Vinaigrette with a salad in the bowl

    The Spruce / Abby Mercer


  • As you toss, the salad will pick up as much dressing as it requires to be coated (for more heavily coated salad, keep tossing), and excess dressing will naturally stay at the bottom of the bowl. It's a far better method than dumping heavy liquid dressing onto delicate greens.

Note: The best way to taste a dressing is to dip a lettuce leaf (or whatever you're going to dress with the dressing) in and take a bite—that way you're tasting the dressing as it will be eaten.

To Make Ahead ​or for Smaller Salads:

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. Either whisk ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup or put ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake to combine.
  3. Keep covered and chilled for up to one week.

What happens when olive oil gets cold?

Note and be warned that the olive oil will congeal in the cold and look pretty unappealing. Rest assured that nothing horrible has happened to the dressing; it will look completely normal and taste completely delicious once it comes back to room temperature and the oil has "melted" back to liquid. Hasten that process along, if you like, by whisking or shaking it frequently to encourage it.