Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing (With Variations)

Lemon garlic salad dressing in a swivel-top jar

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
131 Calories
14g Fat
2g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3
Amount per serving
Calories 131
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 366mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 10mg 48%
Calcium 31mg 2%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 111mg 2%
*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.)

Try this simple, flavorful salad dressing, and you may never buy bottled dressing again. Lemon and garlic bring a lot of zing to plain lettuce, but feel free to add whatever veggies you like. Dress it up with one of our suggestions in the recipe variations section. This homemade dressing should be kept refrigerated and is best used within five days of making it.

Note that this recipe makes enough vinaigrette-style dressing for 4 to 6 cups of lettuce or other salad greens. You can double, triple, or even quadruple it for larger salads or to have some on hand for salads over a few days.


Click Play to See This Flavorful Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing Come Together

"Are you looking to start making homemade dressings? Try this recipe! Lemon and garlic are a traditional combination, and you can whisk this up in just minutes. I love the idea of making this at the beginning of the week to keep on hand, and the recipe includes lots of substitutions to mix it up." —Tracy Wilk

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 small clove garlic

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, optional

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or lemon-infused olive oil

  • 3 ounces salad greens

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lemon garlic salad dressing recipe gathered

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  2. Peel and mince the garlic (you can use a garlic press if you like; presses tend to bring out the bitterness in garlic, but some people don't seem to notice it).

    Garlic minced with a paring knife on a small cutting board

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  3. If you're making a salad in the next few hours, put the garlic in a large salad bowl. (If you're making the dressing ahead of time, put the garlic in a sealable jar.)

    Minced garlic in a large glass bowl

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  4. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mustard. Whisk to combine everything (or seal and shake the jar).

    Lemon juice and zest and seasonings stirred with garlic in the bowl

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  5. Whisk in the olive oil (or, again, seal the jar and shake it vigorously).

    Unctuous salad dressing whisked in the bowl

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  6. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If the dressing is too zingy for you, feel free to add more olive oil to soften the flavor. A bit more salt will help temper​ the acid kick, too.

    Salt and pepper added to salad dressing in the bowl

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  7. Use the vinaigrette-style dressing immediately. If you've made the dressing in the salad bowl, just add the greens to that big bowl and toss.

    Salad greens tossed with dressing in the bowl

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  • Zest the lemon before cutting it in half to juice it.
  • Make the dressing for a salad later that day in the bowl, top with washed and dried greens, and lay a damp (but not wet) paper towel over the leaves. Keep chilled until ready to serve, up to 6 or 8 hours.
  • Store covered and chilled for up to one week. The olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator, but it will melt quite quickly when set out at room temperature again.

Recipe Variations

  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh minced herbs—parsley, mint, chervil, or dill are excellent choices.
  • Use walnut oil or avocado oil instead of olive oil.
  • Tone down the lemon flavor by leaving out the lemon zest or mix up the flavor with a bit of orange zest.
  • Punch things up by using 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard instead of the ground mustard.