Recipe Spotlight

The One Sauce Every Cook Should Master

Perfect vinaigrette is easy to make . . . if you know a couple simple tricks. 

Published Feb. 20, 2023.

With vinaigrette, salad is only the beginning. 

This classic sauce is perfect on a green salad, yes, but it has many other uses in the kitchen. Vinaigrette makes a great marinade for roasted, broiled, or grilled chicken or fish. You can use it as a dipping sauce for crudités or chicken wings. It can replace mayo as a flavorful binder for tuna, potato, chicken, and shrimp salads. Vinaigrette also makes a great sauce for cooked fish or meats. 

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But you have to know a couple tricks to make vinaigrette well. 

The Two Keys to Making Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette is a mixture of fat and acid, most commonly oil and vinegar—two components that chemically do not want to mix. 

  1. To get oil and vinegar to emulsify, you must agitate them via shaking or whisking. We like to shake the vinaigrette in a small Mason jar with a lid or a clean jelly jar. As for whisking, our testing has shown that a side-to-side motion is the most efficient stroke. 
  2. The vinaigrette will come together more readily with the addition of emulsifying boosters (or surfactants: ingredients that contain molecules that essentially act as chemical magnets to help the oil and vinegar hold together) such as honey, molasses, mayonnaise, and mustard. 

Basic Vinaigrette

Serves 4 (Makes ¼ cup)

Total Time: 15 Minutes

The vinaigrette will keep for three days in the refrigerator. Shake well before using. If you prefer, you can whisk the vinaigrette together in a bowl and skip the jar. This recipe makes enough to dress 8 cups of greens. 

  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon regular or light mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine vinegar and shallot in small jar; let sit for 5 minutes. Add oil, honey, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper to jar. Affix lid and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 30 seconds. 

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