Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

Published Updated September 8, 2023

~ Hey there, flavor fanatics! Say good-by to boring salads with this ultra-simple Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing recipe. It’s zingy, bold and vibrantly flavorful, yet so darn easy to make in just 3 minutes … with basic pantry staples! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

Bottle of vinaigrette on wooden cutting board with Italian salad and bottles of olive oil and red wine vinegar behind.

If there is one – just one – thing that will make any salad about 1,000 times better, it’s a truly great salad dressing.

Even the most basic, otherwise-boring salad becomes absolutely crave-able with a fantastic salad dressing!

And store-bought, bottled dressings don’t even come close to what you get with a homemade salad dressing. Not.Even.Close.

This was a secret I didn’t learn until a few years ago, but WOW was I missing out! Once I started making my own salad dressing recipes, I was truly shocked what a big, big difference they made.

This Italian-style Red Wine Vinaigrette is one of my favorite go-to choices. It’s crafted with a perfect blend of:

  • Tangy red wine vinegar
  • Italian herbs
  • A background hint of Dijon for complexity
  • And a kiss of sweet honey to round it all out

Oh, it’s so bold, so zesty … SO GOOD!

A perfect combination that packs so much flavor.

Small plate of Italian salad with bottle of vinaigrette and serving bowl of salad on red cloth behind.

I originally created it as the tasty dressing for our beloved, super-popular Italian Pasta Salad.

And then I started using it on regular green salads, too … and I was hooked.

You will be, too!

Why You’ll Love This Red Wine Vinegar Dressing

There really is a lot to love here, all in such a very simple little recipe.

  • It’s punchy and zippy and bold. You want flavor? You’ve GOT it!
  • It’s so darn EASY! Three minutes, friends. Just 3 minutes.
  • And it’s made with common, everyday ingredients. I’ll bet every single thing you need is probably already in your pantry.
  • Plus, this homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette is lots healthier, too.

Win, win, win!

How This Homemade Vinaigrette Is Healthier

A couple things give this delicious recipe a nutritional edge over bottled, store-bought dressings (and #1 is a bonus over most of the other Italian Red Wine Vinaigrette recipes you’ll come across).

#1 Less Oil

I’ve never liked salad dressings that are mostly oil. I’m looking for a big punch of flavor from my dressing – a final power flourish to elevate my bowl of greens and veggies to something fabulous and memorable. Something I WANT to eat!

A slippery blanket of oil doesn’t get me there.

So, I prefer to ignore the “classic” recipes for vinaigrettes which are mostly oil. (Maybe they should be called oilaigrettes instead of vinaigrettes???)

Hand pouring dressing onto bowl of green Italian salad sitting on red cloth with servers, plates, oil and vinegar nearby.

As I discuss in detail in our popular recipe for Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette, the “classic” proportion for a vinaigrette recipe is 3-1 (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar). So, to make about 1 cup of salad dressing, you’d typically use about 3/4 cup of oil to 1/4 cup of vinegar. 

See what I mean?? That’s waaaaaay more bland oil than vibrant, kicky vinegar.

Plus … have you got any idea how much fat and calories are in that 3/4 cup of oil? (Are you sitting down for this??)

Extra virgin olive oil (which is common in vinaigrette recipes and what I use in this Red Wine Vinaigrette salad dressing) has about 1,400 calories and 168 grams of fat in 3/4 cup.

Yeah … WOW.

Ok, sure. You aren’t gonna chug a whole cup of vinaigrette at a time, and olive oil is considered a healthier fat.

BUT, even healthier fats pile on the calories FAST. And even a couple tablespoons of a salad dressing in the classic proportions will have close to 20 grams of fat, immediately adding about 200 calories to your favorite salads, just in the oil alone.

So, my vinaigrette dressing recipes always slash the amount of oil to allow the other flavors to shine. And they’re a whole lot lower in unwanted fat and calories, too!

#2 You Get to Control What’s in There

Of course, another big bonus to making your own homemade vinaigrettes and condiments is that you get to control what goes into them.

Looking down into bottle of vinaigrette on wooden board, with Italian salad, servers and bottle of red wine vinegar surrounding.

You don’t need to add a bunch of preservatives to keep them safe for long-term display on grocery store shelves. Nope! And no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or those other, unpronounceable ingredients that often hide out on the ingredient list of a store-bought bottle of salad dressing.

When you make them yourself, your favorite dressings can be full of clean, fresh, flavorful, simple ingredients.

And you can vary those ingredients, tweaking amounts and flavor profiles so your dressing is exactly how you like it. (Vinaigrette Control Freak? Yep … that’s a badge of honor!)

How to Make Your Yummy Red Wine Vinaigrette

I promised you an easy recipe, and easy you shall get!

There is literally 1 step here.

Are ya ready? Pay attention, because this goes quick …

Step #1 (aka The ONLY Step)

Whisk everything together.

Did ya get that???

That’s all there is to it!

How to Serve Your Vinaigrette

Salad. I mean, of course! Salad dressing goes on top of salads.

But this versatile dressing is nice in all sorts of different salad situations!

 For example, it’s perfect for any Italian-style leafy green salad, deli salads topped with meats and cheeses (mmmmm … like a Cobb salad or Italian antipasto salad), or any vegetable salad that you want to really splash with big, bold flavors.

And, as I mentioned earlier, this simple vinaigrette is also the all-important flourish that makes Italian Pasta Salad completely irresistible.

Hand pouring vinaigrette from dressing bottle onto large bowl of Italian pasta salad.

However you serve it, just remember to give your vinaigrette a little shake or whisk to reincorporate all the yummy layers of flavor before pouring …

Shaking It Up

Even though this vinaigrette has both Dijon mustard and honey (both of which can help it emulsify and stay blended evenly together), it doesn’t stay together very long.

That’s typical with this type of dressing. In fact, red wine vinaigrette recipes are often served un-emulsified.

The common tip (to slowly drizzle your olive oil into the vinegar mixture in a steady stream, while whisking) doesn’t really help much at all with this one.

If you’re feeling really dedicated, you can blitz your dressing ingredients in a blender or mini food processor to keep them emulsified a bit longer.

But honestly, I never really bother with that.

The easiest thing to do is simply to give your dressing a quick shake (in a container with a tight-fitting lid) or an additional whisk each time before you drizzle it over your salad greens. Easy!

Side closeup of bottle of vinaigrette with wooden salad servers, stack of plates and forks and serving bowl of salad greens.

Making Your Vinaigrette Ahead of Time

This red wine vinegar dressing will keep well in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or so.

I like to store it in a pretty glass cruet or a salad dressing bottle, which looks enticing and makes serving it easy. A little Mason jar works great, too.

FAQs At-a-Glance

What Is the Standard Ratio of Oil to Vinegar in a Red Wine Vinaigrette?

A classic red wine vinaigrette recipe would use a ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. But, as I discuss above, I prefer to ignore the common ratio when making homemade vinaigrettes, both to add more bold, vinegar flavor (that isn’t drowned out and muted by the oil), and to trim unwanted calories from so much oil.

Do I Have to Use Smooth Dijon Mustard?

The mustard adds a little depth of warm, tangy flavor and also helps to encourage the dressing to emulsify (although, again, this particular dressing simply isn’t going to stay emulsified for very long). I highly recommend smooth Dijon for the texture, although you can experiment with grainier mustard varieties if that’s what you happen to have on hand.

How Should I Store Red Wine Dressing?

Keep it in the fridge in an airtight or covered container. A cruet with a lid works great, or you can top a pretty dressing jar with plastic wrap.

How Long Does Red Wine Vinaigrette Keep?

Properly stored in the refrigerator, it should last several days, and up to about a week. Ready to pour over your favorite salad at a moment’s notice!

Can I Tinker with the Flavors and Customize This?

Sure! It’s easy to play with homemade dressings like this one, since you can easily whisk and taste, then whisk and taste some more … adjusting until it perfectly fits your mood and taste preferences each time you make it. Use a little more oil or a little less vinegar if you want less tang. Try adding just a few tiny tidbits from a pressed or finely minced fresh garlic clove. Or maybe add a few extra grinds of pepper or even a pinch of red pepper flakes to spice things up. Toss in some minced fresh herbs or finely grated parmesan cheese. You get the idea … and your favorite greens will never be bored again!

This zippy, flavor-packed vinaigrette will elevate even “ho-hum” salads to crave-worthy status. I can 100% vouch for this, because I truly do crave this robust, sassy dressing (when I don’t happen to have some waiting for me in the fridge)!

Luckily, it’s a snap to whip up.

Individual plate of salad, fork, bottle of vinaigrette, serving bowl of salad, extra plates and forks, bottles of oil and red wine vinegar.

Whisk some together today – it’ll only take you about 3 minutes. And I just bet it’ll change how you think about salad dressing forever.

No more boring salads, friends! Making your own dressing (like this one, for starters!!) is a total game-changer.

~ by Shelley

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Cruet of vinaigrette on wooden board with bowl of Italian salad on red cloth, red wine vinegar and salad servers.

Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette

Yield: 14 tablespoons (a scant 1 cup)
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes

This speedy, Italian-style Red Wine Vinaigrette salad dressing is zingy and vibrantly flavorful ... yet so darn easy to make with basic pantry staples!

  Ready in 30 Minutes or Less  •  Make Ahead    Vegetarian    Gluten Free • 


  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard (see gluten free note if needed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients until emulsified and salt is dissolved. (Note that this dressing is difficult to emulsify completely and should be shaken or re-whisked before serving. If you want it more emulsified, you can whiz it in a blender or small food processor for a minute or two.)


Gluten free mustard: While many (but not all) mustards are inherently gluten free, if you're watching your gluten intake, be sure to look for a brand that is specifically labeled as gluten free.

Make-ahead and storage: This quick, simple salad dressing keeps well for several days to a week, so you can make it ahead for specific salad recipes, or make a batch to have ready for dressing various fresh salads all week long. Wrap or cover it, and refrigerate until needed. Shake or re-whisk before serving. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 7 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 194mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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2 thoughts on “Easy Red Wine Vinaigrette”

  1. I came here looking specifically for a dressing like this. We love the maple balsamic dressing, so I knew I would find something great. We loved it! I’m going to try it in the Italian pasta salad soon.

    • Thank you so much for this lovely message, Cheri – I’m thrilled you love BOTH these dressings! I like my vinaigrettes to be more flavor-forward and less oily, and now that I started making my own homemade dressings, I can hardly even stand to buy dressings at the store because there’s just no comparison. Hope you’ll enjoy the pasta salad just as much – I developed it especially for my son, and it’s an absolute family fave. Let me know what you think! 😀 ~Shelley


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