If you’re constantly searching for just the right vinaigrette for your green salads and summery pasta salads, look no further! This Lemon Vinaigrette is a kitchen superstar with its bright and punchy lemon flavor that gorgeously dresses your salads in a way that will keep you scooping and scooping.

A spoon is scooping some Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe from a glass jar. Some of the vinaigrette is dripping back into the jar from the bottom of the spoon.

Today we’re going to talk a little about something that feels mundane to talk about:

Lemon Vinaigrette.

Womp womp, right?

Well my friends, this might just be one of the most frequently recipes in my kitchen! 

I don’t keep bottled salad dressings in my fridge. They take up a lot of valuable space on my fridge door that I would rather dedicate to things like bottles of homemade coffee syrup.

Priorities people!

A small wooden spoon is scooping some of the vinaigrette out of a glass jar. On the spoon, you can see the minced shallots that are in the dressing.

So when I need a salad dressing or vinaigrette, I make it. That way, I only make how much I’m going to need for that particular meal. 

That’s where this lemon shallot vinaigrette comes in! It’s a really easy vinaigrette recipe to make and goes great with lots of different types of salads. 

We’re talking about both green salads and pasta salads full of veggies. It’s such a versatile recipe that you’ll want to keep a jar in the fridge year-round!

The ingredients for Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe are laid out in small bowls on a white marble counter.

Ingredients

Here’s the basic grocery list for this salad dressing recipe. And by basic, I mean only 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) that you may already have ready in your kitchen! Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Ingredients list and full printable recipe card!

  • Lemons
  • Shallot
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

How to Make Lemon Vinaigrette

Here are the basic steps to make this simple vinaigrette recipe. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Instructions list and full printable recipe card.

Ingredients for Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe are in a small bowl ready to be whisked with olive oil. There is a small whisk on the counter to the side of the bowl.

STEP 1: Whisk the lemon zest and juice, shallots, salt, and pepper together in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup or small mixing bowl. 

STEP 2: Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the lemon mixture as you vigorously whisk until the vinaigrette no longer looks separated. It should be slightly thick and emulsified, where the olive oil and lemon juice are completely combined. You should have about ⅔ cup.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe is being whisked to a thickened dressing with a small whisk.

Different Methods to Make Vinaigrette

There are three ways that I use to make vinaigrette.

First, is the whisk method. For this one, I add all of the ingredients except the olive oil to a bowl or measuring cup. Then, I slowly drizzle the olive oil into the ingredients while I whisk like mad to combine the olive oil. 

Whisking quickly with a slow drizzle of olive oil will force the dressing to emulsify (completely combine with the lemon juice without any separation) and thicken. It’s kind of a magical process to create in a glass measuring cup or bowl!

A glass jar of Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe is on a counter. In the background is a green salad in a wooden salad bowl.

Second is the jar method. I’ve made plenty of vinaigrettes like this because it’s quick and mess-free. Here, you’ll add all of the dressing ingredients to a jar – any kind with a tight top will work – and then SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE until all of the ingredients are well-combined.

The third method is the food processor or blender method. It’s not one I use often but it can be helpful when making dressings that you would want to be completely smooth.

For example, if you want to purée a clove of garlic or a chipotle pepper for a spicy vinaigrette. Or blend together thick ingredients like buttermilk, mayo, and sour cream for a creamy ranch dressing.

Lemon Vinaigrette is in a small glass mason jar on a white counter. There is a small wooden spoon next to the jar, salt and pepper shakers, half of a lemon, and a wooden bowl with green salad behind the jar.

What I Love About this Recipe

What I love most about this recipe is how punchy the lemon flavor is! I mean, we’ve got the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1 lemon in this vinaigrette.

That may seem like a lot of lemon but all of the tart lemon is balanced nicely with the salt and fat from the olive oil.

The brightness from the lemon in a vinaigrette like this one pulls together dishes I never thought could work, like the deeply roasted and caramelized veggies in this Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad.

A hand is drizzling Lemon Vinaigrette over a bowl of pasta salad.

Excellent Ways to Use Lemon Vinaigrette

If you’re wondering what lemon vinaigrette goes with, let’s chat a bit!

First on the list is a classic Cobb salad. To me there’s no better salad than a big Cobb filled up hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, bacon, blue cheese, and avocado with just a little lettuce to hold up all the good stuff on top.

I’m not picky about what dressing goes with Cobb salad but this lemon vinaigrette would be truly amazing. All of its bright flavors balance so nicely with the richness of the eggs, bacon, blue cheese, and avocado in the salad.

Lobster cobb salad arranged on a blue textured plate. On top of the salad is a freshly cooked lobster tail and claw, hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado, crumbled bacon, crumbled blue cheese, and snap peas.

Next up is my Maine Lobster Cobb Salad! I originally made this salad with a lemon garlic vinaigrette, which gives the salad a real kick from the garlic and fresh lemon.

For a more mild kick of flavor – but still equally excellent – go ahead and drizzle some of this lemon vinaigrette over the top. You’ll immediately see how well this lemon shallot dressing goes with the lobster.

The components for Chicken Gyro Salad are laid out on serving platters and in bowls on top of a bright blue tablecloth.

Lastly, there’s this Chicken Gyro Salad that I keep on rotation every summer when grilling season is in full swing. I normally don’t make a dressing to go with this salad because we dollop a little tzatziki sauce over the salad to dip the chicken, veggies, and pita.

However, the salad includes the perfect ingredients to hold up to a bold lemon vinaigrette!

A spoon is scooping some Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe from a glass jar. Some of the vinaigrette is dripping back into the jar from the bottom of the spoon.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: about 2/3 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Lemon Vinaigrette is the kind of all-purpose salad dressing that you can use on a slew of green salads and pasta salads, as a marinade for chicken and shrimp, or over a piece of fish for baking. Its got a punchy lemon flavor that will get you instantly hooked and wanting to keep a jar of it in the fridge all the time.

Ingredients

  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ shallot, finely minced
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Whisk the lemon zest and juice, shallots, salt, and pepper together in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup or small mixing bowl.
  2. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the lemon mixture as you vigorously whisk until the vinaigrette no longer looks separated. It should be slightly thick and emulsified. You should have about ⅔ cup.

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