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Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

This light lemon vinaigrette with hints of dijon and thyme is an easy way to brighten up any salad. A sprinkle of spicy red pepper flakes makes it an irresistible 5-minute dressing or marinade!

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

You won’t go back to store-bought dressings after you try this garlicky lemon vinaigrette.

  • Beginner-friendly. You only need to whisk the ingredients together for a tangy, homemade dressing.
  • Little clean-up. One bowl is everything you need to make this recipe.
  • Better than store-bought. Adjust the sweetness, tang, and heat to taste. There are also no strange ingredients in the dressing.
  • Quick. It’s ready in 5 minutes!
Labeled ingredients for lemon vinaigrette.

What You’ll Need

Sweet honey balances out the mustard and lemon’s tang. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Dijon mustard – Stone-ground mustard is great for this. Avoid American yellow mustard.
  • Honey – Feel free to use maple syrup or agave nectar instead.
  • Red pepper flakes – Cayenne pepper is a good swap.
  • Thyme – You can use dried or fresh.
  • Garlic – I prefer fresh garlic and garlic paste. Garlic powder can make the dressing grainy.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is best.
  • Lemon juice – Reduce the amount by half if you use lime juice.
  • Olive oil – You can use virgin or extra-virgin.

How To Make Lemon Vinaigrette

There’s no excuse for going back to store-bought dressing once you’ve tried this 5-minute lemon vinaigrette. Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card.

  • Mix it. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Set it aside until ready to serve.

Tips & Variations

Smoked paprika and spicy ginger can add loads of depth to this simple lemon vinaigrette.

  • Make it honey-mustard style. Reduce the amount of lemon juice to 2 tablespoons. Prepare the recipe as usual for a sweeter, less tangy mixture that’s more like a honey-mustard dressing.
  • Emulsify it. Blend the ingredients together until the oil is no longer separated from the mustard. The dressing should be slightly thicker and pale yellow in color.
  • Add more fragrance. Stir 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped (or shredded) ginger and 1 small, finely chopped shallot into the dressing for a stronger aroma.
  • Spice it up. Mix in 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence for more depth.
  • Turn up the heat. Add more red pepper flakes to taste. You can also use cayenne pepper or chili oil to make the dressing slightly spicy.
Bowl of tangy lemon vinaigrette.

Ways To Use Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

You can use this lemon vinaigrette to brighten up your favorite salads like my Tomato Panzanella Salad or Simple Arugula Salad. It’s also a good dressing for my Cilantro Lime Quinoa with Black Beans and Chicken Shawarma Bowls. It’s a great marinade for poultry as well. Try it with my Air Fryer Chicken Breast, Grilled Whole Chicken and Roasted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Butter.

Proper Storage

Keeping some on hand always comes in handy for salads or a quick marinade.

  • Counter: Place it in an airtight jar or container, away from direct heat, for up to 2 days.
  • Fridge: Store it for up to 10 days in a mason jar (airtight).

More Homemade Dressings To Try

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Homemade lemon vinaigrette in a glass jar.

Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup 1x
  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: Counter
  • Cuisine: American


This 5-minute lemon vinaigrette with garlic, mustard, and honey is an easy dressing to whip up and have on hand.


  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme or 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Add all ingredients to medium sized bowl and whisk together until completely combined.

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2 comments on “Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe”

  1. I can’t wait to try your recipes How long does your Lemon Vinaigrette and Balsamic Reductions keep fresh if you refrigerate them?

    1. Thats great Marion, can’t wait to hear what you think! 🙂 The Lemon Vinaigrette should last about 1 week in the frig and then the balsamic reduction about 2 weeks. I made some reduction like 2-3 weeks ago and it is still good as long as you keep it refrigerated. 🙂 Hope all goes well, let me know if you have any questions!