We Tried 11 Brands of Balsamic Vinaigrette to Find the Best Salad Dressing

The best salad dressing is a balancing act: oil and vinegar, richness and tang, sour and sweet. Our experts tasted several balsamic vinaigrettes.

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For an all-purpose, hard-to-get-tired-of salad dressing, it’s hard to beat balsamic vinaigrette. It’s more flavorful and smoother than wine vinaigrettes, and lighter and more versatile than creamy dressings like ranch. Our opinionated staffers gathered to taste test 11 brands of balsamic vinaigrette. Here’s the best salad dressing we tasted.

Bet you didn’t know you could make these salad dressings from scratch.

What’s the Best Salad Dressing? We Found Out.

Naturally, the top criteria for our judges was flavor: most looked for a well-balanced dressing, one with zip but that wasn’t too sharp or too sweet. Added flavors, like herbs or spices, had to support rather than overwhelm the dressing. Tasters also considered texture, giving high marks to full-bodied dressings that adhered to lettuce leaves, and giving low marks to runny dressings. They also considered aftertaste, mouthfeel and separation of oil and vinegar.

Here’s how to use vinaigrette outside of the salad bowl.

The Best Salad Dressing: Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette

newmans own dressingvia walmart.com

Our tasters tipped their hats to Newman’s Own brand vinaigrette. Flavor won top scores, with tasters saying it’s “just what you want when you order balsamic vinaigrette,” with a notable balsamic flavor that wasn’t too sour or too sweet. Tasters also noted that they detected rich olive oil notes, too, as well as robust spices and herbs “that clung to salad leaves.” Before shaking, the dressing did separate, and tasters noted that it “felt natural” rather than artificially thickened. Once shaken up, the dressing had an appealing, dark color.

$3 for a 16-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.

More Salad Dressings to Try

kens steak housevia walmart.com

Ken’s Steakhouse Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ken’s Steakhouse dressing had a milder flavor than Newman’s, with the balance tipping in favor of oil instead of vinegar. Tasters marked this dressing as a good beginner’s balsamic, with a solid, not-too-sweet flavor and a rich, dark color. Like Newman’s, Ken’s earned high marks for viscosity, with a texture that sticks to salad.

$3 for a 16-once bottle; available at retailers nationwide.

kraft balsamicvia walmart.com

Kraft Balsamic Dressing

Our taste testers detected plenty of nuance in Kraft’s balsamic vinaigrette. One described the dressing as “salty, tangy and vinegary,” while others noticed hints of anchovy. The dressing had the least separation, making it convenient in the way that you don’t have to shake before you drizzle. For those craving a more robust flavor in their balsamic, this one’s a good choice!

$2 for a 16-ounce bottle; available at retailers nationwide.

Put Your Dressing to Work

Whether you’re tossing a simple green salad or shaking a dash of vinaigrette into the cooking pot, our top three balsamic vinaigrettes will deliver plenty of sweet, tangy balsamic flavor. See how our favorite salad dressings can brighten up a simple salad, like our reader-favorite Blackberry Balsamic Spinach Salad or add a twist to savory classics like this recipe for Bacon & Tomato Spaghetti.

Prefer a homemade route? Here’s the blueprint for making any vinaigrette.

Delicious Recipes that Start with Balsamic Vinegar
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How We Chose the Winners

Our Taste of Home Test Kitchen and editors team up to taste all kinds of popular foods and run essential kitchen gear through the paces. We rank them, discuss and test again, if needed, to arrive at the products we recommend for you and your kitchen. Find out how we choose the best products and see everything we’ve tested.

See All Our Healthy Winners
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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.