Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 40 min. + cooling
Calling all garlic lovers! This easy roasted garlic dressing will elevate your salads to a whole new level of yum.

Updated: Jul. 02, 2024

Move over, ranch dressing. It’s time to share the spotlight with our new favorite: roasted garlic dressing. As self-proclaimed garlic lovers, this simple homemade dressing is our new favorite way to doctor up colorful leafy salads, add flavor to pasta salads, and marinate meat and poultry.

While making homemade dressings may sound intimidating, it’s a straightforward process with tons of added health benefits if you eat salads on the reg. Homemade versions give you better control over ingredients, since many store-bought salad dressings contain additives and preservatives that are unnecessary if you make homemade dressing. You can also opt for higher quality ingredients, like freshly squeezed citrus juice, fresh herbs from your garden, and oils free of unhealthy trans fats.

Ingredients for Garlic Dressing

  • Garlic: Three whole heads of garlic might sound excessive if you’re not obsessed with garlic, but you’ll have to trust us when we say it’s the perfect amount. When roasted, garlic’s spicy sharpness mellows a lot. Instead, it becomes deep, slightly sweet and pleasantly aromatic. That’s why plenty of other recipes for garlic lovers sometimes call for seemingly high quantities.
  • Olive oil: Investing in a high-quality olive oil brand is always a good idea for salad dressings. While cheaper options are great for cooking, a rich, full-bodied olive oil gives homemade garlic dressing the best flavor possible.
  • Tarragon vinegar: This special type of flavored vinegar is infused with tarragon to give it a lovely, subtle herbaceous flavor and aroma. If you can’t find tarragon vinegar, swap for white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
  • Water: A splash of water thins the dressing to the perfect consistency.
  • Sugar: One tablespoon of sugar offers a little sweetness to cut through the acidity of the vinegar and enhance the rich flavor of the garlic.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon is a natural pairing with garlic, and brings a little brightness to this recipe for garlic vinaigrette. Skip the bottled juice and learn how to juice a lemon the easy way.
  • Mustard: We love the sharpness and zip a dollop of mustard lends to the dressing. Dijon is our go-to mustard for dressings, but you could use any variety that you enjoy (or make spicy mustard at home).
  • Herbs and spices: A sprinkle of Italian seasoning and a dash of salt and pepper complements and enhances the other flavors in the dressing.

Directions

Step 1: Roast the garlic

Remove the papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate the cloves). Cut the tops off of the garlic bulbs. Brush with 1 teaspoon of oil, then wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until softened. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Editor’s Note: For more tips, check out our complete guide on how to roast garlic. If you’re wondering if you can eat sprouted garlic, the answer is yes.

Step 2: Combine and blend

Squeeze the softened garlic into a blender. Then add the vinegar, water, sugar, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining oil. Cover and process until smooth and emulsified. Toss immediately with your favorite salad recipe, or keep the garlic dressing refrigerated until ready to use.

Editor’s Tip: For salad dressing recipes made with small measurements of ingredients, we love using a mini food processor to get the job done. Their compact size is perfect for small-batch recipes such as this.

3/4 angle view shot of Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette; in a ceramic jar; dressing over salad; spoon; dark grey backgroundTMB Studio

Garlic Dressing Variations

  • Try a different sweetener: For a homemade garlic salad dressing made with a natural sugar alternative, swap it for a tablespoon of honey, agave or maple syrup.
  • Make it creamy: To make a creamy garlic dressing, you could add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt to the recipe.
  • Extra umami: If you love the fishy, umami-rich taste of Caesar dressing, you can add two or three anchovy fillets to the dressing recipe. A dash of Worcestershire is another easy way to amp up the savory flavors in this dressing.
  • Add cheese: A little cheese is never a bad idea. Add two tablespoons of Parmesan, Romano, Asiago or even feta to this garlic salad dressing recipe for a little cheesy touch.
  • Make with garlic confit: If you keep homemade garlic confit at the ready, feel free to use it in this recipe. You can even use the garlic-infused oil in this recipe for garlic vinaigrette in place of the plain olive oil.

How to Store Garlic Dressing

Once prepared, this garlic dressing recipe should be kept refrigerated in an airtight storage container. Mason jars work great. Homemade dressings made with citrus juice and/or fresh garlic are best enjoyed within two or three days.

Garlic Dressing Tips

Top view shot of Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette; in a ceramic jar; dressing over salad; spoon; dark grey backgroundTMB Studio

How do you use garlic dressing?

This homemade garlic salad dressing is one that you’ll turn to time and time again since it pairs with just about any salad recipe, especially Italian pasta salads. Some of our personal favorites include this asparagus spinach salad with chicken and this mushroom panzanella salad. This roasted garlic dressing also makes a heavenly marinade. Try using it for the best marinated chicken you’ve ever had, with garlicky grilled flank steak or tender, juicy pan-seared pork chops.

Can you make homemade dressing without a food processor or blender?

Yes! If you don’t own a blender or food processor, you can still make fresh-tasting salad dressings at home. Instead, grab a Mason jar, toss in the ingredients, and use a little elbow grease to shake, shake, shake until everything is evenly combined. One note to keep in mind is that dressings mixed this way will likely separate faster than those emulsified in a blender.

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Prep Time 40 min
Yield 3/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 3 whole garlic bulbs
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut tops off of garlic bulbs. Brush with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until softened. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Squeeze softened garlic into a blender. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining oil; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 83 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 112mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fat, 1/2 starch.

Our Test Kitchen came up with this full-flavored vinaigrette. Roasted garlic is blended with Italian seasoning, Dijon mustard, tarragon vinegar and lemon juice in the zesty dressing. Try it drizzled over crisp greens or cherry tomatoes.
Recipe Creator