I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of Italian dressing substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for Italian dressing are the homemade version or Greek salad dressing. Balsamic vinaigrette and fresh lemon juice + olive oil are great options if you want something simpler. Or if you’re in the mood for creamy, try whipping up a honey mustard or ranch dressing.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made a basic garden salad to try out different Italian dressing substitutes.
Italian dressing is a vinaigrette-type salad dressing made with a base of olive oil and vinegar, plus honey and herbs like oregano and basil.
It’s tangy and zesty, and will bring a peppery kick to your salads.
I was looking for a substitute with similar flavor notes that tasted great with my salad.
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Homemade Italian dressing||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Greek dressing||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Balsamic vinaigrette||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Herbs de Provence vinaigrette||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Oil-free Italian dressing||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Fresh lemon juice + olive oil||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Honey mustard dressing||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Ranch dressing||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
Common uses for Italian dressing and the best substitutes
Italian dressing is commonly used for salads, but here are some other uses and the best substitutes for those situations:
- As a marinade: Try using homemade Italian dressing, Greek dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, or herbs de provence vinaigrette. Ranch dressing is also an excellent option for marinating chicken.
- As an accompaniment to bread: Try using homemade Italian dressing, Greek dressing, or balsamic vinaigrette. Honey mustard and ranch also work great as a condiment for sandwiches and burgers.
- Seasoning for roasted vegetables: Try using homemade Italian dressing, Greek dressing, or balsamic vinaigrette. Balsamic vinaigrette is my favorite option here.
Homemade Italian Dressing
Is there a more authentic substitute for Italian dressing than making it yourself at home?
It’s an easy process, and it means you have control over the quality of your ingredients.
This recipe from Inspired Taste uses fresh lemon juice to add a zesty brightness.
But you can also go with white wine vinegar for a sharper tang.
And the secret weapon is capers!
They introduce an unexpected briny kick, which helps elevate your homemade dressing to another level.
Psst… want a creamier dressing? Simply whisk in some mayo or sour cream.
How to substitute: replace store-bought Italian dressing in a 1:1 ratio with this homemade Italian dressing.
Greek salad dressing is another excellent substitute for Italian dressing.
The has a similar flavor profile with its Italian counterpart because they share a lot of the same ingredients (vinegar, garlic, mustard etc).
The main difference comes from the herbs they use.
Italian dressing uses (you guessed it) an Italian herbs blend, while Greek dressing focuses solely on oregano.
Read-made Greek dressing is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also whip up a from-scratch version – all of the ingredients are pantry staples!
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Greek dressing.
This classic vinaigrette shares the same olive oil and vinegar base as Italian dressing, but uses balsamic instead of regular white wine vinegar.
The balsamic vinegar has a unique and complex sweet-but-tangy flavor, which means there’s no need to add any herbs to the mix.
It was delicious with my garden salad, but balsamic vinaigrette will really shine where fruits are involved.
So consider adding some strawberries, pears, or apples to your salad.
Pro tip: the quality of your balsamic vinegar matters here – it’ll be pricier but worth it.
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with balsamic vinaigrette.
Herbs de provence vinaigrette
This is another option you can whip up if you want something different from your basic Italian dressing.
It uses an olive oil and acid base (sensing a pattern here?) but is flavored with herbs de Provence.
This herb blend is made of marjoram, rosemary, thyme, basil, savory, oregano, and bay leaf.
It lends a distinctly floral and slightly woody flavor in place of Italian dressing’s earthy, slightly peppery notes.
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Herbs de Provence vinaigrette.
Fresh lemon juice + olive oil
If you’re looking for something super simple, hopefully this fits the bill.
You only need two ingredients that you might already have to hand, and a minute spare to make it.
Like with the balsamic vinaigrette, the quality of your ingredients is essential here.
Choose high-quality, fresh lemons for the best tang and high-grade olive oil for the richest flavor.
This dressing is perfect for light salads or anything with chicken.
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
Oil-free Italian dressing
Want to avoid oil?
It’s super easy to make Italian dressing without it!
Instead of oil you use aquafaba. Weird name I know, but this is the liquid you get from canned chickpeas.
It got a viscous consistency and a neutral flavor profile (just like oil!). This recipe from myquietkitchen also uses miso and nutritional yeast to pack the dressing with flavor.
And you don’t have to worry about the chickpeas going to waste because you can add them to your salad!
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with your oil-free version.
Honey mustard dressing
Honey mustard dressing is another solid alternative for Italian dressing.
It’s moving away from the Italian flavors and is a lot more mustard forward, which means it has a hint of heat.
But the honey tempers it.
This dressing tasted superb with my garden salad, but the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also use this as a dipping sauce for snacks like chicken tenders or crunchy pretzels!
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with honey mustard dressing.
Ranch dressing is for you if you’re in the mood to indulge!
Its herby notes echo the tangy goodness of Italian dressing, but it’s distinctly creamier thanks to its base of buttermilk and sour cream.
Despite the differences, ranch is just as versatile as Italian dressing (maybe even more so).
It’s great on salads, with chicken wings and even slathered on pizza.
Psst… this isn’t a good option if you’re watching the calories.
How to substitute: replace Italian dressing in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Ranch dressing.
Other substitutes to consider
The list above are my top picks for Italian dressing substitutes, but here are other options you can try out.
They’re pretty different from Italian dressing, but they’re still solid options if you’re looking to switch things up.
- Caesar dressing – you can never go wrong with the classics! Caesar has a more garlicky, savory flavor than Italian dressing, but still works well with most salads. It’s originally made with an emulsion of egg yolks, but you can use mayonnaise if you don’t want to deal with raw eggs.
- Thousand Island dressing – this features a combination of mayo and ketchup, giving you a creamy salad dressing that’s sweeter than Italian dressing.
- French dressing – this is another creamy alternative with a sweet-sour twist and a savory kick from the pureed onions, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.
- Blue cheese dressing – this alternative is creamy and tangy, with a sharp, salty kick from the whole chunks of bleu cheese. It’s not one for the faint hearted.
12 BEST Italian Dressing Substitutes + Homemade Recipe
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or grated
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp capers, drained and minced
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dried oregano, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, or 1 tsp dried parsley
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt, adjust to taste
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan or romano cheese, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar. Whisk until everything is well-incorporated. If using a mason jar, secure with a lid and shake until blended.
- Serve immediately or keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.