How to Keep Homemade Salad Dressing from Separating

How to Keep Homemade Salad Dressing from Separating

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Check out How to Get Kids to Eat Salad for a list of my favorite salad ingredients and an inexpensive tool that has revolutionized my salad game.

Easy {and delicious} Homemade Dressing

For a while now, I’ve been making my own salad dressing from quality olive oil and my favorite balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I add a few drops of stevia.  And sometimes I experiment with adding seasonings. 

Often, I just add the oil and vinegar directly to my salad, without premixing it into a dressing.

My preferred method, however is to mix up a whole bottle of salad dressing and keep it on hand–especially for guests. 

Salad Dressing | Roots & Boots
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Problem – How To Keep Salad Dressing From Separating

So here’s the problem: the oil and vinegar separate in the bottle.  Even when we shake up the bottle, we seem to get mostly oil from a full bottle of dressing.  The vinegar just kind of hangs out at the bottom of the bottle.

It’s not a huge deal–it generally bugs me only when we have company for dinner and I see them dressing their salad with mostly olive oil from the top of the bottle of dressing.  Grrr.  How can I keep my homemade salad dressing from separating?

A Solution To Keep Salad Dressing From Separating

Finally, I did some research and discovered how to keep homemade salad dressing from separating an easy fix: ground mustard. 

I have no idea what it is about ground mustard that helps to emulsify oil and vinegar, but it’s true.  I’ve tested it myself and am just tickled with the results.  It really keeps the salad dressing from separating. 

Incidentally, there are a few other ways to emulsify salad dressing.  If you’ve got first-hand experience here, by all means, tell us your tricks in the comments below.

So here’s my loose recipe:

  • Mostly olive oil–A good rule of thumb is 3:1 oil to vinegar, but play around with the ratio to suit yourself.
  • Some balsamic vinegar–Use a really good one for this!   I keep a bottle of cheaper vinegar to use for cooking, and save my awesome vinegar for salads.
  • A few drops of clear, liquid stevia.
  • About 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard–Again, feel free to play around with the amount.
  • Unrefined sea salt* and ground black pepper, to taste-It really does make a difference!

*Use code KEEPITREAL to get 15% off your order.


1.  Combine all ingredients in the bottle of your choice, and shake, shake, shake!

2.  As far as I know, there’s no reason to store this dressing in the fridge.  I keep mine on a shelf, alongside the olive oil, vinegar and other such cooking ingredients.


I’m so happy to have solved this little dilemma.  Perhaps it’s time to invite guests over for dinner, so I can watch them dress their salads with oil and vinegar, conveniently emulsified into this lovely, homemade dressing. 🙂

What’s your favorite homemade salad dressing?

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Courtney on 08/12/2013 at 1:42 am

    This was a salad miracle! Oh mustard seed, where have you been all my life?!

    • Kathleen on 08/13/2013 at 2:27 am

      “Salad miracle”–love it! 🙂 I agree.

  2. Anthony on 08/13/2016 at 7:00 pm

    I make an Italian dressing. About 10 cups at a time. I add 3 tsp of ground mustard to my dressing to help keep from separating. For me, it never works. What am i doing wrong? Also my italian seasoning will not blend with the dressing either, it just sits on top.

  3. Steve on 04/16/2018 at 7:28 pm

    Try the technique in the attached link to emulsify your liquids.

  4. Elizabeth Schirick on 08/30/2018 at 12:15 am

    totally saved my dressing. thank you!

    • Kathleen on 08/30/2018 at 11:24 pm

      Sure thing! 🙂

  5. Jan McKinnon on 07/28/2021 at 10:35 am

    I’ve been making my own salad dressing for several years and have always used Dijon mustard with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It helps the dressing emulsify and I’ve never had it fail. I also usually add my home grown dried oregano.

    • Kathleen Henderson on 07/28/2021 at 4:56 pm

      Exactly! Such a simple way to create healthy, homemade dressings.

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