The Vinaigrette Ratio

Michael Ruhlman on how to make 3 variations of a classic vinaigrette salad dressing following a 3 to 1 oil to vinegar ratio.


3 Sherry Vinegar-based Vinaigrettes

Sherry-Shallot Vinaigrette

This is a great all-purpose vinaigrette for salads, sliced tomatoes or other raw vegetables.

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine the vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking.

Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette

This is a little heartier than the above, can be used to dress greens, whole vegetables and would make a lovely sauce drizzled over lean white fish.

  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp minced tarragon

Combine the vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking. Stir in the tarragon just before serving.

Gribiche Vinaigrette

Gribiche is traditionally mayonnaise based, but I like it as a vinaigrette better. It makes a wonderful sauce for roasted pork loin, or any pork preparation. Last week I used it to dress a salad of pancetta lardons and arugula. It's hearty and packed with ingredients.

  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced tarragon
  • 1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cornichons
  • 2 teaspoons capers, roughly chopped

Combine the vinegar, shallot, salt, pepper, and mustard. Give it a stir with a whisk or fork to soften the shallot then drizzle the oil in while whisking. Stir in the tarragon, egg, cornichons and capers.

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  • Myla Sun

    Hi! I made a 2:1 ratio, and added dijon mustard and honey. How long will it lasts?

  • Marc Chambaud

    I am currently doing a set of videos and preparing a small cooking book for the chinese market about how to prepare a dressing and how to make various types of salad. It is very interesting as naturally I use this base for all my salad dressing(I am french so I guess this is part of my heritage). Thanks for the great info. I personally like a more sharp vinaigrette with a tomato based salad as somehow the tomato tend to reduce teh acidity sensation and if you like to sauce the dressign with bread this way it is usually delicious. with Carrot you can go extra healthy with just Shallots and lime juice. THIS IS DELICIOUS and 0% fat. to ruhlman. We usually let the dressing outside in a closed container so it does not solidify and if we put it in the fridge. we take the dressing out 15-30 min before the lunch/dinner time.

  • Emile

    Dear Michael,
    I am sorry, but this is the classical recipe for the Gribiche sauce :

    chop the yellow part of an had-boiled egg in a bowl.
    add some drop of lemon juice or vinegar. it will dissolve this yellow part and make a paste (mash it with a fork). Use only the necesary quantity of lemon juice or vinegar to dissolve, so pour it drop by drop.
    At this very point, you can add Dijon mustard, but it is not necessary.
    Drizzle the oil in while whisking.
    You can add the chopped white part of the egg, then. And eventually herbs if you like.

  • momio

    Made a tomato, fresh basil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, dijon mustard, blk pepper vinaigrette. How long will this keep in my fridge?

    Probably just a few days, because of the tomato and fresh basil. ~Elise

  • ruhlman

    Amy Scott: just let olive oil dressing sit out till room temp or give them a quick zap in microwave.

    avvikande: i wouldn’t use dried herbs in a vinaigrette. the quality varies and to me they taste stale. though you can use if you wish.

    And a good red wine vinegar works just as well!

  • avvikande

    Couple of questions… I presume minced tarragon is fresh but if only dried is available, is the quantity the same? Also, I can’t find sherry vinegar anywhere, and not for lack of searching. I’m using red wine vinegar instead, and it seems to taste fine to me, is there much of a difference between red wine and sherry vinegar?

    Thanks in advance, and thanks for the wonderful post – my salad last night was heavenly!

  • Joseph

    Simple but excellent recipe. I added a bit of D.mustard, a little soy sauce and it came out wonderfully, Thanks

  • Amy Scott

    What do you do about polyunsaturateds that solidify when refrigerated (ie.olive oil)? I love to use olive oil as a base but not sure what to do after it solidifies: heat it up or let it sit on the counter.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  • ruhlman

    I meant to add yesterday, in response to a question, a note on how long these keep. If you add shallot or herbs, they’ll only keep for a day before they develop a hint of off-ness. But, you can make a vinaigrette base of 3 to 1 oil to vinegar, salt and some mustard that will keep for a week. That way, you can make a cup or a cup and a half of vinaigrette base on monday and simply add your garnish, minced shallot, say, or herbs, to the quantity you want to use tonight and keep the rest to use throughout the week.

  • Glitterati

    Great post! I used to buy bottled dressings, but never ever used more than like 1/6 of the bottle before I forgot about it. Much easier and economical to make my own.

    A genius tip I learned from a friend the other day — recycle those small plastic vanilla extract bottles (cleaned, of course) to bring salad dressing for bagged lunches. Holds just the right amount, doesn’t leak, and if it starts to get really gunky, just toss it. You could even mix the dressing in there to begin with. Brilliant!

  • Alex D.

    Is there any reason in particular that you whisk in the oil? I’ve recently started making my own salad dressings and usually do it in a jar or cruet. That way I can give it a good shake, and emulsify the mixture in a second or two.

    Plus, it’s already in it’s storage container= less things to clean.

  • Hélène

    I make my own vinaigrette and also add a teaspoon of real maple syrup. It’s really good.

  • Mariam

    Thank you for the Ratio Bible, Michael, and thank you Elise for bringing it to us. Just wanted to let you know that I find it easier to do salad dressing in a jam jar ( versus bowl and whisk) – measure ingredients into the jar, screw lid on, shake. I keep this jar of basic vinaigrette ( oil, vinegar,salt&pepper) in the fridge, and then shake well and pour what I need into a smaller jar, to which I then add cappers, chopped egg, Dijon mustard – whatever the salad of the day calls for – shake the smaller jar and pour over salad. This way I don’t have to start from scratch every single time. I cannot part with empty jam jars, have them in all sizes and shapes, need to put them to good use.

  • Kalyn

    Absolutely love the sound of that tarragon-mustard vinaigrette, and as I have an over-abundance of tarragon in my garden (well, soon anyway!) I look forward to making it. Fresh tarragon freezes quite well too, so I could make this all winter. (Freeze on the stems in a plastic bag, and the frozen leaves will mostly fall off by themselves.) Thanks, and nice to see you on Simply Recipes Michael.

  • ruhlman

    Hank, I meant that gribiche in its traditional form is mayonnaise based, but that I am using traditional gribiche ingredients for a vinaigrette. recipe is correct.

  • Hank

    I’m guessing the mustard listed in the Gribiche Vinaigaette should be mayonaisse since you say it’s supposed to be mayonaisse based?

  • jonathan

    re: Tarragon-Mustard Vinaigrette (#2)
    I’m guessing 1 tsp. of mustard?
    (See? I’m just like your father, Elise)

    Fixed! That’s what one gets for posting at 2 am. ~Elise