Basil Vinaigrette

Have extra garden basil? Make a quick basil vinaigrette for a salad dressing or sauce for chicken, fish, potatoes, or pasta.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes a little more than one cup


  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil leaves
  • 1 shallot, chopped,
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


1 Place the basil, shallot, mustard, sugar, and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender down with a spatula.

2 Add the vinegar and pulse again.

3 Slowly add the olive oil: Turn the blender on low and take off the cap in the center of the blender’s lid. Slowly pour in the olive oil while the blender is going.

The mixture may sputter a little out of the open cap, so hold your hand over it to minimize splashing.

4 Purée for 1-2 min: When the olive oil is incorporated, turn off the blender and scrape the sides down one more time. Cover and purée everything for 1-2 minutes.

Store covered in the fridge for up to a week.

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  • Cynthia C.

    I made a cool chicken pasta salad using your basil vinaigrette and it was perfect for a hot July day. I cooked 3 garlic cloves in my pasta water and blended it in with the basil and other ingredients for added zip. The color contrast between the basil dressing, black olives, and cherry tomatoes was quite pretty! It’s a very attractive salad to present to family or friends at a picnic.

    Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe. I never tried basil vinaigrette before, and now I will make it a regular part of my salad rotations.

  • Checka


    I just started using Purple Basil this summer. I was hoping for a really pretty color but it sort of turns dark green/black. I used it in homemade tomato sauce. Tastes amazing. The color might not be pretty but I’m sure the taste would be great.

  • JHalfen

    Basil Vinegarette was the dressing of choice for the salad greens at Christmas Day dinner. It was in a word, “wonderful”. Had some left over and decided to drizzle a little over sliced tomatoes, added a little chopped fresh basil, salt/pepper and goat cheese. This too was “wonderful” and I’ve noted after the fact that another commenter has done this as well. Will be making this again and again. Thank you for the recipe and for perking up an otherwise “ordinary” green salad.


  • Susan

    My basil plants are heroically withstanding the Texas heat and gave me plenty of gorgeous leaves for this recipe. Didn’t get to try it until last night … oh, my, is it tasty! What a lovely change from regular vinaigrettes ~ thank you!

  • Sally

    I tried this recipe last night and loved it! I poured it over salad and some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and was even a little tempted to drink it right from the jar. Luckily I resisted and have some leftover to enjoy today.

  • Stacy

    This was a huge, huge hit at our house! Used lemon juice instead of vinegar. And it looks gorgeous on the table. I was going to use the leftovers for some fish, but there weren’t any leftovers… Thanks!

  • sonia

    Tried today, really tasty and good!
    Has anyone tried this with balsamico instead of white vine vinegar? And honey instead of sugar? Thanks

  • Amber

    Tried this over pasta w/ tomatoes and white beans. Great flavor. Would prefer less olive oil.

  • Beth

    Made this last night and it was great. I did add a squeeze of lemon to it. Tossed it in my salad and drizzled some over grilled salmon. I am always looking for things to do with my abundance of basil and this was perfect.

  • Zee

    What would be the difference in taste if I use an onion instead of shallots? Oh, and I DO have too much basil in my garden. Very thankful for this recipe.

    Shallots are more mild than onions, and have a slightly more subtle flavor. If I were to substitute, I would use maybe one or two tablespoons of finely chopped onions. ~Elise

  • Trish-in-MO

    ELISE: Any suggestions on how to give this a lemony zip? Could that replace the Dijon, which my picky eaters sometimes rebel against? OH my senses are reeling!

    You could just make a lemon-based vinaigrette, subbing lemon juice for the vinegar. The mustard helps emulsify the dressing, so if you can’t use Dijon, you could use even a pinch of ground mustard powder. ~Elise

  • Andrea

    This is similar to my favorite dressing, I guess in that it is an herby vinaigrette. My experience with vinaigrettes, however, is that the amount of vinegar makes it so they can last almost indefinitely, and don’t need to be refrigerated. Is the shelf life you recommend more flavor-based (as in, the basil flavor is likely to be less pronounced after a week)?

    I’ve always refrigerated vinaigrette. I don’t believe that the vinegar ratio in the vinaigrette is sufficient to preserve the basil safely, and even if it was, the vinaigrette would have to be cooked first. ~Elise

  • Alice

    The colour of that dressing is simply stunning. I wonder if it’d look as good with purple basil? I have a bunch ringer creative with. But then again maybe I’ve never since purple basil pesto for a reason?!

  • Theodore

    Is it possible to store this in the freezer for a long time?

    Great question, I don’t know. I’ve never frozen vinaigrette before. ~Elise

  • Kalyn

    I make variations of this every summer; one of my favorite things for drizzling on tomatoes. Crumble a little goat cheese over it and it’s heavenly!

  • Lee

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this idea! We are being overrun by basil and by Mexican Mint Marigold (tarragon for Texas). This would be good with either. After all, there’s only so many chicken breasts you can marinate and freeze!


  • jonathan

    Like Fran, as I type this I gaze wistfully upon the prolific basil bush on my deck, ruminating..and dreading…about another pesto dish.

    I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

    Au revoir, and presto (thank goodness NOT pesto) jammo.

    Anything for you Jonathan. :-) ~Elise

  • Debbie B,

    The photograph is stunning. My family grows several different variations of basil including lemon basil and Thai basil. We usually whip up pestos with the different types and are amazed with how unique they turn out. The vinaigrette with be fabulous with the different variations.

  • Monica

    I love all things basil. When I have pesto on hand (which is frequently this time of year)I add a tablespoon or two of pesto to a cup of simple oil and vinegar (3:1 ratio) vinaigrette. Presto, a quick basil dressing that works on so many things. My favorite is simply drizzled on good homegrown tomatoes.

  • ~fer

    Hello, I have been reading you blog for some time now, just wanted to say your recipes are great!

    Keep the good work.

    By the way that fits exactly what I was looking for using the extra basil I have.
    Any suggestions for mint?

    You can use the same recipe swapping out the basil for mint. ~Elise