Does homemade vinegar & olive oil dressing need refrigeration?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does homemade vinegar & olive oil dressing need refrigeration?”, what is the shelf-life of vinegar and olive oil dressing, what happens if you consume expired salad dressing and how to make vinaigrette at home.

Does homemade vinegar & olive oil dressing need refrigeration?

No, homemade vinegar and olive oil dressing do not need refrigeration. It can be safely kept in a cool pantry or kitchen cabinet away from heat for up to 3 weeks. This only applies if the dressing only contains vinegar, olive oil, spices, and no perishable ingredient like cream, mayonnaise, eggs, etc.

Store your homemade vinegar and olive oil dressing in an air-tight container. Shake it well before use. Homemade dressings containing ingredients like buttermilk, chopped onion, fresh herbs, and tomato sauce should not be refrigerated for more than a week.

The separation of the oil layer from the rest of the solids like in the case of Italian or vinaigrette dressing is normal. Shake the bottle vigorously until the dressing is homogeneous.

How long does homemade olive oil dressing last? 

Storing the dressing correctly 

Homemade olive oil dressing contains a higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids. But this does not make the dressing invincible. Heat is the arch-enemy of the quality of olive oil-based dressings. Heat makes the dressing go rancid. 

Therefore, you must store the olive oil dressing somewhere cool and dark, away from direct or indirect sources of heat such as from the stovetop or sunlight. Refrigeration is also a good option. 

But olive oil tends to become cloudy and thick upon refrigeration. Just warm it up for a week before use. 

Adding vinegar 

Vinegar has preservation properties. An unopened bottle of vinegar stays good for about 2 years in a cool pantry. Once opened, it will remain fresh for about 12 months. A simple olive oil dressing that also contains vinegar, salt, and pepper, can be safely refrigerated for up to 12 months.

Adding emulsifiers 

The addition of perishable ingredients such as raw eggs, mayonnaise, or mustard shortens the shelf-life of the olive oil dressing. Mayonnaise and mustard last longer than eggs. Olive oil dressing that contains eggs will only last 2-3 days in the fridge. 

Adding raw garlic 

Garlic and olive oil, independently, have quite a long shelf-life. But things change when the two are brought together in an olive oil dressing. Olive oil dressing containing chopped or minced garlic retains freshness for about 1 week in the fridge.

The store-bought olive oil dressing will have a markedly longer shelf-life than its homemade counterpart. This is because commercial manufacturers add preservatives to the dressing.

How to make vinaigrette? 


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar of choice (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Take a bowl or a liquid measuring cup. Add all the ingredients into the cup or bowl and mix well.
  1. Taste-test the dressing and add more olive oil, honey, maple syrup, or any other ingredients to adjust the taste to your liking.
  1. Use right away or refrigerate for 7-10 days in an air-tight container. Do not fret if the dressing sets and becomes cloudy during refrigeration. It happens due to the presence of olive oil in the dressing. 

To fix this, let the dressing sit in a warm environment for some time or microwave for 20 seconds or until the consistency is restored.


Balsamic vinegar: using balsamic vinegar yields a sweet yet bold dressing that best compliments green salads with fruits (strawberries, peaches, apples, etc).

Red wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar adds more tanginess to the dressing. It goes well with brightly colored veggies like tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.

White wine vinegar: It goes best with all types of green salads. The subtle and mellow flavor of the white wine vinegar is suitable for cucumbers and sweet corn or anything with a delicate flavor profile.

Green/Italian variation: To make this variation, stir in some red wine vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons of dried oregano, and some red pepper flakes.

What happens If you eat expired salad dressing?

Eating expired salad dressing won’t make you sick unless It is spoiled. Inspect the expired salad dressing for different quality parameters before consuming it. If It gives off a strange smell or looks fuzzy, It has gone bad. 

Mold in expired dressing is unlikely unless It was stored incorrectly. However, If you notice any mold growth, do not be tempted by skimming it off the dressing. Instead, discard it right away. 

The expiry and the shelf-life of the dressing past the expiry depend upon the type of the dressing(dry or liquid, dairy or oil-based, etc) and the brand.

Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.

Why does vinegar remove stains?

Why does vinegar remove rust?

Why does vinegar clean pennies?

Why is vinegar used in food preservation?


In this article, we answered the question “Does homemade vinegar & olive oil dressing need refrigeration?”, what is the shelf-life of vinegar and olive oil dressing, what happens if you consume expired salad dressing and how to make vinaigrette at home.


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