The Best Vinaigrette in the World, according to Samin Nosrat

samin nosrat's favorite vinaigrette in a jar

I tried Samin Nosrat’s favorite vinaigrette recipe, the one she says is good enough to drink. Apparently it makes a plate of greens into a feast, so I made up a batch, and here’s what I think~

Samin Nosrat's favorite vinaigrette dressing in a jar

the sherry vinaigrette that changed Samin Nosrat’s world

A little backstory: I heard about this from Samin Nosrat on her podcast Home Cooking. Samin’s the food writer, chef, and author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (she’s great, if you don’t know her, look her up.) She first met the dressing at one of her favorite NYC restaurants, Via Carota. It’s in the West Village. She loved it so much she convinced the owners to give her the recipe. She made it and is now obsessed. She wants to pour it over everything and, yes, drink it. (Here’s the original New York Times article where she talks about it, if you’re interested.)

This vinaigrette recipe may not sound like much, and, in one sense, it isn’t: just some good olive oil, a few common ingredients, and a good shake is all that’s involved. But something happens in there to morph those ingredients into the perfect dressing. Samin thinks it’s the warm water, which sounds plausible, it’s an unusual ingredient. I’m not so sure, but one thing is for certain:

this dressing is so good!

vinaigrette, shaken in a jar

let’s make it

  • shallot ~ you should always have these in your pantry, they’ll last a long time in a cool dark place and they’re little flavor powerhouses!
  • vinegar ~ the recipe calls for sherry vinegar, which is my absolute favorite, it’s got a rich smooth flavor. It’s an aged Spanish vinegar made from sherry wine.
  • olive oil ~ extra virgin, of course.
  • warm water ~ the secret!
  • Dijon mustard ~ creamy style.
  • grainy mustard ~ the grainier the better.
  • honey ~ you might experiment with maple syrup or other sweetener.
  • thyme ~ fresh is best, but dried will work.
  • fresh garlic ~ garlic powder works too but nothing gives you that kick like fresh garlic.
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper

salad greens in a white bowl

does this salad dressing live up to the hype?

I have to say yes! And I definitely wasn’t expecting to feel that way. When you look at the list of ingredients there’s nothing out of the ordinary.

But the magic is in the details. Maybe, like Samin thinks, it’s all about the water. The theory is that the water tones down the acidity of the vinegar and makes the dressing milder, more drinkable. I agree that this dressing is less sharp than what I usually make, and I’m now convinced it’s a better way to go.

Also make sure you’re respecting the ingredients. Good olive oil is essential. Good sherry vinegar is too. Shallots make a huge difference, as does quality mustard (I use Maille and Grey Poupon.) Fresh thyme and garlic make anything amazing.

Honey isn’t a unique ingredient, but keeping it in check is key. Have you noticed how sickly sweet commercial dressing has become? This recipe includes a touch of honey which doesn’t read as sweet, but works with the other ingredients to subtly counter that sharpness.

Romaine lettuce

my definition of a great salad dressing

It’s one that excites me about that tub of mixed greens I dutifully buy every week. This dressing has reinvigorated my cold weather salad making. I keep a bottomless jar of it in the fridge and that sits front and center to remind me to eat fresh greens no matter what the temperature outside. Here are a few salads you can use your new favorite dressing on ~

A great salad dressing can make a pile of greens crave-worthy, and that’s a beautiful thing. Thanks Samin!!

samin nosrat's favorite vinaigrette in a jar
4.74 from 23 votes

The Best Vinaigrette

I tried Samin Nosrat's favorite vinaigrette recipe, the one she says is so good she wants to drink it. Apparently it makes a plate of greens into a feast, so I tried it and here's what I think~
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Yield 1 cup +
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 shallot, peeled and very finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon good sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, put through a garlic press
  • coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper


  • Put the minced shallot in a strainer and rinse briefly. Let drain.
  • Put the drained shallot into a mason jar (or small bowl) and add the vinegar and warm water. Let sit for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the oil, mustards, honey, thyme, garlic and some salt and pepper.
  • Taste the dressing to adjust any of the element. Then cap and refrigerate until needed. Give it a good shake when ready to use.

Cook's notes

Depending on how big your salads are, this recipe will dress several salads, if not more. 
It should keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. 
Shake well before using to blend and stir up those shallots.
*recipe lightly tweaked from Via Carota
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2022 at 9:33 am

    Your recipes and web-site content are both fantastic….so glad I found you..looking forward to making everything…starting with the lemon blueberry cake which I’m going to make to take to a dinner party on Saturday..

  • Reply
    August 10, 2022 at 7:35 am

    Sounds fantastic. Shallots tend to vary in size, can you be more specific as to how much shallot should go into this? Thanks

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      August 10, 2022 at 7:51 am

      Maybe 1/4 cup, finely minced?

  • Reply
    March 23, 2022 at 8:30 am

    5 stars
    i LOVE this dressing! so good!!

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