Too Much Vinegar In Your Salad Dressing? Fix It With One Sweet Addition

It's always best to make your own salad dressing from scratch when possible so that you have full control over the flavors and don't have to consume the preservatives found in many store-bought dressings and vinaigrettes. There is a core set of ingredients that you need to make salad dressings and vinaigrettes, including a fat such as olive oil, but if you find yours to have too much vinegar, add a touch of sweetness with sugar or any type of sweetener.

Vinegar is an essential component to many salad dressings because it provides acidity to balance the creamy, salty, and sweet components in the recipe. However, too much vinegar leads to an extremely acidic dressing, which is a bit of a problem even for those who appreciate a tangy dressing. The addition of a sugary ingredient obviously won't get rid of the vinegar in the bottle or bowl, but the sweetness melds with the vinegar for balanced flavors, similar to how sugar tempers acidic tomatoes in pasta sauces.

Sugar, honey, maple syrup, and other ingredients to add a touch of sweetness to salad dressings

White sugar or simple syrup are perhaps the easiest ingredients to balance out the vinegar levels in your dressing. Start with a small amount, about ½ teaspoon of sweetness for every 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette, then add more to taste. Honey is another staple ingredient in some recipes that can both add sweetness and help thicken the dressing, especially for honey mustard style dressings. Agave also works if you don't have honey, particularly in recipes with ingredients like fresh lime juice. Maple syrup is another surefire ingredient to balance the flavors. Keep in mind that sugar alternatives, like honey and maple syrup, can be sweeter than plain sugar, so start with less and add more to taste.

Should your dressing already have enough sugar or another sweet ingredient, another way to fix an overly acidic dressing is to add more fat, like with olive oil for vinaigrette or a dollop of mayonnaise for a creamy dressing. You want just enough to balance the flavors; try to stick with a 3:1 ratio. All of these fixes also work if there's too much acidity from lemon juice. And if you're inspired to make a homemade dressing and need a recipe for guidance, try Tasting Table's green goddess dressing or everyday salad with herby lemon vinaigrette.