How to Determine the Shelf Life of Homemade Salad Dressing

Homemade salad dressing makes most greens taste more vibrant and delicious as the ingredients are generally fresh and hand picked, or at least chosen, to your individual taste. They don’t take long to whip up, but also generally do not last as long as most bottled salad dressing.

So, how do you determine how long homemade salad dressing lasts? We have already established that commercial salad dressings last beyond their best-by dates, but what about homemade dressing that have no printed dates? Since most home recipes do not usually produce large vats of dressing, this is not a huge dilemma but still requires knowledge as they are generally preservative free.

shelf life of homemade salad dressing

Determining How Long Homemade Salad Dressing Lasts

Check the Ingredients

As we always say, foods expire according to their fastest expiring ingredient. So, let’s take a look at what’s in different homemade salad dressings in order to determine the expected shelf life of these dressings.

The main factor in determining the shelf life of homemade salad dressing, or any salad dressing for that matter, is the acidity level of the dressing. The general rule is that the most acidic salad dressings will last the longest and fresh ingredient dressings will expire sooner.

This means that vinegar-based dressings will last the longest. Vinegar based homemade dressings should last for three to four weeks at a minimum if they consist of oil, vinegar and spices. eIf they also contain fresh ingredients, then the time is shortened according to that ingredient. Vinegar based dressings must be stored covered, whether on the counter or in the pantry if they are basically oil, vinegar and spices.

Beware that all vinaigrette recipes may not actually contain vinegar. Some dressings that are not vinegar-based may get their acidity from a citrus such as orange, lemon or lime juice. These types of dressings will generally only last about a week in the refrigerator. Fresh squeezed juice will begin to oxidize quickly, depleting the nutrients and destroying the taste.

Similarly, homemade dressings that are mayonnaise based may also only last for about a week in the refrigerator.

Homemade salad dressings that are made with sour cream, buttermilk, eggs, yogurt, onions and/or fresh garlic will have the shortest shelf lives of most any homemade dressings. These dressings should be used more quickly, generally within two to five days.

Wondering where to store homemade salad dressing once it’s been made?
If any of the ingredients in the dressing, no matter how small the quantity, require refrigeration then the finished dressing must also be refrigerated.

How to Determine the Shelf Life of Homemade Salad Dressing

Additional Info

To find out how long salad dressing lasts, visit our salad dressing page.

Read this before trying to freeze salad dressing.

To find out which condiments must be stored in the refrigerator and which ones are just fine if left on the shelf, see our condiment storage post.

To find out how long condiments last, see our condiment storage post.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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