Don’t fret—no matter what you’ve done, we can help you set it right.
Credit: Getty Images: Saddako

If you’ve ever tried to make your own salad dressing at home, you know that you can either nail it, or miss the mark completely. And you probably also know that homemade dressing is totally worth making, because it tastes approximately one hundred times better than the bottled stuff. And it’s easy to throw together: a little vinegar, some oil, a few herbs, voila!

Sometimes, though, you start to wing it (how much vinegar again?) and you run into problems. The dressing ends up too sweet/salty/tangy/boring/overwhelming, and you get stuck. But not to worry! We’ve sorted solutions for every type of problem—here’s how to up your dressing game before the sauce hits the salad.

If you don’t know where to start

Ready to move on from the bottled stuff? Here are 3 homemade vinaigrette recipes you can easily master at home.

If your dressing is too sweet

Balance it out with a pinch of salt or something savory such as capers, miso, soy sauce, or tahini.

If it’s too acidic

You remember high school chemistry, right? Acid + base = neutral. It’s really the same for cooking. Add something “basic” or creamy: Some avocado, peanut butter, tahini, or an extra splash of oil will help level it out.

If you added too much salt

Time to sweeten the mix. We love using honey, maple syrup, fruit juice, or a pinch of brown sugar. If it’s way too salty, you can turn it into a larger batch of dressing by adding more of everything else (except the salt, natch). It’ll store just fine.

If there’s not enough flavor

Add-ins like fresh herbs, minced garlic or shallots, a squeeze of lemon, or some grated cheese all add different (but equally delicious) flavors. Just make sure to work with the existing flavor profile of your dressing and salad—for instance, ginger might be a delicious addition to a soy-based dressing, but not so great in Caesar.

If your salad doesn’t taste enough like pizza

While we can’t make lettuce turn to crust, we can make your salad taste like pizza (yes, really.) Here’s a delicious dressing recipe that’ll mimic your favorite pie. Warning: Once you try this dressing, you might want to have salad for every meal.