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
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.