French Fridays: My favourite vinaigrette

A small jar of French vinaigrette on a cutting board with a slice of lemon behind it.

Happy French Friday, friends!

Today’s post is short and sweet and it’s a lovely little recipe to keep in your back pocket – my favourite French vinaigrette recipe!

When I lived in France in the mid 1990s (my gosh that dates me!), I didn’t really cook. I had a SMALL kitchenette (hello 1 tiny bar fridge, two hotplates and a sink… next to the shower!) which was perfectly fine for preparing very simply meals but not really for cooking. I also didn’t have much storage space for ingredients or equipment. So I relied on store-bought (not a huge sacrifice living in France!).

One of the products I loved back then – and still do today, was a particular brand of vinaigrette – this one..

Even today, that’s the one I’ll have on hand when I am in France. It tastes like your classic French bistro dressing so knowing how to make it when I’m NOT in France (it’s SO EASY) is great because it can transport me back there in a flash!

The bottled dressing is made with olive oil – my version is made with vegetable oil (sunflower or canola/ rapeseed oil would work well here) but you could also use a mild olive oil – play around with the oils to find a combination that you like or that works for the dish you are serving it with. When I haven’t had  enough vegetable oil, I’ve used half vegetable and half mild olive oil.

Whatever you use, this is the easiest – and because it makes only a small batch, you can whip it up virtually on demand!

Yield: approx. 120ml (1/2 cup)

Classic French Lemon Vinaigrette

A small jar of French vinaigrette on a cutting board with a slice of lemon behind it.

Classic French "bistro" vinaigrette with a touch of lemon.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower, canola or a very mild olive oil)
  • Freshly ground pepper and fine sea salt, to season


  1. Whisk the mustard, lemon juice and salt together in a small jug.
  2. Slowly whisk in the oil until thick and creamy.
  3. Season with pepper (and maybe a little more salt) to taste.
  4. Dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days - whisk well before using it because it will have separated. You might need to add a drizzle more oil too.

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did you make this recipe?

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Bon appétit and Happy French Friday!


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2 thoughts on “French Fridays: My favourite vinaigrette”

  1. Bonjour, I’m french, and sorry, but what is “vegetable oil” ? I know all kinds of oil : olive, rapeseed, sunflower, grape seeds, groundnut, walnut, hazelnut, sesame, but not “vegetable”. Can you help me ? Thank you so much.

    • Hi and thanks for your comment! I will update the post to reflect your question! Here in Canada, vegetable oil is composed of some of the oils you mention (soybean, canola, sunflower) but sold as “vegetable” oil. Here, youu can use Sunflower oil or something mild and flavourless (rapeseed would work too). I guess the equivalent in France for a “vegetable oil” would be something like Isio4? (


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