Christmas hams, party cocktails, elegant layer cakes, and cookout classics fill the Southern family recipe canon, but one of my favorites is a simple vinaigrette from my grandmother. This recipe is so simple, in fact, that I’ve never bothered to make another salad dressing recipe at home. Grandmama’s homemade vinaigrette only takes four ingredients, all of which are pantry staples. Even with so few ingredients, this basic vinaigrette has big flavor payoff. A bit sweet from sugar, a bit acidic from vinegar, a bit spicy from hot sauce, and rounded out with neutral oil, this homemade vinaigrette recipe is the perfect all-purpose salad dressing. Regardless what’s in-season as far as salad toppings, this dressing is going to taste good with them.
The thing that makes this recipe even easier? The measurements. All you have to remember is ¼, ¼, two, two. One-fourth cup of oil, ¼ tsp hot sauce, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar. It’s impossible to forget, and even people like me who have to calculate tips on an iPhone can double or triple it for a crowd. You can whisk the ingredients together in a bowl or shake them up in a Tupperware container. I’ve even used a protein shake bottle to take it to potlucks, which is perfect for no-spill traveling, shaking, and serving. —Editorial Assistant, Mary Shannon Wells
1/4 cup oil*
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
How to Make It
Whisk together ingredients in a bowl or shake them up in a salad dressing container.
*Whatever oil you have on hand—canola or vegetable work well or your go-to EVOO