4 Easy Japanese Salad Dressings

4 Easy Japanese Salad Dressings

4 Japanese salad dressings in mason jars.

These homemade Japanese Salad Dressings taste a million times better than store-bought dressings! They are DELICIOUS, easy, and quick to make. Here are 4 of our favorites to dress our salads. I know you’ll love them too!

4 Japanese salad dressings in mason jars.

If you haven’t made your own salad dressings before, today’s recipes will change your life! No, I’m really serious. Homemade salad dressings are not hard to make, and on Just One Cookbook, you will learn Japanese Salad Dressings. What are they, you may ask? Let’s say these dressings are about to be your instant everyday favorites!

Basic Dressing Ratio & Ingredients

My basic dressing formula is 1 part vinegar for every 2 part oil. Some recipes do a 1:3 ratio (more oil), but I prefer less oil more vinegar formula, but it’s always up to you.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the dressings:

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for your base
  • White wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • Sugar (read below) for a little sweetness that balances the vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

And some dressings will include:

  • Garlic for oomph
  • Herbs for fragrance
  • Sesame seeds for crunch
  • Plus, additional add-ons for variations

You can whisk all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, but I highly recommend getting 8-oz mason jars or 16-oz mason jars. You can put all your ingredients in a jar and shake it vigorously everything has emulsified. If you have some leftover dressing, you can store it directly in the refrigerator! (Picture below: 8-oz jars in front; 16-oz in the back)

4 Japanese salad dressings in mason jars.

4 Easy Homemade Japanese Salad Dressings & How to Make Salad with Them

When you’re in Japan, you will encounter these 4 salad dressings. Sometimes you may get to choose the dressings at the ‘salad bar’ at a family restaurant, and sometimes the dressing is already poured on the salad at a restaurant. Either way, you will see these salad dressings everywhere, so let’s first identify them.

Japanese Salad Dressings - Italian Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

1. Italian Dressing イタリアンドレッシング

Don’t panic, if you’re an Italian or westerner. This is how the Japanese make ‘Italian Dressing’ in Japan. If you’re familiar with yoshoku (Japanese-Western cuisine), Japanese has adapted and redefined western dishes that have become uniquely Japanese. This classic recipe is a great example of how an Italian dressing becomes our daily staple.

The quality of your extra virgin olive oil can make a difference, so always invest in a good bottle for superior flavor in your food. The dressing gets its tang from the white wine vinegar and extra punches from garlic and herbs. With a subtle luxurious taste, it goes well on simple salads that highlight a single vegetable.

Ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Herbs of your choice (I use dried parsley and basil)

Salad Idea:

Japanese Salad Dressings - Italian Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Tomato Salad with Italian Dressing: Chop fresh tomatoes and toss with the Italian Dressing. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve the simple tomato salad in nice glassware for an elegant touch.


Japanese Salad Dressings - French Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

2. French Dressing フレンチドレッシング

This French Dressing is another classic western-influence dressing you can find everywhere in Japan. The French excel in simplicity in almost every way of their life, so does this salad dressing! The flavor is mild yet zippy enough to brighten up every salad out there. It’s hard not to adore the effortlessness of the recipe.

Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar

Salad Idea: 

Japanese Salad Dressings - French Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Simple Red Leaf Salad with French Dressing: Hand tear red leaf lettuce and top with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and avocado slices. Drizzle French dressing for a quick easy salad for the night!


Japanese Salad Dressings - Shoyu Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

3. Shoyu Dressing (Soy Sauce Dressing) 醤油ドレッシング

Featuring the most basic pantry items from a Japanese kitchen, this Shoyu Dressing is as simple as one can get to dress your Japanese or Asian-inspired salad. The use of soy sauce delivers a blast of umami that is unmistakably Japanese.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar
  • Soy sauce

Salad Idea: 

Japanese Salad Dressings - Shoyu Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Iceberg Lettuce with Shoyu Dressing: Hand tear iceberg lettuce and top with shredded carrot, hydrated wakame seaweed, cherry tomatoes, and boiled egg. Drizzle Shoyu Dressing to enjoy!


Japanese Salad Dressings - Chuka Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

4. Chuka Dressing (Chinese-style Dressing) 中華ドレッシング

The influence of Chinese cuisine, also known as Chuka, is ubiquitous in Japanese cooking. For this Chuka Dressing, you’ll find the ingredients very similar to the Shoyu Dressing above, but it is distinctly Chinese with the addition of sesame oil and sesame seeds. The flavor is a lot more pronounced with the nutty fragrance from sesame oil and crunch from sesame seeds.

Ingredients: 

  • Vegetable oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Salad Idea: 

Japanese Salad Dressings - Chuka Dressing | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Cucumber Salad with Chuka Dressing: Peel the cucumber skin to create a stripe pattern and cut it half in lengthwise. Slice the cucumber into ¼ inch pieces. Toss the cucumber with Chuka Dressing and additional sesame seeds. Chill at least 1 hour before serving and enjoy!


Storage

All the homemade dressings will keep well in the refrigerator. Cover and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days. When your dressing solidifies in the refrigerator, don’t worry! Simply let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes or microwave very briefly (about 15-20 seconds) to liquefy the oil again. Whisk or shake to blend and serve!

You really can’t go wrong with these 4 easy Japanese salad dressings. As they pair well with different salads that you throw together even at the last minute, you want to have them in your back pocket. They are my weeknight meal workhorse and I believe they will be yours too!

4 kinds of Japanese salads in different bowls and plates.

More Delicious Japanese Salad Dressing

If you’re looking for more salad dressings that keep well, don’t miss my Sesame Dressing, Miso Dressing, Wafu Dressing, and Carrot Ginger Dressing.

4 Japanese salad dressings in mason jars.

Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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4 Easy Japanese Salad Dressings

These homemade Japanese Salad Dressings taste a million times better than store-bought dressings! They are DELICIOUS, easy, and quick to make.

Italian Dressing

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil ((8 Tbsp, 120 ml))
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar ((4 Tbsp, 60 ml))
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic ((crushed/minced))
  • ¼ tsp dried basil ((If you use fresh, triple the amount.))
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley ((If you use fresh, triple the amount.))

French Dressing

  • ½ cup neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) ((8 Tbsp, 120 ml))
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar ((4 Tbsp, 60 ml))
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar

Shoyu Dressing (Soy Sauce Dressing)

  • ½ cup neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) ((8 Tbsp, 120 ml))
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar ((4 Tbsp, 60 ml))
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ((30 ml))
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar

Chuka Dressing (Chinese-style Dressing)

  • 6 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) ((90 ml))
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil (roasted) ((30 ml))
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar ((60 ml))
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ((30 ml))
  • 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt; use half if using table salt)
  • ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp white sesame seeds (roasted/toasted)

To Make All Kinds of Dressing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mason jar and shake really well until everything has emulsified. Serve on your favorite salad and enjoy! Note: You can whisk all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, but I highly recommend getting 8-oz mason jars or 16-oz mason jars. You can put all your ingredients in a jar and shake it vigorously everything has emulsified. If you have some leftover dressing, you can store it directly in the refrigerator!

Italian Dressing

French Dressing

Shoyu Dressing

Chuka Dessing

To Store

  1. Cover and refrigerate for 7 to 10 days. When your dressing solidifies in the refrigerator, simply let it rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes or microwave very briefly (about 15-20 seconds) to liquefy the oil again. Whisk or shake well and serve!

Variations!

  • Shoyu Dressing: grated ginger, grated daikon, yuzu kosho, and umeboshi plum.
  • Chuka Dressing: grated ginger, minced garlic, Tobanjiang, red chili.

 

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.