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Store-bought bottled salad dressing doesn’t stand a chance! The most flavorful sweet, tangy and spicy Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette is ready with just 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep. This homemade vinaigrette is an easy way to transform your weeknight salad!

Glass bottle of homemade pepper jelly vinaigrette on a wooden table with salad in the background

My husband is a self-proclaimed Hidden Valley Ranch lover. That creamy bottled classic is a staple in our kitchen, and for almost 20 years it has been just about the only dressing that I’ve seen Keith willingly put on his lettuce. That’s how you know that this Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette is a keeper — because even my Ranch-loving hubby thinks it’s amazing! No joke, I’ve actually caught him reaching for the bottle of my homemade vinaigrette in lieu of his beloved Ranch (on more than one occasion). It’s that good, folks.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a new thing in our house. In fact, I’ve been shaking together bottles of Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette for years to enjoy on my own salad (or to serve to Keith without his consent). But only recently has this quick recipe become our go-to “House Dressing” that we serve multiple nights per week. Keith just raves about it and insisted that I finally share the simple details here on the blog. Now y’all can enjoy it, too!

Overhead image of romaine lettuce salad tossed with homemade red pepper jelly vinaigrette dressing

How to make Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette:

The key ingredient that makes this homemade salad dressing stand out from the zillions of other vinaigrette recipes that I’ve made over the years? Red pepper jelly! Pepper jelly is a Southern-favorite preserve — somewhere between a jam and a relish — that we add to anything and everything. It’s truly a staple in my fridge, and I’m never without a jar tucked away in the pantry.

The main ingredients in pepper jelly are peppers, sugar, and vinegar, which combine with pectin to form the classic preserve. It’s often served over cream cheese as an appetizer with crackers, but it’s also great in salad dressing or as a component of savory entrees (like my Sweet Heat Southern Glazed Salmon). Red pepper jelly has a nice spicy kick to it — not overpowering so that kids can’t enjoy it — but just enough to give a recipe that extra something special.

Ingredients for Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette:

  • Pepper Jelly or Pepper Jam
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt

My neighbor makes a homemade hot pepper jam that I love, so that’s typically what I use when it’s available. Store-bought brands (such as Braswell’s) are really great too!

Mason jar full of hot pepper jam

Step 1: Place all Ingredients in a Jar (or Bowl)

Place the pepper jelly, cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon and salt in a jar or bowl.

Ingredients for Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette in a mason jar

Step 2: Shake!

Shake the jar (or whisk in a bowl) until completely combined, and then serve with salad.

Horizontal shot of salad with pepper jelly vinaigrette and serving tongs

How to serve Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette:

This vinaigrette has so much flavor, that it makes even a simple green salad taste special. It’s perfect when you need a quick side dish and you don’t want to spend more than 5 minutes getting it ready! Of course, you can add other ingredients to the salad — such as shaved Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, olives, croutons or onions — but you really don’t need more than some crisp, cool, chopped lettuce.

Preparation and Storage Tips:

  • Store the vinaigrette in a jar or other container with a tight lid so that it’s easy to shake up when you need to use it again. The ingredients will naturally separate as it sits.
  • The pepper jelly vinaigrette will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Before you serve the dressing, make sure to give it a taste and add extra salt and pepper (as necessary).
  • Scale this recipe to make more or less. For instance, if you just want enough for one salad, you can cut all of the ingredients in half. Alternatively, you can prepare a larger batch by doubling the ingredients and keep the extra dressing in your fridge to enjoy all week.
  • Have some extra vinaigrette on hand? Use the same pepper jelly dressing as a marinade for grilled chicken. It gives the meat a sweet and spicy char!
Overhead shot of a salad dressed in pepper jelly vinaigrette

Other homemade salad dressings that you might enjoy:

Glass bottle of homemade pepper jelly vinaigrette on a wooden table with salad in the background

Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep: 4 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 4 minutes
Servings 13 tablespoons (slightly more than 3/4 cup)
Calories 103.1 kcal
A sweet, tangy and spicy Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette is ready with just 5 ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup hot pepper jelly or hot pepper jam
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Whisk or shake together all of the ingredients until completely combined.

Notes

  • Store the vinaigrette in a jar or other container with a tight lid so that it’s easy to shake up when you need to use it again. The ingredients will naturally separate as it sits.
  • Store the pepper jelly vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 103.1kcalCarbohydrates: 7.4gFat: 8.6gSaturated Fat: 1.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.9gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.2gSodium: 209.2mgPotassium: 6.8mgSugar: 7.4g
Keyword: homemade vinaigrette, pepper jelly vinaigrette
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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