If there’s one thing that can get people to eat more, and better-tasting, salads, it’s to learn how to make great salad dressings at home. This spicy Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette is a fun alternative to your classic vinaigrette that packs a bright, citrusy punch.

If you like spicy food, using this vinaigrette to top your standard salads or using it as a marinade for other food, is a sure-fire winner. You’re going to love the flavor! 

Basic Vinaigrette Ingredients

It’s important to review some basics of what makes a good vinaigrette. Whether you are making this recipe, or something more citrusy like my Grapefruit Vinaigrette, or something more spring-time like this Roasted Cherry Vinaigrette, you’ll find similar ingredients in all vinaigrettes.

  • Olive oil – All vinaigrettes need a good oil to bind the ingredients. Usually this is olive oil, but other oils are possible as well.
  • Garlic and/or onions – While you should use a light hand with these as they can overwhelm a dressing, most vinaigrettes will use some sort of onion, shallot is common, and/or garlic to give some big aromatic flavor to the dressing.
  • Acid – This is usually fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Frequently, it will be a little of both.
  • Salt and pepper – A must-have for dressings.
  • Herbs – I like fresh cilantro for this dressing, but normally chives or parsley is a common basic vinaigrette ingredients.

Of course, the wild card in this recipe is the fresh jalapeno peppers which aren’t normally in vinaigrette. It’s important to use fresh peppers – not jarred or pickled peppers. 

Spicy Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette

Okay, let’s dive into this particular vinaigrette recipe. I like to start by muddling the jalapeno, garlic, salt, and cumin together until it’s a nice paste. Be sure to remove the stems and seeds from the jalapenos before adding it to the dressing. 

Ready to muddle ingredients

This will blend up well in the final dressing.

I also like to muddle the cilantro with lime juice.

If you don’t want to muddle these ingredients, obviously you could use a blender to blitz the ingredients together! 

However you mix it together, be sure to drizzle in the olive oil last and then taste the vinaigrette and adjust to your liking. It might be that you need to add an extra pinch of salt or something to the dressing.

Vinaigrette ingredients stirred together

How to store jalapeno lime vinaigrette

This dressing stores well for a week or so, but it does get kind of sad after that due to the fresh ingredients. The best way to store this dressing is in a jar with a lid so you can shake it up well before serving. 

Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette

Other ways to use vinaigrette

Obviously, drizzling this on salad is an easy use, but here are a few other ideas!

  • Marinade – This is an easy one but use this jalapeno lime vinaigrette to marinade chicken or pork for tacos. Don’t marinade the meat too long as the dressing has a lot of citrus in it, but a marinade for 5-6 hours would work beautifully.
  • Dip – Add this to some greek yogurt or sour cream and this becomes a really great dip for fresh vegetables. 
  • Topping – Use this as a topping for grilled steak, almost like a chimichurri sauce!

Substitution options in this dressing

There’s not a lot of substitution needed for this dressing. If you substitute the jalapeno or the lime, it’s kind of a different recipe entirely. But you could leave out the cilantro leaves if you don’t like those or substitute parsley. If you wanted to try a version with some shallot instead of garlic, that would probably work well!

Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette

Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette

5 from 3 votes
Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Jalapeno lime vinaigrette is an easy dressing you’ll want to put on everything. It’s spicy, flavorful, and works as a salad dressing or marinade!



  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teas cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 2 limes, juice about 1/4 cup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teas kosher salt
  • 1/2 teas black pepper


  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until combined. Drizzle in olive oil last and taste and adjust.
  • Alternatively, you can muddle together the jalapeno, garlic, salt, cumin, and cilantro with the lime juice until it forms a paste. Then transfer to a bowl and whisk in other ingredients.
  • Store dressing in a jar with a lid for up to a week.


Serving: 2tbsp | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Course: Pantry Staples, Salad, Side Dishes
Cuisine: American

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