Why You Should Always Add Sugar to Salad Dressing


  • softens the bite of some condiments

Agave Nectar

  • milder flavor and more soluble than honey

Raw Sugar

  • more difficult to dissolve, so add them with acid, and once dissolved, add oil


  • acidity and sweetness of the fruit lightens to richness of the dairy

Maple Syrup

  • perfect for root vegetables, roasted ingredients, and toasted nuts
  • stronger flavor than honey or agave


  • even richer than maple syrup
  • try with heart grain or bean salads

Photo credit: Relishingit.com

Photo credit: Relishingit.com

The crucial components of any good salad dressing: Acid. Oil. Salt. And sugar.

Yes, sugar. Think about how a few drops of golden honey complete a peppery Dijon vinaigrette. Sugar is just like any other seasoning: when added in the right amount, it can balance out and mellow other flavors. Just as a squeeze of lemon can add a needed punch of flavor to a pan sauce, a spoonful of sugar (or agave or maple syrup) will make all of your salad dressings pop.

To get the proportions right, add a pinch of sugar or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid sweetener for every tablespoon of vinegar in your dressing. How do you know which sweetener to use? Anything you have on hand will work, but here are some flavor-pairing suggestions:


Add just a drizzle of honey to your next mustard-based dressing to soften the condiment’s bite. Combine it with citrus (orange juice is especially good) for a sweet and sour note that’ll definitely get you to eat your vegetables.

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