Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing (Addictive!)

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This Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing is the perfect topping for spring and summer salads. It packs a nice balance of tart and sweet flavors, and will leave you wanting to lick your bowl!

lemon poppy seed dressing in glass jar

How to Make Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

The key to a good lemon poppy seed dressing is to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. It tastes so much better than the store-bought bottles we used to buy when I was growing up!

freshly squeezed lemons and poppy seeds

Paired with olive oil, honey, spicy brown mustard, and red onion, this dressing is packed with flavor. I love that it uses nearly half the oil that traditional recipes calls for, so it’s lower in fat while also being more flavorful.

How to Thicken a Dressing Without Excess Oil

Traditional dressing recipes call for an oil to acid ratio of 2:1, for example using 1 cup of oil to 1/2 cup of lemon juice. I find that ratio to be unsuitable in this case, because the olive oil flavor overpowers the lemon juice.

lemon poppy seed dressing poured over salad

I’ve cut the olive oil in half, so this lemon poppy seed dressing is thickened instead by briefly blending it together with the red onion, honey, and mustard. I’ve found that mustard helps to emulsify salad dressings, while also adding an extra tangy flavor, so don’t be tempted to leave it out!

lemon poppy seed dressing in blender

I love how blending this dressing thickens it up and brings out its full flavor, but you can shake it up in a sealed jar as an alternative to using the blender. Just make sure you finely dice the onions in that case!

lemon poppy seed dressing mixed in jar

This Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing is the perfect match for a Strawberry Spinach Salad, but it’s also delicious over any number of salads and crisp vegetables. I make this batch to use the whole week!

lemon poppy seed dressing in glass pitcher
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4.89 from 17 votes

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing (Addictive!)

This LEMON POPPYSEED DRESSING is perfect for spring & summer salads. It's naturally sweetened with honey and uses less oil, for a flavor I find addictive!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword salad dressing
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings (1 1/2 cups total)
Calories 107kcal


  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (about 2 slices)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • In a blender, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, salt, and red onion, and blend until smooth. Taste the dressing and adjust any seasoning, if needed.
  • Add the poppy seeds and pulse the blender briefly, just enough to disperse them. Pour the dressing into an airtight container and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Leftover dressing should last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.



Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 19mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Per 2 tablespoons: Calories: 107, Fat: 9g, Carbohydrates: 6g, Fiber: 0g, Protein: 0g

Recipe Notes:

  • If you don’t have lemons on hand, you could use lime juice for a similar effect. If you’d prefer to use a vinegar, I’d recommend trying my Apple Cider Vinaigrette instead.
  • For a vegan dressing, replace the honey with maple syrup. I find honey to be sweeter than maple syrup, so you might need to use a little more, to taste.
  • You can use shallot instead of red onion, or try 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder if you don’t have fresh on hand.

As always, if you try something different with this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite salad dressing?

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I’m so glad you posted this last night! I made it as part of my meal prep for the week, and I can’t believe how delicious my lunch is today. I could drink the dressing straight! I will be making this all summer long.


This is my favorite dressing!! Love that you lowered the oil, because I’m trying to use less oil in general after reading that it may negatively affect my blood sugar levels.


I love poppy seed dressing! I like to grate shallots and mix them with some sugar first, then add white wine vinegar, dry mustard powder, and olive oil, shake it and mix in poppy seeds when you are done. Easy and delicious!

Thanks for reminder to make it again!


Holy cow, this is good. I could drink it.


HO. LY. CATS. This is seriously GOOD. I’ve been buying a lot of those bagged sweet kale salads, and I was in the grocery story tonight thinking “geeze, if I could just find a dressing recipe that tasted like this, I could save myself a bunch of money on these”. So I did a google search, and there you were. Except this dressing tastes EVEN BETTER than the storebought stuff, and I know what’s in it! So now I just have to scale the recipe to make a bathtub full, so I can go soak in it. It’s (almost) that good. Thanks for sharing!

    Megan Gilmore

    Yay!! I’m so glad to hear that you love it!! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂


I’m going to make a TRIPLE batch of this stuff next time because it’s the best salad dressing!! I could drink it straight. Thank you!


This is the best dressing. I brought your Strawberry Spinach Salad with a double batch of this on the side to a potluck last weekend, and everyone wanted the dressing recipe! It’s my go-to now.


This is perfect for summer salads! I made it for meal prep this weekend, and I’m already craving my salad for lunch tomorrow after tasting this. It’s the BEST lemon poppy seed dressing I’ve ever tasted!


This salad dressing is amazingly good. I couldn’t find brown mustard at the store, so I used dijon instead. Fresh lemons is recommendable, but I only had one. The result was so tasty! however it only yield a cup of dressing, instead of 1 1/2 cup. That’s my only complaint… lol.

Abi Ben Asher

I really love this salad dressings


This was very good. Here are some things someone may find helpful:
I love Megan’s salad dressings but they tend to be on the sweet side for me.
#1 start with less sweetener and add more as needed.
#2 I used 3 medium lemons for a 1/2c of fresh lemon juice
#3 just FYI – my dressing was a pretty shade of pink after blending with the red onion so if you don’t want pink dressing you might want to stick with the shaking in a jar method
#4 finally, this made almost a pint mason jar of dressing which is a lot for my family so I’ll be making a half batch next time.


Made this today for the second time. My absolute favorite dressing! 100 times better than bottled!!!


Made this very easy delicious salad dressing today; loved it and will be making again regularly! Thanks!


I substituted agave syrup for honey, 1 to 1, and the dressing was amazing.

Stephanie Lewis

I’ve never used spicy brown mustard. Does it make it very spicy?

    Megan Gilmore

    No, not at all! I don’t think of it tasting spicy, it’s more like a blended whole grain mustard.


I substituted what I had on hand for what was in the recipe. I used Vidalia onion instead of red onion and one teaspoon yellow mustard for two teaspoons of spicy brown mustard. I also used maple syrup instead of honey.

When I tasted the dressing it seemed a little sweet, but when I put it on my salad, it was fine
I’m always looking for tasty salad dressing recipes. Thanks for this one!


This is very yummy. I used 1/3 cup of this dressing with 2/3 C raspberry vinaigrette. I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries & candied walnuts, pecans & craisins. Such a nice summer salad. Thank you for this recipe.


I made this last night to put over my arugula, baby kale, raw turnip, and pomegranate salad. The dressing was came out so delicious and worked great with the greens and pomegranate in the salad. I made the dressing in my vitamix and it turned slightly pink from the red onions, which worked well visually.

Laura Adlakha

Lovely just marvellous

Kyla Bailey

Great base to build on! I personally like a creamier dressing with bolder flavors so I followed your recipe I just tweaked it and used 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard 1 tablespoon of sweet baby rays honey mustard. I added 1 extra tablespoon of honey as well as 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. I didn’t want to cut an onion just for this so I subbed minced onion flakes. Yummy!


Used a whole grated shallot and shook it in a mason jar so it didn’t turn pink and I didn’t have to wash the blender. Otherwise I followed it exactly and it was excellent.

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