A great salad dressing makes the salad. Try this homemade Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe to add sparkling fresh flavor to your favorite lettuce or cabbage salads.
But don’t stop with salad! Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette is delicious drizzled on roast potatoes, cooked meats, kebabs, couscous, and cold noodles. It’s super tasty in Corn Salad and drizzled over Simple Couscous Salad.
Maybe you had a great salad or cilantro sauce at a restaurant that you’re looking to replicate. Maybe your sister-in-law is reluctant to share what she put in the corn salsa the other night. Or maybe you’ve just got some cilantro that needs using.
Whatever your quest, this Cilantro Lime Dressing is just the thing to end it.
Loaded with pungent cilantro and tart lime, it’s a flavor explosion that’s welcome on any number of dishes!
(Unless you’re among the unlucky few for whom cilantro isn’t tasty.)
Why Make This
It’s easy! This cilantro lime vinaigrette comes together in minutes.
It’s delicious. It’s packed with fresh, vibrant flavors, and it goes well on a variety of salads. It’s good over roasted potatoes and onions for a warm potato salad as well as on tacos for a little bit of pizzazz.
It’s super versatile. Since lime and cilantro are the predominant flavors in this Cilantro Lime Dressing, and since those flavors are equally at home in Middle Eastern, Southwestern, and Southeast Asian cooking, this Cilantro Lime Dressing is welcome almost anywhere you want to serve it. It works with kebab, tacos, and even noodle salads!
Here’s what you’ll need to make Cilantro Lime Dressing:
cilantro – fresh cilantro is a must in this vinaigrette. If you have leftover, be sure store it properly to keep cilantro fresh.
lime juice – You can use fresh lime juice or a good bottled variety, depending on what’s the best value. In a pinch, you can substitute lemon or orange juice or apple cider vinegar. The taste won’t be exactly the same, but it will still be delicious.
green onion – This adds great onion flavor without the bitterness.
salt and pepper – Going light on the spices allows the cilantro and lime to speak for themselves. However, you can add ground coriander seed, ground cumin, or crushed red pepper flakes if you’re feeling adventurous.
olive oil – Use olive oil or a neutral oil like avocado for best results.
Variations: In addition to the swaps listed above, you may want to turn up the heat and add a chopped jalapeño to the processor when you’re blending the other fresh ingredients.
Here’s how to make Cilantro Lime Dressing:
In a blender or food processor, you want to blend until smooth the fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, and green onion until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for easy cleanup.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream and blend well. The Cilantro Lime Dressing is ready to go!
FAQs & Recipe Costs
Cilantro Lime Dressing is good for up to 4 days. Just make to keep it covered and refrigerated!
Cilantro Lime Dressing can vary between recipes. At the base it will contain cilantro, lime juice, and oil. Some recipes include yogurt, mayo, or an egg as emulsifiers. Some add vinegar in addition to the lime juice.
Cilantro is another name for fresh coriander leaves. It is also known as Chinese parsley. The leaves have a very different flavor than the seeds which are often dried and ground to be used in baked goods, curries, soups, and rice dishes.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- cilantro – $0.35
- fresh lime juice – $0.25
- green onion – $0.10
- salt and pepper – $0.01
- olive oil – $0.56
While your costs may vary depending on where and how you shop, you can expect to pay about $1.27 for a batch of Cilantro Lime Dressing, about 8 ounces.
A premium bottled variety costs $5.44/cup by comparison. Homemade for the win!
Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this cilantro lime dress recipe more economical:
- Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. Instead of paying full price, buy more than you need when you see it on sale. Then you always have it when you want it. I do this for olive oil and bottled lime juice. It’s always nice to have a stockpile of that kind of stuff.
- Store your bulk purchase of limes in the fridge. Yes, citrus tastes best and juices more efficiently when it’s at room temperature, but you can extend its shelf life by storing it in the fridge. ALDI had limes for 10 cents a piece last month, so I bought a load of them to have on hand.
- Speaking of which, shop the stores that have the best prices. When I did my big grocery store showdown, I learned that ALDI and Costco have the best prices for a lot of the things I buy. You will naturally save money if you shop the best store for the items YOU buy. This may not be ALDI or Costco, so you’ll need to do your own price comparisons. The time investment as your research it is super valuable!
- Store your cilantro in a way that it doesn’t become a gooey mess in the veggie drawer. Go here for details on how to save cilantro for details.
This dressing is great on lots of things, from salads to roast meats to cooked vegetables. While it’s great on southwestern style foods, its flavors are also good on Mediterranean type dishes as well such as wraps and kebabs.
Try it on these recipes in particular:
Tell us what you think!
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Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe
- ½ cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 green onion chopped
- black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- In a blender or food processor, blend the cilantro, lime juice, and green onion until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, blending well.
- Adjust the seasonings and use immediately or chill until ready to serve.
This post was originally published on October 14, 2017. It has been updated for content and clarity.
I make a roasted sweet potato dish seasoned with oil, lime juice, cilantro, and cayenne. It is so fresh and delicious!! Maybe this would go really well on baked sweet potatoes, too!
Yes, I think so!
I do love the cilantro lime combo and the idea of putting it over hot potatoes is quite intriguing. I may have to give it a go. or maybe I’ll just dump it on my salad greens instead!
Side note: a couple of recipe names (tarragon dressing and the santa fe salad) are worded in a way that sounded as if you intended to link them but then forgot the linky part. Maybe they aren’t website recipes, I did not look, but letting you know in case it was an oversight.
Thanks for pointing it out. They were supposed to be linked, but sometimes the software drops the link for some reason. Fixed now!