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French dressing

This is the Jack-of-all-trades dressing. It’s become so widely used because it’s so versatile and we all love it! At River Cottage we add fresh thyme leaves to give it a delightful herby note. It’s the ideal go-to dressing when you want to liven up a simple assembly of crisp leaves or crunchy veg.


Makes 500ml

Put the mustard, cider vinegar, garlic, thyme leaves and lemon juice into a food processor and blitz to combine.

With the motor running, trickle in the olive or rapeseed oil through the feeder tube, followed by the water. Blend until the dressing is fully emulsified. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

The dressing will keep in a sealed clean jar in the fridge for up to a month. You’ll need to shake it to re-emulsify before using.


For a feistier dressing, use English rather than Dijon mustard. If you fancy a dressing with a nice aniseed hint, swap the thyme with tarragon.

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2 tbsp Dijon mustard

50ml cider vinegar

1⁄2 garlic clove, finely grated

4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked Juice of 1 lemon

300ml extra virgin olive or cold-pressed rapeseed oil

75ml water

Sea salt and black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Great Salads

Redefine the idea of salad, as playful flavour pairings, clever techniques and vibrant dressings bring out the very best in seasonal produce. Divided into chapters such as Quick, Hearty, Spicy and Lunchbox, these recipes use everyday ingredients, and give plenty of suggestions for seasonal swaps and delicious alternatives.