Caprese Salad Recipe with Balsamic Dressing

4.16 from 38 votes

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This Caprese Salad recipe is fresh, flavorful and delicious made with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil, and a homemade garlic balsamic dressing! It’s truly the perfect summer salad. Delicious served as an appetizer to Lasagna and Garlic Bread. Yum!

caprese salad with dressing drizzled over

But First, What is Caprese Salad?

A Caprese Salad (pronounced kuh·pray·zay) is a simple Italian salad made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, salt, and olive oil. Like the Italian flag, this salad features the white, red, and green colors. It’s extremely popular and for good reason. One bite and you’ll understand the juicy sweet tomatoes paired with the herby basil and the creamy mozzarella is AMAZING.

caprese salad ingredients

Main Ingredients Needed for Caprese Salad

There are three simple ingredients needed for a classic Caprese Salad recipe. While I include a few more for the overall recipe, these are the main ones that you’re going to want to find. Remember: since this recipe is only made up of a handful of ingredients, try to use the best quality ingredients you can find.

  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. This mozzarella cheese is the kind that is softer, creamier, and packed in saltwater. I use Bocconcini which are the mini mozzarella balls, but the mozzarella slices work just fine as well, cut into cubes.
  • Fresh Ripe Tomatoes. I love using sweet grape tomatoes because regardless of the time of year, these always taste sweet and the quality is good. I hate a grainy tomato in the winter, so always gravitate towards the grape or cherry tomatoes most of the time. If you can find some ripe heirloom tomatoes, by all means, use those and just slice them. But in case you can’t find those, the grape tomatoes work great!
  • Fresh Basil Leaves. Herby and delicious, this is the last ingredient needed for a classic Caprese Salad. There is no real substitute for this and bonus: it’s super easy to grow yourself!

For the Garlic Balsamic Dressing

Honorable mentions for my recipe include balsamic vinegar, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and garlic.

Traditionally, just a balsamic reduction, balsamic glaze or vinaigrette is used on a caprese salad. I really love the added flavors in this garlic mustard balsamic dressing, so I opted to use it in this recipe!

Tips for the best Caprese Salad!

  • Use room temperature ingredients for the best flavor.
  • Visit your local farmer’s market for fresh produce.
  • Make a homemade balsamic glaze for an extra special touch.

Make it a Meal!

You could add a protein to this salad to make it a meal. Chicken Parmesan or Spaghetti and Meatballs would be super tasty with this salad.

garlic mustard balsamic dressing next to a plate of tomatoes and mozzarella balls

How to Make Caprese Salad

One thing that actually makes my heart go pitter-patter is a really good salad. More specifically, this easy Caprese salad. This Italian side salad is delicious on its own, but particularly good with my homemade garlic balsamic dressing. SO so tasty! For full recipe details including ingredient measurements, see the recipe card down below. Follow these quick and simple steps to make your tasty salad.

1. Assemble the Salad

Place bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls) and ripe tomatoes on a serving platter, arranging them in blocks of color. Sprinkle the fresh basil all over. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

2. Make the Balsamic Dressing

I LOVE a good garlicky dressing and this one does not disappoint. While balsamic vinegar is a traditional topping for this salad, the garlic isn’t. But I’m not one to shy away from making the classics a tiny bit more flavorful and garlic seemed like an obvious choice.

Measure out garlic, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and black pepper into a small jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake it up to emulsify, then drizzle it over the salad. Again, makes for a great presentation!

Storage + Make Ahead Directions for Caprese Salad

This salad tastes best when freshly made and assembled. Plus it’s super quick to throw together.

Make Ahead– This salad side dish is easy to make ahead! Just be sure to store the dressing separately and as much moisture is removed from the fresh mozzarella as possible. Moisture tends to ruin the integrity of the other ingredients, so making sure there isn’t much is key. This Caprese Salad will last up to 3 days in the fridge. Right before serving, top with dressing.

caprese salad on a plate next to 2 gold forks

Other Favorite Italian Recipes to Try!

Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue, looking for a light meal, or simply craving something flavorful, this simple Italian salad with its vibrant colors and so much flavor is sure to be a hit. The printable recipe card is below. Have a great day, friends! 🙂

If you make this recipe, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a star rating and leave your review in the comments! If you have a picture of your finished dish, post it on Instagram using the hashtag #laurenslatest and tagging me @laurens_latest.

caprese salad with dressing drizzled over
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4.16 from 38 votes

Caprese Salad Recipe

Nothing beats a Caprese Salad made with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, sweet basil and a homemade garlic balsamic dressing! The perfect summer salad.
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 lb Bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) drained and patted dry
  • 1 lb grape tomatoes washed and halved
  • 12 large basil leaves chiffonade
  • black pepper freshly cracked, to taste

for the dressing-

  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 4 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 7 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • Place bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls) and tomatoes on a serving platter, arranging them in blocks of color. Sprinkle the fresh basil all over. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
    tomatoes, mozzarella and basil arranged on a plate
  • Measure all ingredients for dressing into a small jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake and drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.
    garlic mustard balsamic dressing being poured to into a glass jar



Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 286mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1010IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 424mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: caprese salad, caprese sald recipe
4.16 from 38 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

82 Responses
  1. LeAnna

    5 stars
    This is my very favorite caprese salad recipes. I usually make it without the greens, but the dressing is a must. Then if there are any leftovers, we pick out the mozzarella the next day. 🙂 I will pick a caprese salad over just about any kind of salad.

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  3. Susan

    We love caprese salad too, and here is how to make it even better: dress it with good balsamic vinegar (not the cheap stuff), and pesto. Out of this world!

  4. Andi Leubitz

    5 stars
    I love this salad! It looks beautiful, fresh and delicious. The colors are incredible. Can’t wait to make it tonight for dinner!

  5. Helen

    Love this recipe, making it tonight! Adding a few oven fried chicken tenders on the side and calling it a meal! (Will serve some mashed potatoes to the hubby so he is sure to get full.) Thanks for sharing!!

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  7. mary beth at MBZ Interiors

    Hi, thanks for this recipe. Going to baby shower today and making it now. Just wanted to suggest that when writing a recipe tablespoon should be indicated with a capital T (Tablespoon, Tsp. and teaspoon, tsp.) (just an fyi) Thanks again

  8. t m harris

    5 stars
    Made this for a party of picky eaters and it was so very well received. Looked beautiful and tasted fantastic. The dressing was really delicious. Thank you for sharing this!

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  12. Heidi

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was delicious! A hit for husband and myself but also two foody toddlers. A must make folks!

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  17. Bevie Bracikowski

    I am so glad that I found you; although my husband thinks that I hired someone else to cook for us!

    I am looking for a recipe I had but lost…I am hoping you can help me and soon. It is pineapple cuts made in a large cookie sheet pan. It has a cream cheese crust and is not dry at all. The filling has instant vanilla pudding and canned pineapple in it…………however, it is quite versital as to what other ingredients can go in it.
    Thanks so much!

    Bevie B

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  20. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Oh my goodness, Lauren, you’re making me wish summer would just hurry the heck up already! This is such a gorgeous caprese!

  21. Ashton

    I LOVE caprese too! I would totally pick anything caprese over anything sweet (but shhhh! Don’t tell people that… it’s bad for business 😉 ). This look delish! Pinned 🙂