Homemade Ranch Dressing

5 from 9 votes
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This homemade ranch dressing is quick and easy to prepare! Just combine sour cream and buttermilk with bold, savory seasonings and fresh herbs. Make a batch to use throughout the week for salads or as a creamy dipping sauce.

Glass jar of homemade ranch dressing.

Recipe Science

  • Emulsification of mayonnaise and buttermilk creates a creamy base for the dressing, smoothly combining these elements without separation.
  • Garlic and onion powder add depth and a savory punch to the dressing, enriching its flavor profile without the sharpness of raw onions or garlic.
  • The mix of dill, parsley, and chives lends the dressing its signature ranch flavor, offering a fresh and herby contrast to the creamy backdrop.

Why It Works

Growing up, my mom always kept our refrigerator stocked with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. After some tasty testing, I’ve got a delicious recipe that you can make at home and skip the store-bought stuff. You probably have everything you need. Sour cream, buttermilk, and a small amount of mayonnaise give the famous sauce a cool and creamy flavor.

Prepare a batch at the beginning of the week so you can grab it to drizzle onto a fresh green salad or use it as a condiment to dip your favorite appetizers. Plus, I share plenty of tips for making ingredient swaps that don’t skimp on taste.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Top down view of pre-portioned ingredients to make ranch dressing.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream adds a smooth texture and tangy taste. The full-fat version contains about 16% fat, providing a creamy consistency with a hint of sweetness.
  • Mayonnaise: Made from oil, eggs, and lemon juice. The lecithin in the eggs is an emulsifying agent that allows the oils and water to disperse evenly. Mayo prevents the dressing from separating, and a small amount keeps the ranch smooth and stable for longer.
  • Buttermilk: I use cultured buttermilk to yield a pourable dressing that still clings to lettuce and foods. This liquid has a tangy taste for extra flavor and is thicker than milk. Make sure to shake or whisk it, as it can clump on the bottom of the carton. You can easily make homemade buttermilk with ¼ cup plain low-fat or whole-fat yogurt mixed with ¼ cup water.
  • Seasonings: Powdered garlic and onion add a savory touch to the cool and creamy dairy products. I prefer these convenient pantry staples because the drying process concentrates the allium’s flavor, so you only need a small amount of each. Kosher salt adds an extra bump of savory taste, and black pepper adds a subtle spicy kick.
  • Mustard: Dijon mustard provides a slightly spicy and sharp tang.
  • Herbs: To deliver the sought-after fresh garden taste, I use chopped parsley, fresh dill, and chives. The aromatic herbs add a pop of color, and the flavors complement any types of lettuce.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

This homemade ranch dressing recipe is easy to customize! Try these delicious options:

  • Buttermilk Substitute: Use regular milk, whole milk with a higher milk fat percentage is recommended. It won’t be as thick, so start with adding ¼ cup and then add 1 tablespoon at a time until the dressing consistency is reached. Add some lemon juice or white vinegar to the dressing, 1 teaspoon at a time, for a more tart flavor.
  • Sour Cream Substitute: I find 5% milkfat plain Greek yogurt, like Fage, offers a similar texture. The protein and fat help to thicken the product. The fermentation process utilizing probiotics in the yogurt provides a tart flavor plus digestive health benefits while containing slightly less fat.
  • Mustard: American yellow mustard or mustard powder can be swapped for Dijon. Add more to taste.
  • Herbs: Thinly sliced green onions, cilantro, tarragon, or basil can add a herbaceous note to the ranch dip.

How to Make Ranch Dressing

Step 1: Mix the Ingredients

Simply whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chives, parsley, and dill.

The dressing consistency should be rich, smooth, and pourable. Feel free to make it thinner by adding 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. That’s it! It couldn’t be easier.

Bowl of green salad with ranch dressing.

Step 2: Ready to Serve

I developed this ranch dressing recipe so it can be drizzled onto salads. However, for a thicker consistency, like dipping with a crudite platter, baked chicken wings, or baked chicken tenders, start by using half the amount of buttermilk. Gradually add more liquid until you hit the desired coating level.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ranch dressing?

A rich and creamy condiment using dairy products as the base. Richness and cool flavor come from sour cream, buttermilk, and a small amount of mayonnaise. It’s flavored with dried alliums like garlic and onion powder. Fresh parsley, dill, and chives add the herbaceous component.

Can I make ranch dressing ahead of time?

Yes! The dressing can be prepared 5 days in advance and refrigerated. I recommend storing it in an airtight container, like a glass jar.

Is ranch dressing gluten-free?

My homemade ranch dressing recipe is gluten-free. Be careful purchasing store-bought dressings, as they may contain ingredients for thickening like wheat flour.

How to make ranch dressing with a packet of seasoning

Use my homemade ranch seasoning or store-bought packets for convenience. Add 3 tablespoons of ranch seasoning mix with ½ cup of whole milk, ½ cup sour cream, and ¼ cup mayonnaise. Adjust the seasoning level and consistency as desired.

Can I substitute dried herbs for fresh ones?

When swapping dried herbs for fresh ones, I use about ⅓ of the amount because the flavors get more intense and concentrated as they dry. For this recipe, use 1 teaspoon of dried parsley and chives and ½ teaspoon of dried dill weed. The dill particles are much smaller and have greater dispersion.

More Dressing Recipes

If you tried this Homemade Ranch Dressing, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Homemade Ranch Dressing

I love making homemade ranch dressing because I can control the ingredients and customize the flavor to my liking.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Course Condiment
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

Instructions 

  • Make the Dressing – In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, chives, parsley, and dill until smooth.
  • To Serve – Serve with salad or as a dipping sauce for vegetables or other appetizers.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 1 cup
  • Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
  • Storing: Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • For a Thinner Dressing: Gradually add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time. 
  • For a Thicker Dressing: Whisk in ¼ cup of buttermilk. Add an additional 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Buttermilk Substitute: Add ¼ cup plain low-fat or whole-fat yogurt mixed with ¼ cup water. Alternatively, add ¼ cup whole milk, gradually adding 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. To make the dressing more tart, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice at a time to the whole milk mixture. 
  • Sour Cream Substitute: Use plain Greek yogurt; 5% milk fat is recommended.  
  • Using Dried Herbs: Use 1 teaspoon each of dried chives and parsley. Add ½ teaspoon of dried dill.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 16 servings
Calories 43kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 1gProtein 1g (2%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Trans Fat 1gCholesterol 6mg (2%)Sodium 110mg (5%)Potassium 22mg (1%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 1g (1%)Vitamin A 60IU (1%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 17mg (2%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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5 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. GG says

    Hello Jessica, I like to make a large pantry batch of ‘mixes’. What additional spices would you add to powdered mustard to create the dijon mustard flavor?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Natalie D. says

    Just made Jessica’s Ranch Dressing and I am so thrilled! So easy to put together and beats any store bought ranch. Yum! Buffalo wings here we come!