Homemade Ranch Dressing is all-natural, loaded with buttermilk and fresh herbs, quick and easy to make, and SO delicious that you'll never go back to store-bought again!
If you enjoy homemade salad dressings, you don't want to miss this versatile Ranch Dressing Mix, this zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing, or this classic Balsamic Vinaigrette!
Who loves creamy, flavorful Ranch Dressing?! I've coined this ranch dressing recipe "the best" because...well, I honestly think it is, y'all.
As in, I could drink it straight out of the jar, no lettuce required.
As in, my kids have scarfed down giant, veggie-loaded salads with nary a complaint every day this week.
And as in, ranch salad dressing and I go waaaay back...and I've never had better.
When I was a kid, my mom always made "homemade" ranch dressing using those (not homemade) dry seasoning packets. In college, I was introduced to glorious Hidden Valley Ranch goodness in a bottle. In fact, my roommates and I always had a jumbo jug in the fridge. We didn't keep it on hand for salads, mind you...everyone back then knew it was for dipping our pizza. 😉
But once I had kids and began to pay more attention to the quality of food that I was feeding my family, I started religiously reading labels. And consequently, I was aghast to discover some not-so-natural ingredients in my beloved HV.
I tried other varieties of all-natural or organic ranch dressing, but they all tasted terrible to me. So if I couldn't have the "authentic" ranch taste that had been training my taste buds for so many years, I begrudgingly decided that I would just go without ranch altogether.
And then one day, it occurred to me that maybe it would be a worthwhile experiment to attempt my own from-scratch Homemade Ranch Dressing, in hopes of recapturing my ranch-loving days of yore. And you know what? The dressing I whipped up was surprisingly good. So I just kept on adjusting and tweaking until I arrived at a ranch dressing recipe that honestly puts every store-bought brand to shame!
Homemade Ranch Dressing Ingredients
I truly believe that the perfect balance of complementary ingredients in this ranch recipe is what makes it SO gosh darn good.
- Mayonnaise. Now I'm going to sound like my good buddy Ina for a minute here and recommend that you use "good quality." While the flavor of the mayo certainly fades into the background after a suitable chilling time, you still want to enjoy those hints of its underlying flavor.
- Sour cream. Depending on how decadent you're feeling, you can use regular, low-fat, or fat-free.
- Buttermilk. Regular milk will work, of course. But I think buttermilk adds a nice undertone of tang, not to mention creaminess (that's why Buttermilk Ranch Dressing is so popular)! And no worries if you don't have any buttermilk on hand! Simply scroll down a bit for instructions on how to make your own.
- Parsley and dill. Fresh herbs contribute such lovely flavor and color to this dressing if you have 'em. But if you don't, no worries...you can substitute ⅓ the amount of dried herbs (which are more potent, so you use less) instead.
- Apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Don't leave these ingredients out, because just a tiny amount of each contributes to the delicious flavor of this dressing.
- Garlic powder and onion powder. While I looooove fresh garlic, I feel like it (and fresh onion) would overpower this recipe. So using powders instead is the perfect compromise.
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper. In particular, don't skimp on the salt...it's what makes all of the other flavors in the dressing pop.
How to Make Ranch Dressing
Sometimes making the things you love at home from scratch can be a bit intimidating, but I promise that this ranch dressing recipe is worth the minimal effort. It's healthier (as in, no additives or preservatives), more budget-friendly, and quick and easy to whip up in a flash.
In fact, here's how straightforward it is:
- Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk.
- Blend in the herbs, flavorings, and spices.
See? Couldn't be any simpler.
However, there is one final, very important step that does require a bit of planning ahead and/or patience:
Refrigerate your ranch dressing for four hours (or ideally, overnight) to let the flavors come together.
I promise, Homemade Ranch Dressing just won't taste good until you allow it to chill.
And if, in the process, it thickens too much, you can always stir in a little extra buttermilk before serving to thin it back out.
How to Make Buttermilk
Buttermilk is one of those ingredients that most people don't keep in their fridge. But I do feel like it's an integral part of this recipe, as it gives ranch dressing its slightly tangy taste. The good news is that you can easily make your own buttermilk!
Making buttermilk is as easy as using 1 tablespoon of acid for every cup of milk.
So for this recipe:
- Add 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice (or white vinegar) to a 1-cup measuring cup.
- Fill the rest of the way to the half-cup mark with whole milk and stir to combine.
- Let the mixture sit for five to ten minutes, stir, and it will have thickened and curdled, turning into buttermilk!
Is Mayonnaise Really Necessary?
And now to address another common question about making your own ranch...
I should say that, first of all, I don’t like to taste the mayonnaise in my ranch dressing, which is the problem I have with most of the bottled ranch dressings out there. Yet I find mayonnaise to be a necessary component in ranch.
Fortunately I've discovered that by using equal parts mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk -- and allowing the flavors to blend while the dressing chills (!!!) -- the prominent notes of mayonnaise disappear, the flavor of the dressing is balanced, and its consistency is perfect for salads.
Just keep in mind that if you want to keep your Homemade Ranch Dressing “real food” quality, you need to pay attention to the ingredients in the mayonnaise that you buy. If you’re feeling really gung-ho, you can even make your own from scratch! But don't feel obligated...there are store-bought jars of mayo with decent ingredients, so just be sure to read the labels.
All About the Herbs
When I have fresh herbs at my disposal, I love to use them in my ranch. But dried herbs work just fine as well. In fact, I've learned to always keep Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix -- which features dried herbs -- in my pantry for whipping up homemade dressing any time.
I often find myself with fresh parsley on hand, but no fresh dill. So in those instances, I happily stir fresh parsley and dried dill into my ranch dressing recipe. Works swimmingly!
I think this buttermilk ranch dressing is perfect using parsley and dill as its only herbs. However, feel free to toss in your favorites and experiment with the flavors. Chives add a nice little bite if you're into onions (which I am vehemently not). Or you can even add a bit of basil or cilantro for a totally different twist!
How Long Does Ranch Dressing Keep?
Because this ranch recipe contains mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk, it definitely needs to stay chilled.
And it will be fine in the fridge for up to a week or so...if you can keep from eating it all before then, that is! I typically pay attention to the expiration date of the buttermilk and sour cream to know if my ranch will keep for less than a week.
How Do I Make Ranch Dip?
If you enjoy Ranch Dip, adapting this recipe is as simple as leaving out the buttermilk and subbing extra mayo and sour cream in its place. I can assure you that your carrot sticks will never be so happy!
I really hope y’all give this Homemade Ranch Dressing a try! It’s soooo simple to make and it's absolutely delicious. The most time-intensive step is chopping the herbs, if you happen to be using fresh. Other than that, it’s just a matter of measuring, whisking, and then remaining patient as the dressing chills.
So if you’re a fan of ranch, I encourage you to make this recipe STAT!
It’ll have your family and friends begging for more.
It’ll make you crave salad for breakfast.
Heck, it may even infiltrate your dreams!
Because -- let's be honest -- the best recipes always do. 😉
More Homemade Salad Dressings
- Lightened-Up Honey Mustard Dressing
- Zesty Greek Dressing
- French & Catalina Salad Dressings
- Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Thousand Island Dressing
Homemade Ranch Dressing
- ½ cup good-quality mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley, OR 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh minced dill, OR ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in parsley, dill, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend well and adjust seasonings, to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for ideally 8 hours (4 hours at a minimum) or overnight. If the consistency is too thick after chilling, thin out the ranch dressing with a splash of additional buttermilk.
- If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by pouring 1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice (or white vinegar) into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup up to the ½-cup line with milk (whole milk is preferred but low-fat/skim milk will work). Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes and stir before proceeding with recipe.
- To make Ranch Dip (instead of dressing), use a total of ¾ cup mayonnaise, ¾ cup sour cream, and eliminate the buttermilk.
Post originally published on May 7, 2015. Updated on April 16, 2019, and again on May 2, 2020.
Awesome ranch recipe I cant stop eating it when I make a batch. I tweaked it a little to suit my own personal taste. I used half the butter milk to make it thicker and more concentrated flavor. I also add a clove of fresh garlic for a bit of a kick. I tend to go heavier on the dill but not by too much.
Idk about the comments for the measurements, I followed the recipe. Except, I made my own buttermilk (vinegar method)
Get out - this was fantastic. The store didn’t have fresh dill or parsley and I was too lazy to go to another store.
Wow. This is a masterpiece of a recipe. I wasn’t sure when I saw worcestershire sauce. This is it. I laughed when I tasted it, remembering the recommended 4 hour chill time, I listened but IT WAS DIFFICULT.
Thank you for sharing such an easy and delicious recipe.
I'm excited to make your buttermilk ranch dressing but since I don't have buttermilk, I looked at your instructions in the "body" of the recipe and compared it to the "Notes" at the bottom of the recipe instructions. I'm confused. In the "body" you said, "using 1 tablespoon of acid for every cup of milk." But in the Notes, it says, "1 ½ teaspoons of lemon juice (or white vinegar) into a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup up to the ½-cup line with milk (whole milk is preferred but low-fat/skim milk will work). Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes and stir before proceeding with recipe."
So, is it 1.5 tsp of acid for every 1 cup of 1/2 cup? Please clarify. Thank you.
Hi there! It's 1 tablespoon of acid for every cup of milk. 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons, so 1 1/2 teaspoons is the same as 1/2 tablespoon, which is the amount of acid you would need for 1/2 cup of milk. Most measuring spoon sets don't come with a 1/2-tablespoon size, which is why I give the teaspoon conversion. Hope that helps and makes sense! 🙂
Didnt taste like California Ranch to me
I'm not sure what California Ranch is...this just tastes like regular ranch dressing. 🙂
This is a great home made ranch dressing recipe. One thing in a lot of ranch dressings that really gives it a lot of flavor is MSG... although I do everything to avoid MSG since it's very bad for us. In order to get this recipe to taste more like what you might have in a lot of the restaurants with very flavorful ranch dressing is to double the following ingredients.
Double these... salt, pepper, dill, onion and garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce and the apple cider vinegar.
Keep in mind, this will make the ranch much more flavorful which some folks may not want. Personally, this modification makes this one of the best ranch recipes I've had.
Thank you for sharing this excellent ranch recipe! It's my go to.
Love this recipe! I just made it, so it resting for now ☺️ but just wanted to know, about how long do you think this would be good for? A week or 2? Or less? Thanks in advance! And now I can’t wait to make the dried mix especially since it’s usually just me using it for salads. Hubby likes a different type.
Hi Dee! So happy you enjoy this recipe so much! It should be fine in the fridge for at least a week, but you could also go by the expiration date of the buttermilk that you use in the recipe. 🙂
I rarely use Ranch Dressing. Haven’t had it in years. But I had to buy it recently for a recipe. Wow, I was shocked at how little flavor it had! Instead of throwing the two bottles of ranch away, I seasoned them with your seasonings. Saved the day! Next time I will use the whole recipe. Looking forward to that!
I usually make a classic buttermilk dressing and throw in some hidden valley seasoning but this will be my new go to ranch.
I've made this dressing for months now. Everyone loves it! Problem is...I want to gift it to coworker now. I'm trying to figure out how to make a dry seasoning mix so it'll keep. Can we come up with a base mix to add to mayo and sour cream? Non of the recipies ive found for ranch mixes include Worcestershire. I got dried Worcestershire sauce and dried buttermilk...but what to do with them? Lol.
Hi Christel! I do have a ranch mix recipe that I adapted from this ranch dressing, but I add fresh Worcestershire and buttermilk when mixing it into dressing. Does your dried Worcestershire have conversions listed for how much of it equates to liquid Worcestershire sauce? If so, you could probably incorporate it into your dry mix. Same with the dried buttermilk...you could probably add the equivalent amount to your dry mix and then add the appropriate amount of water (in addition to the mayo and sour cream) when mixing up a batch of dressing. I would probably experiment with a single batch first, however, just to make sure it all turns out okay! Hope that helps and good luck! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I will never buy store bought again!!! ♥️
I didn’t have buttermilk so I just used regular milk and followed the directions and it was phenomenal. Hands-down the best ranch I have ever made. I was prepping a little lunchable-style lunches for myself and found myself eating more veggies dipped in that ranch than I was putting in the boxes. And for dinner we ordered out pizza for my mom since it’s her favorite and I was dipping my pizza in it. I couldn’t get enough. It was so fresh, and it’s true, homemade is always better. Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe! One of the best recipes I have ever made. Something like this, lol, a simple salad dressing recipe. But it was just perfect!
Is there a way to make a big batch and preserve it?
I wish there was, but due to the creamy ingredients in this recipe, I don't think it would be amenable to freezing. That being said, you could make a big batch of Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix which would save you time/steps for future batches of Ranch Dressing...you would only have to mix in the wet ingredients at that point. Hope that helps!
I followed the recipe to the T... but it didn't come out as thick as I'd have liked... what can I do to thicken in the future?
Thanks in advanc!!
Hi Luis! This dressing will not be thick when you first mix it up, but it should thicken considerably after chilling in the fridge for the directed number of hours. If that wasn't the issue for you, however, you can always just add slightly less buttermilk to achieve your desired consistency. 🙂
Just made this exactly by the recipe with the fresh herbs and it is so much better than any other recipe I have tried. I don't know if it's the sour cream, fresh herbs, vinegar, or the worcestershire sauce but it honestly gets better every time I go check on it. I used Hellmans mayo but I'm trying to ease into preservative free so next time going to try with homemade mayo.
It's worth mentioning that if you're making buttermilk, your milk should be at room temperature. Very very good recipe! The only thing I'm using from store bought dressing now is the glass jars for this new found treasure!
So glad you enjoyed this recipe, Christel! And I've always just made my buttermilk with milk straight from the fridge then let it sit at room temperature to curdle. I'll have to try room temp milk next time and see if I notice a difference...thanks for the tip! 🙂
I just made this and The Taste is not quite to my liking. It needs a little sweetness so I added a little bit of liquid stevia and I just think it needs a little bit of celery seed or something else.
This recipe can easily be tweaked to your tastes, but I highly recommend chilling it as directed before tasting and adjusting. Right after you mix it up, it definitely tastes rather bland. As the post explains, the flavors need time (hours) in the fridge to develop. After chilling, you can taste to see what you think and adjust the seasonings at that point. Hope that helps!
thanks for the recipe
Robin J Cheatham
Very good. My family loves it.
Love this! So did my coworkers when I brought my great big salad! No more spending too much $$$ on dressings that don't even come close! Thank you!