Creamy Peppercorn Dressing Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 5 min.
Creamy and delicious Parmesan peppercorn dressing will take your salad and vegetables to another level.

Updated: Jul. 11, 2024

Good salad dressings accentuate the best flavors in your vegetables, but great ones, like Parmesan peppercorn dressing, are dreamy, creamy and downright delectable. This riff on a classic ranch dressing adds a pop of coarsely ground pepper and the pizzazz of Parmesan cheese to create a tasty contrast with the smoother, creamier mayonnaise and sour cream.

Versatile and timeless, Parmesan peppercorn salad dressing matches all kinds of greens and veggies—it even makes an exciting dip recipe or sandwich condiment.

Ingredients for Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

  • Mayonnaise: Whether you have the time to whip up homemade mayonnaise or have one of the best mayo brands from the store, this ingredient lends our dressing the ultimate texture and the perfect balance of oils.
  • Sour cream: Sour cream brings tanginess and tartness to this party. It will combine better if it isn’t too cold, so let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before mixing it with the other ingredients.
  • Milk: When combined with the mayo and sour cream, milk gives this recipe for Parmesan peppercorn dressing the proper consistency. We like 2% for the recipe, but skim and whole can both work, depending on how thick or thin you like your dressing.
  • Parmesan cheese: Salty, earthy goodness stands out in every Parmesan cheese recipe. In this case, Parm’s rich, salty flavor balances the spicier pepper. My favorite Parmesan comes from Italy, so check your cheese to see if it is genuinely Parmigiana-Reggiano, which must adhere to higher standards of cheese-making.
  • Lemon juice: Citrusy lemon juice keeps the savory elements of the dressing in check. Prepackaged juice will work, but fresh is best. Here’s how to juice lemons the easy way!
  • Coarsely ground pepper: Set your pepper grinder to its largest setting and get crackin’. The bigger the pepper pieces, the more concentrated the zippy flavor.
  • Garlic salt and onion powder: These two potent powerhouses pack just the right punch, rounding out the taste of this peppercorn Parmesan dressing with their distinct aromatic flavors.


Step 1: Make the dressing

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, Parmesan, lemon juice, pepper, garlic salt and onion powder until blended. Refrigerate the dressing in an airtight container until ready to serve. The salad dressing will last up to two weeks.

A Jar of Creamy Peppercorn Dressing on a wooden tableTMB Studio

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing Variations

  • Add fresh herbs: You can add different types of herbs, including fresh dill, parsley and chives, to this recipe for Parmesan peppercorn dressing. A sprinkle of dry herbs also works just fine.
  • Make it zesty: Do you love the lemony brightness? Make it more pronounced by adding a teaspoon lemon zest. Here’s the best way to zest a lemon.
  • Sub in Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream.
  • Go big with bacon: Savory, salty bacon bits are an amazing way to increase the yum.

How to Store Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

The key to keeping your Parmesan peppercorn salad dressing fresh is stashing it in the fridge in a well-sealed container. I like using Mason jars or other upcycled items with good lids to store my extra dressing (here are some other meal prep container recommendations). The dressing will last up to two weeks in the fridge.

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing Tips

A Jar of Creamy Peppercorn Dressing on a wooden tableTMB Studio

How do you use Parmesan peppercorn dressing?

This recipe’s middle name is versatile. Green salads, like a garden chickpea salad, are a terrific pairing with the dressing. I also like to use it as a condiment on sandwiches instead of mayo, as a dip for a colorful crudites platter or on the side of an order of fries. How about dipping your favorite pizza recipe in Parmesan peppercorn salad dressing? It’s the tops!

Can you make Parmesan peppercorn dressing into a dip?

To make this recipe for Parmesan peppercorn dressing into a dip, just omit the milk. If it seems too thick, add a little bit back into the mix.

Creamy Peppercorn Dressing

Prep Time 5 min
Yield 2-1/2 cups


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder


  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 112 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 137mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

Our Test Kitchen tossed together some simple ingredients to create this creamy peppercorn salad dressing. It conveniently keeps in the refrigerator for two weeks. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Recipe Creator