Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Takes: 10 min.
Our ranch dressing recipe is easy to make and packs more flavor than the bottled variety. Here's how to make ranch dressing or quick ranch dip, plus many ideas for putting a twist on the classic.

Updated: Jun. 17, 2024

This ranch dressing recipe takes us back to kitchen basics. It walks you through making a perfectly creamy, tangy version of the bottled grocery store condiment. And, as with other homemade salad dressing recipes, you can taste the difference.

When you make ranch dressing from scratch, you can tweak the seasonings, turn up the heat, double the dill—your choice! Create a thin, pourable dressing or a thick dip for chicken wings or chicken ranch mac and cheese. Make it low-fat, or enhance it with bacon. Pack it with herbs, or load it with garlic.

Ranch is the most popular salad dressing in the U.S. for good reason. It’s incredibly versatile and tastes good with just about everything.

What’s in ranch dressing?

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The savory, tangy dressing has a rich base of buttermilk and mayonnaise, seasoned with onion, garlic and dill. The original recipe dates back to 1949, when a former Nebraskan cowboy, Steve Henson, invented the recipe after moving to Alaska in the midcentury. He eventually moved to California, where he bought a dude ranch and served buttermilk dressing to all his visitors. The name of the ranch? Hidden Valley, of course. Here’s our take on the classic.

Ingredients for Ranch Dressing

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  • Buttermilk: Ranch dressing is often called “buttermilk ranch” thanks to the prominent flavor of this tangy ingredient. If you don’t have any store-bought buttermilk in the fridge, you can make buttermilk from scratch, or try a speedy buttermilk substitute.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise adds its own tang and makes the dressing thin enough to toss into a salad bowl. Use the best mayonnaise brand, or make mayonnaise from scratch.
  • Sour cream: Ranch dressing is rich for a reason! If it seems like adding sour cream on top of buttermilk and mayo is too much, consider that sour cream adds, well, creaminess to the dressing base. It gives ranch a full-bodied, smooth texture, which makes it so great as a dip as well as a dressing.
  • Seasonings and herbs: This recipe calls for a blend of savory seasonings: garlic, onion powder, mustard, salt and pepper. It also calls for a mince of fresh parsley and dried dill weed, though you could use all fresh or all dried herbs. If you want to make ranch dressing frequently, try keeping homemade ranch dressing mix in the pantry.
  • Sugar: A small amount of sugar balances the savoriness of this recipe. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, however, you can skip it.

Directions

Step 1: Stir

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In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, garlic, sugar, dill, salt, onion powder, mustard and pepper.

Step 2: Refrigerate

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Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Variations

  • Turn up the heat: Add minced jalapeno peppers or a dash of your favorite hot sauce brand to the bowl.
  • Play with seasonings: Savory, rich ranch dressing matches with a surprising range of flavors, so go ahead and add a dash of your favorite spice: smoked paprika, curry powder, lemon pepper, southwestern seasoning or barbecue spices. A squeeze of lime or lemon brightens up the dressing, as will a sprinkle of fresh herbs, such as basil, dill, tarragon, chives or cilantro.
  • Make it pickle-forward: Add a minced dill pickle to the dressing, along with a dash of pickle juice. This variation is especially tasty when used in burger recipes.
  • Add bacon: Bacon is good with everything, including ranch. Adding bacon bits to the mix will transform this into one great potluck recipe.
  • Go dairy-free: It’s easy to make dairy-free vegan ranch dressing. Use almond milk, soymilk or another dairy-free milk alternative in place of the buttermilk, and look for vegan mayonnaise and sour cream at the grocery store.

How long does ranch dressing last?

Keep leftover ranch dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to one week.

Homemade Ranch Dressing Tips

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How do you use ranch dressing?

While nothing beats a side salad with a drizzle of ranch, think outside the bowl too. Serve ranch as a dip for fresh crudite, such as carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery and broccoli. It also makes a delightful dip for chicken wings, potato skins, French fries and pizza crusts. Slather ranch dressing on burger buns or inside sandwich wraps for an interesting upgrade.

Swap plain mayo out for ranch dressing in potato salads or pasta salads. Ranch makes a delicious sauce for salmon, and adds tangy flavor to mac and cheese.

Can you make reduced-fat ranch dressing?

Yes, it’s easy to reduce the fat in this recipe. Simply swap the full-fat buttermilk, mayonnaise or sour cream with low-fat or nonfat versions.

Ranch Dressing

Prep Time 10 min
Yield 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 66 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 3mg cholesterol, 131mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.

Why buy bottled ranch when this homemade ranch dressing recipe is so easy to make—and tastes so much better! Fresh chives are a colorful addition if you have them on hand. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin