This Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing has a kick from freshly cracked peppercorns that play against the savory parmesan cheese! It’s a quick, easy dressing that is wonderful on a green salad or with crunchy, cold vegetables as a dip!

We love homemade salad dressings because they always taste so much better than store-bought! Not only are they easy and quick to throw together, but they use fresh, real ingredients that I feel good about. Some of our other favorite salad dressing recipes are Olive Garden Salad Dressing, Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, and Papaya Seed Dressing.

A small glass pitcher filled with creamy parmesan peppercorn dressing with cracked peppercorns and grated parmesan sprinkled nearby.

Table of Contents
  1. How to make parmesan peppercorn dressing
  2. What to serve with parmesan peppercorn dressing
  3. More salad recipes
  4. Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing Recipe

Sorry ranch and blue cheese, but there’s a new sherriff in town and its name is parmesan peppercorn dressing. It's cheesy, it's savory, it's spicy, and it's my new favorite of all time. I'm not even a huge salad person, but I will eat a salad any day of the week as long as I have some of this dressing on hand.

This stuff is amazing. It gives a surprising kick to any salad with a wonderfully deep, savory flavor from the nutty parmesan cheese. Be sure to use a brick of parmesan that you grate yourself on the small holes of a grater so that it mixes in with the dressing well. Freshly grated parmesan cheese has better flavor and mixes into the dressing better than the powdered stuff in a canister.

A green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, croutons, and parmesan peppercorn dressing on top.

The base of the dressing is made with a combination of sour cream or greek yogurt mixed with mayo and white wine vinegar for more kick, plus a little buttermilk to thin it out.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make an easy substitute by adding 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar to a ½ cup measuring cup, then filling the rest of the way with milk. Let this sit for 5 minutes, then use it in place of buttermilk in the recipe.

A creamy white dressing in a glass pouring pitcher.

This is my favorite type of dressing to use on a salad made with leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and croutons.

How to make parmesan peppercorn dressing

Like most homemade dressing recipes, this one is incredibly simple to make. It takes five minutes, MAX, and that’s including the time it takes to grate the parmesan cheese by hand.

Start by roughly cracking the peppercorns. You could use ground black pepper, but with a dressing like this there is a noticeable difference in the quality of the ingredients you choose and whole peppercorns are a must in our book. See the recipe notes for how to use ground pepper if that’s all you have on hand though.

Throw the whole peppercorns in a heavy-duty zip tight bag and take out your aggression on them with a rolling pin or meat mallet. You just want them to be coarse ground so that you get little spicy bites of peppercorn throughout the dressing.

A large mixing bowl with mayo, greek yogurt, grated parmesan cheese, and cracked peppercorns.

Add the cracked peppercorns with all of the rest of the ingredients, including the freshly grated parmesan cheese, in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. I recommend starting with the smaller amount of buttermilk listed in the recipe, then adding more to thin it out to your liking. 

Transfer to a small pitcher or jar and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can combine. Serve over your favorite salad, a wedge salad, or with fresh, crispy veggie sticks. We made a salad with mixed greens, cucumber slices, tomato wedges, and crunchy croutons and used this dressing with it. For such a basic salad, the flavors were just out of this world.

Two salad plates with green salad dressed with parmesan peppercorn dressing.

What to serve with parmesan peppercorn dressing

A salad drizzled with this creamy, spicy dressing goes so well with a homemade pizza made with our favorite pizza dough recipe. Or serve it with homemade breadsticks on the side.

PRO TIP: Dip your breadsticks in the parmesan peppercorn dressing. It’s so good! 

It is really reassuring also to give your family a freshly made salad dressing that you know exactly what goes into it.

A glass pitcher of parmesan peppercorn dressing with crushed peppercorns sprinkled on top next to two white plates with salad.

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Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

4.77 from 17 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
This Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing has a kick from freshly cracked peppercorns that play against the savory parmesan cheese! It’s a quick, easy dressing that is wonderful on a green salad or with crunchy, cold vegetables as a dip!


  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup real mayo
  • 1-2 Tablespoons freshly cracked peppercorns, depending on how spicy you like it
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup buttermilk + more to thin to your liking


  • Roughly crack the peppercorns by placing in a heavy duty zip tight back, sealing, then hitting with a rolling pin (affiliate link) or meat mallet to break them up into coarse pieces.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together well.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to combine.


  • Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream as a substitute.
  • If using finely ground black pepper, reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.


Calories: 1276kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 123g | Saturated Fat: 36g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 52g | Monounsaturated Fat: 29g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 2799mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1376IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 817mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post first appeared on Noshing with the Nolands where I am a contributor.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

    1. About 1 week. It could probably go a little longer than that (most dressings can) but to be safe I stick to 1 week, personally.

  1. 4 stars
    Parmesan peppercorn is my favorite dressing and now you can't buy it in stores near me. I really liked the recipe but I think the vinegar is a little too much. Next time I will put in less as it kind of over powered all the yummy Parmesan flavor.

    1. It is such a good dressing. Yes, adjust to how you like it! That is what is so nice about dressings, they are so customizable!