It's so easy to make Homemade Ranch Dressing that tastes approximately 1,000x better than the kind in a bottle that you will never want to buy it from the store again! Whip up a batch in under 5 minutes and take your salads, veggie sticks, and buffalo wings to the next level!
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What do California, Nebraska, and Alaska all have in common? Each state contributed in some way to the rise of America's most popular salad dressing.
Ranch dressing was created in 1949 by a Nebraska native by the name of Steve Henson, who was living in Alaska. He and his wife later moved to California where he owned a dude ranch in Santa Barbara and called it "ranch style dressing" which he served to as a dip for vegetables and a topping for salads.
Henson developed the creamy dressing by mixing buttermilk, mayonnaise, and various herbs and spices together. The ranch salad dressing gained such popularity that it was eventually sold to the Clorox Company, which marketed it under the name "Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing."
Our family loves ranch dressing for all kinds of things, although my favorite is probably using it to dip my pizza in, which is a total Midwest thing to do.
If you love restaurant-style ranch dressing and wonder why it always tastes so much better than the bottle of ranch dressing from the store, it's because it's made fresh, usually with real buttermilk and mayonnaise, and frequently has fresh parsley and chives in it. Now you can achieve the same thing with our homemade ranch dressing recipe that uses mostly ingredients you likely already have on hand.
Like so many other things, once you start making this easy homemade ranch dressing for yourself and see how easy it is at home, either with fresh herbs or dried herbs, chances are you will never go back to the bottled ranch dressing again. Store-bought dressings just can't compare to your own ranch dressing that has the best flavor for pairing with fresh vegetables, green salads, and all kinds of other things!
Ranch Recipe Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Mayonnaise - Use the real stuff here, not Miracle Whip. For the best tasting dressing, I recommend full-fat mayo and sour cream as well.
- Sour cream - I love the creamy tanginess of the sour cream. You could also sub in Greek yogurt or even plain yogurt if you prefer for a healthier option.
- Buttermilk - This ingredient is used both to thin out the dressing as well as add the unmistakable buttermilk tang.
- Kosher salt and black pepper - You can adjust this to taste. I like the kick of a little extra freshly ground black pepper.
- Garlic powder & onion powder - You can use fresh garlic and grated onion if you prefer, but I think garlic powder and onion powder comes closer to more of a classic ranch taste.
- Lemon juice - For a fresh squirt of citrus that helps balance the dressing.
- Fresh or dried herbs - The most common herbs that give ranch dressing its signature taste are fresh parsley, fresh dill, and fresh chives. But you could sub in basil, oregano, tarragon, or cilantro to change things up a bit or to add even more herbaceous flavor!
How to Make Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, chopped herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisk well until smooth and combined.
- Taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Cover the bowl and chill the dressing in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Give the dressing a quick stir before serving. You can thin it out with additional buttermilk, if needed, to get the consistency you like. Personally, I prefer my ranch a little on the thicker side.
If you want a thicker ranch dip instead of a dressing, simply reduce or omit the buttermilk until you have the dipping sauce consistency you like.
Easy Buttermilk Substitute
If you don't have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup, then filling it the rest of the way with regular milk and letting it sit for five minutes until it curdles.
You can also use a store-bought ranch seasoning mix to make the dressing. Just follow the instructions on the package and mix it with mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk to create the dressing.
Tips for Success
- Use it as a marinade! We tend to eat ranch dressing straight, but it also makes a fantastic marinade for chicken thighs, chicken legs, and chicken breasts. I like to add it to the meat and let it soak for an hour before grilling.
- Dried herbs are just as good as fresh. It's true. In fact, sometimes I think I prefer ranch dressing made with dried herbs. Both are delicious, so if I happen to have fresh herbs on hand that I need to use up, I use those. If all I have are dried herbs, that works just as well.
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Variations
There are many variations of ranch dressing that you can make by adjusting the ingredients or adding new flavors. Here are a few ideas:
- Spicy ranch - Add a dash of hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or diced jalapenos to the basic recipe to give the dressing a spicy kick.
- Avocado ranch - Mash up a ripe avocado and whisk it into the dressing to give it a creamy, tangy flavor.
- Blue cheese ranch - Add crumbled blue cheese to the dressing for a tangy, savory twist.
- Bacon ranch - Crumble cooked bacon and stir it into the dressing for a smoky, salty flavor.
- Chipotle ranch - Stir in some chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or chipotle powder for a smoky, spicy ranch flavor.
- Greek yogurt ranch - Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make a lighter, healthier version of the dressing.
- Lemon herb ranch - Add fresh lemon juice and even more chopped herbs like dill, tarragon, and basil to the dressing for a bright, fresh flavor.
What to Serve With Ranch Dressing
Ranch dressing is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some popular dishes that are often served with ranch dressing:
- Salad - Ranch dressing is a classic choice for salad dressing, and pairs well with a variety of greens, vegetables, and proteins.
- Crudités - Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, and bell peppers make a healthy and satisfying snack when served with ranch dressing.
- Buffalo wings - Ranch dressing is often served alongside spicy chicken wings to help cool down the heat.
- Pizza - Many people enjoy dipping their pizza crusts into ranch dressing for a creamy, tangy flavor.
- French fries - Ranch dressing is a tasty alternative to ketchup for dipping French fries.
- Sandwiches - Ranch dressing can be used as a spread for sandwiches and wraps, adding a flavorful and creamy element to the dish.
- Tacos - Ranch dressing is a popular topping for tacos, especially those made with chicken or beef.
How to Store
Homemade ranch dressing should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks, as long as all the ingredients were fresh when it was made.
I don't recommend freezing ranch dressing as the dairy in it doesn't hold up well after thawing.
More Homemade Salad Dressings
- Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing
- Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad with Creamy Cajun Dressing
- Pear, Pomegranate & Swiss Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Catalina Dressing
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Homemade Ranch Dressing Recipe
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well until smooth and combined. Transfer to a jar with an airtight lid and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving so the flavors have a chance to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed before serving.
- Dried herbs: Use ½ teaspoon dried chives, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried dill
- Storage: Keep any unused ranch dressing refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks.