Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

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Rich, tangy, creamy and herby, buttermilk ranch dressing has been a salad staple for over 40 years. But it wasn’t always that way! When I was a kid, buttermilk ranch dressing was not one of the choices for salad on a restaurant menu.

buttermilk ranch dressing on salad.

Oddly enough, there were TWO choices for blue; Bleu cheese and Roquefort, plus Thousand Island, “Italian”, and French. Somewhere in the late 60s or early 70s, ranch dressing started appearing on menus. BUT you couldn’t buy it in the grocery store. If we wanted ranch dressing at home, we bought packets of powdered dressing mix and made it at home. And there was nothing like it! Fresh homemade ranch dressing! The hardest part was waiting for it to chill! 

History of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing

The now famous dressing was created in 1954 by Steve and Gayle Henson, and served at their Hidden Valley dude ranch, nestled in the Santa Barbara mountains. It became an instant hit, and they started selling ranch seasoning packets so guests could recreate the classic ranch dressing flavor at home. But it wasn’t until 1983 that the bottled dressing appeared in grocery stores all over the US. Now it’s one of the nation’s favorite dipping sauce for everything from veggie trays, wedge salads, and Buffalo Wings, to chicken fingers, potato chips, and French fries!

Ranch dressing with chips.

Ingredients in ranch dressing

Sure you can buy store-bought ranch in a bottle, or the ranch dressing seasoning packets, but when was the last time you looks at the ingredients. While I love fresh herbs in most recipes, this is one time to use dried herbs and spices. Especially if you want to keep it on hand in bulk.

dry ingredients for ranch dressing mix.

I also use dry herbs for my French Onion Dip. Let’s start with the packet ingredients. This recipe uses simple ingredients, and will make enough seasoning to make about 4 1/2 cups of dressing. I often use just the spice blend on its own to season chicken for the Bacon Chicken Ranch Sandwich

chicken bacon ranch sandwich.
Ranch dressing on chicken bacon sandwich.
  • 3 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 Tablespoons dried chives
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

Place all the spices in a blender or food processor and give it a few quick pulses! Store spice mix in an airtight container until ready to use. No need to refrigerate. 

Use 2 1/2 Tablespoons of the dried herb mix to make the homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Of course this is a guideline, and you can always up the spice level to your taste. For every 2 1/2 Tablespoons of the dried mix use:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 cup of buttermilk (In a pinch, you can use dried buttermilk powder) but for the best flavor, I recommend real buttermilk.
ingredients for buttermilk ranch.

How to make buttermilk ranch at home

Once you’ve made the spice blend, mixing up the dressing is a piece of cake.

  • in a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth.
  • Add 2 1/2 Tablespoons to buttermilk mixture and mix until well blended. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.

For a thicker dressing, use a little less buttermilk. For a tangy flavor, substitute plain Greek yogurt. The flavor gets better after a few hours. 

ranch dressing and carrot.

Looking for more homemade salad dressing recipes?

Orange Dijon Vinaigrette

Caesar Salad Dressing without raw egg

Classic Vinaigrette

Sesame Dressing

Green Goddess

Blue Cheese Dressing

Leftover buttermilk? Here are some recipes that also use buttermilk.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes

What’s carrot cake without Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting?


buttermilk ranch dressing on salad.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Creamy homemade buttermilk ranch dressing is ideal on salads or as a veggie dip. Recipe adapted from All Recipes. Recipe makes enough for 4 1/2 cups dressing.
5 from 47 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
chill 20 minutes
Course Salad Dressing
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 100 kcal


Seasoning Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


Dry Ranch Dressing

  • Place all seasoning and dried herbs in food processor or blender. Pulse three or four times until chives and parsley flakes are chopped fine. Store in an airtight container in the pantry.

Ranch Dressing

  • For 2 1/2 Tablespoons dried ranch mix, blend sour cream, buttermilk and mayonnaise in a small bowl.
  • Chill for 20-30 minutes.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 668mgPotassium: 72mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 131IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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One Comment

  1. I love that this recipe has the wet and dry versions, as some recipes call for a “packet of ranch seasoning”. I’m not a fan of buying premixed spices or dressings so this recipe is going on my regular list, as the hubby loves ranch dressing. Thank you!

5 from 47 votes (47 ratings without comment)

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