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This homemade ranch dressing recipe is simple and divinely creamy! It takes just 5 minutes and tastes so much better than store-bought.

Ranch Dressing
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Want a tip for freshening up your cooking repertoire? This homemade ranch dressing recipe! Yes, gone are the bottles of store-bought ranch dressing with questionable flavor and additives. Make it at home and it’s extraordinarily creamy, with a pure, bold flavor: herbaceous from the mix of herbs with a subtle tang from buttermilk. This one is ideal for drizzling on baby lettuces or simply dipping with carrots: either way the massive flavor will convince you: there’s no going back to store-bought ranch.

Ingredients in this homemade ranch dressing recipe

What’s the backstory on this popular dressings? Ranch dressing was invented by a man named Steve Henson in the 1950’s. He invented the dressing while working as a plumber in Alaska, then he and his wife later opened a ranch in California called Hidden Valley Ranch. They started selling the popular creamy dressing at grocery stores, and eventually ended up selling the name and recipe for a cool 8 million dollars.

The original ranch dressing had buttermilk, mayonnaise and a mixture of herbs. How to make ranch dressing? Here are the ingredients you’ll need for a dressing you can whisk together in 5 minutes:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
  • Buttermilk (or milk plus vinegar)
  • Fresh chives (or dried chives)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
Ranch Dressing Recipe

Buttermilk vs milk in ranch dressing

Do you need actual buttermilk for homemade ranch dressing? No! A ranch dressing recipe works just as well with milk and a bit of vinegar. But for the most classic taste, it’s nice to try it at least once with actual fresh buttermilk. Here’s what to know about the differences:

  • Buttermilk is the original ingredient in ranch dressing. It adds a tangy flavor and makes a a glossy, thick texture to the dressing. You can definitely taste the difference! However, it’s not often that we stock buttermilk in our fridge.
  • A good substitute: milk and red wine or apple cider vinegar. Use just enough milk until the dressing comes to a drizzle-able texture (a few tablespoons should do). A pop of red wine or apple cider vinegar makes sure the dressing keeps its tangy character: you can use other types of vinegar to stand in if it’s all you have.

Got leftover buttermilk? Use it for Buttermilk Pancakes or Buttermilk Biscuits.

Use just one fresh herb, or all dried

This homemade ranch dressing recipe is easy because it uses only one fresh herb: and you can even use all dried herbs if you like! Herbs are easy in the summer when you might have them growing in pots or in a garden. But when it comes to the winter, fresh herbs can be very expensive! This recipe tastes incredible with dried herbs. Here’s what to know:

  • The only fresh herb you’ll need: chives. This makes the dressing very simple and inexpensive to put together. You also don’t need to use a blender: simply thinly slice the chives. It adds a beautifully fresh flavor to the dressing.
  • Or, substitute dried chives (or omit). Dried chives work in a pinch too! They have less flavor than fresh, but they add just the right “ranch” vibe. You can also omit the chives altogether if you don’t have access to them. We’ve found the dried dill is what gives even more of the characteristic flavor to this dressing: so don’t leave that out!
Homemade Ranch Dressing

How to make ranch dressing (and storage info)

Ranch dressing is quick and easy to make at home. There’s no special equipment or fancy techniques, and you can whisk it up in just 5 minutes.

  • Whisk together all ingredients. Keep in mind the notes from above: you can use milk and vinegar instead of buttermilk, and dried chives instead of fresh.
  • Add additional liquid as necessary. You can control the texture here! If you’d like it a little thinner for drizzling, add buttermilk or milk by the teaspoon.
  • Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. This dressing stores well: it tastes just as good over an entire 2 weeks of storage.

A healthy spin: use Greek yogurt

Want a healthier spin on ranch dressing? Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream! Greek yogurt has ⅓ less calories than sour cream, and adds a lovely tangy character to the flavor. You can substitute it as directed here, or go to our Healthy Ranch Dressing recipe. That recipe has just 38 calories per tablespoon, compared to around 100 for a standard salad dressing. This makes it fit our requirements for a healthy salad dressing recipe.

Homemade ranch dip
Ranch works as salad dressing or dip!

Ways to serve this homemade ranch dressing

Of course, there’s no wrong way to use ranch dressing! Drizzle it on salad greens or use it as a dip or ranch sauce: anything goes! Here are a few ways we like to use it:

How about you: how do you eat your ranch? Let us know in the comments below.

More salad dressing recipes

Homemade salad dressing is infinitely better! Here are some favorite salad dressing recipes to try at home:

This homemade ranch dressing recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 ¼ cups 1x
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  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream**
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (or 1 to 2 tablespoons milk plus 1 teaspoon red wine or apple cider vinegar*)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (or 1 teaspoon dried chives)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients. If desired, add buttermilk by the teaspoon to thin to the desired consistency. Store up to 1 week refrigerated.


*Buttermilk gives the classic flavor, it’s just as tasty with milk and vinegar. Use just enough milk for the dressing to come to a creamy, drizzle-able texture.

**For a healthier spin, substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream or go to Healthy Ranch Dressing.

  • Category: Dressing
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!