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Homemade ranch dressing is a snap to mix up! Use fresh or dried herbs to make this tangy, classic dressing you’ll drizzle on everything.
I’ve loved ranch dressing for as long as I can remember. I was definitely the kid who preferred fresh vegetables dipped in lots of ranch.
When I was a teenager I used to order bread bowls with ranch — no salad — at our local hangout restaurant.
Creamy, herby, and tangy, this dressing is perfect for just about anything.
Sure, it’s a salad staple, but it’s also excellent for baked potatoes, pizzas like chicken bacon ranch pizza, french fries, and breadsticks.
There are a lot of bottled versions of ranch dressing out there, but it’s super easy to make at home.
Who invented ranch dressing?
It should come as no surprise that the founder of Hidden Valley Ranch, Steve Henson, is the one who originally came up with the dressing.
His business started out as a mail-order dressing mix, but it proved so popular that in the 1970s Henson opened a factory to make enough to sell to supermarkets nationwide.
There have been competitors ever since and ranch flavoring started to be added to packaged foods like chips.
In 1992 it became the most popular dressing in the United States, cementing it as the staple we know and love today.
Ingredients for ranch dressing
So, what is in ranch dressing that makes it so special? Every ranch dressing recipe is slightly different, but it typically has a base of buttermilk with herbs, garlic, and spices.
Buttermilk – Buttermilk gives ranch dressing the tang we expect. Because it is thicker than regular milk, it makes the dressing wonderfully creamy.
Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise is a staple of creamy dressings. You can swap in sour cream or yogurt if you prefer, for a different taste.
Parsley – While some relegate parsley to garnish, it does have its own fresh taste that makes it great for dressings and dips.
You can use curly parsley or flat-leaf parsley, which resembles cilantro.
Dill – I love to use fresh dill in recipes. It has a strong flavor, so if you’re not a big dill fan you can reduce the amount.
Chives – Chives are great for adding a mild onion flavor to recipes. Choose fresh chives that are bright green with no browning or wilting for the best flavor.
Garlic powder – Make sure your garlic powder is fresh. It should smell like garlic! If you can, I recommend buying your garlic powder from a local spice shop, as it will be the most fresh and flavorful.
Onion powder – You probably already have onion powder in your pantry, but make sure it is fresh before using. Keep in mind that we are using the powder here, not dried minced onion.
Salt and black pepper – Added to taste
How to make ranch dressing from scratch
Even though I make dressing a lot, I’m always surprised by how quickly it comes together.
First, chop up your herbs finely.
I’m always tempted to use a paring knife, but this is easiest with a chef’s knife, using a rocking motion as you move down the length of the herb.
You can also use a mezzaluna, which is a curved knife with a handle on each end.
Grab a bowl and add the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Whisk until it is smooth.
If you like a thinner dressing, you can add more buttermilk at this point, or wait until after adding the herbs.
Add all of the herbs and half of the salt and pepper. Whisk until evenly combined.
Taste the dressing and add more salt and pepper if desired.
Pour it into a reusable container such as a mason jar or salad cruet and store in the refrigerator.
Homemade salad dressing does not last as long as packaged, so plan to use it within 3-4 days.
Making ranch dressing using dried ingredients
If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can also make this dressing using dried herbs, or ranch seasoning.
Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of dried ranch seasoning to ½ cup buttermilk and ½ cup mayonnaise.
Whisk together until completely blended, then taste and add more seasoning as desired.
There are lots of different ways you can customize your ranch dressing. Try adding any of these ingredients to your next batch.
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard or mustard powder
- White wine vinegar
- Fresh minced garlic
More homemade dressings to love
Now that you’ve made ranch dressing, try these!
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
- In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk and mayonnaise until smooth. Add parsley, dill, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, and half the salt and pepper. Whisk until blended. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- To make with dried herbs, use ? less amount. 1 tablespoon fresh herbs equals 1 teaspoon dried herbs.