Best Homemade Ranch Dressing & Dip

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After many years of trying all kinds of homemade ranch dressing recipes- both dry mixes and the complete dressing – I finally came up with a recipe our whole family likes.

There was always something that just wasn’t “right” about the other recipes I tried.

There was too much dill.
Or not enough garlic.
Too salty.
Or too bland.

Then I’d find a coupon for Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing and I’d forget about the homemade for awhile. But even on sale and with a coupon, Newman’s Own is not cheap. And I knew that ranch dressing is just sour cream (or mayo), buttermilk and some spices. Hardly expensive stuff.

So I went back to my recipes and combined and adapted to come up with something that’s simple, tasty, frugal (a batch costs about $1.35), and REAL.

AND passed the taste test with our ranch-aholic: my son. Whew.

I just use a pint jar to mix everything for this dressing- it has a wide-enough opening and I can shake it up right in the jar. However, if you’d like to keep it in a smaller-mouth dressing container, feel free to use a whisk and mix it up in a quart measuring cup before pouring into your container.

Start by mixing sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Don’t be tempted to skip the lemon juice- I really think it makes it so much fresher tasting.

A note on buttermilk: few years ago I realized that, for the most part, what they sell in the stores as “buttermilk” is not true buttermilk (the milk extracted during the process of making butter), but a milk with thickeners and often preservatives added to it. Since this is what I’d like to avoid (hello?) and I don’t have access to real buttermilk, I always make a “faux buttermilk” with vinegar and regular milk (for this recipe, a 1/2 c. milk mixed with 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar).


Oh, and another note about the sour cream: check the label!

If you don’t make your own (it’s on my to-do list one day…), you’ll want to find a sour cream that contains only cream like the one listed above (which is Daisy Brand, by the way). Compare this with the ingredients on most of the other store brands which list at least 10 ingredients including fillers, preservatives, and thickeners.

Some ranch recipes call for mayonnaise instead of sour cream. We like sour cream for a couple of reasons: it creates a thicker dressing that works for a dip and with just a little thinning with milk can coat lettuce, and we like the flavor better. Plus, since I make my own mayonnaise, we pretty much save it for sandwiches and stuff!


Once the wet ingredients are mixed, add the garlic and dry spices, and mix well.


Um, yeah, that’s pretty much it. Seems silly that I’d ever take the time to buy this stuff- that was like, what- 5 minutes? Well, I’ve mended my ways…

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AOC’s Best Ranch Dressing & Dip 

  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (add 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar to milk to equal 1/2 c. if you can’t find real buttermilk)
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. dried parsley, or 3 TB. chopped fresh
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp. dried dill (to taste) or 1 tsp. fresh
  1. Combine sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a pint jar or quart mixing bowl. Shake or whisk to mix well.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and shake (or whisk) again until well combined. If using a bowl, transfer to a dressing container with lid. *NOTE: If you like your dressing thicker, mix the sour cream and seasonings first, then add the buttermilk slowly until you reach the desired consistency.*
  3. Refrigerate one or more hours before using, and taste to adjust seasonings after dressing.
  4. For a thicker dip: increase sour cream by 1/4 cup (or, conversely, add more milk, a little at a time if a thinner consistency is desired).
  5. Shake well before each use.

Makes about 1-1/4 cup of dressing.

-Jami

This is linked to Prairie Story’s Recipe Swap, Pennywise Platter, and Frugal Friday.

Comments

  1.  says

    I’ve always wondered how to replace the buttermilk in recipes (you cannot get in Argentina). Thanks for your “faux buttermilk” recipe. It will surely come in handy not only for this dressing but for a myriad of other recipes in my cooking book.

  2.  Coley says

    Can’t wait to try this, we’ve been on the hunt for “the” recipe too. How long do you think it keeps after mixed?

  3.  Esther@fleurcottage says

    i’m w/ you all the way w/ store dips/dressings – so full of foreign ingredients. i’m adding this to my favorites!

  4.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Coley- Hope this is “the one” for you, too! We’ve had it for up to a month and it’s fine- it separates, so needs to be mixed, but that’s all. May even last longer. :-)

  5.  Gina says

    Thanks so much! I have not been totally pleased with any of the Ranch recipes I’ve tried. So I’m trying yours next!
    Gina

  6.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Extraordinary- I’m not a dill fan myself and usually leave it out of dishes. But when I was researching this, dill seemed to be “the herb” for ranch and since I was trying to get the ranch flavor my son likes, I went with the dill.

    As in everything in cooking, it’s up to you- that’s one of the reasons we make things ourselves: to make them just what WE like. :-)

  7.  says

    Thank you so much for sharing! I have gone without ranch for a couple of years now, because of all the crazy ingredients. Like the Hidden Valley ranch packet (which I used to consider “homemade’ lol, was my favorite, mmm…) but it contains MSG, yuck! So thanks again, I can’t wait to try this out!

    •  says

      Shila – Would you be so kind as to share your whole milk greek yogurt from scratch recipe with us? Also, any hints or tips you may have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

  8.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Shila- Oh, sure- I often replace sour cream with yogurt. They flavor changes a bit, but probably not as much with Greek yogurt (it’s usually more mild to my taste).

    How do you get your homemade Greek yogurt as stiff as store-bought? My yogurt is usually runnier than my family likes. :-(

    •  karen says

      A mixture of ranch blue cheese ….Home made yogurt drained, white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice I prefer the vinegar , a little bit of olive oil and seasonings to get taste you are desiring , garlic and BLUE Cheese shake well and taste GREAT!
      My new go to for pasta salad, green toss salad with hard cooked eggs tomatoes mush,beets onions black beans a GREAT MEAL!

  9.  SMASH says

    I found this on Pinterest and LOVED it. Thanks for sharing. I want to repin on Pinterest for all my friends to make but I can’t get the hang of Pinterest(:

  10.  Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Smash- So glad you like this! I’m sorry though, that you’re having a hard time with Pinterest- I resisted for awhile (just one more thing to do!), but now it’s one of my favorite things to do and a useful tool. It’s key to have a “pin it” in your bookmarks bar, so whenever you see something you can hit that button and it will pin to one of your boards you pick. I’d be curious to know what part you’re having trouble with- I’d love to help, if I could!

    -Jami

  11.  Anonymous says

    Oh, thanks so much for your recipe! Bottled ranch never tastes “right” to me, or it’s way too thick and globby. Globby… is that a word? Anyway, thank you!

  12.  Anonymous says

    I use lemon juice and milk to make buttermilk, so I wonder how it would turn out if the vinegar was left out?

  13.  Anonymous says

    This was awesome! My search is over. I did make two little Changes due to mine being a little to sour(probably from the lemon and the vinegar
    to make the buttermilk). I added two tsp. Sugar and one T mayo. It was heaven!

  14.  Anonymous says

    I haven’t been able to make a Ranch recpie that I’m satisfied with either ..I will be giving this a try. I think I’ll also try using Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Thanks for the inspiration ! Also…we have to read ALL the labels on everything these days !

  15.  Anonymous says

    I have moved to the UK from Canada and- shock, horror!- they do not have ranch dressing here! Thanks for the recipe! Incidentally, they do not have graham crackers(no s’mores!) or dill pickles either…I will try to reform this backwards country :o)

  16.  KandisInMi says

    Jami, to get your yogurt thicker, put 2 layers of paper towel in a sieve over a bowl, and dump your yogurt into it, then fold the corners and edges of the towels over to cover the yogurt. I usually put a stack of 3 or 4 bowls on top for weight, which speeds up the process of draining out excess whey; I usually get the thickness I desire after 45 minutes to an hour this way. Or, pop the whole set-up into the fridge for several hours or overnight. You may have to experiment to get the exact consistency you’re after. And, don’t throw out the whey; it’s loaded with protein, and you can use it as the liquid in cake or muffin batters, breadmaking, cooking water for potatoes, and many other applications. Or use it to water acid-loving plants!

  17.  Anonymous says

    Just made this and even without letting it marry, it tastes pretty good! thanks for the recipe!

    •  says

      We’ve had it for up to a month and it’s fine- it does separate, so it needs to be mixed. It may even last longer, but I wouldn’t know. :-)

      I have noticed it gets thinner as it ages, so if I want to use it as a dip I’ll add another tablespoon of sour cream and then taste for salt.

      Hope you like it!

  18.  Anonymous says

    Wos, thank you for sharing. I have made many other dressings, French, Bleu Cheese, Honey Mustard, Italian, Thousand Island, but could never make a satisfactory Ranch~ will make it and then make it dairy free for myself. Thanks again

  19.  says

    This is really, really good! I make my own butter so after the process I have true buttermilk that I used. I’ll never buy the market ranch dressing again. Thanks! If anyone is interested…pour heavy whipping cream in a food processor and turn it on. Once the cream seperates you not only have butter but you have the buttermilk for baking or ranch dressing. Takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Youtube it, very, very, very easy…haven’t bought butter in over a year.

    •  Andee says

      I make my own butter as well, I’ve researched “buttermilk” and found many definitions. I assumed buttermilk meant the milk left over from making butter, but I’ve determined that it is really a cultured product which can be made from that milk left after making butter, but now-a-days, it can be made from skim milk.
      So you just used the milk left from butter making straight from the bowl, right? You didn’t culture it first? I will be so happy if you say yes, because I have been struggling to find a use for it without figuring out the whole culturing bit. It usually ends up on the dog’s food. :/

      •  says

        I didn’t, Andee, I just used the lemon or vinegar with milk technique. :( Don’t despair, though – if I were you I’d try it with the milk left from making butter and see if you like it!! Or add a bit of vinegar to that for tang if it doesn’t have enough. Play with it, but you’re right, I wouldn’t want to throw it away, either. :)

  20.  says

    Ah! You are my hero! We’re trying to switch over to a more natural and whole foods kind of diet after my research into some of prepared food’s ingredients scared the bejeeves out of me! I’m so glad I found your site — looks like it will become a new favorite stopping spot!

    SO excited to try out this recipe!

  21.  Anonymous says

    I was so thrilled to see your recipe on Pinterest! My son has an egg allergy and we need to steer clear from most dressings, as so many are mayonaise based. I’ve always felt sorry that he can’t experience the joy of ranch dressing, and now he can! God bless you and God bless Pinterest! I’ll be making this today!

  22.  says

    Is there any substitution for buttermilk for people allergic to milk? I have found substitute for everything else except buttermilk, any help is greatly apppreciated.

  23.  Anonymous says

    This tastes great! Thanks for sharing, even my 4 year old loves it – minus the pepper of course :0)

    We just added the vinegar to almond milk, and it worked great, we do that for baking recipes that call for buttermilk, too. We’ve also tried this recipe with yoghurt instead of sour cream and like it.

  24.  says

    This sounds fantastic – your little bit about the butter milk being the milk left over from making butter – have you ever made your own butter? Take whipping cream and shake the living daylights out it for about 15 min – voila – your own homemade butter. You can add salt if you want but it is very creamy and I guess then you also have some butter milk as a side

  25.  says

    Great recipe, you may have stumbled upon another fun thing for kids to do. If you shake the daylights out of a cup of heavy whipping cream you get a very nice butter and I guess you also get butter milk. The cream turns to whipped cream for a minute and as you keep shaking it eventually “breaks” and the two separate. One is a butter – the more you shake the heavier your butter gets and also the butter milk is there as well.

  26.  Mindy says

    This is good…haven’t made our salads yet, just letting it marry for a bit. I followed directions and ingredients completely, and at this point, it tastes very garlicky, but I suppose *1 garlic clove* is so subjective…mine was too large I guess! It’s still good, too garlicky or not though. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll definitely try it with Greek yogurt for my husband though!

  27.  AndiW says

    Hi Jami!
    I LOVE your approach to instructing. Yours is the only blog (AOC) that I actually take the time to read. Adore the grouping for fresh dressings!! YAY! Very much looking forward to trying and putting less garbage in my/our bodies. Also, a comment about ‘faux’ buttermilk. Because I’ve had recipes for cookies and muffins that call for soured milk and have always used apple cider vinegar with milk, recipes that have called for buttermilk received 1/2 and 1/2 with the cider vinegar. Our housemate just made Irish Soda bread yesterday with that soured cream. Yum! Thank you for sharing your lifestyle this way. Talented, practical, creative and frugal. There’re more adjectives but I’ll quit. ;) Thanks, Jami. :D

    •  says

      Oooo, using 1/2&1/2 instead of milk? Brilliant! I bet it makes a richer product. I’m definitely going to try that next time – thanks for all your sweet, encouraging words, Andi. :)

  28.  Erin says

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I especially love that there’s no mayo needed, and you don’t even miss it! My entire family loved this recipe, even my 2 picky eaters who are very particular about their Ranch dressing… in my 4-year-old’s words, “this ranch is AWESOME” with a big thumbs up. Thank you!!

  29.  says

    I made this for the third time today, but I didn’t have any sour cream, so I used Greek Yogurt. The consistency seemed good and it tastes like real ranch- a little tangy :) Thanks again for great salad dressings!

  30.  jessi says

    just made this and…..WOW! Every pregnant woman’s dream. I only started to think about making my own when i bought a bottle of Hidden Valley and it gave me the WORST heartburn EVER! So I decided to give this recipe a try and all I can say is THANK YOU! It’s delicious and what i’ll be eating forever. My friend who is also pregnant immediately went to the store to get the ingredients and is hooked just like me!

  31.  Amy B says

    This recipe for homemade ranch dressing is amazing!!!!! It’s like the ranch of my dreams, fabulous taste, so easy to make, and can make it as low fat/low calorie to fit your diet needs!

  32.  Katie says

    I make my own ranch too, and it’s similar to yours. I keep the dry ingredients mixed up so I can whip up a fresh batch quickly. It’s also nice to have ranch seasoning on hand to shake on popcorn, crackers, or chicken!

  33.  Tara says

    I’ve been making this for a year now. My kids absolutely love it. They dip veggies in it and put it on sandwiches. I leave out the dill, but otherwise I follow the recipe exactly. My 9 year old tells people all the time that I make the best ranch. Even better than the store stuff. Love that!

    •  says

      Of course, use what you have, Slind – I’m always for that. I just like it with fresh garlic better – but there’s always next time!

    •  says

      Quite awhile, Cori, though it does get thinner the longer it sits. If I need to thicken it, I add a tablespoon or so of sour cream and a bit more salt and it’s good to go!

  34.  says

    I’m a ranch snob and definitely want to try this, but with any other secrets you may have added/changed since you first posted this. Are there any? Thanks.

    •  says

      I have used half greek yogurt and half sour cream, Tonya, which is good. You could probably replace all the sour cream, but I know I’d taste the yogurt too much for me, so I don’t. But otherwise I make it as written – we love it!! I always like it with a bit more salt, and I know the store-bought varieties are heavy on salt, so maybe that’s what I was used to – the salt is really to taste, though. I hope you like it as much as we do. :)

  35.  Dee says

    I was about to try this ranch dressing/dip recipe when I realized that the lemon juice used was not specific…from concentrate or fresh squeezed? ….or will it make a difference?

  36.  Brenda Seng says

    Greetings!
    So glad to have stumbled across your site. I will definitely be trying this recipe!
    Do you happen to have a recipe for homemade sour cream?
    I live in a country where sour cream is not available.
    Thanks in advance! And thanks for all the excellent tips and recipes :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] We enjoy kefir sweetened with maple syrup or molasses. I use it in our smoothies. I use this to soak grains overnight (that will be another post). I often use this in place of buttermilk.  I also add the grains to heavy whipping cream. This makes a thick, rich, sour cream type substance.  I use this in place of sour cream and to make ranch dressing/dip. […]

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