If you are looking for a KILLER Homemade Ranch, YOU FOUND IT! This Buttermilk Ranch Dressing has become a staple in our fridge. It is easy to make with pantry ingredients, and the taste is off the charts!
Use this Homemade Ranch Dressing as a dip, a salad dressing, or a spread on sandwiches and wraps. The possibilities are endless!
Making Ranch Dressing at home is EASY!
Ranch dressing. For this Texas girl, it is close to a religion. To say I LOVE ranch dressing, might even be an understatement.
As a self proclaimed Ranch connoisseur, I have been on a mission to PERFECT a ranch dressing recipe that can rival the best restaurant ranch dressing out there. I’m talking Outback, Chili’s, and Jim ‘n Nicks, to name a few.
While their recipes are proprietary, and I can’t say this is an exact restaurant copycat recipe, I will tell you that this homemade ranch recipe is by far delicious enough to easily stand up to any of your favorite restaurant ranch dressings, and here’s why:
- Thick and creamy – No watery ranch allowed!
- Perfectly seasoned– the herbs and spices make all the difference
- Buttermilk base– Gives it all the tangy goodness
If you have never had homemade ranch, I apologize, because this is going to spoil the bottled stuff for you forever. It is just that good.
How to Make Ranch Dressing
This recipe is super easy as promised! I am going to share my notes and tips on how to make this recipe to get the very best results. Hopefully this will answer any questions that pop up along the way.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full printable recipe card!
Ranch Dressing Ingredients
To make the very best ranch, we are going to use a blend on herbs and spices combined with a base of buttermilk, sour cream, and pickle juice!
Herbs + Spices
To season the ranch dressing we will use a combination of:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Onion flakes
You can make the ranch dressing just using these spices as directed in the recipe, OR, my favorite way to do it is to make a big batch of dry ranch mix and just use 2 tbsp combined with the “wet” ingredients.
Having the dry ranch mix on hand is awesome because not only does it make this recipe super quick and easy, but it also works well to season meat, potatoes, and veggies.
Buttermilk + Sour Cream + Pickle Juice
The last 3 ingredients are key in getting both the flavor and consistency we want in a perfect ranch dressing!
Buttermilk is a must for the classic ranch flavor. It is tangy and adds a delicious depth to the flavor.
Although, I always use traditional buttermilk, if you don’t have buttermilk you can make a substitute easily by placing 1 tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar in a 1 cup measure then filling it the rest of the way with milk. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then stir and use.
Sour cream aids in the thick creamy consistency and helps with the tang in the ranch.
Dill pickle juice is the secret ingredient in a really delicious southern style creamy ranch dressing. You can just buy any jar of dill pickles (spears or slices) and use the juice from the pickles.
There really isn’t much magic in the method for making ranch dressing.
Dump the ingredients all in together and mix them up. I find that it is helpful to use a small whisk since it blends the thin and thick liquids really easily and avoids clumps.
You can also make ranch easily by placing all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blending until well mixed.
I will mention my homemade Ranch Mix here one more time, because if you love ranch, having this on hand makes it so easy to make in a moments notice. It is super easy to make, and will store up to a year on the shelf, but it never lasts long in my house!
The other important thing to note on the instructions is that the flavor will continue to develop as the dressing sits. If you need to use it right away, it will be good. If you can wait an hour or two, it will be even better!
- Avocado Ranch Dressing– Replace the pickle juice with lime juice and add 1 whole ripe avocado, peeled and chopped. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
- Chipotle Ranch Dressing– Replace the pickle juice with lime juice and add 1-3 peppers (depending on how spicy you want it) from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, -OR- 1-3 tsp of chipotle chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it.) Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth. I think the whole peppers give better flavor but I have used both options when I am in a pinch!
- Jalapeno Ranch Dressing– Replace the pickle juice with lime juice, or jalapeño juice if you like it extra spicy. Add 4 oz jarred jalapenos, sliced or chopped. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix until smooth.
- Yogurt Ranch Dressing – Replace the sour cream with greek yogurt and make as directed.
- BBQ Ranch Dressing – Make the ranch dressing as directed, then stir in 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and mix until blended.
- Salsa Ranch Dressing – Make the ranch dressing as directed, then stir in 1/2 cup salsa and mix until blended. If you want it to be super smooth, you can blend it in the food processor or with a blender.
Ideas for Serving Ranch Dressing
As a Dressing
Ranch dressing most traditionally dresses a salad. It works well with a few different kids of salads including:
- Side salad with iceberg, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese and croutons
- Wedge salad
- Chef salad
- Chicken Cobb Salad – my personal fave!
- Taco salad – plain or with one of the ranch variations above
Beyond salad, ranch works well drizzled over meats, with buffalo chicken, as a topping on baked potatoes, etc.
As a Dip
Ranch dip is a great appetizer for a party, bbq, pot luck, or can be served to accompany main dishes for dipping.
You can use the ranch dressing as is, for a dip. If you prefer a thicker dip, you can replace the buttermilk with additional sour cream which will give the ranch dip a thicker consistency.
Here are a few of our go-to ranch dip serving ideas:
- Chicken Tenders – we love these homemade baked tenders!
- Crock Pot Honey BBQ Wings
- Potato chips – I especially like it with ruffles!
As a Spread
I think there is little better than a big, loaded, delicious sandwich. Not a boring one, but one packed with flavor and deliciousness! This ranch dressing makes a great spread for all sorts of sandwich variations.
Try it on:
- Lettuce Wraps
If you can’t tell, we are a wee bit obsessed with ranch around here! When you make it from scratch, it is just too good to pass up!
If you have a favorite dish to use ranch with that I missed, drop me a comment below so I can give it a try!
This ranch dressing is not only delicious, but it is friendly for many dietary needs and can be modified to meet others.
- Gluten Free– This recipe is naturally gluten free. Please verify compliance on any store bought ingredients.
- Low Carb/ Keto – With approx. 1 net carb per serving, this ranch dressing is low carb and friendly for the keto diet.
- Dairy Free/ Paleo / Whole30- While this recipe is not dairy free, you can use the same seasoning mix to make a dairy free ranch dressing with this recipe.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing FAQ’s
What is the difference between buttermilk ranch and regular ranch?
The short answer is NOTHING! Traditional ranch dressing includes buttermilk as a key component to the flavor, so it is just a difference in what the dressing is called, not the actual recipe.
Buttermilk dressing differs from ranch dressing based on the seasonings added.
What I can use if I don’t have buttermilk?
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a quick and easy buttermilk substitute with common pantry ingredients. All you need is:
- lemon juice or white vinegar
To make the buttermilk substitute:
- Place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup.
- Pour milk over the lemon juice or vinegar to fill the cup measure.
- Let sit for 10 min.
- Stir and use as buttermilk.
How long does homemade ranch last?
Since this dressing contains buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream, it is important to store it in the refrigerator.
When the Ranch Dressing is stored in the refrigerator, it can last up to a week.
Is ranch dressing healthy?
Ranch dressing can be friendly for some diet types. This ranch dressing recipe is naturally gluten free, low carb, and keto friendly.
You can substitute greek yogurt in the recipe (see notes above) to lighten the dressing up and make it healthier.
More Homemade Dressing Recipes
If you love homemade salad dressings, I have many more to share with you! I hope you find them all just as delicious as this one.
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Homemade Creamy Gorgonzola
- Balsamic Dressing
- Creamy Italian Dressing
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1/2 tsp dried chives
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp dill pickle juice, (optional)
- Mix the spices together, or use 2 tbsp of Dry Ranch seasoning mix.
- Combine the seasonings, mayo, sour cream, half of the buttermilk and pickle juice and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining buttermilk until it is the desired thickness.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour up to overnight for flavors to combine and then serve chilled. Enjoy!