Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Did you know that ranch dressing is the number one most popular type of salad dressing sold in America? Overtaking even the omnipresent Italian.

According to Robb Walsh of the Houston Press Ranch likely got its start as buttermilk dressing, a cowboy favorite because buttermilk was widely available in the early part of the last century.

Ranch dressing is essentially a buttermilk mayonnaise dressing spiffed up with herbs. It was popularized by Clorox, when they figured out a way to make their Hidden Valley brand shelf stable. (According to Slate, the dressing is shelf stable to 150 days or about 5 months. A rather scary thought.)

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing


Ranch dressing is very easy to make, especially if you have leftover buttermilk from baking, or making pancakes or soda bread. The base is just buttermilk and mayonnaise. Everything else you essentially just add to taste — some dry mustard, salt and pepper, a little paprika, herbs like chives, onion greens, parsley and/or dill. Add some crumbled blue cheese, and you have a luscious blue cheese dressing.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)


1 In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.

Keeps for a week, covered in the fridge.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on Simply Recipes. Thank you!


America's love-affair with ranch dressing - Slate article by Brendan I. Koerner

The Pizza and Ranch Dressing Rebellion - Houston Press article by Robb Walsh

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Never miss a recipe!

Subscribe to Simply Recipes free via email:

Showing 4 of 43 Comments

  • Alex D.

    I love to add a bit of chipoltle powder, or the adobo sauce from a can of chipoltes to ranch dressing. That’ll get me excited about eating an otherwise boring salad.

  • Gary in Massena

    Hmmm… That would look (not to mention taste) good over wedges of iceberg!

  • Kristina

    I sub in sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt with excellent results (I’m not a fan of mayonnaise so I rarely have it around).

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    This is definitely a time to use some of the powdered buttermilk from your pantry, too. Each packet makes one cup of buttermilk — just the right amount!

    Powdered buttermilk? That’s new to me! What a brilliant idea. So many recipes call for buttermilk and I always have to make a run to the store. Thanks Lydia, as usual, you are a treasure trove of great advice. ~Elise

View More Comments / Leave a Comment