Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

SaladButtermilkSalad Dressing

Making your own homemade ranch dressing is EASY! All you need is buttermilk, mayo, some spices and fresh herbs. So much better than store bought!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Featured in 12 Recipes to Use Up Buttermilk

Did you know that ranch dressing is the number one most popular type of salad dressing sold in America?

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It’s even more popular than Italian dressing.

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. Scary thought, don’t you think?)

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)


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.

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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 Salad

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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49 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kathy Dempsey

    Very good.


  2. Jake

    I first got into Hidden Valley Ranch dressing at the Hidden Valley Ranch Restaurant in Santa Barbara in the early 1970s.

    Robb Walsh of the Houston Press didn’t do his research.

    Second favorite dressing .

    I look forward to trying your recipe, since it has no added MSG, unlike both the commercial dry mixes and premade shelf types.

  3. becky

    good but I would leave out the salt and taste it first. I didn’t think it would need salt but followed the directions anyway – it was too salty.


  4. Jen

    Sour!!! I followed the directions to a “t”
    Maybe it doesn’t need the lemon juice?


    Show Replies (1)
  5. Nicole

    Yes, yes,yes. I added garlic to this recipe and let it sit overnight. Exactly what i was hoping for. Thank you for the great recipe!


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Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing