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Homemade Buttermilk Ranch 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!

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?

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
Elise Bauer

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

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Yields 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.


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