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.
What is Ranch 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, bottled ranch dressing is shelf stable to 150 days or about 5 months. Scary thought, don't you think?)
The Ingredients for Simple Ranch Dressing
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!
Are Fresh or Dried Herbs Best for Ranch Dressing?
If possible, choose fresh herbs to make ranch dressing with the brightest flavor. If dried herbs are what you have on hand, by all means, feel free to swap them in. As a general rule of thumb, use about one-third the quantity of dried herbs in place of fresh herbs.
Don't have buttermilk on hand? Here's what you can substitute instead:
- Plain Greek or non-Greek yogurt: If the consistency is too thick, thin it out with a little milk.
- Sour cream: You'll want to thin this one out with a little milk as well.
- Kefir: You can use this fermented milk drink just as you would use buttermilk.
- Non-dairy: Try a combination of half non-dairy sour cream and half non-dairy milk to match the creaminess and tanginess of buttermilk.
- Buttermilk substitute: A quick buttermilk substitute made by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk might work for pancakes or muffins, but we don't recommend it for this recipe because it doesn't have the flavor or body to make a great dressing.
How Long Can You Store Buttermilk Ranch Dressing?
Your homemade dressing will keep for up to a week, refrigerated in an airtight container.
Ways to Use Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Pasta Salad with Corn, Bacon, and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Sheet Pan Ranch Pork Chops
- Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with Ranch Sauce
- Cabbage and Kale Slaw with Caraway Ranch Dressing
- Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings
Homemade Ranch Dressing
- 1 cup well-shaken 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 ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill (or 1 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.