Homemade Ranch Dressing

Whip up this homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe, and you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long! With just a few fresh items and pantry ingredients, you’re set for salad dressings, veggie dips, ranch marinades, and more.

Elise Bauer

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?)

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Elise Bauer

The Ingredients for Simple 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!

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.

Buttermilk Alternatives

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

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 12 servings
Yield 1 1/2 cups


  • 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)


  1. Mix the ingredients:

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

  2. Store:

    Keeps for 1 week, covered in the fridge.

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Salad
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
71 Calories
7g Fat
1g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 71
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 185mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 37mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.