Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

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This homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe comes together with simple spices from your pantry. It is fantastic as a healthy salad dressing or as dip for veggies.

Years ago, Clean Eating Magazine had a section in it for clean eating salad dressings. My eyes and ears really perked up when I saw this buttermilk ranch dressing recipe. Of all the things I sorely miss, it’s ranch dressing. I mean, there’s just NOTHING you can’t put it on. I even tried it on vanilla ice cream once, and it wasn’t half bad. Don’t judge.

The finished Buttermilk Ranch Dressing in a dressing bottle with a salad sitting behind it.

Is Buttermilk Dressing The Same As Ranch Dressing?

Technically, no. Buttermilk dressing is an old cowboy favorite from a bygone era. However, the ranch dressing we know today is a direct relation. At some point, somebody added mayonnaise and herbs to buttermilk dressing to make the ranch dressing we know today.

Do You Need Mayonnaise For Ranch Dressing?

This recipe omits mayo strictly for the purpose of being a healthier dressing. That being said, there are healthy mayonnaises out there that could work perfectly well here. Mayo will thicken the dressing a bit as well as add some flavor nuances that are specific to ranch dressing.

Is it the same without it? Yes and no. It will still taste like ranch thanks to the herbs and buttermilk. The difference is the thickness (fat content) and richness that ranch can sometimes have with the addition of enough mayo.

Should you wish to add it here, simply add equal amounts of buttermilk and mayonnaise. You can, over course, experiment with ratios. You can start out with just a tablespoon or so, and move up from there until you have a flavor you like.

A spoon lifts some of this Buttermilk Ranch Dressing up out of a mixing bowl and towards the camera.

How To Make Your Own Ranch Mix

If healthier eating is your goal, I strongly suggest making your own ranch mix. It’s a simple process of mixing some standard herbs together in a bowl.

Store-bought ranch mix is filled with lots of unhealthy and even synthetic ingredients and preservatives that are very highly processed and developed to be addicting for many people. And while using your own mix might taste slightly different, with time, you won’t miss the old stuff at all. In fact, you’ll come to prefer your own mix like I have. These days, the store-bought stuff makes me want to gag.

And don’t be afraid to make a good-sized batch of ranch mix! Dressing and dip are not its only use. Homemade ranch mix is fabulous on chicken as well!

Here’s the recipe for making your own homemade ranch mix in minutes.

How To Make Ranch Dip

Okay, so you made ranch mix and ranch dressing, but now you want a ranch dip. Not a problem! For dip, I highly recommend using less buttermilk and more yogurt so you get the thicker consistency. And when it come to dip, a little added (healthy) mayo can be a good thing too. Consistency is key and really the only difference between dressing and dip in this case.

How To Make Buttermilk

Making buttermilk is not difficult or time consuming. In fact, it’s pretty darn simple. So if you don’t want to buy a whole carton to make a small amount of dressing, here’s how to make buttermilk from scratch.

Buttermilk Ratio

1 Tbsp. of acid + 1 cup of full fat milk

Choices of acid:
Lemon juice
White vinegar

The individual ingredients for this Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe in separate bowls and plates.

Ranch Dressing Ingredients

For the herbs, I recommend using the dried herbs as indicated. However, if you prefer fresh herbs and have them handy, the suggestions below are on the low side on purpose. You can adjust up from there to suite your tastes.

5 tbsp. buttermilk – This is the regular, full fat buttermilk you buy in a carton at the store. You can opt for low fat buttermilk if you wish, but it will be more processed and make a much thinner dressing.

3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt – Here again, I opt for full fat so that the consistency is not so different from a store bought ranch. However, if fat content is a thing for you, you can certainly use a lower fat Greek yogurt. Just keep in mind that the lower in fat a food is, the more heavily processed it is.

¼ tsp. onion powder – You can also use onion granules if that’s what you have.

¼ tsp. dried dill – Or use 1 tsp. fresh dill if you prefer. But shop it fine.

½ tsp. dried parsley – Here again, you can try about 1 tsp. of finely chopped fresh parsley if you prefer. I like the curly parsley better than the flat leaf (Italian) parsley for this recipe.

½ tsp. dried chives – Or for fresh herbs, chop fine and use 1 tsp. or more to taste.

½ tsp. salt – I used a pink Himalayan salt. But use what you have on hand. Avoid coarse salts.

½ tsp. ground, black pepper – Or more to taste

A green salad with cut cucumbers and tomatoes in a white bowl with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing drizzled over the top.

How To Make Ranch Dressing

Using a whisk, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and evenly blended.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe Notes

The one thing about the recipe that I didn’t care for was the use of fresh herbs. Now, before you cross your eyes and say “whatever, Tiffany”, it’s not that I don’t like fresh herbs. Quite the contrary. I love them. I just don’t use them much in the winter months. They are a total summer thing for me. Don’t ask me why. They just are. And I hate buying bundles of herbs at the store. They are super expensive, and I inevitably end up throwing away a huge portion because I only needed them for one single recipe. So I adapted the Clean Eating Magazine recipe to use entirely dried herbs out of my pantry.

I might not pour it over vanilla ice cream ever again (okay, so maybe it wasn’t that great), but you can bet I’ll be pouring it on a lot of other things in the near future.

An overhead shot of the green salad with ranch dressing on top.

How Long Can You Store Homemade Ranch Dressing?

On average, this dressing will keep for 4-5 days. This is why I formulated the recipe to make a smaller amount than I normally would.

Need Supplies?

More Healthy Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

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The finished Buttermilk Ranch Dressing in a dressing bottle with a salad sitting behind it.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

This homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe comes together with simple spices from your pantry. It is fantastic as a clean eating salad dressing or dip for veggies.
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Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 tbsp.
Calories: 11kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

Equipment

  • Small to medium mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. dried dill
  • ½ tsp. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp. dried chives
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground, black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Using a whisk, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and evenly blended.
    The Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe ingredients mixed together in a small mixing bowl

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tbsp. | Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 42mg | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 2.4mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 3/12/10.

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136 Comments

  1. How long does this keep in the refrigerator?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shari – Just taking a guess here because we’ve always finished it before it went bad but I would say between 3-4 weeks.

  2. Now that you are dairy free, do you still make this? What do you use to substitute? Also, can you please share what resources(s) you use to go dairy free? I am heading down this route as well and feeling overwhelmed! TIA!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Dana – I haven’t used any resources. I just quit eating dairy. It was tough, I won’t lie. No resource will make it an easy adjustment. You have to get used to the world of non-dairy products such as almond milk or coconut milk. It’s a hard change. But if you keep at it, eventually you realized you’ve gotten used to the new flavors. I make this recipe for Mini Chef from time to time, but I don’t eat it myself. The only thing I’ve tried is mixing the spices into some mayo and adding a bit of water to make it more fluid. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked at the time.

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