Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Recipe

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


  • Small to medium mixing bowl
  • Whisk


  • 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


  • 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


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


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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  1. graciouspantry says:

    Awesome! Glad it worked out!

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Sure! The flavor won’t be as intense because there is no MSG in it. But yes, you can use it that way.

  3. I love this recope!!! I’m a ranch a holic and am so glad to have a clean substitute!!

  4. Godsgirl42 says:

    This is so awesome! We love the dressing so much that we won’t go back to store bought! How long can I keep this in the fridge?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      I would say about 1 1/2 weeks, give or take.

  5. tiffibean13 says:

    you subbed almond milk for the buttermilk? Cause I love me some almond milk!!

  6. could the seasoning be used as a dry dressing mix to make ranch nuggets or chicken?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sure! Just mix them in with bread crumbs instead of the buttermilk. Maybe dip the chicken in buttermilk with a little egg beaten in.

  7. This is SOOOO yummy! Thank you so much for posting it and by the way I am seriously addicted to your website !

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I made this tonight to go with Buffalo Cauliflower. So good! I thought I would be tricky and add a wee bit more spice, but I won’t next time. The ratio is perfect as is. (It’s just my nature to think more is better…not always the case!) Also, I ground all my spices with a mortar and pestle for the picky eaters and that worked great. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I have been following you, via Facebook, for a while now and love hearing about your life. Nice to hear about your everyday life….makes you seem so much realer! Thanks:)

  10. I just made this and I’m SO happy. I can never find a ranch dressing I actually like and this is AMAZING. Just next time I’m going to put a wee bit less salt in it! haha. THANK YOU! c:

  11. Hi!
    I really want to try this clean ranch dressing, however I just found out I need to stay away from dairy products which were causing a hormonal imbalance and an over production of mucus. Sorry I know that sounds gross. Is there at least a substitute for the buttermilk I could try?


    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Not unless you want to use cashew cream. But I’m not sure the flavor would be very good for this. I’ve had to give up dairy too. I’ve just gotten used to other dressings. Sorry, wish I could be more help on this one.

  12. Hi there! Tastes amazing, however mine was super liquid-y. Did you use powder buttermilk and add water or just use plain liquid buttermilk? I added 1/2 cup of greek yogurt just to get some texture. I made your chicken salad sooo yummy with it. thanks for sharing

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Felisha – I just used regular, low-fat buttermilk (now I would use full fat and organic, live and learn). I suppose it could be the brand of buttermilk. Maybe some are thicker than others.

  13. Alison Moore Smith says:

    I recently found you through Pinterest. So many yummy things! Can’t wait to try them.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alison – I hope you enjoy my recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I just made this and the flavors are awesome. I had to sour some regular milk since I don’t have buttermilk, so I am assuming that is why it is a bit thin. I added some arrowroot powder and put it in the fridge. I am using it on a Cobb Salad I’m making with homemade Seitan (first time I made that too). My motto is, if it’s terrible there is always take out!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lisa – LOL! Well, that’s one way to look at it I guess! ๐Ÿ˜€ Glad you liked it!

  15. How long does this stay good for?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – I’d say a week or two. Possibly three. It never lasted long enough around here for me to find out!

  16. I can’t wait to try this! But I have a question- I have dill seed (left over from canning green tomato pickles), not dried dill. Would that work?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Haley – I’ve never used dill seed, so it’s hard for me to say. I would go off the flavor. If it gives a nice, dill flavor, then I would imagine it would be okay.

  17. Hey Tiffany great recipe, I’ve been using one similar to this for years. I am also a dairy free person and I know from experience that mayonnaise instead of buttermilk works great. I know that may not be clean, I just know it works an tastes yummy. Dill seed would not, from my experience (i love dill) work like dill in this recipe as dill seed needs to cook for several hours in something to impart its flavor. As dill is the primary flavor in ranch, I’d save the dill seed for a soup, or stew like menu item. Just my thoughts, keep up the great work Tiffany!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – Mayo can be clean! Just depends on what you buy. You can make it clean for sure. In fact I’ll be doing a recipe for that in the near future. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Tiffany Campbell says:

    I’m glad I found this recipe. I’ve tried before with regular plain greek yogurt, and it was disgusting. I’m reluctant to try again though. And, I use dried herbs ALL THE TIME, even dill seed for my potato salad, and it’s fine, so you’re not alone in that.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Tiffany – Ya, I just never use up the fresh stuff fast enough and I hate to waste food. Let me know how you like this!

  19. Added a small chuck of chipotle pepper to this and mixed it in the blender for a southwest kick and color! It’s yummy!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michele – Sounds like it! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚