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: Tiffany McCauley


  • 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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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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  1. 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:

  2. 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. 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.

  3. 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. 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.

  4. Alison Moore Smith says:

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

  5. 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!

  6. How long does this stay good for?

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

  7. 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. 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.

  8. 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. 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. 🙂

  9. 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. 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!

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

  11. I made this last night & it was FAB. I did add a little more yogurt f/ thickness & then added just a tad more onion (it’s one of my fav’s) & salt. Then it was perfect

  12. SO happy I found this website!! Thank you thank you thank you! I am just wondering how long this will keep if I make it and keep it in an air tight mason jar?
    My daughter has ranch dip on everything and I want to make this to have in the fridge!

    Thank you!

  13. Never mind – I put my brain on and read the above posts!

  14. Could you use plain whole yogurt instead of plain low fat greek? Thank you! Excited to try,

  15. This is hands down the best ranch I’ve ever had! Thank you!!

  16. Hi!
    I’m looking forward to trying MANY of your recipes!
    I was wondering, is the yogurt noticeable? I’m lactose intolerant, and I have yet to find a type of yogurt that doesn’t make me sick (including lactose free). Or is there a substitute?

  17. First time clean eater and I have to say WOW this ranch is good!! Thank you so much 🙂

  18. Just made this ranch earlier today. The only thing I changed was adding some garlic powder to give it a more Hidden Valley taste. It’s way runnier than store bought, but the flavor is great! And WAY less calories than store bought!

  19. Out of curiosity, if I used more greek yogurt than buttermilk (basically swap the amount), would that change the flavor too much, does anyone know? I’m trying to figure out how to thicken it up a little bit so we can use it as dressing and a dip like we used to with Hidden Valley. The flavor of this recipe is amazing…just hoping to thicken it a bit while keeping it clean. 🙂

    1. Shelloy – It will work just fine! I would start off with using yogurt, and then just add a little buttermilk to thin it out if you need to. The flavor may change slightly, but it shouldn’t be too noticeable. If all else fails, mix up the spices and try a small sprinkle on a spoonful of yogurt and see what you think before mixing the entire thing. Let me know how it turns out!

  20. Thanks for directing me to your recipe for ranch dressing! I am going to try making this but I think I will throw in a few garlic cloves! We love galric ranch dressing!! Do you know how long this will hold up in the refrigerator if I make up a 2 or 3 batches and put them in a mason jar?

    1. Annette – This should last as long as the buttermilk would last, maybe a little less with the additions. Mine never lasted longer than a week in this house, so I’m not entirely positive. Sorry! :/

  21. Do you think this has less calories than the typical ranch you buy at the store? I never buy the light version but i know the regular kind is about 140 per 2 tbsps. I’m new to this healthy eating!

    1. Leanne – I don’t count calories, so I’m not sure what the yogurt has. But it would have as many calories as the yogurt (plus the buttermilk), or thereabouts. You could check next time you’re at the store. Sorry, I would check but I don’t have a tub here at the moment.

  22. I forgot to add to my last comment – can powdered buttermilk be substituted for the liquid? And do you use regular full fat greek yogurt?

    1. Leanne – Not if you want to keep it clean. I use full fat yogurt because it is less processed.

  23. Marcia Robbins says:

    Omg, just made this, amazing! I’m so excited to have something to dip my veggies in for my snacks. Thank you so much!

  24. What would happen if I didn’t use any chives? I’ve gone to three different stores and none had dried chives…. although amazon has it in stock. Just curious. ….

    1. Samantha – You could use a few fresh chives if those are easier to find. Otherwise, I would just leave them out.

  25. Do you know how long this would last in the fridge for?

    1. Jamie – A couple of weeks is my guess. We always go through it too quickly for it to go bad, so I can’t give you an exact number of days.

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