Homemade Ranch Dressing

This Best Ranch Dressing recipe is all-natural, so easy to make, and blows store-bought versions out of the water!

This Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe is the intoxicating summation of a cool and luxuriously creamy base loaded with fresh and zingy herbs with splashes of lemon and Dijon. It’s so simple, quick and easy to make and most importantly, SO delicious that you’ll never go back to store-bought again! Plus, this Ranch Dressing is so much more than a dressing for your greens, it’s fabulous in pasta salad, potato salad, as a dip for veggies, chicken wings, pizza, etc. and a spread for burgers and sandwiches.  It’s also the most versatile dressing out there – turn this simple recipe into Buffalo Ranch, Chipotle Ranch, Avocado Ranch, etc. with just an ingredient or two.  All versions included!   

HOW TO MAKE homemade ranch dressing VIDEo

up close of pouring homemade ranch dressing recipe showing how creamy it is
a bottle of homemade ranch dressing recipe with fresh herbs

Homemade Ranch Dressing Ingredients 

Making ranch dressing at home is ridiculously easy and requires just a handful of ingredients. Since the dressing is so simple, I highly recommend sticking to the recipe as written. However, there are a few swaps you can make in a pinch or if you have specific dietary needs, which I’ve listed in the section below. To make this homemade ranch dressing recipe, you’ll need (measurements listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Sour cream:  Full fat or less fat sour cream provides the majority base of the homemade Ranch Dressing, with a little help from the mayo.  By using mostly sour cream, it infuses the dressing with delightful tanginess and keeps the dressing lighter.  
  • Mayonnaise: The mayonnaise adds the depth of creaminess and binds all of the ingredients together.  Even if you don’t like mayo, I don’t suggest skipping, otherwise your dressing will taste overly tangy and not taste like traditional ranch.  Please use real mayonnaise and not Miracle Whip. 
  • Lemon juice: ​​Lemon juice cuts through the creaminess of the dressing and highlights the rest of the flavors with its fresh, vibrant pop of citrus without tasting “lemony.”  It also allows us to use regular accessible milk instead of buttermilk. Freshly-squeezed is always best but you may use bottled in a pinch.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Not every ranch recipe calls for Worcestershire, but just 1 teaspoon imparts that special, undiscernible “something-something” to the ranch dressing – it’s a game changer! Worcestershire boasts intense umami flavor from the anchovies (or vegan versions use soy sauce) mingled with tamarind and vinegar for sourness, molasses and sugar for sweetness, and dimension from the cloves, celery seed, and chili pepper extract.
  • Dijon mustardJust a teaspoon Dijon cuts through the richness of the dressing with a subtle depth of flavor.
  • Homemade ranch seasoning mix: The most important part!  A combination of parsley, dill, chives creates that classic ranch flavor. 
  • Milk: No need for buttermilk in this recipe! Just ¼ cup regular milk, or more as needed to thin the dressing to your liking. 
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper are crucial to round out the ranch flavor.
showing how to make ranch dressing by adding mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, dill, chives, lemon juice, garlic and onion to a bowl

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Mayo: You may also use avocado-based mayo, olive oil may or vegan mayo.
  • Sour cream: Fat-free sour cream can be used but remember, fat equals creaminess and flavor so adjust your expectations accordingly.
  • Fresh herbs: May be substituted with dried. I’ve made it both ways, and both are delicious!
  • Worcestershire sauce: Use a vegan version, if desired. 
  • Mustard: If you don’t have Dijon mustard, swap it for any mustard such as regular yellow mustard, spicy brown mustard, French, whole grain, etc.

how to make Ranch Dressing

As long as you use the correct ingredients, this ranch dressing recipe is FOOLPROOF! The very best ranch dressing is truly as easy as:

  • Combine all of the recipe ingredients in a big bowl.
  • Whisk until creamy and evenly combined, taste, and add more milk as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors mingle.
showing how to make ranch dressing recipe by whisking the ingredients together in a bowl
  • Play with ingredient quantities.  Use more or less of any of the ingredients to make this homemade ranch dressing perfect for YOU!  I love a bold, full-flavored dressing but you can tame the dressing by using less herbs, garlic, etc.
  • Vegan Ranch Dressing:  Use vegan sour cream, vegan mayonnaise, vegan Worcestershire sauce and your vegan milk of choice.
  • Spicy Herb Ranch:  Add cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Buffalo Ranch:  Add ¼ cup buffalo hot sauce, more or less to taste.
  • Sriracha Ranch:  Add 2 tablespoons sriracha, more or less to taste.
  • Chipotle Ranch: Swap the parsley for cilantro, lime juice for lemon juice and omit the Worcestershire and Dijon; keep the rest of the ingredients the same.  Add 2-4 minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, and ¼ teaspoon dried oregano.   You can even add ⅓ cup Cotija cheese. Serve with veggies, tacos, taquitos, tortilla chips, etc.
  • Southwest Ranch:   Swap the parsley for cilantro, lime juice for lemon juice and omit the Worcestershire and Dijon; keep the rest of the ingredients the same.   Add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, hot sauce to taste and 1-3 tablespoons lime juice. You can even add ⅓ cup Cotija cheese.
  • Jalapeno Lime Ranch:  Swap the lemon juice and some of the milk for lime juice and add one seeded, diced jalapeno.
  • Avocado Ranch:  See this dressing recipe for my favorite recipe using avocados, cilantro, tomatillos and lime juice. 
  • BBQ Ranch:  Reduce the sour cream to ¾ cup and the mayonnaise to ⅓ cup.  Add 1/3-½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce.
  • Pesto Ranch:  Add ¼ cup basil pesto, more or less to taste.
  • Mustard Ranch:  Add a couple tablespoons of your favorite mustard.
  • Basil Ranch:  Add 2 tablespoons freshly minced basil and 1 teaspoon freshly minced oregano. 
  • Blue Cheese Ranch:  Add 3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles.  I use this in my Buffalo Chicken Salad and Buffalo Chicken Tacos along with cilantro – yum!
  • Parmesan Ranch:  Add ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Popeye’s Blackened Ranch:  Add 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, more or less to taste.
  • Peppercorn Ranch:  Replace the ground pepper with loads of freshly cracked pepper to taste.
spooning up homemade ranch dressing showing how creamy it is

How to Make a Healthier Ranch Dressing

Full-fat ingredients are the way to go for traditional ranch dressing, but if you want to make a healthier version here are the swaps I recommend:

  • Use olive oil mayo or avocado mayo: Instead of using regular mayo, try using mayonnaise made with olive oil or avocado (it will say right on the label). These mayonnaises traditionally have the same amount of calories but replace the polyunsaturated fat (in regular mayo) with monounsaturated fat which is considered a good kind of fat that we all need to function optimally. Of course, you can also use traditional nonfat and reduced fat mayo.
  • Use vegan mayonnaise:  These types of mayonnaise don’t include eggs.  You can choose from regular, avocado, soy, reduced fat, etc.  
  • Use vegan sour cream: Pick your fav!
  • Use nonfat sour cream: Nonfat sour cream won’t be as creamy but will still work in this recipe because it’s being whisked with the mayonnaise.  
  • Sub yogurt for sour cream: You may also use non-fat Greek yogurt instead.
spooning up homemade ranch dressing showing how creamy it is

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to add buttermilk?

No. We are keeping this recipe super accessible without the use of buttermilk. Instead, lemon juice is added for the tanginess. If you prefer to use buttermilk in place of the milk, then omit the lemon juice then add lemon to taste if you would still like a tangier dressing.

Is ranch dressing keto? 

Yes, this recipe, as written, is keto.

Is ranch dressing gluten-free? 

This recipe, as written, is gluten free if you confirm that your Worcestershire sauce is certified gluten free.   Many brands of Worcestershire sauce are made with gluten-free ingredients, so just double check the label.

Can ranch dressing be frozen?

No, this ranch dressing recipe does not freeze well. The ingredients will make for a funky, grainy texture when frozen and thawed.  

Who invented ranch?

Ranch dressing was invented by Steve Hensen in the early 1950s while he worked as a plumbing contractor in Alaska. Part of his responsibilities included cooking for his coworkers. During his time in the kitchen, Hensen began to develop a buttermilk dressing. In 1956 Hensen and his wife, Gayle, purchased a 120-acre dude ranch near in the San Ynez Mountains in Southern California and renamed it Hidden Valley Ranch. Hensen began serving his buttermilk dressing to his guests. It became so popular, that he trademarked the name Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

showing how to serve ranch dressing by drizzling over a salad

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up close of pouring homemade ranch dressing recipe showing how creamy it is

Homemade Ranch Dressing

This Homemade Ranch Dressing recipe is the intoxicating summation of a cool and luxuriously creamy base loaded with fresh and zingy herbs with splashes of lemon and Dijon. It’s so simple, quick and easy to make and most importantly, SO delicious that you'll never go back to store-bought again! Plus, this Ranch Dressing is so much more than a dressing for your greens, it’s fabulous in pasta salad, potato salad, as a dip for veggies, chicken wings, pizza, etc. and a spread for burgers and sandwiches.  It’s also the most versatile dressing out there – turn this simple recipe into Buffalo Ranch, Chipotle Ranch, Avocado Ranch, etc. with just an ingredient or two.  See all versions in the post!
Servings: 24 servings (about 1 ½ cups)
Total Time: 10 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or green onions (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tsp EACH onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, salt
  • 1/4 cup milk, more or less to reach desired consistency

Instructions

  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add milk as needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. I add up to an additional ¼ teaspoon each depending on what I’m serving it with.
  • The dressing is best if chilled for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Ranch Dip:  Omit the milk or add less to reach your desired consistency.
  • Storage:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.  If you use all dried herbs, it can last up to 2 weeks, depending on the expiration of your milk and sour cream.
  • Variations:  It’s easy to change this basic recipe into Chipotle Ranch, Sriracha Ranch, Peppercorn Ranch, Pesto Ranch, Barbecue Ranch, etc. by adding just a couple of ingredients.  See the post for how to make all sorts of variations. 

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