Making buttermilk ranch dressing from scratch

Ranch dressing is one of the most versatile condiments in our fridge. We use it on salads, of course. And pizza. And fries. And mozzarella sticks. Many kinds kinds of chicken. Mix it with shredded chicken and put it on a cracker, and tell me how good it is in the comments. I dare you to only eat one.

Homemade ranch is great for many reasons―I love knowing exactly what ingredients are in it (no extra fillers, preservatives or anything I can’t pronounce) and I love having the freedom to add more or less of each ingredient to suit our taste. I like my ranch with a little extra dill, and a little less mayo so it’s thin and creamy. But you can also make it with more mayo so it’s the exact same thick consistency of what you’d get in a store-bought bottle.

Homemade ranch dressing from scratch

Not only am I sharing my favorite recipe for ranch dressing today, but I’m also sharing a little trick I’ve worked out for always having the ingredients on hand. That way I never have to be without ranch, and that is a Good Thing.

The spices and mayo keep in the pantry/fridge for a long time, but the buttermilk gave me a bit of trouble. My grocery store sells buttermilk by the quart, but the recipe only needs a quarter of that. If I made extra dressing, it would all go bad before we ate it (we don’t eat THAT much ranch). Plus, who wants to run to the grocery store every time they run out of ranch? Not if you’re lazy like me.

Freeze buttermilk in an ice cube tray to use in smaller quantities later

Freeze buttermilk in an ice cube tray to use in smaller quantities later

But that’s what a freezer is for! I remembered on about the third quart of buttermilk I purchased that I should just be freezing the extra. I freeze it in an ice cube tray then keep the pieces in a big ziplock so I can pull out exactly as much as I need for each batch of dressing.

Ranch dressing from scratch, always in the fridge

Yum.

I’ve included my favorite buttermilk ranch recipe below, and I’ve included notes in the recipe where you can vary the ingredients a bit depending on what you have on hand. I try to use fresh ingredients whenever I have them on hand when it comes to the garlic, parsley, chives and dill, but my most recent batch used dried everything and it still tasted great. That way, the recipe transitions easily from seasons when everything is readily available, to seasons when they are not. And of course, feel free to increase or decrease quantities based on the flavors you like best–that’s the best part! I highly recommend leaving the measuring spoons in the drawer and just eyeballing the quantities and experimenting as you go. Enjoy!

Ranch Dressing Recipe

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise (or try a combination of mayo and sour cream, if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small clove of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

In a pint sized mason jar, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed (add more or less buttermilk depending on the consistency you like). Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste and shake to combine.

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  • Guest

    Ummm?1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 3 teaspoons dried)
    3 teaspoons =1Tbsp

    • rosyblu

      Ha, good catch! That was supposed to be 1 teaspoon, the recipe has been updated.

  • Pat e

    This was not very good……..Strange taste, I’ ll keep looking

    • rosyblu

      I wonder if it may have been the dill? It’s a distinctive flavor that people tend to have strong feelings about…I really like it, so this recipe has it, but you could try leaving it out.

  • Maureen Reynolds

    I don’t eat mayonnaise but I do use buttermilk. Thanks for the great tip!

  • Steph

    I made this today and it doesn’t get any better than this (I’ve tried SO many recipes). Made it with homemade mayo (Hellman’s copycat recipe with a farm fresh egg and MCT oil) and all dried spices and it was just so yummy. Thank you so much.

    • rosyblu

      I’m so glad you like it Steph! I’d be thrilled if you’d share your recipe for homemade mayo–it’s on my list of DIYs to try!

  • Jessi

    this dressing is delicious! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought. It’s so fast to make too! Since I’m making a batch per week, I made a big batch of just the dried herbs and put it in a jar with a label that has the directions. Now it’s even faster to make!

    • rosyblu

      Thanks so much for the feedback Jessi, glad you like it!

  • Heidi

    Oh my gosh! This recipe is amazing! And super easy too! I love the tip on freezing buttermilk too. Knowing all this I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store bought. Thank you!

    • rosyblu

      Yay! I’m glad you agree, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Serena

    have you tried using buttermilk powder instead of the frozen buttermilk?

    • rosyblu

      No I haven’t, I’ve never heard of buttermilk powder before. I’m going to watch for it at my grocery store–have you used it?

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