After many years of trying all kinds of homemade ranch dressing recipes- both dry mixes and the complete dressing – I finally came up with a recipe our whole family likes. There was always something that just wasn’t “right” about the other recipes I tried.
There was too much dill.
Or not enough garlic.
Or too bland.
Then I’d find a coupon for Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing and I’d forget about the homemade for awhile. But even on sale and with a coupon, Newman’s Own is not cheap. And I knew that ranch dressing is just sour cream (or mayo), buttermilk and some spices. Hardly expensive stuff. So I went back to my recipes and combined and adapted to come up with something that’s simple, tasty, frugal (a batch costs about $1.35), and REAL.
AND passed the taste test with our ranch-aholic: my son. Whew.
I just use a pint jar to mix everything for this dressing- it has a wide-enough opening and I can shake it up right in the jar. However, if you’d like to keep it in a smaller-mouth dressing container, feel free to use a whisk and mix it up in a quart measuring cup before pouring into your container.
Start by mixing sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice. Don’t be tempted to skip the lemon juice- I really think it makes it so much fresher tasting.
A note on buttermilk: few years ago I realized that, for the most part, what they sell in the stores as “buttermilk” is not true buttermilk (the milk extracted during the process of making butter), but a milk with thickeners and often preservatives added to it. Since this is what I’d like to avoid (hello?) and I don’t have access to real buttermilk, I always make a “faux buttermilk” with vinegar and regular milk (for this recipe, a 1/2 c. milk mixed with 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar).
If you don’t make your own (it’s on my to-do list one day…), you’ll want to find a sour cream that contains only cream like the one listed above (which is Daisy Brand, by the way). Compare this with the ingredients on most of the other store brands which list at least 10 ingredients including fillers, preservatives, and thickeners.
Some ranch recipes call for mayonnaise instead of sour cream. We like sour cream for a couple of reasons: it creates a thicker dressing that works for a dip and with just a little thinning with milk can coat lettuce, and we like the flavor better. Plus, since I make my own mayonnaise, we pretty much save it for sandwiches and stuff!
- 1 c. sour cream
- ½ c. buttermilk (add 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar to milk to equal ½ c. if you can't find real buttermilk)
- 1 TB. lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 TB. dried parsley, or 3 TB. chopped fresh
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ¾ tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- ⅛-1/4 tsp. dried dill (to taste) or 1 tsp. fresh
- Combine sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice in a pint jar or quart mixing bowl. Shake or whisk to mix well.
- Add the remaining ingredients and shake (or whisk) again until well combined. If using a bowl, transfer to a dressing container with lid.
- *NOTE: If you like your dressing thicker, mix the sour cream and seasonings first, then add the buttermilk slowly until you reach the desired consistency.*
- Refrigerate one or more hours before using, and taste to adjust seasonings after dressing.
- For a thicker dip: increase sour cream by ¼ cup (or, conversely, add more milk, a little at a time if a thinner consistency is desired).
- Shake well before each use.