A family tested, kid-approved homemade ranch dressing made with real food ingredients that you mix up in a jar in just minutes. Who needs bottles and packets with something this simple and delicious?
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After many years of trying all kinds of recipes for homemade ranch dressing - both dry mixes and the complete dressing - and being disappointed, I finally came up with my own recipe for the best ranch dressing that our whole family likes!
I know that next to a basic vinaigrette, ranch salad dressing is probably the other bottle of dressing in most family refrigerators. And since we know how easy it is to make your own vinaigrette salad dressing (i.e., "Italian dressing"), and pretty much any dressing, I know you are going to LOVE this easy and flavorful homemade ranch dressing, too.
When making all those other recipes I tried, there was always something that just wasn't "right" about them.
There was too much dill.
Or not enough garlic.
Or too bland.
Then I'd find a coupon for a bottle of organic ranch dressing and I'd forget about the homemade for awhile. But even on sale and with a coupon, organic dressings are 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 was simple, tasty, frugal (a batch costs about $1.35), and REAL.
And when it passed the taste test with our family's ranch-aholic son I knew we had a winner! Whew.
How to Make Homemade Ranch Dressing
You can just use a pint jar to mix everything for this dressing, which is what I like to do–it has a wide enough opening and you can mix 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 (the lemon might seem a bit strong at first, but after the dressing has sits overnight the flavors mingle and it's no longer as dominate).
Used in this best ranch dressing recipe:
- Glass tablespoon measuring cup (SO much easier than spoons for liquids!)
- Pint glass jar with zinc lid
- Dried parsley
- Onion powder
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Dried dill
- Sour cream
- Lemon juice
- Fresh garlic
Real Buttermilk and Sour Cream?
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).
Oh, and another note about the sour cream: check the label!
If you don't make your own, 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, we like the flavor better, and it seems a bit 'lighter' than oil-based mayo. Plus, since I make my own mayonnaise, we pretty much save it for sandwiches!
Once the wet ingredients are mixed, add the garlic and dry spices, and mix well.
Um, yeah, that's pretty much it. Seems silly that I'd ever take the time to buy this stuff- that was like, what- 5 minutes?
Well, I've mended my ways...
Best Homemade Ranch Dressing & Dip
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk add 1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar to milk to equal 1/2 cup if you can't find real buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 tablespoons chopped fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill to taste or 1 teaspoon 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.
- Shake well before each use.
Here are a few more of our favorite homemade dressings:
Mason Jar Gift-Ranch Salad Dressing & Printable Tag (our classic recipe made into a mix with directions)
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This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in 2011.
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