Classic Ranch Dressing Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Eleanore Park

Adapted by Julia Moskin

Classic Ranch Dressing Recipe (1)

Total Time
15 minutes
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The original dressing served in the 1950s at Hidden Valley Ranch, a guest ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., was made mostly from dry herbs and aromatics. To recreate that taste, this recipe, from the “Ranch” cookbook (Dovetail, 2018) by Abby Reisner, with recipes by Eleanore Park, is made with garlic powder instead of garlic, dried parsley instead of fresh, and so on. It makes enough seasoning mix for about 4 cups dressing; you can mix it, store it, then add dairy as needed. If you don’t like the zip of mustard, try hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce instead — or simply omit for a milder taste. To make a thick dip instead of a pourable dressing, reduce the amount of buttermilk to ¼ cup. —Julia Moskin

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Yield:4 to 5 cups dressing

    For the Seasoning Mix

    • teaspoons dried chives
    • 1teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1teaspoon dried dill
    • 1tablespoon onion powder
    • 1teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1teaspoon salt
    • ¼teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
    • 2tablespoons buttermilk powder (optional)

    For Each Cup of Dressing

    • ½cup chilled sour cream or mayonnaise
    • ½cup chilled buttermilk
    • Salt, to taste

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (9 servings)

37 calories; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 1 gram sugars; 1 gram protein; 73 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Classic Ranch Dressing Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    For the seasoning mix: In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep indefinitely.

  2. To make 1 cup dressing: In a medium bowl, place 1 tablespoon seasoning mix. Add sour cream and buttermilk and whisk together until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days (or up to 2 weeks if made with mayonnaise).



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Cooking Notes


Garlic powder & onion powder are dried garlic & dried onion. There should be nothing "not real" about them. Just like any dried herbs.


I am a ranch fanatic and am so happy to see Julia's take on the necessity of using dried herbs and aromatics. I have made many versions and have finally arrived at a recipe very similar to Julia's. I use Penzey's Spices, and I add in some dried red bell pepper instead of Julia's mustard. Also, I usually don't have buttermilk in the fridge, so I use labneh thinned with milk instead, along with mayo. For the best cole slaw ever, chop up a cabbage and use this dressing.


The reason they are using dried herbs is because that is what the original Ranch Dressing used, so while it offends your preferred cooking habits, it's actually closer to "authentic" to use dried herbs.


Please revise my prior note to read:I'm from Santa Barbara. Mayo & buttermilk for dressing. If you want to make Ranch Dip you use mayo and sour cream.


I plan to veganize this. I use vegan mayonnaise or vegan sour cream; I clabber soy milk or almond milk (soy works a bit better). Sometimes to make a close version, I pour apple cider vinegar into the remains of a jar of vegan mayonnaise (amount depending on how much mayo is left) and add the powdered ingredients. Not the original but it's quick and easy.

Annabelle Chappell

There's good news, Abby! MSG is natural and found in many foods, such as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, mushrooms, tomato paste, etc. If you can tolerate any of these foods, you don't have a problem with MSG. It's the original umami!


Nothing beats a crispy, crunchy, ice cold crudités served alongside a refreshing, frothing ranch dunk tank.


I was happy to see this recipe, as I’ve always wanted to replicate the original Hidden Ranch dressing. And it’s fun to hear the back story. Thanks and kudos to Julia Moskin!


King Arthur Flour has buttermilk powder. Of course. :)


I'm not ashamed to admit I love ranch dressing and I was pretty excited to see this recipe. Commercial ranch is full of additives so I've been making my own for the last couple years. This recipe is the best I've ever made and the one I will use from now on. I had to check a few stores to find the buttermilk powder but I found it and I'm glad I did. I think it makes a difference. I didn't have mustard powder so I left it out.


I enjoyed the article. Ranch dressing was invented by a plumber! - who knew? Ranch dressing is called American dressing in Europe. The only way to get the original flavor is to use dried spices! Finally,. I never even imagined let alone heard of, buttermilk powder....


The comment about using the dried herb mixture for the original flavor brought .to mind the packet of dried herbs included in Van de Kamp’s Fish Sticks and Fisk filets. As I recall, it was mixed with some warm water and then added to mayo to make a very good tartar sauce. I have been unable to reproduce that flavor. Do you suppose it would be possible to get the dried herb recipe from Van de Kamp?


Cashew cream also works nicely (and nutritional yeast adds a little je ne sais quoi)


None of the individual dried seasonings requires refrigeration; why store the mix in the refrigerator?


I've always found a 50/50 mix in recipes like this to be the best of all possible worlds.


This was way too thin to be a Ranch dressing. I would lessen the milk and up the sour cream or mayo


This recipe worked very well for my cooking class with 6th grade students. We made both versions and taste tested both. One student couldn't decide between the sour cream and the mayo version so he combined them! My students suggest making this with the full amount of buttermilk and using 1/4 cup sour cream AND 1/4 cup mayo.

Joan from Maine

I just want to reinforce the fact that most dried herbs, garlic and onion powder are the same as their undried counterparts, just with the water removed. It is a way of preserving food. These are VERY real food ingredients but with more intense flavors because they are no longer watered down. There are definitely times when fresh is the way to go but in this recipe, there is more bang for your buck using dried.


Use yogurt and add mayo to taste then add the herb mix. Still tasty and a lot less calories.


This is one of my weekly standard options for salad dressing with a couple of adjustments. I use whole milk plain yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream. I am not fond of garlic powder because I find tastes bitter. Instead I crush and peel one clove of fresh garlic leaving the root end intact and just toss it in the jar whole. Everything else is dried. Finally, generous lashings of freshly-ground white pepper and a pinch of cumin go in for depth. It is a favorite with the family.

Big Bad Dad

Made this and it was quite good and true to the classic ranch taste. However, even after refrigeration it was quite thin and runny. Wonder if anyone has tried adding guar or xanthan gum to help thicken it up.


This recipe outshines purchased dressing with its fresh, clean taste with no gummy texture or additives. Superb!

Laurie Shentalevenn

Buttermilk powder was listed as optional. I had buttermilk so used that, thinking it was either/or. The instructions said to add a Tbsp of the mix to 1/2 cup of mayo or sour cream + 1/2 cup buttermilk. The recipe says it makes 4 - 5 cups of dressing, but without the buttermilk powder there isn't 4 to 5 Tbsp of mix! Obviously the mix used in the instructions also includes the buttermilk powder. That should be stated, and a smaller amount quoted for the mix without it. Very good though!


I found the instructions to be a bit confusing too. I forgot that it was two parts and ended up using the entire herb mix in the half-and-half buttermilk/whole milk Greek yogurt (in my case) mix. Two tablespoons of buttermilk powder to one cup of mixture was not what was intended. I simply topped it up with more buttermilk. It tastes great and, for those who complain about the runniness, goopy, library-paste commercial dressing is disgusting. The thinner consistency is vastly better.

Laurie Shentalevenn

Note 2: I did add the 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder, because bland ranch dressing is no fun. My finished version used 1/2 cup sour cream + 1/2 cup buttermilk for the base. It 2/3 fills a cleaned, sterilized and reused Portland Catsup bottle. 1.5 X the amount would give you a full bottle.


I'm confused: Why is it only good for 2 days in fridge if made without mayo? Buttermilk and sour cream last longer than 2 days; does mixing them with herbs make them go bad faster? And how does mayo change the calculation so drastically?


Very good indeed! I make salad dressing every week (usually Julia Child's vinaigrette) but I needed a new recipe to spice things up or a new old recipe in this case! Used all my trusty Penzys herbs, etc. plus Kate's buttermilk and sour cream (low on mayo, sans buttermilk powder, did not have) and with very little effort had a bottle of nostalgia to drizzle on our greens tonight. Huzzah! What's the trick to keeping onion and garlic powder from hardening up? Bonus points for you if you know!


I've made this multiple times and it never fails. I made it as a dip with mayo and sour cream, and a friend said, "Oh my God, why is this so delicious?"When I made it as a dressing, I used 1/2 mayo and 1/2 whole milk yogurt, then loosened it up with 1 tablespoon of water. Worked great. I thought the seasoning was close, just needed a tiny pinch of salt at the end.


This is so good! I sometimes add a deseeded jalapeno and a bunch of cilantro, blend it all with 2 x mayo and buttermilk. Then whisk in the 2 TBLS of mix. Divine. Also, I may do half cup mayo (full fat seems to taste best) w low fat sour cream as a dip. Add or delete the garlic depending on taste (my family is a hard pass), it is wonderful. I've made batches for everyone with customizations to preference. Thank you for this! Goes with everything. :)


I have been making this dressing regularly since it was published and really love it! I recently discovered that mixing it with an immersion blender really intensifies the flavor.


AMAZING!! I’ll never buy ranch dressing ever again — it’s too easy to make this, and too good for you, too (no preservatives, no hydrogenated oil, etc.). If I got this Ranch dressing in a 5-star fine dining restaurant I would be very happy! So good!

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Classic Ranch Dressing Recipe (2024)


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