5-Minute Homemade Ranch Dressing
A creamy, lightened-up recipe for buttermilk ranch dressing—made with homemade dry ranch seasoning or a DIY buttermilk ranch packet! If you love Hidden Valley ranch dressing, this copycat recipe is a must-try. You can whip up a homemade ranch dressing that’s lower-sodium & additive-free, but just as rich & flavorful as the classic ranch you know & love.
Which is Healthier: Store-Bought or Homemade Ranch Dressing?
- Ingredients. Store-bought options like Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing contain added sugar, preservatives, flavor enhancers like MSG, and other processed additives. None of these ingredients make store-bought dressings “bad.” But they’re worth being aware of if they conflict with your health or lifestyle needs. Making your own dressing at home means you know exactly what goes into it—whether you want an additive-free ranch, Italian dressing, white cheddar dressing, or whatever you like.
- Fat, Sugar & Sodium. Store-bought dressings also tend to be higher in calories, fat, added sugars, & sodium than homemade. If you’re concerned about sodium in particular, it’s worth noting that Hidden Valley Ranch has over 2x as much sodium compared to this homemade recipe. Again, this doesn’t make the store-bought stuff “bad”—it’s part of why it tastes so good! But if you want an option lighter in calories, sodium, etc., this copycat ranch dressing recipe is a quick & tasty one.
- Simplicity & Convenience. Ultimately, buying premade salad dressing will always be easier & more convenient, which can reduce our stress. I personally struggle to eat leafy greens & veggies, but I’m more likely to do so when I buy a bottle of ranch. Which makes it worth it for me! “Lightening up” might look like making your own light ranch dressing at home. But it can also look like lightening up on yourself and letting go of any judgment about choosing store-bought ranch. Making a choice that reduces your stress is a healthy choice worth acknowledging!
Lightened-Up Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Ingredients
- Avocado Oil Mayonnaise, or mayo of choice. I like to use homemade avocado oil mayo because I think it’s the tastiest & creamiest. (And it’s super easy to make.) But you can really use any variety of mayo you want: store-bought or homemade, classic or avocado oil, or even vegan mayo if desired.
- Buttermilk, or milk of choice. To make a truly restaurant-quality ranch dressing at home—with that classic tangy flavor & ultra-creamy texture—I recommend using real buttermilk! I used cultured reduced fat buttermilk, but you could also substitute with regular dairy milk if needed. (Or nondairy milk for a dairy-free dressing.)
- Plain Yogurt, or sour cream. I used plain low-fat yogurt to lighten up my buttermilk ranch dressing a bit, while still keeping it nice & creamy. Or you could use sour cream instead—especially if you make this recipe without buttermilk and want to add some tanginess. (Or nondairy yogurt for dairy-free.)
- Lemon Juice. Don’t forget a squeeze of lemon juice to bring out all the herbaceous, tangy flavors here. And as a natural preservative to keep your homemade ranch tasting fresh!
- Homemade Dry Ranch Seasoning. This is basically a dry ranch spice blend filled with herby, savory flavor—made of dried parsley, dill, chives, garlic powder, dried onion, salt, & pepper. It’s sort of like a store-bought ranch seasoning packet, but with no dairy or processed additives! A great option for making a lightened-up, dairy-free, or Whole30 ranch dressing.
For a Vegan or Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
To make a totally dairy-free ranch dressing, combine the dry ranch seasoning mix with your choice of nondairy milk & nondairy yogurt, plus a splash of apple cider vinegar for tanginess in lieu of the buttermilk. For a vegan ranch dressing, just use vegan mayo!
Making Ranch with Dry Seasonings vs. Buttermilk Powder
You can make my homemade ranch seasoning mix in 2 different ways: one is the simple dairy-free dry ranch spice blend without buttermilk powder, and the other is a copycat ranch packet with buttermilk powder. Which one you want to use really just depends on your preference! The dry seasoning mix is great for making a healthy ranch dressing from scratch—especially if you need it to be dairy-free, vegan, or Whole30. And the buttermilk ranch powder is a pretty convincing substitute for Hidden Valley Ranch packets, except without the additives!
Ingredients for Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Copycat
- Buttermilk Ranch Powder (or store-bought ranch packet). Along with dried herbs & seasonings, this mix also contains dried buttermilk powder—just like Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Packets. So you get the tangy flavor of buttermilk, without having to use any liquid buttermilk in your dressing.
- Sour Cream, or Greek yogurt. I recommend using sour cream to pump up the creamy texture & tangy flavor. Or you can use plain Greek yogurt for a lighter option that’s less creamy but still offers a yummy tang.
- Mayonnaise. Again, use any variety of mayo that you prefer—homemade or store-bought.
- Milk of Choice. I used 2% milk in this recipe, but you can use any milk you prefer. If you use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, whole milk can add back some richness & creaminess.
How to Make Ranch Dressing from Scratch or with a Packet
- Combine Ranch Dressing Ingredients. In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk (or milk of choice), yogurt (or sour cream), lemon juice, and homemade ranch seasoning (or a ranch seasoning packet).
- Adjust Texture as Needed. If you want to thicken up your homemade ranch dressing, add more mayo, yogurt, or sour cream, and use less milk. For a more drizzle-able dressing, add more milk (or water) to thin it out.
- Chill in the Fridge. Transfer your creamy ranch dressing into a sealed jar or bottle for storage. Then, let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to thicken up before serving it on a salad, as a veggie dip, or however you like!
Check out my Lightened-Up Ranch Dressing video to see how I make dressing with this DIY dry seasoning!
How long does homemade ranch dressing last?
DIY ranch dressing will last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks—whether you make it with the dry ranch seasoning mix or with a buttermilk ranch packet. Just be sure it’s stored in a jar or bottle that’s well-sealed, and I recommend adding a sticker with the prep date on it. Serve it over greens, with raw veggies or crudite for dipping, as a condiment with wings or pizza, and it’ll be gone in no time!
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Option 1: Ranch with Homemade Dry Seasoning
Option 2: Ranch with Buttermilk Ranch Packet
- ½ cup sour cream, (or plain or Greek yogurt)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¾ cup milk of choice
- 3 Tbsp buttermilk ranch powder, (or 1-oz store-bought ranch packet)
- Combine all ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl and whisk well to combine.
- To thicken up your homemade ranch, use more mayo, sour cream, or yogurt. To thin out the texture, add additional milk/liquid.
- Transfer dressing to a sealed jar or bottle and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to thicken.
- Serve over salad, with veggies for dipping, or however you like!
- Store homemade ranch dressing in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.
- Yields ~1 cup homemade ranch dressing made with dry ranch seasoning. Yields ~2 cups ranch dressing made with buttermilk ranch packet.
Nutrition Notes:Nutrition for homemade ranch dressing made with DIY buttermilk ranch packet, using homemade avocado oil mayo, sour cream, and 2% milk: Per 2 Tbsp dressing, yields 16 servings:
89 calories | 8.9g fat | 1.3g carbs | 0g fiber | 0.9g sugar | 1g protein
59mg sodium | 12mg cholesterol – Below nutrition provided for homemade ranch made with dry ranch seasoning, using homemade avocado oil mayo, low-fat buttermilk, and low-fat plain yogurt. Per 2 Tbsp dressing, yields 8 servings:
96 calories | 9.5g fat | 1.8g carbs | 0g fiber | 1.1g sugar | 1.1g protein
97mg sodium | 9mg cholesterol