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ISO Ranch Dressing Recipe

Does anyone have a great recipe for homemade buttermilk ranch salad dressing? I've had a serious jones for the stuff lately, and the bottled varieties I've gotten just don't taste right.

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  1. equal parts buttermilk and mayo. salt, msg(yeah-this WILL make it, believe it or not), onion power, garlic powder, black pepper, dried dill,....think thats about it from memory. Used to have to make it by the 5gal cambro-bastard was too cheap to buy the mix...

    10 Replies
    1. re: dano

      Yes, MSG is KEY.

      It's the defining flavor of ranch dressing.

      1. re: dano

        That is the same recipe & ingredients I use except that I use chopped fresh parsley instead of dried dill.

        1. re: dano

          I had no idea that MSG added flavor. I thought it was just a preservative. MSG causes a rash on my daughter's mouth. The produce department carries refrigerated Ranch dressing with no preservatives but it is short on flavor. So I was also searching for a good recipe for Ranch, no MSG but lots of flavor. I hate to hear that the MSG is the key!

          1. re: NikkiDoc

            MSG contributes a 'meatiness' to food. As such it is a flavor enhancer, rather than a flavor itself. It naturally occurs in things like mushrooms. It is a major component in instant stock bases - chicken, beef, Japanese dashi.

            1. re: paulj

              Thanks for the info. Very interesting.

              1. re: NikkiDoc

                i don't use msg and it tastes great (real deal) to me -- the way it used to taste when everyone made it in the '70s:

                1. re: alkapal

                  yep, me too. I would never use MSG intentionally as an ingredient, and I try very hard to avoid products which include it. Yes, I had to say goodbye to Worchestershire sauce and all of the bullion cubes I used to use. I was surprised the first time I made homemade ranch dressing and found that it tasted fabulous (and without MSG)

                  1. re: spacemom3

                    Don't eat Parmesan, tomatoes, or breast milk then.

          2. re: dano

            I found a recipe for ranch that is pretty good that I am altering to suit my taste. Equal on the sour cream, mayo, and buttermilk. I found it a little "gloppy" (is that a word?) and added a little water to lighten it up. I had to alter the amounts of the herbs as it was a bit heavy on the dried oregano...or else mine was just strong.. It also had dill, parsley, chives, garlic, and pepper. It needed a little salt, so I used sea salt. The trick is that it included Worcestershire sauce. This may help add the "meaty" flavor that MSG gives if anyone is trying to avoid this like I am.

            1. re: dano

              So you are saying that MSG was in the original Hidden Valley recipe (before Clorox bought it)?

            2. I had actually asked a similar question a couple months back (was actually looking for either store bought or home made). Here is the link to that post where some people gave me their recipes.


              1. Get the ranch dressing mix from Penzey's to keep in the house and mix it up fresh when the mood strikes. Penzey's is online, or you could stop in to their Torrance shop (Hawthorne & Torrance Blvd., right next to BevMo). I mix it with non-fat yogurt for a really tangy dressing or potato topping.

                4 Replies
                1. re: CynD

                  Are you sure that's what it's called? (Looked on the Penzey's website, but couldn't find a blend with that name.)

                  1. re: David Kahn

                    On the Penzey's website go to (S) click on Salad Seasonings--you will see buttermilk ranch.

                    1. re: David Kahn

                      It's called Butermilk Ranch. Look under salad dressings.

                      1. re: bryan

                        Yep, you're both right. I just pulled out their latest catalog, which happens to be on my desk. It's on page 20.

                  2. Ranch dressing is very, very easy to make fresh and is so delicious. No need for packages or MSG:

                    1 cup mayo
                    1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (depending on how thick you like it)
                    1 or 2 cloves crushed garlic
                    1/2 tsp salt
                    2 TBsp parsley, chopped
                    2 TBsp chives
                    2 green onions, thinly sliced
                    1 tsp white vinegar (you could use rice wine or white wine vinegar)
                    freshly ground pepper

                    whisk together liquidy stuff(mayo, b'milk, vinegar), mix in other stuff. Really good for 3 or 4 days. Probably ok up to aweek, but gets a little weepy and needs to be remixed

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: MollyGee

                      Where's the dill? Ranch contains dill.

                      1. re: bryan

                        Then add dill instead of parsley. I wont tell. But this tastes so fabulous as it is, I promise.

                        1. re: MollyGee

                          No... keep the parsley, and add the dill (or thyme. tarragon, sourgrass, whatever).

                    2. This is a recipe that I've had for over 15 years.

                      1 tsp salt
                      1 tsp MSG (I know, I know)
                      1/2 tsp garlic powder or fresh to taste, mashed to a paste
                      1 tbsp dried onion or flakes, or fresh to taste
                      1 tsp black pepper
                      2 tsp dried parsley or fresh to taste
                      1/2 tsp Beau Monde Seasoning
                      1 quart of buttermilk
                      4 cups of mayo

                      Mix and refrigerate, preferably overnight. Add more onion or garlic if desired. I usually fiddle around with all of the amounts accordingly.

                      1. i'm thinking fermented products, like soy and worcestershire, have glutamates, too. see this from wiki, for example: "Only the L-glutamate enantiomer has flavour-enhancing properties.[4] Manufactured MSG contains over 99.6% of the naturally predominant L-glutamate form, which is a higher proportion of L-glutamate than found in the free glutamate ions of naturally occurring foods. Fermented products like soy sauce, steak sauce, and Worcestershire sauce have comparable levels of glutamate as foods with added MSG. However, glutamate in these brewed products may be composed 5% or more of the D-enantiomer.[4]"

                        1. Bordeline sacrelig, but I LOVE hidden valley's buttermilk ranch dressing MIX. Follow the directions on the packet, I think it's half mayo and half buttermilk.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kam7185

                            My favorite, too. I've made some good homemade versions, trying to find a more 'foodie' version, but HV is my true favorite....

                            1. re: Kam7185

                              I agree, LOVE the mix with buttermilk and mayo. I tried the Pensey's ranch mix but did not like it so gave it away. It was not terrible, just not great like the hidden valley brand. (I don't like the bottled kind, fresh is the best.)

                            2. Here is a good one from Cooks Illustrated. It is very good! =)


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: DishDelish

                                From Cook's Illustrated "The Best Recipe American Classics" cookbook
                                and The Cook's Country Cookbook, this

                                **** paraphrased recipe ****

                                Ranch Dressing

                                Makes about 3/4 cup

                                This recipe will coat 3 quarts (6 servings) of salad greens.

                                1/2 small clove garlic, peeled
                                1/4 teaspoon salt
                                1/4 small red bell pepper, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
                                1 medium scallion, white and green parts, minced
                                1 small shallot, minced (about 1/2 tablespoon)
                                1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
                                1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
                                1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
                                Pinch ground black pepper
                                1/4 cup buttermilk
                                1/4 cup mayonnaise
                                2 tablespoons sour cream

                                Chop garlic with knife on cutting board.
                                Sprinkle chopped garlic with salt. Drag
                                side of chef's knife over garlic / salt
                                mixture until it forms a smooth paste.

                                Mix garlic paste, minced bell pepper,
                                minced scallion, minced shallot, minced parsley,
                                minced cilantro, lemon juice and ground black
                                pepper in a mixing bowl.

                                Add buttermilk, mayonnaise and sour cream.

                                Whisk combined ingredients until smooth.

                                Can be kept in fridge up to 4 days in an
                                airtight container.

                                1. re: DishDelish

                                  Does anyone have the recipe that was on Cook's Country until recently? I have emailed the site (kind of pissed that they are removing a bunch of recipes that I use, when I pay for the site) but I am hoping someone saved it - I never thought I would have to, since I have consistently been a member (although I have let my Cooks Illustrated membership lapse - guess I'm a "country cook" when all is said and done).

                                  I wish I was a better cook, or had a better memory, so I wouldn't have to ask.

                                  I know it had the mayo, buttermilk, and sour cream, but I think it had different proportions. No red pepper or scallion. I think it called for shallot/red onion but no idea how much. Ditto for the parsley/dill (I used to use dry dill). Definitely salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice, again, not sure of the amounts. It also called for a pinch of sugar, which I was prone to leave out on a whim.

                                  Please help!

                                  1. re: evewitch

                                    Is this it?

                                    Ranch Dressing (Paraphrased recipe)

                                    From Cooks Country 2/2005

                                    The Use of Fresh herbs are essential for the flavor of this dressing; do not use dried herbs.

                                    Makes about 1 1/2 cups

                                    1/2 cup buttermilk
                                    1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                    6 tablespoons sour cream
                                    1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
                                    1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
                                    1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro or dill
                                    1 clove garlic , minced
                                    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
                                    Pinch sugar
                                    1/2 teaspoon table salt
                                    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

                                    Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth.
                                    This dressing, when covered, can be refrigerated for up to 4 days; whisk to recombine before using dressing.

                                    1. re: Antilope

                                      That's it! You are a lifesaver!!! :)