Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
27 Aug

Creamy Ranch Dressing

It’s an undeniable fact that homemade recipes usually don’t taste exactly the same as a store-bought version of the same food. This is most clearly the case with processed foods, which are especially hard to re-create exactly in a home kitchen. This is a good thing – do you really want your kitchen pantry stocked with ingredients like soybean oil, phosphoric acid, monosodium glutamate (MSG), disodium phosphate and the most mysterious ingredient of all, “artificial flavors”? These ingredients are only half of what you would need to make Ranch dressing that tastes exactly like it was poured from a shelf-stable bottle.

Ranch dressing is a much-loved condiment, one that many people remember fondly after they stop eating processed foods. But honestly, is the odd way that bottled Ranch dressing coats your tongue and the weird, metallic aftertaste something you really, truly miss?

If the answer is no, but you still find yourself wishing you had a creamy side to dip your chicken wings in or a rich dressing to pour on your salad, then you’re gonna love this homemade version of Ranch. Made from entirely recognizable and pronounceable ingredients, this dressing is creamy, tangy and loaded with fresh herbs and dried spices (plus a secret ingredient) that make it a dressing worthy of any chicken wing you throw at it.

There’s no way around the dairy in homemade Ranch dressing, so if you don’t tolerate milk then another type of dressing will be more your style. But if you do, then the full-fat Greek-style yogurt and cultured buttermilk in this version of Ranch will give you a healthy dose of protein and probiotic cultures every time you spoon it over a bowl of greens. Adding mayonnaise is optional – if you have some on hand and want to add a tablespoon or two you can – but this recipe doesn’t necessarily need it and homemade mayo will change the flavor a bit.

The first time you make the recipe, follow the measurements precisely before altering it. Adding more onion powder or garlic or less dried dill will tip the balance of flavors in a way that strays further from traditional Ranch dressing than you might like. And that secret ingredient? It’s tamari (or soy sauce), which heightens the savory flavor of the dressing much like the questionable MSG does.

Drizzle it over salads, use it as a dip for veggies or meat…go ahead, welcome Ranch dressing back into you life. After trying this all-natural version, you’ll never miss bottled Ranch dressing again.


  • 1/2 cup full-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 heaping teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon tamari
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 of a small garlic clove, finely minced
  • optional: 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise



Simply whisk together all ingredients. The flavors tend to get bolder after a few hours or overnight, so make the dressing ahead of time if possible and refrigerate.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. how long will this keep? I’m a HUGE ranch fan, this will complete my life. Much thanks! =D

    vail wrote on August 27th, 2011
  2. I’ll have to try this – for a dip, I usually just combine equal parts mayo & sour cream with dill, chives, & black pepper, but I must confess that it’s a bit thick for dressing. That salad up top looks fabulous!

    Sarah wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • I truly hope that people are making the mayo from scratch, otherwise they are totally unaware of the massive load of PUFA they are consuming, nothing primal, paleo or healthy in general about that.

      ruben wrote on August 30th, 2011
      • I do usually make it from scratch with olive oil – no worries! :)

        Sarah wrote on September 19th, 2011
      • I have made Mayo but I don’t like the idea of using raw eggs. I only make enough for up to 3 days. I hate the commercial Mayo to me it taste so yucky.
        I am looking for a recipe that can be made using heat to sterilize the eggs.

        Marcia wrote on March 4th, 2012
        • If you find a reliable source of pastured eggs, then raw eggs are incredibly healthy for you.

          Tamara wrote on July 9th, 2012
  3. right up my alley…gatta have ranch for my BAS. Thanks!

    Dasbutch wrote on August 27th, 2011
  4. Full fat yogurt is not available in my area… unless I drive an hour. I can get Fage and Chobani, but they are both low or no fat.
    Looks very good though… I’ll make it with what I have on hand.

    Milemom wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • You can always make it yourself. We make it here by using a machine. I but the fullest fat milk you can find, your yogurt sample, and full fat cream:) Put in the machine and over several hours you get healthy Greek yogurt.

      Dawn Lavelle wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • You can just strain regular full fat yogurt through a cheesecloth-lined strainer until it’s a good consistency.

      Stacey wrote on August 28th, 2011
    • You could probably use sour cream instead- I buy the brands that list “cultured cream” as the only ingredient. I usually make my ranch dressing with homemade mayo and sour cream but I have done it with yogurt, too, so I think they can pretty much be used interchangeably. I would add extra vinegar or lemon juice if you like it more tangy.

      Leah wrote on August 28th, 2011
      • I actually make homeade ranch using the ranch seasoning mix packet and mix it with the “cream” from a can of Thai kitchen coconut milk. Delish and takes about 20 seconds =) This is also my go do recipe for creamy dijon (minus the seasoning mix + a spoonful or two of dijon mustard).

        Cheryl wrote on August 29th, 2011
        • Have you looked at the ingredients in the ranch seasoning packet? This is the Hidden Valley one – Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Maltodextrin, Dried Garlic, Dried Onion, Parsley, Spice, Carrageenan, Calcium Stearate, Buttermilk.

          Elizabeth wrote on September 30th, 2011
  5. Mark, whats your opinion on soy?

    Greg wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • So is a big fat NO! NEVER!

      Primal Toad wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • i enjoy natto from time to time.

        Wyatt wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • Oh dang thanks Mark.

        Oeric wrote on August 27th, 2011
      • 1/4 tsp of tamari? Never?

        I happen to think there’s a difference in dose between fermented soy tamari and something like a block of tofu or a bowl of edamame. And as the saying goes: the dose makes the poison.

        Sure, if you have documented zero tolerance for soy, then by all means, eliminate it. But on the spectrum of unhealthy things, a small amount of tamari is hardly a threat.

        Matt wrote on August 28th, 2011
        • I tolerate soy just fine, but have eliminated it completely due to all of the different research I’ve read about it. An easy fix if you’re undecided is to sub coconut aminos. Everything I’ve ever used it as a sub for soy for (grammar?) has turned out just lovely. :)

          Tara wrote on August 21st, 2013
    • steffo wrote on August 27th, 2011
  6. This looks great!! It will be a must try in our house. Nothing like wings or carrot sticks dipped in Ranch! Thanks for this. :)

    Joanne - The Real Food Mama wrote on August 27th, 2011
  7. This sounds awesome. I’ve never bought buttermilk in my life but if I come across some then I know what I’ll be using it for!

    Ive used the simple oil + vinegar and/or lemon/lime juice with some seasoning dressing mixes for 17 months and it still has not gotten old…

    Primal Toad wrote on August 27th, 2011
  8. Sounds great! Hmmmm. Twelve ingredients. My ranch recipe will have to do. Sour cream, buttermilk, 1T mayo. Perhaps add a dash of the secret ingredient and a pinch of dill.

    Harry wrote on August 27th, 2011
  9. Check out The Spunky Coconut today, she has a cashew nut ranch dip recipe. Thicker then this dressing but dairy free.

    Wendy Norlin wrote on August 27th, 2011
  10. How long will this last in the fridge before it goes bad?

    Mike F wrote on August 27th, 2011
  11. Wish this had posted two days ago when I was planning my daughter’s birthday party. I’ve got the obligatory veggie platter and I thought Ranch would be awesome with it, but couldn’t find a Primalized version. I ended up making a dip with Greek yogurt, shredded and drained cucumber, dill, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s very good, but it’s no Ranch. :)

    Karen P. wrote on August 27th, 2011
  12. Hi should stop reading your posts at work. I always get sooo hungry :)
    This sounds really great! And the best thing: I just realized I have all the ingredients for it at home, so I’ll give it a try tonight when I’m back from the gym.
    Thanks so much!

    Jen wrote on August 27th, 2011
  13. Ditch mayonnaise (whatever that is) for just 3 boiled egg yolks and it would be perfect.

    Thanks for the recipe, sounds very tasty.

    Arty wrote on August 27th, 2011
  14. We’re having Mark’s Spicy Chicken and Bacon Poppers (recipe posted on MDA on June 26) tonight and this will make a great dipping sauce for the poppers.

    PrimalGrandma wrote on August 27th, 2011
  15. Instead of buying a carton of buttermilk for this, you can stir a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of regular milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so and use like buttermilk.

    Ted wrote on August 27th, 2011
  16. you still find yourself wishing you had a creamy side to dip your chicken wings in or a rich dressing to pour on your salad

    Which is why I’m waiting for the primal bleu cheese dip recipe.

    Todd S. wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • Primal Blue Cheese dip is easy, I make it all the time!

      1 cup Full fat greek yogurt
      1/4 cup full fat sour cream
      1 tbls lemon juice
      as much blue cheese as you want
      couple dashes of your favourite hot sauce (I use 4-5 dashes of extra hot franks)
      couple pinches of onion powder
      dash or two worchestershire sauce

      Mix it all up and let it sit at least an hour for full flavours to come out and mingle.

      Ashley wrote on August 28th, 2011
  17. I so have to try this. Thanks for the recipe!

    Vicki wrote on August 27th, 2011
  18. Never, never, NEVER liked bottled Ranch dressing (never!). Mom always made it with buttermilk and that is the way the Ranch gods intended Ranch to be made and eaten, by Ranchgum!

    I cannot understand people who like that bottled, shelf-stable crap. It’s nothing like real Ranch dressing!

    Thanks for this! The soy sauce is an intriguing addition, and I can’t wait to give it a whirl.

    Steph wrote on August 27th, 2011
  19. I am eating this right now on my 2-minute salad, and it is awesome! Thanks for posting.

    Ann Marie wrote on August 27th, 2011
  20. Soy? What’s going on here?

    knifegill wrote on August 27th, 2011
  21. Tamari? Soy?! I don’t get it…

    Timothy wrote on August 27th, 2011
    • Guys, the soy he’s recommending is REAL Soy Sauce, which is fermented, and is much healthier than Kikoman or any of those fake crappy versions that have wheat in them. There is a brand called San-J that is completely wheat-free and made the actual way Soy Sauce was designed to be made. Fermented soy in small amounts is okay, and doesn’t have the same negative effects that commercial soy does.

      Steve Scarfia wrote on August 27th, 2011
  22. “But honestly, is the odd way that bottled Ranch dressing coats your tongue and the weird, metallic aftertaste something you really, truly miss?”

    Yes, actually. Stop judging me.

    HillyRu wrote on August 27th, 2011
  23. I love Ranch Dressing, especially on a grilled chicken salad. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

    Amanda wrote on August 27th, 2011
  24. I love to make my own dressing at home. I think it’s the best way to go, because I never find anything in stores that doesn’t have some kind of preservative in it. I’ve been wanting to look for a recipe for homemade ranch, and not I found it.
    There is just a few spices in there I’ve never heard of, have to check them out. Thanks Mark

    Tatianna wrote on August 28th, 2011
  25. Any subs for the Tamari as I have a huge soy allergy?

    Jessica K wrote on August 28th, 2011
    • Coconut aminos, maybe? I would try to skip it altogether and just add quality salt. If it’s missing something, I would try to tweak and maybe use coconut aminos if you can find it (and afford it!).

      Leah wrote on August 28th, 2011
      • Definitely coconut aminos. Stocked on the same shelf as tamari and soy sauce. It’s good stuff, I use it to marinate my beef jerky.

        Susie wrote on August 29th, 2011
  26. This looks amazing, Mark! I was just thinking about ranch after hittin’ up a salad bar today. I’m DEFINITELY gonna try this, and possibly make a post about it. Looks so good.

    Lauren B wrote on August 28th, 2011
  27. Very yummy. I’ll make this one again. I’m always grateful for salad dressing recipes, since the store-bought dressings have bad oils in them and I get tired of olive oil and balsamic every day. I’m currently looking for a good sesame oil/ginger salad dressing – so if anyone has a good one with common ingredients, please post.

    Anne wrote on August 28th, 2011
    • This is a good Japanese Ginger Dressing. I think most of the ingredients are Primal enough.

      Japanese Ginger Dressing
      2 tbs peanut oil (or other oil)
      1 tbs toasted sesame oil
      2 tbs rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
      2 tbs minced onion
      1 1/2 tbs grated fresh ginger
      1 tbs sugar free ketchup
      1 tbs tamari
      a little minced garlic
      a little kosher salt

      Pour all into a jar with a lid and shake it up.

      Rose wrote on September 9th, 2011
  28. Mark- what is your opinion on VEGANAISE? You know, Follow Youe Heart? I make my own yummy dipping sauce with it . Yummy!

    Susie wrote on August 28th, 2011
  29. I haven’t tried this recipe in particular, but everything from Elana is always delicious. Here is her Asian salad dressing recipe:

    Elizabeth wrote on August 28th, 2011
  30. For those that have made this already, how much does this recipe make? and how long does it keep? I’m putting together the grocery list now, and would like to know.

    Caleb wrote on August 29th, 2011
  31. I’m guessing it will last as long as either the yogurt or buttermilk will, whichever has the earlier expiration date. I was wondering the same thing.

    primal pal wrote on August 29th, 2011
  32. Made this last night. Sons and hubby declared it one of the best things I’ve ever made. First batch completely devoured. Thank you!!

    2boysmom wrote on August 29th, 2011
  33. Awesome! That looks delicious, I definatly have to give this one a shot!

    Thanks! 😀

    Michael wrote on September 5th, 2011
  34. Can anyone tell me, please, what is cultured buttermilk and where can I get it? Thanks.

    Lori MacInityre wrote on September 7th, 2011

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