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. for the person whose daughter uses red palm oil and bacon grease…I’d luv to have the complete recipe. Thanks

    Susan wrote on February 8th, 2012
  2. I’ve never been a big fan of dill style ranch dressing, but this is really good! I’ve made it with the Greek yogurt as the recipe calls for, and also with a natural sour cream. Both are good, but I have to say I prefer it made with sour cream. So happy to have a wonderful homemade ranch recipe!

    pinkash wrote on February 14th, 2012
  3. This ranch sounds awesome! Also going to try the ginger dressing another reader posted….
    I do have a question: has anyone attempted a Chipotle restaurant copycat salad dressing. Their dressing is soooo good, but I hear they mostly use soybean oil (not sure about the dressing)

    Jessica wrote on March 6th, 2012
    • I’d also like to find a primal copycat recipe for Chipotle restaurant’s salad dressing… Anyone have any ideas?

      Jessica wrote on March 12th, 2012
  4. This creamy ranch dressing is MUCH better using sour cream instead of yogurt. It is less tart, and much smoother. Thanks for the recipe! I will always use it when I want buttermilk ranch dressing.

    Edie Masters wrote on April 22nd, 2012
  5. This is the best homemade ranch! I’ve tried a lot and this one tastes even better than the store bought stuff. Since I don’t keep buttermilk on hand, I sub the same amount of heavy cream and put the vinegar called for (or lemon juice) into it and let it set while I put the rest of the ingredients together. I add more salt (personal preference) and add a little more heavy cream or water if I need it to be thinner.

    Sarah wrote on November 30th, 2012
  6. I also use sour cream instead of yogurt. When I tried yogurt in the past it was much too tart.

    Sarah wrote on November 30th, 2012
  7. Can this be canned? I’d like to make a while big batch of this.

    Aileen wrote on June 13th, 2013
  8. This looks amazing! Does anyone know of a non-dairy version?

    Lindsay wrote on July 19th, 2013
  9. I’m looking for the seasonings to add to the oil to make some ranch flavored sweet potato fries in the oven. I will get some dill and experiment, dump a little of this and a little of than and viola maybe we’ll be creating something fabulous?
    Dill is the thing I think that will make all the goodness happen.

    2Rae wrote on October 5th, 2013
  10. I love your addition of soy sauce, I had never thought of that! I will certainly have to give that a try next time I make a batch of ranch dressing.

    Thoughtful Cooking wrote on November 10th, 2013
  11. I tried making this recipe tonight, and it was really tasty…totally satisfied my ranch cravings. =)

    I did substitute the buttermilk for sour cream as I couldn’t find a source I trusted for the other. It turned out wonderfully, though! Thank you for this.

    Laura wrote on September 14th, 2014
    • Er…that is I substituted the buttermilk WITH sour cream. Grammar?

      Laura wrote on September 14th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2015 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!