Ranch Dressing Recipe

Even Like Better Than Store-Bought

Ranch Dressing on Salad Greens
••• Jack Andersen / Photolibrary/Getty Images

When you try this cheap and easy recipe for ranch dressing, you'll wonder why you ever bought the bottled kind in the first place. It requires basic ingredients that you might have on hand anyway, and it's easy to put together. You might even find that you prefer it to the bottled variety, so even if you don't already have the ingredients in your kitchen, you might want to buy them and mix up a batch of this homemade ranch dressing to keep on hand.

What You'll Need 

You'll need one to two cups of sour cream and an equal measure of mayonnaise. Don't use Miracle Whip. It will throw the taste off entirely.

Next, you'll need anywhere from half a cup to a cup of milk. How much will depend on how thick you want your dressing. Obviously, more milk makes a thinner finished product. 

Now you'll need seasonings, about a half teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and dill. The dill can be dried or it can be fresh if you happen to have some available from your garden. You'll also need a teaspoon of parsley and this, too, can be either dried or fresh.

Put It All Together 

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. An immersion blender is really handy for this step if you happen to have one. 

And that's it. You're done. Pour the finished dressing into a sealable jar or container and refrigerate it for an hour or so before serving—this gives the different flavors time to meld together.

Make It Your Own 

There's plenty of room to experiment with this recipe. Use different seasonings, or change the seasoning amounts until you have a dressing that reflects your personal tastes.

If you prefer dressing with more of a buttermilk base, just replace the milk with an equal amount of buttermilk. Powdered buttermilk works well and you can keep it on hand just about forever, so you'll always have the makings for buttermilk dressing or buttermilk pancakes. Most grocery stores stock it beside or nearby the regular powdered milk. 

This recipe is also really easy to adapt to your dietary needs if you or a family member are watching your sodium or fat intake. Reduce or eliminate the salt, or use non-fat or low-fat milk. 

Use Homegrown Herbs 

Plant parsley and dill in your garden, then dry them so you can use them in your ranch dressing. Home-dried herbs are fresher and more flavorful than anything that you can buy at the grocery store—not to mention a whole lot cheaper. 

Don't be intimidated if you've never dried herbs before. It's really easy. You can do it in a food dehydrator if you have one or want to invest in one. Otherwise, a low-temp oven does the job just fine. Or if you don't mind waiting a week or two for your herbs, just hang them upside down in small bunches in a warm, dry place. They'll do all the work for you.

Store your dried herbs in an air-tight container in your pantry.

More Condiment Recipes

As you use up other condiments in your fridge, consider challenging yourself to replace them with homemade versions. Most condiment recipes take less than five minutes to make, and you get to control what goes into them when you make them yourself. This means no preservatives or mystery ingredients that you can't pronounce much less identify—just real ingredients and real flavor.