One flavor that many people miss when they drop unhealthy vegetable oils is creamy, tangy ranch dressing. I know I did. I still love the taste of ranch but cringe to remember how I would put ranch dressing on almost every school lunch in high school… adding vegetable oils and processed soy to more vegetable oils and processed soy…
Now that I prefer my food to only contain ingredients I can pronounce, I needed a grown-up, upgraded, healthier ranch dressing.
This easy real-food ranch dressing recipe doesn’t taste exactly the same as the junk version, but it does have the creamy texture and same type of flavor.
If you have kids (or adults) who will eat anything with ranch dressing, try this recipe!
Why Homemade Ranch Dressing?
Why take the time to make homemade dressing? I was quite dismayed when I found out my favorite condiment had some hidden not-so-great ingredients such as:
- Vegetable oils
- Xanthan gum
- Modified food starch
- Artificial flavors
- Calcium disodium EDTA (as preservative)
I go through some extra trouble (and money) to make sure our meats and produce are from the best sources we can afford, and I don’t want to ruin them! This homemade version avoids all these unhealthy ingredients and even adds probiotics with the addition of Greek yogurt.
And honestly, the fresh flavor profile alone makes it worth it. This ranch dressing gets its characteristic zip not from “fake food” additives but from fresh herbs and spices (with all their health benefits as a bonus).
I use dill in my usual recipe, but making your own dressing also means you can mix up the flavors from time to time and find your favorite variation. Check out some of our variations and other favorite salad dressings listed below the recipe.
Ranch Dressing from Scratch in a Snap
It may sound intimidating at first to make things like condiments and dressings from scratch, but the secret is simply a little practice. Soon, it feels like no work at all to whip up a dip or sauce that can be stored in the fridge and used on a whole variety of foods throughout the week. It helps keep meals interesting and makes fresh veggies more appealing to little ones.
It helps me to keep my list of staple ingredients in a meal planner (I use this one) so I can whip up ranch dressing at any time. (And it avoids a trip to the store… always a bonus!) In fact, if I have the ingredients around, my older kids can even make this recipe on their own.
Another helpful shortcut: If you’re looking for a real-food alternative to those ranch dressing mix packets that are featured in so many recipes, check out this simple dry mix recipe that makes a great marinade, soup addition, or base for a dip.
Easy Real-Food Ranch Dressing
- Put all ingredients except oil in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Very slowly, add the oil so that it emulsifies.
- Use immediately, or store up to 1 week in the fridge.
Ranch Dressing Variations:
- Use 2 tsp of fresh herbs like dill, mint, or basil for alternate flavors.
- Use avocado instead of yogurt if you don’t tolerate dairy.
- Use Italian seasoning instead of dill and double the parmesan for a Caesar-like dressing.
My Favorite Salad Dressing Recipes:
- Creamy Caesar Dressing – The real-deal Caesar dressing (I would accept nothing less!) made with pastured egg yolks for healthy fats and a creaminess that can’t be beat.
- Zesty Italian Dressing – white wine vinegar, thyme, basil, and olive oil… nothing artificial here!
- Tangy Greek Dressing – red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and oregano punch up the flavor in this homemade Greek dressing.
- Sweet Asian Dressing – Coconut aminos take the place of soy in this 5-ingredient recipe with sweet honey and spicy ginger. Or try this creamy coconut ginger version!
- And more favorite recipes here!
What’s your best recipe for a healthy salad dressing? Share below!