One flavor many people miss when they drop unhealthy vegetable oils is creamy, tangy ranch dressing. I know I did. I still love the taste of a good ranch dressing recipe. But I cringe to remember how I’d put store-bought 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 have healthy, whole ingredients, I needed a grown-up version. An upgraded and healthier ranch dressing.
This easy real-food ranch dressing recipe doesn’t taste the same as the junk version. But it does have a creamy texture and the same type of flavor. If you have kids (or adults) who will eat anything with ranch, try this recipe!
It’s good for people focusing on eating more protein since it’s much higher in protein than traditional ranch. Plus it’s lower in total fat and you avoid the vegetable oils found in many ranch dressings.
Why Homemade Ranch Dressing?
Why take the time to make homemade dressing? I wasn’t thrilled to find my favorite condiment had some not-so-great ingredients like:
- 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. I don’t want to ruin them! This homemade ranch salad dressing avoids all these unhealthy ingredients. Plus it adds probiotics and protein with Greek yogurt.
Many people make protein ranch by mixing ranch packets into greek yogurt and a little mayo or milk. I’m not a fan of the ingredients in those ranch packets, though.
Ranch Recipe With Fresh Flavor
And honestly, the fresh flavor alone makes it worth it. This ranch dressing recipe doesn’t get its characteristic zip from “fake food” additives but from fresh herbs and spices. And all of their health benefits as a bonus. The best ranch
I use dried herbs like dill, parsley, and one teaspoon onion powder in my usual recipe. Making your own dressing also means you can mix up the flavors from time to time. Experiment and find your favorite variation. Also, check out some of my other easy recipes for salad dressings below.
Some people add mayonnaise or sour cream to their homemade ranch. I prefer the flavor without it but you can add 1/4 cup mayonnaise for a richer flavor that also tastes more like a traditional ranch.
If you want a buttermilk ranch dressing, then use buttermilk to thin when mixing instead of water. For a blue cheese version, add some blue cheese crumbles to the yogurt and herbs.
Fresh vs. Dried
I use dried herbs for this because it’s what I usually have on hand. When the fresh herbs from the garden are vibrant though, sometimes I’ll use those. If you want to use fresh herbs instead of dried ones, here’s how. Use 1 tablespoon fresh dill, 2 tablespoons fresh chives, and 1 tablespoon fresh parsley. You can also add some freshly ground black pepper if you have a grinder.
Ranch Dressing Recipe from Scratch
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: Looking for a real-food alternative to those Hidden Valley ranch dressing packets featured in so many recipes? Check out this simple dry mix recipe that makes a great marinade, soup addition, or base for a dip.
Protein Ranch Dressing and Dip Recipe
For ranch dip:
Additional ingredients for ranch dressing:
- Milk or water (just enough to thin to the right consistency)
- Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.
- If you're making ranch dressing, rather than dip, whisk in water or milk a little at a time until the consistency is right.
- Use immediately or refrigerate to let the flavors meld.
- Use cottage cheese instead of yogurt, pureeing the mixture in a blender or food processor
- For a richer flavor, use ¼ cup of mayonnaise and only ¾ cup of Greek yogurt
- Use fresh herbs instead of dry: 1 TBSP dill, 2 TBSP chives, 1 TBSP parsley
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!) is 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!
- Balsamic Vinaigrette – Garlic, dijon mustard, honey, and spices combine for a tangy addition to any salad.
- Green Goddess – Yogurt, fresh herbs, and 1/2 teaspoon salt combine for a simple, delicious dressing.
What’s your favorite way to use ranch dressing? Leave a comment and let me know!