Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

There are few things I love in life more than ranch dressing. Even fewer that I love more than homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I use it on everything, and even in my smoky buffalo chicken dip which is, if I say so myself — amazing.

This homemade ranch dressing is so easy to make and I promise, you’ll swear off the store bought ranch forever after trying it. I find that bottled salad dressings in general are just ok, and most can be made better at home.

That opinion goes double, even triple for this buttermilk ranch dressing recipe. Seems odd to be taking salad dressing advice from a carnivore right? For context, this dressing is the perfect topper for my grilled romaine steak salad recipe. Even meat eaters like me gotta get those greens in.

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Are Ranch And Buttermilk Ranch the Same Thing?

The short answer is not exactly, but they’re close. Buttermilk ranch is much thinner than a typical ranch “dip” because the buttermilk thins it out. I make a version of both and they use the exact same dried herbs.

Quick tip: for a dip consistency, just leave out the buttermilk, dub sauce and vinegar in this recipe. You’ll end up with a cool creamy ranch dip that’s excellent for a veggie platter, chips, fries, etc.

homemade ranch dip in small dish with spoon

How Long Is Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Good For?

Unlike the store bought version of this dressing which is seemingly good for decades because of all the preservatives added, this dressing has a relatively short lifespan.

You’ll find all kinds of guidance on this topic on the internet but the reality is simple. The dressing is good for as long as the life of the shortest ingredient. So, check the dates on the sour cream and the buttermilk.

glass jar full of homemade buttermilk ranch dressing

Whichever expires first is the “expiration date” of the homemade ranch dressing. Simple right? I typically write that date on the bottom of the jar with a sharpie. It washes off with hot soapy water.

How Do I Make Buttermilk Ranch Thicker?

As I mentioned earlier, the buttermilk tends to thin this dressing out a decent amount. It will be noticeably thinner than the stuff in the bottle.

To thicken the dressing you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch. Just be just you whisk it in really well and refrigerate for a few hours before it’s ready to serve. The dressing will thicken up as it sits.

The cornstarch won’t affect the flavor of the dressing, allowing the buttermilk flavor to still be first chair in this great recipe.

top view of a full jar of homemade ranch dressing with sweet peppers in the background

What Mayo is Best For Ranch Dressing?

Answering this question is like walking a culinary tightrope over a pit of alligators. On one side is team yellow top, and on the other is team blue top. Lean too hard one way and the alligators will get ya.

I’m serious, people get super sensitive about their mayo preference and they are extremely loyal about it. It’s nearly as intense as the debate about putting ketchup on a hot dog.

In any case, what I’ll say is use what you prefer. A quality mayo is a must but which brand you use depends on what you like. Just don’t go with a store brand. Like dijon mustard, the store brands are lacking in depth of flavor.

Ingredients For Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

  • Herbs: Fresh herbs are hard to beat in most recipes. Not really the case in this recipe. Feel free to use them if you have them growing in the garden, but dried herbs are my preference for this ranch dressing for two reasons.

    First, once the dried herbs have rehydrated in the dressing, the flavor isn’t significantly different than using fresh herbs to begin with.

    Second, and maybe more importantly is cost. The cost of the fresh herbs alone for this dressing make it impractical. So, just use quality dried herbs, they’re fine.
  • Mayo: Use a quality mayonnaise and don’t be tempted to use a low fat or fat free version. Trust me on this one, it’s just not good. If you’re counting calories that closely you should probably rethink using ranch dressing in the first place and stick with a vinaigrette.
  • Sour Cream: See the previous note on the mayo, full fat here.
  • Buttermilk: Again, see the note on the mayo.
  • Cayenne Pepper: Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of the heat. This little amount of cayenne isn’t going to burn you down when mixed with the other ingredients. In fact, it’s very subtle (almost unnoticeable) but really adds an element of interest to the dressing; even for those who are heat averse.

How To Make Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: N/A | Serves: 12-14

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup whole buttermilk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp dried parsley
1 ½  tsp dried chives
1 tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp dried dill weed
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt to taste

Step 1: Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk to a medium bowl.

Step 2: Then, add the remaining ingredients (minus the salt) to the mayo, sour cream and buttermilk.

herbs for homemade buttermilk ranch dressing in a bowl, ready to be mixed.

Step 3: Whisk thoroughly until the herbs are fully incorporated. Taste, and add salt to your preference.

Step 4: Transfer the dressing into an airtight container, and seal it up.

homemade buttermilk ranch being poured into a glass jar

Then place in the refrigerator for five to six hours to allow it to thicken and for the flavors to meld together.

full jar of homemade buttermilk ranch dressing
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Course: Condiment


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup butter milk
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • tsp dried parsley
  • tsp dried chives
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried dill weed
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • ¼ tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper optional
  • kosher salt yo taste


  • Step 1: Add mayo, sour cream, and butter to a mixing bowl.
  • Step 2: Then, add the remaining ingredients (except the salt) to the bowl and whisk together. Taste and salt to preference.
  • Step 3: Transfer dressing to an airtight container and store in refrigerator. Dressing tastes best and will thicken in about 5 -6 hours.

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5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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