Making from-scratch, homemade ranch dressing is easier than you might think.
You might be accustomed to purchasing your dressing in the bottle, or mixing it from a foil packet.
But the process of making homemade ranch dressing is satisfying. It gives you the peace of mind that you are eating the freshest, healthiest option available. And all with just a few ingredients from your kitchen pantry.
To cut down on preparation time, we will show you how to make a delicious dry ranch dressing mix to keep on hand–similar to the Hidden Valley Ranch packet you mix with buttermilk.
The recipe card includes these things:
- How to make the spice blend
- A recipe for a classic favorite, homemade ranch dressing with buttermilk
- Delicious but healthy ranch – a fat-free alternative mixed from Greek yogurt.
We will also explain several additional uses for the spice blend, so you’ll see that mixing this seasoning can expand your menu.
Benefits of Homemade Ranch Dressing
You might be wondering why it’s better to use a recipe for homemade ranch dressing instead of buying it at the grocery store. Here are three reasons:
1 – You Will Consume Fewer Chemicals
Chemicals? Wait, what? Yes! The local grocer shelves are full of preservatives in places you might not imagine.
Whether you purchase your dressing in the packet or bottle, food manufacturers add preservatives to extend every product’s shelf life.
Prepared salad dressings contain preservatives to keep the products fresher for longer. That’s why you see “sell by” dates several months away.
Here are a few chemicals you might find as you peruse labels of commercially prepared salad dressing products:
- MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE: Have you heard of MSG? This food additive adds flavor to many products. The FDA deems it “generally recognized as safe.” But the Mayo Clinic warns it causes headaches, hot flashes, chest pain, nausea, or sweating in some people after consuming it.
- CALCIUM DISODIUM (EDTA): Physicians use this chemical cocktail (albeit in larger amounts) in a process called chelation to remove excess lead in cases of lead poisoning. The FDA approves it for use ONLY for this purpose. However, product manufacturers also add EDTA to cosmetics and foods to improve shelf stability in amounts small enough that they “fly under the radar with the government.”
- MODIFIED CORN STARCH: Food producers add modified corn starch to salad dressings to keep them thick and from separating in the bottle. “Modified” refers to the fact that the corn they use is genetically modified unless the label specifically states “non-GMO.” These modifications include herbicides, pesticides, and adding other toxins to the corn.
- XANTHAN GUM: This additive increases the shelf life of salad dressings. Most people tolerate it well. But it triggers an immune response in the body. Many allergists believe this might be the root cause of many food allergies.
2 – You Can Save Money if You Make Your Own Seasoning Mix
Purchasing dry ranch packets or bottled dressing can add unnecessary cost to your grocery bill each week. Mixing spice blends at home costs just pennies on the dollar.
So while the few dollars you save sounds small, it really adds up over a month–or a year!
In fact, many families use an entire bottle of ranch each week. If you have picky eaters who refuse to eat without dipping veggies in dressing, then you understand!
By keeping these ingredients on hand, you can save your hard-earned cash to spend on something else.
3 – You’ll Enjoy the Convenience of Homemade Ranch Dressing (Never Run Out!)
Have you ever tossed a salad only to realize you’re out of dressing? You have a meal on the table, but you’ve nothing to top your salad.
Avoid last-minute rushes to the grocery store. Instead, keep a small, airtight container of this seasoning mix on hand, and you will avoid the inconvenience of rushing out to pick up that last-minute item.
This ranch dressing tastes so much better. You won’t be disappointed in the flavor.
Homemade Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix Recipe
- 3 Tablespoons of dried parsley
- 1 Tablespoon of dried dill weed
- 1 1/4 Tablespoon of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 Tablespoon of onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper
Liquid Ingredients for Ranch Dressing
- 1/4 cup Buttermilk
- 1/3 cup Mayonnaise
- Put the parsley and dill weed in the cup of a food processor. These two herbs are "larger" than the other ingredients, so they need a few quick whirls to make them a little bit smaller. Five or six pulses should do it!
- Add in the other seasonings. Give the food processor two zaps to blend everything evenly.
- Place the seasonings into a tightly covered containers for storage. It can last for months—if it lasts that long!
- This makes just over 7 Tablespoons of seasoning mix for 7 cups of salad dressing.
To Mix Buttermilk Ranch Dressing:Mix one tablespoon of homemade ranch dressing seasoning mix to ¼ cup of buttermilk and ⅓ cup of your favorite mayonnaise. Mix well and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
To Mix Fat-Free Ranch Dressing:Mix one tablespoon of this ranch seasoning mix with ¼ cup of fat-free milk and ⅓ cup of nonfat Greek yogurt. Of course, this version also requires refrigeration until you are ready to use it. How to Make Buttermilk If you don’t have buttermilk any of these options will make a good buttermilk substitute, so choose whichever one you have the ingredients for. We prefer using the lemon juice first choice or cream of tartar, on the rare occasions that we don’t have any.
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice to 1 cup milk
- 1 ¾ tsp. Cream of Tartar to 1 cup of milk
- 1 Tbsp. White Vinegar to 1 cup milk
Uses for Ranch Dressing Mix
Note that the recipe card includes how to use this spice blend to make both classic homemade ranch dressing with buttermilk and a luxurious but fat-free variety, too.
Here are a few other things you can do with this delicious ranch dressing seasoning mix–easy ideas.
- SPRINKLE IT ON POPCORN: Trying to cut down on fat without losing flavor? Make oil-free popcorn in the hot air popper and sprinkle this seasoning mix and a tablespoon of parmesan cheese over your snack. It’s addictive!
(We use this super simple microwave popper and organic popcorn).
- CHICKEN WINGS SEASONING: The dill, garlic, and onion blend are surprisingly delicious as a meat rub. We love using this to season chicken wings before cooking them on the grill, smoker, or in the air fryer, like in this smoked chicken wings with ranch recipe.
- MEAT RUB: If you are cooking meat, especially an inexpensive cut that needs a little help with flavor, this tangy, dill blend makes an excellent rub. Spritz the beef or pork with a tiny bit of olive oil, then pat in the ranch mix as a rub before you sear it.
- SEASONED CRACKERS: For an inexpensive crunchy treat, purchase a bag of oyster crackers. Pour them into a large mixing bowl, pour 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and two tablespoons of the ranch mix and stir them well to coat every cracker with oil. Be careful not to crush the crackers! Spread these out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 300 for 15 minutes. Store in an airtight jar. In the photo above, I brushed a tiny bit of olive oil on plain salted crackers and then sprinkled the ranch seasoning on them. Delicious!
- HERBED CREAM CHEESE SPREAD: Soften a brick of cream cheese and put it in a mixing bowl. Using your hand mixer or stand mixer, add two teaspoons of homemade ranch dressing mix and whip it together. Smear this onto your toast or bagels to liven up your breakfast.
See this herb focaccia bread recipe.
Making this homemade ranch dressing recipe at home is easy and healthy. You will eliminate some preservatives and chemicals from your diet. Plus, you will love the flavors and enjoy the convenience of adding this seasoning to many different recipes.
We recycle old herb and spice jars for our homemade concoctions, but this spice jar kit is on our wish list. We hesitate though because while we love the organized uniform and artisan look, we’re not fond of spending time extra time pouring store bought bottles of herbs and spices into these just so that our spice cabinet looks good.
However, what we’d use them for most is homemade herb and spice blends, most of which would need customized handwritten labels.
For that we’ve ordered these larger 16 oz spice jars. We like that these come with blank white labels so that we don’t have to buy a white marker to use on the black labels you typically see, and also so that we don’t have to pay for tons of pre-printed stickers that we don’t need and won’t use.