Quick Ranch Dressing
Forget the bottled stuff. Homemade ranch dressing is one of the most refreshing ways to dress any salad recipe. A touch of cool, creamy buttermilk ranch, speckled with fresh herbs, drizzled over fresh greens? Heavenly. And making ranch dressing is literally a 2-minute affair. But first, we need to talk about mayonnaise.
Does Ranch Dressing Have Mayo?
Yes. Mayonnaise plays a significant part in creating that distinctive ranch flavor, and it also lends body to the dressing. Lighter options like yogurt are delicious, but yogurt won’t give the same smooth texture and full body. Homemade ranch dressing is one of the only reasons I keep a jar of mayonnaise in the refrigerator.
Under ordinary circumstances, I’m not mayo’s biggest cheerleader. I’ve made half a dozen potato salads, and none of them with mayo; I usually prefer lighter yogurt or vinegar-based dressings.
Even so, there are still places for rich mayonnaise in the kitchen, and classic ranch dressing is one of them.
What Makes Up Ranch Dressing?
You’ll need a handful of ingredients to make this classic ranch dressing.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly chopped herbs, such as chives, mint, and/or parsley (optional)
- Garlic powder (optional)
- Rice vinegar (optional)
Together, mayonnaise and buttermilk form the base of ranch dressing. Don’t have buttermilk on hand? Try making a super simply DIY buttermilk substitute. There are many options to kick up the essential dressing formula: Vinegar, for a bit of extra tang. I like to use rice vinegar, which is more delicate, although white wine or cider vinegar would be more traditional. Garlic powder (like mayonnaise, I only keep this around for ranch dressing). Fresh herbs, if you’re so inclined.
Just remember the base formula: 1 part mayo to 2 parts buttermilk, with a dash of salt and pepper, and build from there.
I kept the proportions in this recipe small, since I think this is one dressing that’s best when it is made fresh. I do make it a little ahead and stick it back in the fridge, since this helps it thicken up before dressing the salad (which I do an instant before bringing it to the table). But it will last a few days in the fridge, so feel free to double it and stash away a jar.
Makes3 to 4 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons
well-shaken cultured buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon
rice vinegar (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon
garlic powder (optional)
- 1 to 3 teaspoons
finely chopped fresh chives, mint, and/or Italian parsley (optional)
Whisk together the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
If desired, whisk in rice vinegar, garlic powder, and herbs. Refrigerate until serving and up to 3 days.