Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

By • May 30, 2013 19 Comments

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Author Notes: Ranch is a buttermilk-and-mayonnaise based dressing named after the ranch in Hidden Valley, California where it was first served almost 60 years ago. My homemade dressing isn’t trying to emulate the stuff that comes in a bottle, because if that’s what you’re craving, then I honestly believe only the original will do. Instead, what I was aiming for was a tangy rendition, packed with herbs, with enough body to coat greens and vegetables, but not overpower. In this recipe there’s some yogurt to lighten the mix, and basil brings extra fragrance and sweetness, while the paprika lends a smoky note. It’s my variation on a classic, and a favourite in its own right.Tara O'Brady

Makes about 2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons teaspoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • Honey, as needed
  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the shallot, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yogurt or sour cream. Screw on the the lid and shake the jar to combine. Stir in most of the buttermilk. Check for consistency, and add more if needed. Taste, then season with salt, pepper and paprika. If the dressing is too sharp, drizzle in some honey to mellow the acidity. Taste again, and adjust if needed.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before using, to allow the flavours to blend and develop.

Tags: buttermilk, dressing, Summer

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Comments (19) Questions (0)


11 months ago Daniel Thurman

I tried this at the end of last summer. My friends and I all loved it. Think it's time for a new batch. I am a bit sad to not have any homegrown basil this year for it.


about 1 year ago cookbookchick

I've made this twice now in as many weeks. The first time I made it, my husband said, "I LOVE this dressing!" A keeper for sure -- thanks Tara! I use it for cool summer salads that have leftover ham, chicken, or roast beef and maybe some cheese, tossed in for protein. If you decide to make it, don't skip the optional smoked paprika. It adds a depth of flavor and gentle smokiness that we love. And those of you who don't eat meat, take note: The smoked paprika gives the flavor of bacon to a summer salad. Toss it with cheese and you'll have a nice, no-cook entree.


about 1 year ago Gourmel

Do you think this dressing would work if I heated it up (thinking of using it in my buffalo chicken dip instead of store-bought ranch)? I'd probably sub the mayo for greek yogurt as I don't tend to keep it on hand.


about 1 year ago lilroseglow

I've never liked Ranch dressing much before because it always tasted "chemically" to me - guess that's what you get from a bottle. But THIS dressing is a revelation. Love it. In addition to tasting wonderful, it is healthy without even trying. I think this will be my go to dressing this summer. Thanks for posting this recipe!


about 1 year ago HRH

This was so, so good! Kinda improvised on the herbs I had on hand, but kept the basic flavor/bite ratio... I lurv buttermilk ranch, and this recipe is a total winner :)


over 1 year ago tastysweet

About to make this. Read one comment about this being runny. I won't add the full cup of buttermilk. Will see how the consistency is first. Can always add more.

Is this dressing supposed to be on the runny side?


over 1 year ago Tara O'Brady

It's not as thick as store bought, but it is meant to be thick enough to coat a spoon heavily. Add the buttermilk as you see fit. Hope you enjoy it!


over 1 year ago tastysweet

Thanks. Added about 3/4 cup. Added xtra basi and added some lemon zest. Will judge after it sits for a while. Smell good.


almost 2 years ago CondimentQueen

Dang that's good! That is going into heavy rotation in my kitchen.


about 2 years ago Kim Whitehead

Good flavor but no matter what I did like add more mayo and Greek yogurt it was so, so runny. Completely liquid! Not something you want to put on a salad or dip your veggies in. =(


over 1 year ago Tara O'Brady

Hi Kim! I've never had a problem with consistency, but it could be the brands of sour cream, mayonnaise and buttermilk. So sorry to hear you had trouble.


over 1 year ago Kim Whitehead

Hi Tera,you might be right about that because whenever a recipe calls for sour cream I always use Greek yogurt in place of. Been doing it for years now so I don't even think about it but maybe that's the difference. However, since I last blogged about it I've purchased xanthan gum which works really well for adding texture, and not just for salad dressings.


about 2 years ago Chrissy DeVono

I recently was looking for a homemade ranch recipe, tried a couple to no avail, but this one looks tasty!! Thanks for sharing!


about 2 years ago meganvt01

Fantastic! So easy to make and the flavor really sings. This will be on our table all summer long


about 2 years ago kins

Really love the flavor. Dipped veggies with lunch. Can't wait to toss with tonight's salad. A keeper.


about 2 years ago Reengh

How long will it keep in the fridge?


about 2 years ago Tara O'Brady

I'm comfortable keeping it in the fridge for a few days, up to a week. But that is out of personal experience, not science, so take that with a grain of salt.


about 2 years ago Stubor

I've made one similar, but I used more garlic and cilantro instead of parsley. I will try your version next time; thanks.


about 2 years ago Tara O'Brady

Cilantro would be great with so many veg. Definitely something to try.