Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

October  4, 2022
20 Ratings
Photo by Tara O'Brady
  • Prep time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes about 2 cups
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • 1 drop 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 flavors to blend and develop.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • robin lewis
    robin lewis
  • GourMel
  • HRH
  • tastysweet
Food writer and creator of the site Seven Spoons. Author of the bestselling cookbook of the same name (Ten Speed Press and Appetite by Random House). Food columnist for The Globe and Mail.

25 Reviews

[email protected] January 2, 2022
I make this all the time! I use light mayo and light sour cream
So yummy
Thank you!
Taylor S. May 15, 2021
Excellent - I swapped out some mayo for more sour cream for extra tang!
Shannon G. March 25, 2020
An absolute favorite. I come back to it again and again after trying others. I m particularly loving it during the current lockdown (March 2020)...
Tysiepup March 14, 2020
This was fantastic. You can definitely play with the measurements according to your taste. Consistency depends on what your serving - with salad it really coated the lettuce well and didn’t overwhelm. We love lemon, so used the juice of some preserved lemon and added little zest.
robin L. November 17, 2017
What kind of jar is in these photos?
Tara O. November 17, 2017
Hi! I'll grab it from my pantry when I get back home, but it's a vintage one, the sort with a glass lid and metal ring.
Daniel T. August 6, 2014
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.
Tara O. November 17, 2017
Love hearing this!
GourMel May 21, 2014
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.
lilroseglow April 27, 2014
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!
HRH April 10, 2014
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 :)
tastysweet January 20, 2014
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?
Tara O. January 20, 2014
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!
tastysweet January 20, 2014
Thanks. Added about 3/4 cup. Added xtra basi and added some lemon zest. Will judge after it sits for a while. Smell good.
CondimentQueen July 26, 2013
Dang that's good! That is going into heavy rotation in my kitchen.
Kim W. June 24, 2013
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. =(
Tara O. January 20, 2014
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.
Kim W. January 20, 2014
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.
Chrissy D. June 6, 2013
I recently was looking for a homemade ranch recipe, tried a couple to no avail, but this one looks tasty!! Thanks for sharing!
meganvt01 June 4, 2013
Fantastic! So easy to make and the flavor really sings. This will be on our table all summer long
kins June 3, 2013
Really love the flavor. Dipped veggies with lunch. Can't wait to toss with tonight's salad. A keeper.
Reengh June 3, 2013
How long will it keep in the fridge?
Tara O. June 6, 2013
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.
Stubor June 2, 2013
I've made one similar, but I used more garlic and cilantro instead of parsley. I will try your version next time; thanks.
Tara O. June 6, 2013
Cilantro would be great with so many veg. Definitely something to try.