This Ultimate Ranch Dressing is perfect for your crisp green salads. All the fresh ingredients make for the best ever homemade ranch dressing.

This Ranch Dressing Recipe is brighter in flavor and more delicious than anything you could find in a bottle or make from a packet. Perfect for dipping veggies or dressing your favorite salad, you’ll be making it over and over again.

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing in white ceramic bowl with a red handled fork

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing

I had not made this Ranch dressing recipe since 2012, so it was overdue for a remake. I’d been making loads of refreshing lettuce salads lately, chock full of suspicious ingredients like cucumbers, hearts of palm, and artichoke hearts. At least according to the hubby.

It was easy enough to pick up a bottle of ranch or French dressing at the market, but I thought I’d remake this old favorite instead. It’s not called the ultimate ranch dressing for nothing!

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing in a glass jar

How to Make Ranch Dressing

I was surprised how much this buttermilk ranch dressing tasted like the Hidden Valley brand that we all know, but better.

  • Fresh herbs are imperative, but if you despise cilantro, dill will work just as well.
  • You also must use fresh lemon juice, not from a bottle. The quality is so much better. If you have no other need for lemon, you can squeeze and freeze the rest of the juice.
  • The process is extremely simple. Just whisk all the ingredients together, and voila, you have ranch dressing!
  • If you want to make a lighter version, you can use low-fat sour cream, but you may need to increase the lemon juice. Do not use a light mayo as the end result will be too sweet.
  • PRO-Tip: Did you know you can easily make your own buttermilk if you don’t have any on hand? To make a buttermilk substitute at home, combine 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes, then use as directed in your recipe.
  • Drizzled over a simple salad of iceberg lettuce, grape tomatoes, diced bell peppers, cucumbers, and avocados, this made a light and luscious side dish. The picky hubby pulled off a few of the above ingredients and I added hearts of palm and artichoke hearts to mine.

More Terrific Salads and Salad Dressings

The hubby also loves my homemade French Dressing, but my Balsamic Vinaigrette is my go-to salad dressing. This Marinated Vegetable Salad has a simple 5 ingredient recipe and that includes water, salt, and pepper. This Beet Salad with Hearts of Palm is terrific if you love beets as much as I do, or try this Summer Farro Salad for something a wee bit different. Plus, this Cafe Rio Salad Dressing sounds tasty, too!

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing on a round white salad plate

Ranch Dressing Ingredients

Pick up a few items on your next trip to the market and you can have the best ranch dressing in no time! You’ll need:

  • Buttermilk
  • Mayonnaise (Hellmann’s or Best Food’s preferred)
  • Sour Cream
  • Large Shallot
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Garlic 
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

This recipe was first shared in September 2012. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing featured image

The Ultimate Ranch Dressing

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 12 servings

A tasty, authentic ranch salad dressing made from scratch.


  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Check seasonings and add more sugar, salt or pepper if needed. Store covered in refrigerator up to 4 days.

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups (use about 2 tablespoons per serving).


Adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g


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