Dozens upon dozens of our followers have requested a homemade ranch dressing recipe that “tastes like the restaurants.” If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering how to make restaurant style ranch dressing too. Though ranch is the most popular dressing flavor in America, used on everything from salads and chicken to burgers and sandwiches, we know the thought of making it at home can be a bit intimidating.
This is why people simply turn to store-bought ranch dressings – and these don’t exactly have a reputation for being “healthy.” Many store-bought varieties on the market are largely made out of mayonnaise and subpar fats. As most are shelf-stable, they also tend to pack in lots of sugar, sodium and preservatives.
The good news is that ranch dressing is neither inherently “bad” nor difficult to make so feel free to ditch the bottle if you wish. As with just about any other food, we believe ranch is what you make of it. That’s why we put our own nutritional spin on this classic American favorite. Made with quality ingredients our perfectly creamy and smooth restaurant style ranch dressing delivers the delightfully authentic taste that’s known and loved.
THE BALANCING ACT
Despite the popularity of ranch, ask our founder, Nina, and she’ll tell you it isn’t one of her personal favorite dressings. She rarely uses it on salads, if at all. In creating what would become our restaurant style ranch dressing recipe, That Salad Lady’s goal was to create a balanced blend she’d actually enjoy eating. After many iterations she created an herbalicious dressing with a hint of spice that even the most die-hard ranch enthusiasts will appreciate – and there’s no mayo nowhere.
Look at the ingredients list and you’ll see that our ranch dressing recipe calls for plain Greek-style yogurt instead, as it brings a hefty dose of protein, calcium and health-promoting probiotics to the blend. We specifically suggest using full-fat yogurt.
Compared to low-fat and non-fat varieties, full-fat yogurt is generally richer and creamier. It also has a texture and flavor profile that’s more similar to that of mayonnaise. Complemented by the deeply savory flavors of parsley, dill, chives, onion, garlic and other clever additions, our yogurt-based ranch dressing is full of authentic ranch flavor. You can make it with a blender, food processor or even just a bowl and a whisk and, best of all, it’s on your salad in just five minutes!
Let’s talk more about what’s in our dressing recipe and why.
A Rich and Creamy Base
As already mentioned, we suggest using plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt (4-5% fat) as it’ll bring the “mayonnaisy” texture and flavor that’s characteristic of classic ranch dressing. Owing to the combination of fat and protein, it’ll also improve nutrient digestion and provide superior satiation (filling effects) helping to reduce urges to overeat (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more).
Low-fat and nonfat Greek-style yogurts work too. Do know, however, that these generally house more sugar, and contain less protein and calcium than their full-fat counterparts. As all Greek-style yogurts are fermented and have less lactose than regular yogurts, they’re more easily digested, especially if you have lactose-intolerance. Fermentation essentially means the yogurt is partially “pre-digested” by bacteria, a process that makes it easier to digest.
Whether full-fat, low-fat or nonfat, choose your yogurt wisely! The best brands are those that contain naturally occurring sugar from lactose (milk sugar). Check your labels for indications of no more than 10-15 grams of total sugar per cup and 0 grams of added sugars. That Salad Lady generally uses “FAGE® Total Plain Greek Yogurt” or “Siggi’s® Whole Milk Yogurt.”
Some Slightly Sour Milk
Keeping with ranch tradition, our recipe also calls for using sour milk, specifically buttermilk. Buttermilk is basically fermented milk. Now, though a fermented dairy food, buttermilk is not a significant source of probiotics, but it does contain less calories and more protein per cup than regular milk. As with Greek-style yogurt, it’s also lactose intolerant friendly.
If you don’t have buttermilk, feel free to use regular milk or whatever milk you have on hand – don’t worry, you don’t have to let it “sour.” To give your milk a buttermilk-like flavor, just mix it with a little lemon juice or white vinegar (see recipe card).
Herbs and Spices GALORE
If you’re a ranch fan, it’s probably because you love its pleasant savory taste (technically called “umami”). Much of this is owed to an exquisite mixture of herbs and spices like parsley, dill, chives, onion and garlic. Our ranch dressing recipe includes dried versions of them all. We also include hints of smoked paprika and black pepper in the blend, to give it a spicy, tangy punch. Combined with the creaminess of the yogurt and milk, these ingredients build robust, downright craveable ranch flavor.
Besides being excellent flavor enhancers, these herbs and spices collectively contain powerful phytonutrient antioxidants known to help fight inflammation and reduce damage to your body’s cells. This is true for both fresh and dried varieties.
A Few Extra Add-Ins
Some other must-haves ingredients in our recipe include Dijon-style mustard, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Dijon itself is a valuable source of micronutrients, which can contribute to your daily nutrient tally. We suggest using a grainy Dijon which, as implied by the description, has a “gritty” texture. It also has a rich spiciness that adds really good bite to the dressing.
The strong umami taste of Worcestershire sauce and the sour power of fresh lemon juice are the perfect pairing for the Dijon and all the other classic ingredients in our ranch dressing recipe. If you’re watching your sodium intake, we suggest choosing a low-sodium brand of Worcestershire sauce. Don’t worry, it’ll be just as tasty.
To make the dressing, all you’ll need to do is gather and mix the ingredients to your desired consistency. Yes, it’s that simple. If you have a blender or a food processor, start by simply adding everything to your pitcher or work bowl. With variable speed units, start with a low speed. From there, you can gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth. And that’s how to make restaurant style ranch dressing in minutes.
If you don’t have a blender or a food processor, no sweat! Simply combine and whisk all your ingredients together in a bowl.
The Versatility of Ranch Dressing
Our authentically rich and creamy restaurant style ranch dressing recipe makes about six flavor-packed servings (two tablespoons per serving). As with any other ranch, you can use it as a dressing for your favorite salad bowl recipes. Try it on our “Hearty Kale Cobb Salad” as a start. In addition to salads, you can also use it as a spread for burgers and sandwiches or as a savory dipping sauce for proteins and plain ole veggies (see recipe card).
We recommend transferring any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and then storing it in the fridge. It’ll last for up to five days.
SHOW US YOUR WORK
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our restaurant style ranch dressing, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.