Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (2024)

A restaurant style ranch dressing recipe, but better. This version is packed with herbs and flavor, and comes together in just minutes.

We all know that the best ranch dressing is restaurant ranch dressing, right? It’s so creamy and flavorful, and WAY better than the bottled stuff. This recipe is the homemade version, and I think it totally competes with the best restaurant ranch any day.

This blog is centered around small batch recipes that make 2-3 servings, so this recipe stays true to that. It makes about 1/3 cup of ranch dressing, and comes together in just a few minutes.

Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (1)


  • 3 tbsp. Buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. Mayonnaise (good quality, Like Hellman’s or Duke’s)
  • 2 tbsp. Sour Cream (full fat)
  • 1 tsp. dried Minced Onion
  • 1 tsp. dried Parsley Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Chives
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Dill
  • pinch each of Salt & fresh Black Pepper (about ¼ tsp. each)
Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (2)

Ingredient Notes

  • Good quality mayonnaise helps with the overall flavor of the ranch. Sometimes a good quality ingredient can make a huge difference in the overall recipe, and this is one of those instances. If you have a favorite mayonnaise, use it! Using ingredients that you love will make your ranch dressing that much better. I don’t recommend Miracle Whip, as it’s sweet and doesn’t taste the same as mayonnaise. Hellman’s or Duke’s are my preferred mayonnaise brands because they both have great flavor!
  • Full fat sour cream is ideal for this recipe, but you can use low fat in a pinch. You could also use plain greek yogurt if you want!
  • I use dried herbs for this recipe because they’re easier to keep on hand, and I don’t necessarily want to buy a bunch of fresh herbs just to make some dressing. However, if you have fresh herbs (like fresh chives, fresh dill, or fresh parsley) on hand, you can absolutely use them. Chop the herbs and finely as possible, and double the quantity that the ingredient list calls for.
  • Fresh garlic can work as a substitute for garlic powder, but the flavor of fresh garlic grows more intense as it sits in this dressing. If you plan on refrigerating this for a few days, I would stick with garlic powder so the garlic flavor isn’t too overwhelming by the time you’re ready to eat it.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use regular milk (preferably whole or 2%) instead. However, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about a teaspoon) will help add some of the acidity that the buttermilk would have provided.
Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (3)

As a recipe developer, it’s always a little difficult to create recipes that are based upon a “restaurant” version of something. My favorite restaurant ranch dressing could be completely different from your favorite restaurant ranch dressing. To be honest, a lot of restaurants just mix a TON of mayonnaise with some buttermilk and the Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix and call it a day. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong! But I think if you actually saw how much mayonnaise was in restaurant ranch, you’d be like … oh. That’s … a LOT.

So think of this recipe as the better version with less mayo. The ranch taste is still there, and honestly the herb flavors are more pronounced. But adjust the consistency to fit what you love, and see the recommendation below if you want to make this dressing smooth and creamy.

Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (4)

Is this Ranch Dressing Thick?

This exact recipe creates a thicker ranch dressing than some restaurant-style ranch. If you want a thinner dressing, add more buttermilk (or milk) as needed. Restaurant style ranch varies from place to place, so this is a great recipe to start with (for the flavor), but you can adjust the consistency to fit your preference.

Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (5)

Can I Make this Dressing Smooth and Creamy?

Yes you can! So this recipe uses dried herbs that are kind of chunky, which I love. However, if you want a super smooth ranch dressing, throw the herbs and spices (chives, minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and parsley) into a coffee bean grinder or a mini food processor and blend until they’re nearly broken down into a powder form. Stir them into the mayonnaise, buttermilk, and sour cream, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

I’m from the Midwest, which basically means that my veins run heavy with ranch. To be honest, I never liked it until I started serving in college (at Applebee’s – shoutout to my fellow Apple Buddies), and tried “restaurant ranch” for the first time. Needless to say, I started drowning french fries in ranch like it was my actual job, and I’ve never looked back. Except now I prefer tater tots, but ya know. Crispy potatoes in any form will probably work. Or buffalo wings, or chicken nuggets … or fresh vegetables (I have to say that last part because I’m an adult now.)

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How to Make Homemade Ranch

  1. Whisk the mayonnaise, buttermilk, and sour cream together in a medium bowl.
  2. Stir in all of the herbs (chives, minced onion, onion powder, garlic powder, dill, and parsley).
  3. Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Add more buttermilk for a thinner consistency, if preferred.
  5. Cover and chill for an hour for the best flavor, or serve immediately!
Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (7)
Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (8)
Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (9)

I don’t think it gets any easier than that! And good news: you can adjust ANY of these ingredients to fit your taste preferences. I’ve tested this recipe more than a couple times, and I always end up tweaking it just a little bit to fit whatever I’m serving it with. I’ve even added a touch of pickle juice before (HIGHLY recommended by the way – just add like a tablespoon of fresh pickle juice and it is a GAME CHANGER!). But these simple ingredients are the foundation of homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, and they’re your best bet for a delicious ranch that tastes like it came from a restaurant.

How Long Does Homemade Ranch Dressing Last?

This will keep for up to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s really at it’s best after it sits for a couple days; the flavors have a chance to blend together and really shine.

Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (10)

I originally posted this recipe in my Buffalo Chicken Tacos post because it is a PERFECT sauce to drizzle over the top of them! You could also use it on these Buffalo Chicken Sliders, these Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps, OR Loaded Buffalo Tots!

If you make this ranch dressing recipe and love it, a star rating and comment below would be so amazing! Or you could tag me on Instagram so I can see it, too. 🙂 If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me via email so I can help out.

xx Sara

Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (11)

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Restaurant Ranch Dressing Recipe

Servings 2 servings

A creamy homemade ranch dressing recipe that rivals your favorite restaurant style ranch!

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Total Time 5 minutes mins


  • 1 Medium Bowl

  • 1 whisk

  • 1 Spoon

  • 1 Mini Food Processor optional: for a very smooth ranch (see notes)


  • 3 tbsp. Buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. Mayonnaise best quality
  • 2 tbsp. Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp. dried Minced Onion
  • 1 tsp. dried Parsley Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Chives
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Dill
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly cracked Black Pepper


  • Whisk the 3 tbsp. buttermilk, 2 tbsp. mayonnaise, and 2 tbsp. sour cream together in a medium bowl.

  • Stir in the dried herbs (1 tsp. dried minced onion, 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes, 1/2 tsp. dried chives, 1/4 tsp. each of onion powder, garlic powder, and dried dill).

  • Stir in a pinch each of salt and pepper, taste, and add more of either if preferred. For a thinner dressing, stir in more buttermilk (1 tsp. at a time) until the dressing is the consistency you like.

  • Cover and chill for an hour in the refrigerator for the best flavor, or serve immediately!


For the Smoothest Consistency:Blend the herbs (minced onion, parlsey, chives, garlic powder, onion powder, and dill) together in a mini food processor until finely ground and resembles a powder. Stir into the buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more buttermilk as needed.


Serving: 2tbsp. | Calories: 107kcal

Tried this recipe?

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Small Batch Ranch Dressing Recipe (2024)


How do restaurants make their ranch so good? ›

Even when a restaurant does start with premade ranch, they will often fold in extra fresh herbs, and maybe even more buttermilk, to lighten and bring in some brighter flavors that can be lost in shelf-stable bottling.

What can you add to ranch dressing to make it taste better? ›

One of my favorite ranch boosts is adding something spicy. Squirt in some Sriracha or Mexican-style hot sauce, or add a spoonful of Moroccan harissa paste, wing or Buffalo sauce, or some diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

How do you make ranch less thick? ›

If your ranch is too thick, add more buttermilk. Too thin? Add a little more mayo. I did use a low-fat mayo this round and it ended up a hair thicker than I like.

What ranch mix do restaurants use? ›

Most restaurants don't buy pre packaged ranch. They buy hidden valley seasoning and mix it themselves with ingredients they already have.

What is the ranch that most restaurants use? ›

  • “Hidden Valley is sold across the United States and in more than 30 countries, found in thousands of restaurants, and enjoyed on everything from salads to pizza.
  • Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing Mix is made with a blend of onion, herbs, mustard, salt, garlic, black pepper, chives, paprika, and parsley.

What gives ranch its distinct flavor? ›

What makes ranch ranch? It's a combination of creaminess (from buttermilk, sour cream, sometimes mayonnaise) and herbaceousness (often parsley, thyme, dill), plus a long pull of allium (onion and garlic) and a shot of black pepper.

What is the emulsifier in ranch dressing? ›

Xanthan gum is another popular emulsifier that can improve viscosity, suspension, and texture. It is used in dressings such as Ranch, Thousand Island, and Honey Mustard. Polysorbate 80 is a clean-label emulsifier that enhances the stability and shelf life of dressings.

How do you cut bitterness out of dressing? ›

Sweetness balances out acidity, spice, and bitterness. A salad composed of bitter greens may benefit from a sweeter dressing. But sweetness can come from sources other than one-note white sugar; consider honey, pureed dates, maple syrup, jam, or molasses as sweeteners that also add flavor and mouth-feel.

Why is restaurant ranch so creamy? ›

While many restaurants use mass produced ranch mix, they often add it to a higher-quality base. This might include milk, buttermilk, sour cream, or mayonnaise. So when you notice that the ranch in a restaurant tastes better than the bottled dressing from the store, what you're really tasting is delicious, creamy fat.

Why is my homemade ranch runny? ›

And the buttermilk, or the regular milk, acts as a thinning agent, bringing your ranch dressing to the proper consistency. Buttermilk will be thicker and tangier; milk will almost be a non-flavor…but will thin it quite a bit more.

What is the difference between ranch and creamy ranch? ›

The Classic and Southern are the same, but the creamy ranch has buttermilk powder and some other ingredients like lactose, malic acid, and carrageenan (the latter to hold it together since buttermilk powder thins out in a weird way)... the flavor is much milder than the classic/southern because of the buttermilk powder ...

Is there a difference between ranch seasoning mix and ranch dressing mix? ›

This homemade ranch seasoning mix can be used for both. The difference comes in what you combine the seasoning mix with to make either a dip or dressing. Ranch dressing is typically made with milk and mayo, while ranch dip is typically made with sour cream.

Can I substitute ranch dip mix for dressing mix? ›

Certainly. It's all about what texture you're going for. Use the dip mix if you prefer a thicker dressing, or the pourable dressing as dip if you prefer a smoother, creamier texture. In a bowl, combine 1 cup milk and 1 cup mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of Hidden Valley® mix.

How to make ranch dressing Martha Stewart? ›

Directions. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise until smooth. Whisk in thyme, garlic, and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

What is the secret to restaurant ranch? ›

The secret to restaurant style ranch dressing are the ingredients. You can't use just any type or brand of mayonnaise or any type or brand of ranch powder. You have to use McCormick Mayonesa and Restaurant Style Hidden Valley Ranch powder. And, do not use regular milk.

How does ranch get its flavor? ›

Ranch dressing is a savory, creamy American salad dressing usually made from buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, herbs (commonly chives, parsley and dill), and spices (commonly pepper, paprika and ground mustard seed) mixed into a sauce based on mayonnaise or another oil emulsion.

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