Ranch Dressing: An American Iconic Accompaniment

Ranch Dressing
Homemade ranch dressing in a small jar with herbs. Image by Elena Veselova c/0 www.123rf.com

What could be better as a dressing than the all-American iconic Ranch Dressing? If it isn’t good old mayo then this highly flavoursome tasty dressing is ideal on salads, on a burger or just as a dip for croutons and breadsticks. It is quick and easy to make and does not rely on preservatives or nasty chemicals for its truly glorious flavour. When you visit any diner then if the chef has any quality, this is one dressing that should stand out as a mark of their ability. Seems odd to say so but the flavour is the key element here and the way the spices are combined establishes the quality of the chef’s ability. Any product developer producing a sauce also needs to understand what works best in spice terms too.

The ingredients are all dairy staples although buttermilk might not be available everywhere. A full-fat milk is needed for mouthfeel. Not everyone would use Worcestershire Sauce either but there are some interesting options here. The other sauce that gives it a slightly different edge is Hendersons Sauce which is really only found in Yorkshire or thereabouts.

The three main dairy ingredients can be varied in quantity depending on the type of consistency and sourness required. Some chefs prefer more mayonnaise. A number of web-site recipes really go for buttermilk but I think that it can overdo the thickness.

Try this dressing with a simple salad or as a sauce for a juicy beef steak.

Produces about 1 cup

Preparation Time: 20 minutes.

The ranch dressing can be  refrigerated once made and stored in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Ingredients For Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or full-fat milk
  • 3-4 drops of Worcestershire Sauce (optional) or 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon dried dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley OR 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh chives OR 1/2 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional). You can use chopped fresh spring onion (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 mashed garlic clove OR 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (can be kosher)
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely cracked black pepper
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste approximately 1-3 teaspoons, adjust to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk or beat together the mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk.
  2. In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and onion with the fine sea salt to create a paste, or use a large heavy knife to mince and mash the garlic and onion with the salt into a paste. If neither of the fresh ingredients are available, just add the equivalent dry version – not all ingredients can be obtained fresh so don’t feel bad about doing this.
  3. Add the garlic and onion paste, and dry mustard to the milk-mayo  mixture and whisk well to combine.
  4. Add the chives, parsley, dill in whatever form and freshly ground black pepper and whisk well to combine.
  5. Season the dressing with additional fine sea salt. 
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