An Ode to Homemade Ranch Dressing!

…including how to make your own BYU Creamery Ranch Dressing!

My experience growing up might be a little different than most.  It wasn’t until I was married and “on my own” that I started buying bottled ranch dressing.

I grew up on the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing made from the packets by my Mom.  Back then I think there was ONLY the buttermilk version available. I took it completely for granted.

Once I started buying bottled dressing I realized how lucky I was to have grown up on the “good stuff”.  I have searched for many, many years…both far and wide…for a BOTTLED dressing that tastes as good as the homemade stuff.  In my opinion….it does not exist.

The closest thing I’ve found is the ranch dressing you can buy in 1/2 gallon milk jugs at the BYU Creamery in Provo, Utah.  It’s found in the refrigerated section and I’m sure they make it every single day….it’s that fresh and delicious!  Unfortunately, an hour-long round trip drive to buy ranch dressing is not something I can currently squeeze into my schedule.  Factor in the cost of gas and that’s some pricey dressing!

So, a few years ago I decided I just couldn’t take the bottled kind any longer (you know the kind that you buy on the aisle with the mayo and the pickles and the bbq sauce).  It’s not even refrigerated!  How does that work???

So I went back to the little packets of Hidden Valley.  While they are a FAR CRY better than the bottled kind, I really craved that extra creamy, yummy BYU Creamery dressing.

After lots of “research and development” I have come up with 4 options that I sort of go back and forth between.

The first one I tried (because The Pioneer Woman hasn’t let me down yet.) was the Homemade Ranch Dressing from The Pioneer Woman’s blog.

Here is the recipe (with my “cheats” added):

 

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients

1 clove (to 2 Cloves) Garlic  (I usually just use garlic powder)
Salt To Taste
1/4 cup Italian Flat-leaf Parsley (this I DON’T cheat on)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives  (I use the dried kind in a bottle I found in the produce section)
1 cup (Real) Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Buttermilk (as Needed To Desired Consistency) (if I don’t have buttermilk on hand [which I rarely do-so I use this trick a LOT], I mix up a substitute of one cup of milk and a tsp of lemon juice or a tsp of cream of tartar).

Preparation Instructions

Mince the garlic with a knife and then sprinkle about an 1/8 to ¼ teaspoons of salt on it and mash it into a paste with a fork. Chop the parsley, chives and any of the optional herbs very finely and add to the garlic.
In a bowl combine all ingredients, adding other optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.

ThePioneerWoman.com

I LOVE this recipe!!!!!  It’s a TAD too “gourmet” for my kids however.  If that makes any sense! I guess the rough chopped ingredients are just too much to take. KIDS!


So, I also have made this recipe from SmellsLikeHome.com.   It’s a little less fancy, but tastes just as good!  The main difference being you put everything in the blender!  Makes a slightly more homogenized version of dressing which appeals to my food texture-sensitive children. (hmmm…wonder where they got that from?)

 

Blender Ranch Dressing



From Confections of a Foodie Bride and The Gourmet Cookbook

3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 to 1 cup buttermilk (I usually use the “substitute” buttermilk mentioned above)
1 small bunch of chives or 2 scallions, roughly chopped (again, I use the dried stuff in the bottle)
Small handful of parsley
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping or pizza “sauce”, more for dressing. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.  Leftovers will keep 2-3 weeks.

This is the recipe she uses for her buffalo chicken pizza, for dipping pizza bites, raw veggies, pretzels and chips, and of course on salads!  My PERSONAL favorite…BBQ Chicken Salad!  Recipe will be in future blog….promise!

SmellsLikeHome.com

If you are counting calories…I found this recipe for Creamy Dill Ranch Dressing (just eliminate the dill if you want) that calls for Cottage Cheese blended in a food processor to give it a creamy texture with minimal calories and fat.

 

Light and Creamy Dill Ranch Dressing



From EatingWell Magazine

INGREDIENTS
1 small  shallot, peeled
3/4 cup  nonfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup  reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  buttermilk powder (I just use the buttermilk “trick” mentioned above and use about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons  white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup  nonfat milk
1 tablespoon  fresh dill, chopped
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground pepper

Look for buttermilk powder, such as Saco Buttermilk Blend, in the baking section or with the powdered milk in most supermarkets.

And last…..but certainly not least….as I was crawling around the internet in search of a recipe for the BYU Creamery Ranch Dressing….I stumbled across this recipe for the DRY Ranch Dressing MIX!  It makes about 3 1/2 cups of the dry mix that you store in an airtight container and use as you need it!

Still homemade…but super convenient and yummy!   Love it!

 

BYU Creamery Ranch Dressing MIX

Ingredients:

Black Pepper ¼ C
Parsley Flakes 1 1/2 C
Garlic Salt ½ C
Kosher Salt 2 T
Granulated Garlic ¼ C
Granulated Onion 3/4 C
Dill Weed 2 T

Procedure:

1. Combine all ingredients, store in an airtight container. Makes about 3 ½ cups of dry mix
2. To Make Dressing, whisk together 2 T of mix with 2 Cups each of mayonnaise and buttermilk 1 ½ Cups sour cream, & 1 t Lemon Juice. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Makes 1 ¾ Quarts

YUMMY Variations to try:
* Add Parmesan and Romano cheese to for Parmesan Ranch
* Add Dijon mustard &amp honey for Honey Dijon Ranch
* Add some chopped cucumbers and celery seed for Cucumber Ranch
* Spice things up with a touch of your favorite BBQ sauce or Sweet & Sour Sauce.
* Add Salsa and cumin for a Southwestern Ranch – great on Taco Salad

 

Be creative! 

So there you go…..my rather lengthy Ode to Homemade Ranch Dressing.  I won’t apologize though….I happen to think ranch dressing is a very important part of overall food enjoyment! :-)

I DO like other dressings as well….the Tomatillo Dressing I make is TO DIE FOR!  I’ll have to share that soon!

LET’S ALL MAKE SALAD TONIGHT!

 





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Comments

  1. Demaroge says

    Uncle Dan's is sooooooooooooooooooo much better than Hidden Valley. I can't purchase it here where I live so my Mom would bring it or mail it to me. Now I have to buy it and I buy it….wait for it….ONLINE. Hahahaha!

  2. mandy says

    I am so gonnna try to make all these and see which I like the better! :) I am so glad I found this post! When I lived in America I fell in love with ranch dressing, but now that I am back in Sweden I was sad to find that they only sell one brand of it, and it tastes awful!

  3. says

    Thank you for taking the time to give your readers all of these variations. I made the blender version for my kids ( we have texture issues as well) and they loved it. I love your blog. One of my favorites. Liz

  4. says

    I am with you – there is nothing better than BYU Ranch dressing and I only live 10 minutes away but sometimes it is too hard to get there, or it is Sunday and I realize I don’t have any. I have come up with something comparable to theirs. I posted it on my blog, but I use the Hidden Valley recipe with buttermilk and real mayo but use 1/4 C. less buttermilk and 1/4 C. more mayo than the pack calls for and then add almost a tablespoon of horseradish. It is so much like theirs – theirs is thicker and creamier and has a bit of a kick. We love it “almost” as much – at least when we are in a pinch and it is easy to keep everything on hand.

  5. Shannon Haptonstall says

    Thanks so much, we avoid the package mixes and bottled because of the MSG. The fact that it eats little holes in your brains when in the presence of sugar is enough to make us try to avoid it!!

  6. Stephanie says

    I came across your website/blog by “accident”. I am so glad that I did!! You have wonderful recipes and ways of DIY that I just can’t get enough of! Thanks so much for doing what you do and helping us (ME) simple people with great ideas that would have never been thought of on our/my own! I just love this site!

  7. Nik says

    I used to work for BYU food services (before it was overtaken by franchises) and they had shelves full of Hidden Valley Ranch mix. It was in big bulk packages. That is how they made their dressing. They would mix up a 5 gallon bucket at a time. I don’t know why it tasted better than the packets, maybe the packets have changed. But there you have it.

    • sue says

      Did you ever get the recipe for the cherry bars they had or the banana dreams they would serve as an appetizer at special buffet events? What about the recipe for the BYU punch mix????
      I would love to make these. I have such fond memories of these and now live in Switzerland so there is no chance of ordering them.
      Thank you so much.

  8. Samantha says

    You are amazing. I’ve been looking forever for a good recipe for the mix since I use it in a lot of other recipes and this is PERFECT. I just made some of the BYU creamery kind and I am in loooove. Thanks so much!

  9. Vee says

    I love the idea of having the dry mix on hand, as in the last version. HOWEVER — that’s a ton of dressing. I want to halve it, but from experience, the second I mess around with portions, it just doesn’t seem to taste as good. Have YOU ever halved that recipe? Thanks for doing the work for us!

  10. says

    Jill, I was at your class at the BYBC and just loved every minute of it! I was the blonde in the front row soaking in every word you said. It was great to hear you speak and I learned a lot. I made your ranch dressing and my family LOVED it! It was the first time I’ve made homemade ranch and it was a hit. Thanks for the great recipe. I posted it on my blog just now, and linked back the credit to your site :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] by5 Dollar Dinners Short of FRESHLY made homemade Ranch Dressing….this is seasoning mix makes a MUCH better dressing than either the bottles or the packets you buy at the store. Although the packets aren’t too bad….I despise the stuff int he bottles.  yuck!!!  Personally my absolutely FAVORITE Ranch Dressing is the one I tried from The Pioneer Woman.  Mmmmmmm…..try it some time for a special dinner. It is divine. I wrote a post singing the praises of it a long time ago. [...]

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