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