Recipes and Tips for Healthier Living and Smarter Budgeting

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ranch Dressing from Scratch

Have you ever noticed how many ingredients are in those bottles of Ranch dressing you buy at the store? How about soybean oil as a first or second ingredient? And do you regularly add these ingredients to your meals?: autolyzed yeast extract, tapioca dextrin, calcium lactate, caramel color, "artificial flavor" (don't you love that?), xanthan gum, sodium alginate, sodium metabisulfite, maltodextrin, phosphoric acid, sodium benzoate and sodium sorbate (preservatives), calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor). Bon apetite, anyone?

I've known for a long time that such dressings really have more gross ingredients than good ones, and that has bothered me even while I eat them, but I never got around to figuring out how to make my own Ranch from scratch. Now I have, thanks to this site.

Like my Italian Dressing mix, this recipe makes a large batch of the mix so that you have it on hand and can easily use 1 Tb. of it at a time to make the dressing. (Which isn't really that much harder than pulling that bottle of syrupy, preservative-filled stuff out of the fridge!) This is definitely a keeper recipe and I'm so glad I found it.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Makes 12 batches (use 1 Tb. at a time)

2/3 cup dried parsley flakes
1/3 cup dried minced onion
3 Tbsp. garlic salt
2 Tbsp. onion salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with a wire whisk. Store in airtight container in a cool dry place.

To make Ranch Dressing, combine 1 Tb. of mix with 1 c. mayonnaise* and 1 c. buttermilk**. Note: If you want it for vegetable dipping instead of drizzling over a salad, use about half as much buttermilk.

Refrigerate until serving. Yields 2 cups

*I used a combination of mayonnaise and sour cream and really liked it.
**Click here for easy buttermilk substitutions (if you're like me, you don't often have the real thing on hand)--for dressing I preferred to use vinegar rather than lemon.


carolyn said...

Looks yummy!

Isaac Lyman said...

That's actually really good. My biggest problem is not the ingredients in store-bought ranch, but the flavor (everything except Wild Coyote tastes like algae). But this ranch recipe tastes good.

Side note, artificial flavors aren't far different from natural flavors, when it comes down to it. Both are chemically, genetically, or physically modified beyond recognition. (Great description here:

Katrina said...

Isaac, that is definitely an interesting link with interesting information. But it kind of misses the point with the way I cook, since I don't have a bottle of anything labeled "artificial flavor"--or "natural flavor" for that matter. I use the actual spice, the actual food, not just a flavoring. I guess it's just better to stay away from anything labeled that vaguely. Thanks for the tip.

Kyle, Amy, and Joshua said...

FABULOUS! I tried to make ranch from scratch a week ago...let's just say Yucky! (I not only tried to make it, I tried to make up the recipe too....not a good idea). So, THANK YOU for a real recipe I can try now. :) You're GREAT!

Katrina said...

Oh good! I'm glad you're as excited as I was to find and make it!

Jeff and Natalie Perez said...

Seriously, I think you are reading my mind half the time! I was just in search for a homemade ranch recipe!! I use the packets from Hidden Valley, but lately they haven't been gelling up correctly. I can't wait to try this one!!

Brandi M said...

I've been wanting to make my own recipe for a while, but I'm using up the old stuff first. Good to know, though. I love that you can have all the spices ready and just make a small amount at a time. My hubby makes homemade balsamic dressing. When I start blogging again I'll have to post it.

Katrina said...

That would be great. I would definitely be interested in that recipe.

Rob & Emily Willardson Family said...

Hey Katrina-
I was wondering how long this can store in the fridge (already made). I'm planning on making it, but I wanted to know how much I should make!

Katrina said...

Well, I had it already made in my fridge (covered, of course) for about a week and it kept just fine...

Susan said...

We're following a special diet due to my daughter's medical issues, but I am going to try to make this dressing using SCD-legal yogurt and SCD mayo along with all the other ingredients you list. Thanks!

Katrina said...

Susan, those sound like good alternatives! I hope your daughter likes the dressing.

Liz said...

I will for sure be trying this. I don't like ranch on salad but I like it for veggie dip, and the only thing stopping me from trying to make it was the fact that I thought I'd have to use it up quickly because it wouldn't contain preservatives--I had no idea you could just make a mix!


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