This recipe for healthy ranch dressing has the classic taste of everyone’s favorite dressing without the guilt (plus a great garlic variation). Make it with dried or fresh herbs!
Why you’ll love it: It’s so easy to make your own and homemade tastes much fresher than bottled dressing (without any preservatives).
How long it takes: 10 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: measuring spoons, small jar or bowl
Servings: makes 1 cup
Ranch dressing is such a classic. It’s everyone’s favorite, right? On tables at weddings: ranch and Italian. Served on the side of chicken tenders: ranch. Ever dip your French fries in ranch? How ’bout your breadsticks and pizza crust? Ever poured it on top of a baked potato? Oh yeah, and it’s pretty good on salads too.
The only thing better than ranch dressing is buttermilk ranch.
The only thing better than buttermilk ranch is homemade buttermilk ranch.
The only thing better than homemade buttermilk ranch is reduced fat homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.
The only thing better than reduced fat homemade buttermilk ranch dressing is a reduced fat homemade buttermilk ranch dressing recipe that still tastes amazing.
About This Healthy Ranch Dressing
Since buttermilk is essential to a good ranch dressing, you’ll still see plenty of that in the recipe. Most of the buttermilk sold in stores is made with cultured low fat milk. Even though “butter” milk sounds rich, it’s actually quite a bit lower in fat and calories than regular whole milk.
In addition to the buttermilk, I add a little plain nonfat Greek yogurt and just a bit of mayonnaise which gives the dressing a really creamy rich taste without tons of added calories.
Of course, there are plenty of herbs (both fresh and dried) and seasonings, all of which work together to make the ranch dressing you know and love! I’ve included two variations for you so all the bases are covered.
By the way, if you haven’t tried my popular homemade dill vegetable dip, I’d encourage you to give that a try, too. It’s a healthier version like the ranch dressing, made with Greek yogurt and mayo. The vegetable dip is a staple at my house.
I’ll get you started here on the path to making your homemade dressing but as always, look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post. It has complete instructions with measurements and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Buttermilk: You can find buttermilk in the dairy section of your grocery store. Give it a good shake before you pour it. Sometimes it separates a bit in the carton.
- Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt: The tang of Greek yogurt complements the buttermilk. It’s good for you and is a low calorie choice. Since it’s thick, it makes the dressing feel creamier.
- Mayonnaise: Choose any brand you like. You’ll only need 2 tablespoons. Mayo balances the dressing so it isn’t too tart and it also makes it nice and smooth.
- Fresh Parsley: You sure don’t get fresh herbs in bottled dressing! You’ll find that your dressing has lots of herbal flavor. BUT, I get that fresh herbs aren’t always a reality so I’ve also included instructions for using dried herbs.
- Fresh Chives: This grass-like herb grows abundantly in the spring. You may even see a clump of it growing in your lawn. It’s in the allium (onion and garlic) family.
- Dried Dill: You may use fresh if you happen to have it but since it’s a pretty small amount, dried dill is usually more convenient.
- Garlic Powder: A dehydrated form of garlic, garlic powder adds a subtle flavor. If. you’re a huge garlic fan, use fresh garlic which will add a much bolder flavor to your dressing.
- Salt and Pepper: Just a half teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper round out the seasoning.
How To Make This Recipe
If you’re using fresh parsley and chives, rinse them thoroughly and shake off any excess water. Chop them very finely. If you’re using dried herbs, you can skip this step.
Make the dressing in a small jar with a wide opening and a tight lid. Recycled jars are just fine as long as they are sparkling clean. Measure out all the ingredients and put them into the jar.
Put the lid on the jar and shake it vigorously. If you find that the dressing isn’t coming together as smoothly as you’d like, remove the lid and use a small whisk or fork to thoroughly blend it.
That’s it! Cover and refrigerate the dressing until you’re ready to use it. It will keep for a week or so in the refrigerator.
How to Make a Salad – Salads 101
While ranch is a versatile dressing, I feel it is best suited to a traditional tossed salad. Here are my recommendations for a perfect salad dressed with ranch. This isn’t an exhaustive list but it should get the wheels turning a bit.
You’ll notice fruit isn’t on the list because I don’t think it goes well with the more savory profile of ranch dressing. For salads with fruit, try white wine vinaigrette, lemon basil vinaigrette dressing, apricot vinaigrette (love this one!), or raspberry vinaigrette.
So many good choices for greens! Baby kale, baby spinach, iceberg lettuce, romaine, leaf lettuce (red or green), shredded cabbage, or mixed greens work well. Fresh herbs are great in this mix too, such as fresh dill, cilantro, mint, and parsley. I love a combination of greens in my salads.
My philosophy with vegetables is the more the better! Tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, jicama, roasted beets, fresh corn, radishes, bell peppers, or peas are all terrific choices.
Proteins (For A Main Course Salad)
We recommend choosing one of the following to make your salad filling enough to be a main course: Grilled chicken breast (sliced), grilled steak slices, canned beans (rinsed and drained), hard boiled egg, diced ham, tuna, flaked salmon, or shrimp. Crispy tofu is great, too.
Extras (Choose 1 or 2)
Of course you can load up your salad, but we recommend sticking to one or two of these items to let their flavors shine. Grated cheese, bacon crumbles, homemade croutons, sunflower seeds or pepitas, sliced avocado, toasted nuts. This savory granola is an unusual addition to salads and you won’t believe how good it is.
Many commercial ranch dressings are high in fat and sodium. If you look at the ingredients of a popular brand, the first ingredient is vegetable oil, followed by water, sugar, and salt. It contains MSG and other artificial added ingredients. You’ll find 120 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 260 mg salt in every serving. So, not exactly healthy. Keep reading …
Why not make your own with wholesome ingredients? It’s much healthier and tastes better. The recipe below has only 43 calories per serving, 3 grams of fat and much less sodium. It’s real food compared to the scientifically engineered copycat that bottled ranch dressing is.
Make It Your Own
Be sure to check out the variations on the recipe card. One thing you can do is replace the fresh herbs with dried and the other variation uses fresh garlic for a garlic buttermilk ranch dressing.
- If you prefer, use full fat or 2% Greek yogurt. Regular plain yogurt works too although your dressing may have a slightly thinner consistency.
- Tweak the herbs and seasonings as much as you like until the ranch dressing is just the way YOU like it. You’re the cook in your kitchen so go for it!
This dressing will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week, depending on the use-by dates of your yogurt, buttermilk, and mayo. Shake it well before serving.
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives (or ½ teaspoon dried chives)
- ¼ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined. May also use a whisk to combine. Refrigerate in covered container for up to a week.
- This dressing will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week, depending on the use-by dates of your yogurt, buttermilk, and mayo. Shake it well before serving.
- Garlic Ranch Dressing: Use fresh garlic (1 clove garlic, minced) instead of garlic powder. Flavor will intensify over time.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.