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Do you have a favorite "ranch" dressing recipe?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

After having been to a couple restaurants where they have a "house" ranch dressing.. one that is thick and creamy, extremely flavorful, etc. I just can't stomach the store bought stuff anymore. I know I could go google ranch recipe, but I would rather refer to my compadres here. If I had to guess on the base for the ones I've really enjoyed, it would seem to have buttermilk and something like sour cream to thicken it? I don't know if it really had buttermilk.. you might get a similar result with sour cream and heavy cream.


If one of you has a rock-star recipe that matches what I'm after I promise to never, ever buy the nasty store bought abominations again!

post #2 of 5
The "base" is usually mayonnaise and some sort of sour milk or another -- either sour cream or buttermilk. Buttermilk is lighter and lower cal, sour cream is stiffer, richer and tastes better. But no reason you couldn't use yogurt if you wanted something with a different texture. In any case, mayonnaise is almost always present and usually at around at least 50/50 with the dairy.

The other ingredients which make a dressing Ranch are a healthy dose of onions of one sort or another, enough garlic to figure significantly and enough black pepper to show up in the mix. If you want a bit of green in the dressing (traditional) you can use chives and/or scallions. You can use either fresh or granulated onion and garlic; if you use fresh, it takes several hours at least for the flavors to marry -- and overnight is better. If you use granulated seasonings and get your color by using a bit of chopped parsley, you'll still need about an hour of fridge time before the flavors develop.

Salad dressings and dips are very simple and not only don't require precise measurement but are probably best done to "to taste."

I make mine with mayonnaise, Salvadorean crema agria (a salty sour cream), chopped fresh scallions (green AND white parts), chopped fresh chives, fresh garlic and fresh, coarsely ground black pepper. If you need amounts, I'll write and post a formal recipe; but -- as I said -- I think you'll do better at pleasing your own palate if you just fool around a little to get the taste and texture you like. Remember to age the dressing in your fridge -- preferably overnight.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks BDL.. I guess I'll start with the base as you described and then experiment to find the seasonings I like. I am not really a fan of large chunks of spices in ranch dressing so perhaps I can use my mortar and pestle to create a paste for garlic, shallots, chives, etc. Do you think roasting garlic/shallots before creating the paste would be beneficial? I would think it would make breaking them down easier as well as taking off the hot bite that raw garlic/shallots would have. Oh well.. too the bat cave research kitchen!!

post #4 of 5

goodmorning eastshores.....i pretty much do the same as bdl but i use buttermilk as well as sour cream, and one drop of tabasco....one drop...i put in black pepper as well as white pepper because white pepper smells like dirty feet to me and i like to see the specks of the black pepper...you know, i'll just send along the one i make...you tweak it as you see fit....


2 1/2 cups mayo (hellmans)

1/2/ c sour cream

1/2 c buttermilk

1 1/2 tbl garlic powder

2 tbl chives or scallions

pinch of salt, white pepper and black pepper(restaurant grind, not cracked)

drop of tabasco (ok,maybe 2)


not to be bdl's mouthpiece here(as if i could) but if you don't like large chunks in your dressing, don't put in anything large chunked....the garlic powder and onion powder are good stand in's for fresh diced. the chives are so very small....or you could use dried chives, although i don't think they taste like anything other than dried grass. my only thought about you making a paste is that once you incorporate it into the liquids it will change the color, especailly if you use parsley or chives......just try this, you'll like it!    it's ranch dressing, it's suppose to be simple and uncomplicated...it's texan, boy!!!!

enjoy your holiday


Edited by durangojo - 5/27/12 at 7:36pm

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #5 of 5
+1 with durangojo, and...

Eastshores -- Every one of your ideas sounds very good to me.

FWIW, the "fast and dirty" version would be using powdered, dry garlic and onion -- which, along with some salt, is most of what's in the packs of mix you can buy in the super. You're already so far ahead...

Just ruminating... The one thing I'd add to your various versions is a little green -- either in the form of a mild herb like parsley or a mix of parsley and a bit of something stronger like tarragon, marjoram or basil; or scallion tops or preferably, fresh chives. In terms of Asian markets are very convenient to us, and my first choice along those lines would be garlic chives, which kill a lot of birds with one stone -- especially if you boosted the flavors by adding some granulated garlic and onion. Just to be clear, herbs or fresh greens are by means mandatory.

I suppose the takeaway is to just adjust for taste as you play around. Your creative processes and "virtual palate" seem well engaged, and there's really not much for me to add. But I did anyway.

Oh well,
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