Let us make one thing perfectly, perfectly clear: the house-made buttermilk dressing you may have been served at your last family-style, farm-to-table meal, over locally grown baby lettuces and herbs was ranch dressing. Straight up, American-comfort-food, arguably trashy ranch dressing. Please do not take this to mean that we do not like ranch dressing -- actually we don't like it, we love it.
Now that we've called ranch dressing what it is, let's move on to some real talk: you never have to buy a bottle of ranch dressing again. You never have to deal with the disappointment of it being too gloppy, or too sweet, or too salty or engage in the unique intellectual balancing act that occurs when you have to think about why a bottle of ranch dressing is shelf-stable. Why? Because we're about to give you the only ranch dressing recipe you'll ever need.
Once you've got this buttermilk dressing recipe (yep, you really use buttermilk, because it is the best) under your belt, you'll be covering lettuce in it, dipping crudité in it, dressing potato salad with it, etc. forever. Your friends will ask for the recipe. It's up to you whether you want to claim it as your own "secret recipe."
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 2-3 tablespoons sour cream
- 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon, dill, parsley, chives or celery leaves (or a combination)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced with a microplane grater
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- few dashes Tabasco sauce (or hot sauce of your choice, but a little vinegar is what you're looking for)
Combine all ingredients into a mason jar (just trust us on this one). Shake like the Dickens. Forget you ever whisked salad dressing before. Open, taste, season to taste with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper. Seal, and shake again. Instant ranch dressing nirvana.
A few notes: if you can get real buttermilk, it will make this 100 times better. Same goes for Duke's mayonnaise. You'll begin to figure out whether you like this dressing to be runnier and more buttermilk-heavy, or thicker and more like a dip, and adjust the proportions accordingly. We've had amazing success grating lemon zest into this dressing, sprinkling in smoked paprika, etc. It is endlessly customizable. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but be forewarned: the garlic will get more aggressive the longer it sits.