Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing ♥ A Homemade Substitute for Store-Bought Ranch Dressing

Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing
For anyone who likes ranch dressing, this is my homemade substitute. It's an easy salad dressing made from scratch with on-hand pantry ingredients. Low carb and Weight Watchers friendly!

~recipe & photo updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

"Oh, yum! This is incredibly good!" ~ T.
"Really good dressing!" ~ BellePlaine
"Wonderful recipe. The paprika is awesome! " ~ Mama Lynn
"Tried it and it tastes great; the house smells good too!" ~ Ron
"So delicious, I could eat it with a spoon!!" ~ Pam

2008: Since throwing down the challenge to Never Buy Salad Dressing Again, call me eagle-eyed for easy make-ahead salad dressings to replace bottled dressings from the supermarket.

This Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing recipe is turning out to be so versatile. It's great for dressing lettuce and salad greens but also as a dip (as pictured, used instead of ranch dressing) for raw vegetables. I can also see using it for a homemade coleslaw dressing or as the mayonnaise for tuna salad and egg salad. Plus, the dressing works beautifully in at least two classic summer salads -- check the recipes for classic seven-layer salad and classic Cobb salad.

So yes, mission accomplished: a really good homemade salad dressing, one that's easy to make ahead with just a few simple ingredients, and can be used in many ways. A much-appreciated side benefit is that it's also really low in calories even though it's full of flavor and is made entirely from 'whole' ingredients, no chemicals, no faux-foods.

2011: I just love it when I go back to older recipes on A Veggie Venture and find them just as good the second, third and fourth times around! It took all of 10 minutes to mix this dressing!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups

1/2 cup (124g) low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup (119g) low-fat mayonnaise, preferably Hellman's, my favorite mayonnaise ever
1 cup (250g) low-fat buttermilk
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon sugar (I like this but those on low-glycemic diets won't miss it or might use agave nectar as a substitute)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon pimentón (what's pimenton? it's a lovely smoky Spanish paprika, one of my very favorite spices)
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Combine in a blender. Will keep for a week or more.

I've included the weights for the main ingredients because I like to assemble the ingredients right in the blender, no measuring cups required -- by putting the blender on my kitchen scale.
The inspiring recipe called for only 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Using that volume, however, the dressing was quite gloppy -- it might 'spoon' on but certainly wouldn't pour. So I kept adding buttermilk until the dressing reached a good pouring consistency. This had the added benefit of lowering the calories, too, putting the dressing solidly into zero points for Weight Watchers.

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~ German Salad Dressing ~
~ Easy Salsa Dressing ~
~ Never Make Salad Dressing Again, who's taken the challenge?! ~

~ still more salad dressing recipes ~

A Veggie Venture is home of salad lover and 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. That looks like a great dressing recipe.

  2. It does sound good. I like the idea of smoked paprika in this!

  3. AnonymousJune 01, 2008

    Yummy - thanks for sharing!

  4. I like the touch of pimenton here -- takes this a step beyond any supermarket salad dressing.

  5. Oh, yum! This is incredibly good! Even Mr. Wonderful gave it the thumbs up (and he's a Thousand Island kinda guy).

    I think that my next batch will be a bit thicker, maybe 1/4 cup less buttermilk.

    I tried some of the dressing on chopped cabbage/slaw. The flavor is not strong enough to stand up to the cabbage; I ended up with (essentially) moist cabbage salad.

    I'm looking for opportunities to use this dressing - though it's not uncommon for me to just dip a spoon into the jar!

  6. Really good dressing! I made a salad nicoise and used this dressing. It worked wonderfully. Thanks!

  7. Wonderful recipe. The paprika is awesome! Made it this evening and drizzled it over a green salad, steamed cauliflower, corn-on-the-cob, and baked cod. It is so wonderful and so very yummy. Thank you.

  8. I love having a hit recipe! This is definitely one to keep around. MUST MAKE MORE!

  9. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    Tried it and it tastes great; the house smells good too! The consistency for salads is fine but I would prefer a little more body for dipping. Do you think cream cheese is the solution?

    Also, I could only find buttermilk in a half gallon. Any recipes with buttermilk? I think you mentioned it would last a couple of weeks, but I've already made a double batch of dressing and probably have enough.

  10. Buttermillk will keep a couple of months so you've got some time to use it up.

    To make it thicker for dipping, I'd just change the proportions, using more mayo. That changes the calories too but still, will be better for you even with SOME buttermilk.

    Here's another salad dressing with buttermilk -- it tastes quite.

    Or how about making cornbread cornbread?

    Also, if you search on buttermilk in the search box on the top of each page. You'll get lots of recipes. Or bookmark Food Blog Search, for recipes from a hand-selected group of food blogs.

  11. Ron,
    I made the dressing thicker using a mix of additional tablespoons of mayo and sour cream - oh so good for dipping veggies.

    On epicurious.com I found a recipe for blueberry scones which included buttermilk and meyer lemon zest (I used regular lemons). They were moist and wonderful. Rave reviews from family and friends on both the dressing and the scones!

  12. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    Well the dressing is just right today. I guess it needed to chill and doesn't have much body right out of the blender. Thanks (to everyone) for the leads!

  13. Made my third bath of this delicious dressing. Didn't use Hellman's and it just doesn't taste as fantastic.

    I'm sharing this recipe with everyone.

  14. Thanks so much for this recipe. I have made it multiple times now, with and without Pimenton. I live in low population area and found none here although on a recent trip to "the city" I found it without any difficulty. Wouldn't make it without it now. So delicious, I could eat it with a spoon!!

  15. I had no idea that I could make anything like store-bought ranch without the store. I haven't gotten the pimenton yet, but I will. Recipes are just suggestions to me, I wanted really thick with the flavor of the buttermilk, so I added lowfat cottage cheese. This has opened a whole new world of creamy dressings. Yogurt anyone?

  16. Made this today for my 7-layer salad, and it is amazing! I had to double the recipe, and didnt have enough ingredients, so i ended up substituting 1/2 milk & 1/2 heavy cream for the buttermilk. I also used 1/2 sour cream & 1/2 greek yogurt and mayo as normal. VERY Good.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna