Homemade Buttermilk Dressing (Dry Mix)

(Update: I omit the buttermilk powder when I make this so it’s dairy free. Just use less of the seasoning when you mix up a batch of paleo ranch because it will be more potent.)

There are a lot of recipes for homemade buttermilk dressing floating around the internet, but most of them call for fresh herbs. (Pioneer Woman has a great recipe using fresh herbs that can be a starting point for all kinds of add-ins.)

When I finally found (and tweaked) this recipe using all dried ingredients, I was happy to have a ready-to-use blend in my pantry. Sometimes I just don’t feel like chopping a bunch of herbs. (Or spending a lot of money on herbs when my herb garden isn’t doing so well. Or is non-existent. Like right now.)

I do want to. . . (warn?) tell you that this doesn’t taste exactly like the little packets you get at the store. It’s hard to compete with monosodium glutamate (MSG), but I’m OK with my tongue not being tricked. I really like this version, and I hope you do, too.

I like to make my dressing in a quart-size mason jar. I have a serious crush on mason jars.


That’s the jar holding my homemade olive oil mayonnaise. (Remember?) It’s not lemon curd or hollandaise, despite its crazy yellow color.

Just dump 1/4 cup of dry mix on top.


Add the buttermilk.


And whisk (or shake) like there’s no tomorrow. Have you ever used a ball whisk? It’s my new favorite gadget. It gets into corners and edges a lot better than a regular whisk. I didn’t even need a spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of my mason jar.

This dressing is seriously versatile. You could add some pureed chipotle.  Or cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatillo to make a mexi version. (Cafe Rio knock off? :)) Extra garlic or Parmesan cheese would be nice, or BBQ sauce & bits of crispy bacon. Mmm. You can even use it as a spice rub or a popcorn seasoning.


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Homemade Buttermilk (Ranch) Dressing - Dry Mix

Yield: 1 cup of mix


1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder (see note)
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons freeze dried chives
1 1/2 teaspoons dillweed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried onion
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. If the buttermilk powder you bought required refrigeration after opening, then store the mixture in the fridge.

Makes about 1 cup of mix.

Homemade Buttermilk Dressing

1/4 cup Homemade Buttermilk Dressing Mix
1 cup mayonnaise (try homemade!)
1 cup buttermilk or regular milk

Whisk together all ingredients and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Nat's Notes:
1. Try looking for buttermilk powder in the baking aisle or the bulk section of your grocery store.
2. You can also use sour cream or plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise or do half and half.
3. I realize that using buttermilk when there is already buttermilk powder in the mix is sort of redundant, but I liked the extra tang. Use regular milk or even water if you like. Try adding less at first if you want the dressing to be thick.

adapted from the Coconut & Lime blog

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18 Responses to “Homemade Buttermilk Dressing (Dry Mix)”

  1. #
    Kirsten's Cooking — March 5, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    A few months ago I made the Pioneer Woman's Drip Beef sandwiches – and used the Good Seasons Italian packet. The sandwiches were delicious, but my husband and I are very sensitive to MSG. When we woke up the next morning, all of the tell-tale signs were there. I raced to my kitchen, checked the ingredients and didn't understand – it wasn't listed!

    Your link cleared up the sneaky ways that manufacturers are hiding MSG and other additives.

    Anyway, I really appreciate having this mix to make the drip beef with!

    Also, I've used my food processor to make mayonnaise before, and it's amazing how quickly it thickens – plus your arm probably wouldn't get as tired!

    Thanks again


  2. #
    Melissa @IWasBornToCook — March 5, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    I love that this uses all dried ingredients. So easy to keep and store. Looks delicious!


  3. #
    Jolene - EverydayFoodie — March 5, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    I am so glad that this uses dry ingredients!!! I always have extra buttermilk on hand after making bread, so this is a perfect use for it! Thanks!


  4. #
    Kalyn — March 5, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

    Sounds good, will definitely try this.


  5. #
    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — March 5, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

    Kirsten – Wow, it sounds like you guys need to be extra careful! I'm glad the article was useful to you. I really like (most of) Dr. Mercola's articles.

    You could even substitute more Italian seasonings in to make it taste more like Italian dressing. I'll have to try it in my food processor… I didn't even think about that!


  6. #
    Joanne — March 5, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

    I see many salads with this in my future. Many. As soon as I get up the nerve to make that mayo.


  7. #
    souperior — March 6, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    What a lovely sounding storecupboard standby! I love buttermilk dressing but it's not very common here in the UK – I'm now searching online to try and find a source of dried buttermilk powder (which I didn't even know existed!)


  8. #
    Jodi — March 7, 2011 @ 3:32 am

    This looks great. I actually made some Cafe Rio knockoff stuff last night (with cilantro, lime and salsa verde) to go on my fish tacos. This mix will come in handy to have around. What brand of powdered buttermilk do you use that does not need to be refrigerated?


  9. #
    Karly — March 7, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    I am now craving a big ol' salad covered in this yummy dressing! Topped with crispy bacon, of course.


  10. #
    Christina — March 7, 2011 @ 4:11 am

    I'm loving how frequently you're posting these days! AND I get to see you on TK!

    We've been looking for a natural ranch dressing for a loooonnnng time. Thanks a million for this!


  11. #
    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — March 7, 2011 @ 5:57 am

    Jodi – I bought my buttermilk powder in the bulk section of a grocery store. I can't remember if it was Winco or the store in Berkeley I loved going to.

    Karly – Welcome back!! After all of that cruise food, I'm sure salads sound really great right now. I remember hitting that frozen yogurt machine every time we walked past it. Shameless…

    Christina – I love it, too! That's what happens when you move to a new place and have zero social life for a while. :) My life is about to get really hectic, so I think my posts will scale back a bit.


  12. #
    Arianna — March 9, 2011 @ 12:07 am

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I admit I have been waiting for it since you teased about in in the Roasted Layered Salad post. I have been on the quest for a good homemade ranch sans the MSG. This California girl and family LOVE ranch dressing. I will be giving this a try asap.


  13. #
    Natalie @ Perrys' Plate — March 9, 2011 @ 1:18 am

    Arianna – Let me know how you like it (and even if you don't!) My kids adore it and they eat a lot more veggies now!


  14. #
    Bella — February 12, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    Do you have to use buttermilk powder? Can’t use just regular buttermilk?(actually milk with vinegar added. I live in the middle east!)


  15. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — May 7, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    Love this Natalie! Mostly because sometimes I don’t wanna chop all those fresh herbs and garlic… this is easy and perfect!


  16. #
    sharon eaton — June 4, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    Would someone break this recipe down to a one serving recipe? I am only making it for me.


    • Natalie Perry replied: — June 5th, 2014 @ 1:35 pm

      Hi Sharon! When you say one serving, do you mean enough dry mix to make about 3 Tablespoons of dressing for one side salad? It would be impossible to measure out all those ingredients at such a small scale. Maybe try making 1/2 or 1/3 of the recipe and then you’ll have a little extra in case you like it. And it wouldn’t be too much of a waste if you don’t. Best of luck!

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