I was 1000% a ranch dressing kid. I put that stuff on everything. When I had kids of my own I wanted them to have a fresher, healthier ranch dressing than I had as kid.
When we decided to cut out some of the dairy we had at home, I was determined to create a dairy free, paleo-friendly ranch dressing that even my kids liked.
A tall order, I know.
I started by making traditional ranch from scratch — with buttermilk and all. Just to get a baseline of what homemade ranch dressing was like.
There are a lot of recipes for homemade ranch 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.)
Fresh herbs are delightful. Don’t get me wrong.
But almost every time I make ranch dressing it’s 5 minutes before dinnertime when I realize that my jar is nearly empty in the fridge. There’s no way I was going to head to the store to buy fresh herbs. I wanted the convenience of those little green ranch dressing packets, but in a healthier way.
When I finally found (and tweaked) this dry ranch dressing mix recipe using all dried ingredients, I was happy to have a ready-to-use blend in my pantry.
You probably don’t always feel like chopping a bunch of herbs, too, I’m guessing?
(Or spending a lot of money on herbs when your herb garden isn’t doing so well. Or is non-existent. Like mine right now.)
I do want to. . . (warn?) tell you that this doesn’t taste exactly like the little green ranch seasoning mix 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, though, and I hope you do, too.
How to make dairy-free ranch dressing mix
Another key ingredient in most ranch dressing mixes is buttermilk powder. If you want to add buttermilk powder and aren’t concerned with this recipe being dairy free, go right ahead.
Just add about 1/4 cup of buttermilk powder to the recipe below. You’ll also need to add a little more of the ranch mix when you make ranch dressing because it won’t be as potent. The buttermilk powder dilutes it some.
My recipe doesn’t contain buttermilk powder and because it’s made with non-dairy milk it’s easily made dairy-free!
This recipe is also gluten free in case you’re wondering.
Do you have to make homemade mayonnaise?
There are healthier brands of mayonnaise popping up that aren’t vegetable oil based. Using avocado oil as a base for mayo is MUCH better for you.
99% of the time I make paleo ranch dressing, I do it immediately after I make homemade avocado oil mayo.
In fact, the reason why I make homemade mayo most of the time is so I can turn it into paleo ranch.
How to make paleo ranch dressing
I like to make my dressing in a quart-size mason jar. I have a serious crush on mason jars.
I just dump some of dry mix on top of the mayonnaise and add a little milk to thin it out.
This works well if you make your mayo using a mason jar and an immersion blender. Then you don’t have have to dirty up another jar to store the dressing.
What kind of milk do you use in paleo ranch dressing?
Add the milk — either almond or coconut. I recommend unsweetened almond milk though, and, surprisingly, the Silk unsweetened vanilla flavored does just fine. (Not the Costco unsweetened vanilla. It’s too strong.)
Add less milk than you think you’ll need. I included the ranch dressing recipe in the notes of the seasoning mix below, but you can make it as thick or as runny as you like.
I also like to add a squeeze of lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt to brighten the flavors. It actually makes a big difference.
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 seriously tastes good and is super versatile. The dried herbs and spices in this mix are plenty for an awesome dressing or ranch dip.
How to make different types of ranch dressing
To mix it up, you could add some fresh herbs (extra fresh dill is AMAZING in this!) or pureed chipotle. Or cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatillo to make a mexi version. (Cafe Rio knock off? :))
Extra garlic would be nice, or BBQ sauce & bits of crispy bacon. Mmm.
I wrote a post for Pioneer Woman all about how to make different kinds of ranch dressing and turn it into something special: Elevating Ranch Dressing.
You can even use the dry mix as a spice rub or a popcorn seasoning. Or part of breading for chicken or fish!
Recipes Using Paleo Ranch Dressing
Here are a few recipes that use this homemade ranch seasoning mix that that we love from my site and my cookbooks.
Buffalo Ranch Chicken Chowder (Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking)
BLT Egg Salad (Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking)
BBQ Ranch Chicken Bites with Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking)
Bacon Ranch Potato Salad (Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking)
Recipes Using Homemade Ranch Seasoning
Ranch Chicken with Broccoli & Bacon (Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking)
Tomatillo Beef & Zucchini Taco Soup (Big Book of Paleo Pressure Cooking)
- 1/2 cup dried parsley
- 6 Tablespoons freeze dried chives
- 1/4 cup dried dill
- 3 Tablespoons ground mustard
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons dried minced onion
- 1 Tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- freshly ground black pepper
Shake together all ingredients in a pint-sized mason jar or another similar container. Store at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
To Make Paleo Ranch Dressing
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Paleo Dry Ranch Seasoning
- 1 cup paleo-friendly mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more if necessary
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Whisk together all ingredients. Taste, and add a little more lemon juice or a couple pinches of salt, if necessary. Or add a little more almond milk if you'd like it looser.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Keeps for about 10 days. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.