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What’s different about buttermilk ranch?

Ranch dressing is a popular salad dressing and dip in the United States. It has a creamy texture and a tangy, savory flavor. Buttermilk ranch dressing has some key differences from regular ranch dressing that affect its taste and texture.

Buttermilk Adds Tanginess and Texture

The key ingredient that sets buttermilk ranch apart is the buttermilk. Buttermilk is a fermented dairy product that has a thick, creamy texture with a tangy flavor. The tanginess comes from the lactic acid created during the fermentation process. When buttermilk is used to make ranch dressing, it adds a tangy zing that balances and brightens the dressing’s savory herbs and spices.

In addition to flavor, the buttermilk also lends a lush, creamy texture to the dressing. Regular ranch is often made with regular milk or sour cream. Buttermilk is thicker than regular milk and lighter than sour cream. So buttermilk ranch has a viscosity in between the two. The buttermilk gives it a thick, rich, coating texture without being too heavy.

Herbs and Spices Vary

While all ranch dressings feature a blend of herbs and spices, the specific seasonings can vary between regular and buttermilk ranch. Traditional ranch seasoning includes parsley, dill, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper. Sometimes chives, paprika, or other herbs are also added.

Buttermilk ranch often uses a different blend of spices to complement the buttermilk flavor. Buttermilk ranch seasoning has a stronger garlic and onion flavor. It also typically contains more black pepper and mustard powder. The additional zing from these spices pairs well with the tangy buttermilk.

The Best Uses for Buttermilk Ranch

The tangy and creamy characteristics of buttermilk ranch make it ideal for certain uses where regular ranch just won’t do. Here are some of the best applications for buttermilk ranch dressing:

  • Dipping sauce for fried foods like chicken tenders or french fries
  • Salad dressing for heavier greens like kale or broccoli slaw
  • Sandwich spread paired with chicken, turkey, or roast beef
  • Vegetable dip for fresh carrots, cucumbers, or jicama
  • Topping for pizza, tacos, chili, or baked potatoes

The twang of buttermilk ranch helps cut through the richness of fried foods. Its thickness coats sturdy salad greens or sandwich ingredients. And its tang stands up to bold flavors like Mexican or Tex-Mex dishes.

How to Make Buttermilk Ranch at Home

It’s easy to make homemade buttermilk ranch dressing so you can enjoy its fresh tangy flavor anytime. Here is a simple buttermilk ranch recipe to try at home:


  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.
  3. Store leftover buttermilk ranch dressing in the fridge for up to 1 week.

For a creamy restaurant-worthy texture, double the recipe and blend with an immersion blender before refrigerating.

Buttermilk Ranch Sets Itself Apart

With its trademark tangy and cool flavor, buttermilk ranch dressing clearly distinguishes itself from regular ranch. The next time you need a creamy, zesty dressing or dip, be sure to reach for buttermilk ranch over the standard version. Its one-of-a-kind flavor profile can elevate salads, sandwiches, dips, and more.