I’ve Made This Homemade Ranch Dressing Dozens of Times — No Other Recipe Can Top It
I’m a teacher in New York City, and in 2020, when our world was turned upside down and we began remote teaching, I realized what I missed most was lunch with my work friends. We were back in person this year, but as with most schools, lunch was a quiet pre-packaged affair. As I sat with my boxed salad, I remembered back to the “before times” when we were able to slather our salads with the school’s delectable homemade ranch dressing.
A long time ago, I tried to cajole the recipe out of our school chef, and all he would give up was “buttermilk.” Well, that sent me on a quest to find a recipe that best replicated the dressing that gave me so much comfort. After all, everyone wants a good ranch dressing: Like metallic or animal print, it pretty much goes with everything.
In June, upon arrival at my parents’ house in Ohio, my mother said, “I think I found a ranch recipe that is quite literally the best I’ve ever had.” My response? “Tell me more.” She said she found the recipe on a blog called Together as Family, which is written by a mom from Utah named Jessica. On her blog, Jessica says she feels passionate about her family eating dinner around the table together. Me too, Jessica! Me too.
Of course I tried the recipe right away, and my mom was right: It’s everything you would want in a ranch salad dressing and more. It’s also incredibly adaptable. Jessica uses dried herbs in her recipe, but over the summer I mostly made it with fresh, since I could walk out the back door of my parents’ house and pick everything from the yard. (My mom likes a pinch of fresh tarragon as a bonus in hers). I’ve also made it with my newest favorite find: freeze-dried herbs! Freeze-dried herbs are those little forgotten jars in the veggie aisle, and are a total life-saver when you want the feel of fresh. As for the dairy, I’ve made it with low-fat buttermilk, and it’s alright, but full-fat is better. Same goes for the mayo and sour cream: Fat is flavor, after all.
We made jar after jar last summer with fresh herbs from the garden. The kids ate their veggies with it, I made salads with it in between grad-school classes, and we smeared it on chicken sandwiches piled with pickles when we gathered for dinner together. I shared the recipe on Facebook, Instagram, and with my pals at work, telling them you must make this — it’s like the kind they serve at school, or your favorite New York diner.
There’s one secret to the sauce, however, that’s particularly crucial, so don’t skip it: Worcestershire sauce. You know, that item everyone has in their cabinet and no one can pronounce. The one most people only use a shake or two of a few times a year. And if you don’t have any in your kitchen, run and get it now, and make this ranch dressing. It’s a total game-changer, adding that savory “zing” that will keep you coming back for more.
Big thanks to Jessica from Utah for putting this recipe out in the world.
Get the recipe: Together as Family’s Homemade Ranch Dressing
This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: I Make Jar After Jar of This Homemade Ranch Dressing (No Other Recipe Tops It)