Restaurant-Style Ranch Dressing

Looking for a from-scratch Ranch dressing recipe?Β  You’ll find it, here.

One of the most common questions we get is how to get picky eaters to eat. That is a great question. And pretty much one I don’t have the answer to. I have two picky eaters, and the really tricky thing is that they’re picky in different ways. My 7-year-old doesn’t like how certain foods like meat, most fruits, pretty much all potatoes, oatmeal and other hot cereals, any kind of dip or dressing, and jam (yes, jam) feel in his mouth. What will he eat? Cheese, bread, vegetables, cold cereal, macaroni and cheese, seafood (huh??) and chicken nuggets (because apparently those aren’t meat). Nutritionally speaking, he could probably be in worse shape.

My 4-year-old daughter has all sorts of sudden food likes and dislikes that are usually influenced by her BFF of the week (I’m way more concerned about that than I am about her picky eating). I can, however, convince her to eat just about anything if I serve it with ketchup or Ranch (which she refers to as “white ketchup.”)

I had really mean parents that made me get a job when I was 16 (don’t tell them that after all that whining, I’m really thankful for those experiences now). From the time I was 16 until I was 22 or so, pretty much every job I had was in the restaurant industry. And, with the exception of Summer from Hell in a grocery store bakery, all of those jobs involved Ranch dressing in some form or another. At one particular Utah-based sandwich establishment that roasts their own turkeys and bakes their own artisan breads, customers felt strongly passionate about the Ranch dressing served there. I made it every morning for 2 years and it’s so unbelievably beyond easy. And before you say, “Hey, lame-o, post a real recipe!”, let me just tell you that yes, I’m just making a few tweaks to the instructions on the packet, but a) this isn’t a recipe, it’s more of a tip, b) those few tweaks end up making a HUGE difference, and c) this is always something I have to go back and look up to make sure I have the right proportions, so now I’ll always know where to find it.

You’ll need a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix, buttermilk, mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip), and Greek yogurt.

You can use sour cream in place of Greek yogurt, but I’ve found fat-free Greek yogurt tastes much better than fat-free sour cream, and since I’m trying my darndest to not gain 82 pounds this pregnancy, I use the fat-free Greek yogurt. If you’re going to use sour cream, I definitely recommend either using full-fat or reduced-fat, but not fat-free.

Disregard the instructions on the packet. Place 1 cup of mayonnaise (or reduced-fat, but not fat-free mayo) in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt.

Add the contents of the dressing packet. In this particular case, I actually prefer the original Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (instead of the buttermilk), but alas, I grabbed the wrong packet out of the pantry. Also, if you have a hard time with packaged salad dressings, check out this recipe.

Whisk it together. That’s it. Use it as a salad dressing or a dip for veggies.

True story: during one of our many Ikea trips last year when we were remodeling our kitchen, I came across their little espresso cups and saucers. They were ADORABLE and irresistible and, in true Ikea fashion, so cheap that I couldn’t not buy a set, even if it was only one cup and saucer and even if I don’t drink coffee. And then I came home and back to my senses and wondered what the heck I was going to do with a teeny tiny cup and saucer. My answer?

That’s right. Perfect little portions of veggies and dip. This is seriously the only way I can get my daughter to eat broccoli–she pretends it’s a tea party. Wouldn’t these cups and saucers be perfect way to serve veggies at a baby or bridal shower? Tiny things make everything more delicious…


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch.Β As always, our opinions, ideas,Β and thoughts are completely our own.


  1. Ha!! My daughter always called it white ketchup, too. So that’s what our family still calls it and we get all sorts of weird looks. πŸ˜‰ Whatever!

  2. I’m not much of a chef and my family hails from a long line of picky picky picky eaters (on my in laws side of course). Your tips, tricks and recipes are always crowd pleasers! My son loves ketchup and puts it on everything so we started calling ranch “white ketchup” too so he would stop dipping carrots in ketchup..

  3. I LOVE your recipe for homemade ranch!! I am assuming that I could replace that with the ranch mix? Anyother suggestions?

    1. Kathy, are you referring to our from-scratch Buttermilk Ranch Dressing recipe? I wouldn’t replace the seasonings in that with a packet of ranch dressing because the proportions aren’t the same (and it kind of defeats the purpose!) If you’re going to use Hidden Valley, definitely follow Kate’s instructions here!

      1. I think she means the opposite? She would replace the ranch seasoning packet in this recipe with the seasonings in your ranch recipe. I too am a huge fan of your ranch recipe in your cookbook. Thank you!

        1. Ahhh, gotcha πŸ™‚ Yeah, either way you’d have to play around with seasonings to taste. You could certainly play around with it!

  4. You seriously call this an entry that is worthy of putting on your blog? This is so lame. You two have diverged sooo far from where your blog first started out. I started reading your blog within the first few weeks it was up. It was cute, creative and I could not wait until the next recipe came up. Now your blog is a few recipes intermingled with a lot of other “crap,” that we can find on a million other blogs that are out there. Please go back and look at your original posts and pull yourselves back to where you started…. I have refered so many people to your blog, I can’t even begin to tell you. PLEASE, PLEASE take a look at things and give us something more than ranch dressing and how to make sandwiches with fancy spreads……

    1. Actually, if you look at some of our earliest posts, we have how to peel garlic, how to juice limes, and, yes, a fancy sandwich spread. All within the first month of starting our blog.

      You’re completely entitled to your opinion and of course we’ll take your feedback into consideration. And yes, this isn’t a recipe as much as it is a little trick that I’ve learned along the way. But that’s what we do–tips, tricks, and tastes. I don’t want to fight about what we have and haven’t done (honestly, I don’t want to fight at all–I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant and about as comfortable and emotionally stable as a bear in high heels), but if this is something that doesn’t grab your fancy, we have a lot of options so there’s a little something for everyone.

      1. I am not usually one for posting comments, though I do like to look through them to see how recipes have come together for others and what tips and tricks they might have. And I’m definitely not one for confrontation, but I was appalled and disgusted by this woman’s nasty comment. First of all, I feel what you do here is a service for everyone by allowing us to benefit by, not only your wonderful tips and tricks in the kitchen, but by your sense of humor and sunshine! Second, I think everything you post on here is wonderful and helpful…maybe not always my cup o’ tea, but I understand you are not writing to appease only me. As should this hateful and angry person who, instead of choosing to make a person’s day a little brighter, chose to degrade and annoy. I’m sure you have learned to take things like this with a grain of salt, however I have not, and I just felt this ridiculous comment need a counter comment. So I’m here to applaud and thank you for your incredible work! You are beautiful, wonderful women with big hearts and incredible talent! I hope you have a good day!

      2. Just thought you should know that I LOVE LOVE LOVE you guys, and your blog, and your cookbook. I think it’s sad that people feel the need to be so rude and disrespectful. You girls ROCK!

      3. I love your tips. Thanks so much for sharing, the longer I cook the more I realize tips are more than half the battle. I have just gained a personal testimony of searing meat at a high temp first and then reducing heat and covering… HELLO makes all the difference. Keep sharing tips for those of us who were raised on Kraft Mac and Cheese (still a guilty pleasure) and Hamburger Helper and are trying to give our families something better!

        1. Wow that was rude. It made me mad for you guys, Kate and Sara. :o( I for one LOVE you, your blog, your cookbook and all you do! My husband loves you too! :o) I can’t wait for your new cookbook to come out! Keep up the good work and keep the “lame” recipes coming. ;o)

      4. Kate, just wanted to stand up for you, too. I love your blog, it’s one of my favorites. One of the things I like the best about it is that you two post SUCH a huge variety of recipes (and tips!) that require all different levels of skill.

      5. My jaw dropped when I read Ellen’s post. I was happy to see this recipe; searching for a recipe like this has been in the back of my mind for I don’t even know how long. It’s unfortunate that with the exciting growth of your blog comes comments like this that contain demeaning words and are uncalled for. Your response was very poised and humorous πŸ™‚ Loved it!

    2. Of course I do not want to fight. I am just giving you some feedback of what I have seen. That’s all. I wonder if others feel the same way. Good luck with the birth of the little one. The two of you have certainly taken on a lot in the past few years. I am surprised you have been able to keep up with it all. Not many could.

      1. Ellen, Your comment was not so much feedback as it was a rude, childish tirade. Constructive criticism is always helpful, but your comment was not constructive. ‘lame’ and ‘crap’ are not the words that you want to use if you want someone to listen to your ‘feedback’.

    3. Was that really necessary?
      If you don’t like the website any more, then don’t look at it and stop referring friends to it. You don’t need to resort to being rude to get your point across.

      One of the things I love about OBB is the variety of recipes and ‘How To’s. If something doesn’t particularly interest me, then I ignore it. If this were to happen too frequently, then I would just stop going to the site and I would unsubscribe from the newsletters.

      I, for one, think the ladies do a fantastic job with the site – especially with their young families and everything else in their busy lives. I am very grateful for all of their hard work. I love trying out their recipes, and haven’t had any disaster so far! Lol Everyone who tastes the results of my experimenting loves the dishes and usually ask for the recipe!
      I will definitely be trying out this Ranch Dressing recipe over the summer months – especially as it’s hard finding a decent one in the shops over here in the UK πŸ™

      Please show a little respect for all the effort Kate and Sara go to!

      1. Ha! Good one!! I’m with you. Frankly I had never heard of this site before tonight but I actually Googled this very topic because every time I make this dressing it still does not taste just like the restaurants. So thanks for answering my question as the other sites didn’t seem to quite get there for me. I’m looking forward to trying this out and as far as those who feel their culinary palate is beyond this particular topic perhaps if they jump down off that soap box for a hot minute and remember that this is just a bit of advice. If this ones not for them that’s fine but there’s no need to be all “Debbie Downer” on the whole site about it.

    4. Why don’t YOU start a food blog and we will see how many new, creative and tasty recipes you come up with. Personally I love everything these ladies post. I also made the ranch dressing and loved it! Find someone else to pick on!

    5. Funny how we are all so different because I love this post! I prefer the packet dressing to bottled dressing but still feel like it doesn’t quite taste like some of my favorite restaurants. I am excited to try out this tip!

      On the picky eater due to texture, my nephew was the worst eater! Then they realized he had huge tonsils and they took them out. He wasn’t sick a lot but they were so huge he was snoring at night and the dr. was concerned about the size. My sister didn’t even realize it was causing him to be so picky until after the surgery. He was so excited about foods he had hated prior.

    6. Hi Ellen, This is my first time to view this blog. I was thrilled to see the detail and am excited to try the recipe(s) for delicious ranch. Hope your day gets better because it sounds like you are having such a bad day you want to visit that on all innocent bystanders (readers). Maybe my great day will transfer to you. πŸ™‚

    7. I’m glad she posted this, I was specifically looking for this. I love ranch, but I’m picky with the type of ranch. Thank you for sharing!:)

  5. Uncle Dan’s doesn’t have the MSG! Also, there’s a little company out of Pilot Rock, OR that always comes to our fairs, etc called Jer & Ter’s Sales….. their Summer Garden Ranch and Their Garlic mix are both super yum, and I like to mix them together to make a garlic ranch. Following the directions on all mixes, I have done the mayo/buttermilk ratio, but great tip on the half buttermilk/half sour cream to make it a little thicker! We bought a couple of squeeze bottles from the housewears section at walmart to keep our dressing in, and it NEVER lasts 1-2 weeks! My oldest son and my youngest son and I are all major ranch lovers!

    1. Can’t wait to try this…we are ranch dressing snobs! As for the best restaurant ranch…Red Robin! As for home, we only use uncle dans and we actually have to order it online (cant seem to find it here). Going to make this tonight!

  6. Yum! And I have a question: WHAT is the difference between the “buttermilk recipe” packet and the regular Hidden Valley Ranch packet? I wonder every time I buy a packet. The only thing I can figure is that the regular packet has buttermilk powder in it, enabling you to make it without buttermilk, which is kind of counterintuitive to me. Anybody, anybody?

    1. I honestly don’t know. And while I’m being honest, I’ll say that I actually prefer this recipe with the regular Hidden Valley Ranch packet, but I accidentally grabbed the wrong one out of the pantry. πŸ™‚

  7. It’s interesting that your daughter refers to ranch as white ketchup. I’ve never thought of it in that way, but that’s exactly how my family uses ranch dressing…in fact we go through far more ranch dressing than we do ketchup. Great recipe! Thanks.

  8. Great idea to use Greek yogurt! However, I will not use Hidden Valley ranch packets, or other brands of packets because they are usually loaded with MSG. I mixed dried herbs with buttermilk powder and keep it in a tub with a lid and anytime I need ranch I scoop out two tablespoons. Works great.

    1. Estee, I was wondering if you would be willing to share your Ranch mix recipe? I have a son that is on a very strict diet(gluten free) and I always wonder about cross contamination, so I usually make all of his food by scratch as well. Thanks so much.

  9. Hooray for homemade restaurant-style ranch that isn’t watered down! It feels like every restaurant waters down the ranch so it has the consistency of milk. This looks super tasty. πŸ™‚

  10. Cheesecake Factory has the BEST ranch (to me)… Chili’s a close second. I have tried every brand of bottled ranch….all are horrible to me. I will try this for sure!
    How long can it keep in the fridge?

    1. Bottled dressings have preservatives that make them nasty and have a horrible aftertaste. Especially Italian dressing. I love making my own, because you can avoid that. I go through tons of Good Seasons Italian dressing in the summer because I love it on pasta salads – a nice cool and light alternative to cooking in the summer.

    2. i’m sitting on google right now trying to find someone with a good cheesecake factory replica recipe. have you had any luck matching it? I am addicted! I buy pints from them at $5.50 and I need more bulk!!!!! let me know, thanks. jbardet@gmail(dot)com

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