Basics – Home-made Ranch Dressing

One of the great salad dressings from North America, this is not a shy or retiring partner that lets the salad do all the work, oh no. It’s a full-on taste sensation and so it’s imperative to match it with the right salad ingredients that can go toe-to-toe with this bossy dressing. This is the dressing to have with warm potato salad, with bacon, croutons, robust salad leaves of every hue, rocket, roasted nuts and beetroot.

The essential ingredient in a ranch dressing is buttermilk and you really can’t go without it. At a pinch you can mix together equal amounts of low-fat milk and low-fat plain or greek yoghurt for a reasonable substitute. You can also use good whole-egg mayonnaise in this recipe, but I really hope you take the plunge and use this opportunity to make your own. With a food processor or blender, it’s not as hard as it looks and the flavour is incomparable. You’ll never look back.

Serve this dressing over the next salad you have at a barbecue and welcome in the warmer weather.


Makes 2 cups


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) sour cream
  • ½ cup (125ml) mayonnaise
  • 1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped chives
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar


Peel the garlic cloves and chop them roughly on a wooden board. Sprinkle with half the salt, then, using the flat blade of a large knife, crush the garlic into the salt and push and press the garlic to make a paste.

In a medium bowl, combine the garlic paste with the remaining ingredients and blend well with a balloon whisk or stick blender. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

This dressing will keep in the fridge, stored in an airtight container or screw top jar, for up to five days.


$4.00 for 2 cups dressing

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