Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hilltop Herbs Ranch Dressing

I also brought some veggies and dip to the Nursing Graduation Pinning Ceremony yesterday.  They were consumed about as fast as the Mini Frittatas. I received some requests for my Ranch Dressing recipe. Here it is.

I first tried my hand at homemade Ranch Dressing in the mid 70’s. A co-worker brought a homemade ranch dip to one of our pot-lucks at the dental lab and gave me the recipe. I have since lost her recipe, but when I started Hilltop Herbs in 1989, it was one of the first seasoning mixes I developed for bulk sales. It was a very good seller. I have often wondered about the origin of Ranch Dressing. Here is some info from Wikipedia. It has more detail than the blurb from Hidden Valley.
“In 1954, Steve and Gayle Henson opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California. They served guests a dressing that Steve had developed. The dressing was popular, and they began selling bottles that guests could take home, and later opened a factory to sell packets of ranch seasoning that had to be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk (packets that are still available to this day). In 1972, the brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.[1]
Clorox reformulated the dressing several times to try to make it more convenient. The first change was to include buttermilk flavoring in the seasoning so that at home one added milk rather than buttermilk.[1] In 1983, Clorox developed a more popular non-refrigerated bottled formulation. At the current time, Clorox subsidiary Hidden Valley Ranch Manufacturing LLC produces ranch packets and bottled dressings at two large factories, in Reno, Nevada and Wheeling, Illinois.[2]”

As the years have passed, I have changed my original recipe some more, to lower the sodium and fat content. I often substitute non-fat plain yogurt for the buttermilk in a pinch, but the flavor of the buttermilk really makes a difference.

Yield: 1 pint (16 oz.)

1 cup Mayonnaise (low-fat or non-fat are options)
¾ cup low-fat Buttermilk
¼ cup non-fat Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Salt                  
¼ tsp. gran. Onion     
1/8 tsp. gran Garlic    
¼ tsp. Parsley Flakes 
Dash of hot pepper sauce

Whisk all ingredients together in a one quart mixing bowl.
Store in refrigerator - a pint jar with lid works great.

For a thick dip, try mixing 1 cup of this dressing with ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or 4 oz. softened Neufchatel (low-fat cream cheese).

For a little different flavor, add ¼ teaspoon ground celery seed, if you can find it, or grind your own, or add celery salt, but be sure to cut back on the ½ teaspoon of salt. You can also add a bit of dill weed, or some minced chives.


  1. Is there a mistake in the quantity of sugar? The flavor was overpowered by it. I tripled the other ingredients to see if you meant 1 teaspoon of instead of 1 tablespoon of sugar and it was still too sweet.

    1. I have made a batch of this again. If anything, I still think it is too salty. But that is me. Everyone's taste is different. There is only one tablespoon of sugar in a pint of salad dressing. Feel free to adjust the sugar to your taste, or use an alternative sweetener if that is your concern. Thank you for trying my recipe!