You would have difficulty searching for a ranch dressing recipe and finding the same one twice. Like ketchup, the taste of ranch dressing, or, more accurately, your perception of its taste, is a result of brand association, which makes re-creating the the product you find in stores yourself impossible — but that’s a good thing. Making your own ranch gives you control over its thickness, piquancy and a host of other attributes, and results in a dressing tailored to your preferences. Like all creamy dressings, ranch starts with a mayonnaise base you build on with secondary flavoring ingredients.

Things You'll Need

Add 2 parts cultured buttermilk and 1 part mayonnaise to a food processor, and process on high until combined — about 1 minute.

Adjust the consistency of the mayo-buttermilk mixture with sour cream, and pulse to combine. Season the ranch base to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add about 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar, white vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of ranch base; pulse to combine. Food acids cut the fattiness of dressings and balance the creaminess. Add more of the acidic ingredient as needed.

Mince half a garlic clove for every 1 cup of ranch dressing, and sprinkle salt over it. Mash the salt into the garlic using the bottom of a spoon until a paste forms.

Add the paste to the ranch base, and pulse to combine. Taste the dressing to decide if you want more garlic; if so, mash the other half clove to a paste and add it.

Add freshly chopped herbs and spices to taste to the ranch dressing. Chives, parsley and fresh dill will give you the flavor profile most commonly associated with ranch dressing. Lemon balm or lemon thyme give the dressing uplifting citrus notes; rosemary and thyme add floral, fruity components to the dressing; lavender, chervil and tarragon add complex, woodsy flavors.

Adjust the seasoning as needed with sugar, salt and pepper; process the dressing a final time for creaminess.