Ranch dressing is one of the most popular American condiments with a mild flavor that — in addition to being used on salads — is often used to dilute or mask pungent ingredients. Ranch dressing is easy to find and affordable in most places but if you are out of it and can’t get any more, here are some good ranch dressing substitutes:
Your best bet: Make your own ranch dressing
One of the best alternatives to bottled ranch dressing is to make it yourself from scratch. The key parts of the ranch dressing flavor are its creaminess and its tartness. In the traditional version, these elements come from a blend of mayonnaise and buttermilk with sour cream for added richness.
There are numerous alternative recipes where the creamy element comes from Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. You can use fat-free Greek yogurt to make it even healthier. Simply add your preferred seasonings to get the classic ranch flavor.
Another way to do it is to make it from the powdered mix. Ranch dressing has existed in powdered mix form for longer than it has a bottled dressing. Simply add a packet of the seasoning powder to some milk and mayonnaise.
A decent second choice: Tzatziki
A sauce made with Greek yogurt and lemon juice, tzatziki sauce has the creamy and tart elements that you would get from ranch dressing. Commonly associated with Greek and Middle Eastern dishes, tzatziki is most commonly served as a part of a meze platter where it might accompany an assortment of vegetables including zucchini and olives. It also contains a range of seasonings including garlic and parsley, both of which show up in many classic versions of ranch dressing.
Because it lacks additional fatty elements like mayonnaise and sour cream, tzatziki may be seen as a healthier upgrade to ranch dressing. It works in most of the same applications as ranch dressing including as a dip for vegetables and a topping for sandwiches and meats.
Tzatziki is noticeably lighter and less rich than ranch dressing.
In a pinch: Tarator sauce
Tarator sauce is another simple Middle Eastern sauce that accompanies a wide range of foods in the places where it is used. It goes well with pita sandwiches and grilled meats. Tarator sauce is also used as a dipping sauce for vegetables and seafood.
A standard Lebanese-style tarator sauce consists of tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Some versions may also include parsley and pine nuts. Tahini is high in fat, which gives it a rich mouthfeel that enables it to mimic the creaminess of ranch dressing to a certain extent. The garlic and parsley are both found in classic ranch dressing as well.
The lemon juice rounds things out by providing a strong tartness that bears some similarity to the tanginess of ranch dressing. The absence of saturated fats in tarator sauce makes it a healthier option when compared to ranch.
The nutty flavor profile of tahini means that tarator sauce will not taste exactly like ranch dressing.
If you want a simpler ranch dressing substitute than the options above, plain sour cream will do the trick. Ranch dressing does contain seasonings but it is not exactly known for its intense flavor profile. Plain sour cream will accomplish most of what ranch dressing does by being creamy and tart.