This has to be one of the quintessential American foods. In the United States, we love dipping pizza, crudité, French fries, and a range of appetizers in classic ranch dip. At restaurants and grocery stores, it usually contains milk. Yes, there are many brands of runny vegan ranch dressing. But when it comes to a thick, rich small plate companion, nothing beats this dairy-free cool ranch dip!
Keep Your Cool with this Dairy-Free Ranch Dip
This recipe is adapted from my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. I’ve included some tips, options, and easy answers to FAQs below, followed by some delicious recipes to serve with dairy-free cool ranch dip!
Can I Really Use Water Instead of Milk Alternative?
Yes! I do it often. I actually prefer water since it doesn’t add any flavor influences (like almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk) to the dip. But use a richer milk alternative if you want the dip to have a creamier consistency. Milk alternative adds just a little more richness and body than water.
What Other Herbs Can I Use Instead of Parsley?
Parsley gives it that traditional ranch taste. But as you can see in my notes, I love substituting dill. If preferred, you can substitute fresh sliced chives, chopped basil, or chopped thyme instead.
Can I Use Dried Herbs?
I do it sometimes. Dried parsley, basil, and thyme don’t have nearly as much flavor as fresh herbs. When I use dried parsley, it’s mainly for the look, not the flavor. However, I do use dried chives and dried dill, which still have a fairly potent flavor.
Which is Better, Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar?
It’s such a small quantity that it doesn’t make too much difference. I’ve even used bottled lemon juice with tasty results. Lately I’ve been using apple cider vinegar with the parsley version and lemon juice with the dill version, but they’re both good.
Doesn’t Mayonnaise Contain Dairy?
Traditional, plain mayonnaise is a dairy-free food! It’s an emulsion of eggs and oil, and shouldn’t contain any milk-based ingredients. But anything can happen in the world of food production. There are flavored mayonnaise and aioli products on the market that contain milk. Make sure you stick with the regular, ordinary type with no milk in the ingredients. In some countries, outside of the U.S., there are brands that add milk to regular mayonnaise for reasons we do not understand. As usual, always read the label.
Aren’t Eggs Dairy?
If you confuse eggs with dairy, you’re not alone! Dairy products are foods made from milk, and have no relation to chickens. For more information, see this post: Are Eggs Dairy? I have included an egg-free and vegan option with this recipe, but we do prefer the traditional version.
Do You Have a Mayonnaise-Free Version?
I have a mayo-free “Rancher’s Dressing” recipe in my other cookbook, Eat Dairy Free, which can be made thicker for a dip. It’s made with your choice of cashews or sunflower seeds. You can substitute dairy-free sour cream or unsweetened dairy-free yogurt for all or part of the mayonnaise. But I would only do this if you like yogurt-based dips or like the sour cream alternative taste.
Will Light Mayonnaise Work in this Dip?
It should work, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really like light mayonnaise. Like with the vegan mayo, I would add liquid very slowly, until it reaches your desired consistency. Light and vegan mayonnaises have thickeners that can thin more readily when liquid is whisked in.
What to Serve with Dairy-Free Cool Ranch Dip
Sure, it’s a perfect accompaniment to carrot and celery stick, bell pepper slices, and cherry tomatoes, but we also love it served with these recipes:
- Dairy-Free Pizza (any kind!)
- Homemade Tater Tots
- No Rise Pizza Rolls
- Sweet Potato French Fries
- Crispy Buffalo Mushrooms
- Allergy-Friendly Chicken Nuggets
- Salmon Cakes
- Baked Zucchini Fries
- Butterless Blackened Chicken Wings
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Cool Ranch Dip
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, added sugar-free, keto friendly, paleo optional, vegan optional, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the mayonnaise and milk beverage that suit your dietary needs.
- 1 cup plain mayonnaise (see egg-free option below)
- 1½ tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
- 1 to 4 tablespoons water or unsweetened dairy-free milk alternative
- Put the mayonnaise in a bowl. Add the parsley, vinegar or lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the spices are well dispersed.
- Whisk in water or milk alternative as needed, to reach your desired consistency.
- Store this dairy-free ranch dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will keep for about 1 week.
Dill Option: Substitute fresh dill for the parsley, and use lemon juice, not apple cider vinegar. It’s equally delicious and a touch tangy!