Yes, several vegan ranch dressing brands have emerged, but none compare to this dairy-free ranch dressing recipe. It’s cheaper, more versatile, and tastes so much better. In fact, it’s the closest you will find to classic Hidden Valley ranch dressing. And did I mention, it takes just minutes to make and uses basic ingredients?
This Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing is a 5-Star Favorite
I first shared this recipe for dairy-free ranch dressing over 15 years ago. It was loved by so many of you, that I dubbed it my “5 star ranch dressing” and included it in the first and second editions of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. Today, I’m adding this classic to our recipe section online, and also have some tips and notes in the FAQs that follow.
Can I Use Water Instead of Milk Alternative?
Yes! I do it often. I usually reduce it to 1/4 cup to start, and just whisk in more as needed. The milk alternative just adds a touch more richness and body, but water works great, too, and has a more neutral taste.
What Other Herbs Can I Use Instead of Parsley?
Parsley gives it that traditional ranch taste. But if you’d prefer something else, feel free to swap in basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, or our favorite, dill. They each add their own tasty flair and work just fine in this dairy-free ranch dressing.
What’s a Good Substitute for the Lemon Juice?
You can use fresh lemon (preferred) or bottled. But if you don’t have either, I think apple cider vinegar or white vinegar work best as a substitute.
Wait, Doesn’t Mayonnaise Contain Dairy?
Good news, mayonnaise is a traditionally dairy-free food! Plain mayonnaise is an emulsion of eggs and oil, and shouldn’t contain any milk-based ingredients. But there are a few caveats. There are flavored mayonnaise and aioli products on the market that contain milk. Make sure you stick with the regular, ordinary type. In some countries, outside of the U.S., there are brands that add milk to regular mayonnaise for reasons we do not understand. And of course, ingredients can always change. So always read the label! To date, I’ve not seen a regular, no fuss mayonnaise in the U.S. that contains any dairy.
But What About the Eggs?
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 do offer an egg-free and vegan option below, but egg gives this dairy-free ranch dressing it’s more traditional taste and consistency.
Do You Have a Mayonnaise-Free Version?
I do in my other book, Eat Dairy Free. The “Rancher’s Dressing” in that cookbook is a whole food type recipe that’s made with a base of cashews or sunflower seeds (for nut-free).
Can I Use Vegan Mayonnaise?
Yes, but you might need to adjust the liquid. I’ve found that most vegan mayonnaises thin very readily when liquid is added. Start with just 1 tablespoon of milk alternative, and add more only as needed to get the consistency that you desire. And keep in mind that vegan mayonnaise will affect the flavor and mouthfeel. As you’ve probably noticed, most dairy-free ranch dressing products are actually vegan, and therefore have different nuances in the taste and consistency.
Can I Use Light Mayonnaise?
You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really like light mayonnaise. My family isn’t a fan of it at all, so I always use regular. But if light is normal for you, go for it. Like with the vegan mayo, I would start with just 1 tablespoon of liquid and add more until it reaches your desired consistency. Light and vegan mayonnaises have thickeners that can thin more readily when liquid is whisked in.
What About Homemade Mayonnaise?
Now that would be ideal! I admit, I’m lazy and just buy the “Real” varieties of mayonnaise. But if you are a DIY person, classic homemade mayonnaise would be amazing in this dairy-free ranch dressing. You can use your own recipe, or this great one from Inspired Taste. You might need to adjust the liquid up or down a little. That’s just one more beauty of homemade dairy-free ranch dressing – you control the ingredients!
Special Diet Notes: Ranch Dressing
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, keto friendly, paleo optional, and vegetarian. Just be sure to choose the mayonnaise and milk beverage that suit your dietary needs.
For egg-free and vegan ranch dressing, you can use vegan mayo, but the liquid needs to be adjusted. See the FAQs above.
- 1 cup regular mayonnaise (see the post above for vegan tips)
- ⅓ cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk beverage, plus additional if needed
- 2 teaspoons dried or fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon black pepper, to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ⅓ cup milk beverage, parsley, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion power, pepper, and salt.
- Whisk in more milk beverage if the dressing is too thick.
- If you have the patience, cover and refrigerate the dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving. This will give the flavors some time to meld.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake or whisk the dressing before each use.