Healthy Ranch Dressing

If you are a ranch fanatic but are looking for something a little lighter, try this easy Healthy Ranch Dressing recipe!

straight on shot of healthy ranch dressing pouring onto salad


 

Aw, ranch dressing. America’s favorite buttermilk dressing that tastes like heaven and is perfect for everything from salads to fries.

But what if you want to cut a few calories? You can make our light ranch dressing!

The first thing we need to get out of the way is that healthy ranch dressing is just a lighter original ranch dressing. Because buttermilk is a key component and it isn’t really ranch dressing without it, it wouldn’t make sense to omit it.

overhead shot of healthy ranch sauce

History of Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing was created by Steve Henson as his signature buttermilk dressing. He made it for friends and family until later in life he purchased a ranch with his wife, Gayle.

They started calling it the dressing of the Ranch and then mass marketed. Hidden Valley Ranch is the name of their ranch and the rest is history.

Light Ranch Dressing came on down the line when folks started to pay more attention to their health and lifestyle.

Why This Healthy Ranch Dressing is the Best

A homemade dressing that uses a few swaps to make a healthier option- what’s not to love!

  • More than just a dressing – This recipe is more than just a healthy salad dressing. You can use it in dips, on sandwiches or even to make pasta salad.
  • No preservatives – One of the best parts of making your own dressing is knowing exactly what goes into it. Not yucky preservatives or unnecessary ingredients. It also has fewer calories than the full fat condiment you know, and none of the xanthan gum, dextrose or artificial color.
  • All the ranch flavor you love – Although we took a couple ingredients from regular ranch and swapped them for healthier alternatives, this dressing still has all the natural flavor you love.
straight on shot of jar of healthy ranch dressing recipe

Ingredients

You are probably familiar with all of the ingredients to make this homemade healthy ranch dressing with the exception of maybe one: dry powdered buttermilk.

  • Dry powdered buttermilk – Dry powdered buttermilk is just like any other dry powdered milk. It is made from actual buttermilk, which is the liquid left behind after churning to milk butter, but fermented so it is a little funky.
  • Dried herbs – I use a blend of parsley flakes, dried onion flakes, dried dill and dried thyme. These give that iconic “speckled” look while also giving great flavor.
  • Garlic powder – I swear I put garlic in just about anything I can, but the powdered version is easier when making this healthy dressing.
  • Onion powder – Onion powder adds a flavor that really complements the onion flakes and other seasonings.
  • Ground black pepper – I always prefer to use freshly ground pepper, but ground pepper from the jar is fine too.
  • Fine sea salt – Make sure you’re not using iodized table salt. That tends to have a metallic taste.
  • Skim milk – Using skim milk instead of whole milk is part of what makes this dressing a little healthier. It lowers the fat content anyways.
  • Plain Greek yogurt – Make sure to use Greek yogurt and not just regular yogurt. Greek is strained for longer and therefore is thicker. You need that thickness to make the healthy ranch dressing have a little body.

Alternatively, instead of all of the spices listed above, you can buy one of the ranch packets from the grocery store to make your light dressing.

overhead shot of healthy ranch dressing ingredients

How to Use Healthy Ranch Dressing

I have one friend who is a self-proclaimed Ranch fanatic who would tell you there isn’t anything that Ranch dressing shouldn’t go on. She’d probably also tell you that using a healthy ranch dressing with yogurt is against her beliefs, but I digress…

Ranch is one of those secret sauces that you can add to most of your favorite recipes. But the most common uses for healthy ranch dressing are:

Variations

There are several ways you can make this creamy healthy ranch dressing recipe your own.

  • Avocado – Adding avocado to the healthy ranch dressing mix is also very popular to give it more thickness, but this is optional.
  • Sour cream – You can swap sour cream or even mayonnaise for the Greek yogurt, however, you’re totally defeating the purpose of the healthier swaps.
  • Fresh herbs – Instead of dried herbs, try adding fresh chives, fresh dill and fresh parsley for an over the top herbaceous flavor.
  • Acidity – Add extra acidity to your greek yogurt ranch dressing by adding a tsp of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
angled shot of jar of light ranch sauce

Storage and Freezing

You can easily store this healthy ranch dressing with the instructions below.

How to Store Healthy Ranch Dressing

All salad dressings are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge- either plastic or a mason jar with a tight lid. Since it is homemade and doesn’t have any preservatives other than salt, a natural preservative, it only last about a week.

You can make a large batch of the dry ranch seasoning and then make fresh dressing every night though. I doubt it will last a whole week since it is so good!

Can I Freeze Healthy Ranch Dressing?

Technically you can freeze ranch dressing. However just keep in mind that the texture and consistency will change.

celery stick dipping into jar of healthy ranch sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ranch dressing be healthy?

Because I titled this recipe “healthy ranch dressing,” my answer would be yes…to an extent. You can obviously make healthier swaps, but I am not a doctor and don’t necessarily give out medical advice about what it healthy versus not.

What is a healthier alternative to ranch?

My easiest answer would be this healthy ranch recipe. It still contains the seasonings that make the classic dressing taste like “ranch,” but the ingredients on the unhealthier side are swapped for better alternatives.

Is homemade ranch healthier than store-bought?

I would say that yes, anything homemade tends to be healthier than store-bought. You know exactly what ingredients are added, plus there are none of the extra preservatives that are typically found in store bought dressings.

overhead shot of salad topped with dressing

More Homemade Dressing Recipes

There is almost no dish that can’t be elevated by a good sauce or dressing. Here are a few of our favorites.

spoon in jar of dirty martini salad dressing

Dirty Martini Salad Dressing

This Dirty Martini Salad Dressing balances brininess and acidity with herbs from fragrant rosemary and aromatics like garlic and shallots!
See The Recipe!
spoon holding green goddess dressing

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing

Avocado Green Goddess Dressing is full of good-for-you veggies and herbs, perfect for salads, but also ideal as a dipping sauce or a spread for sandwiches.
See The Recipe!
a jar of poppyseed dressing on burlap

Poppy Seed Dressing

An all-purpose dressing, this Poppy Seed Salad Dressing recipe is light and bright, perfect for summer salads! It's EASY to make and so delicious!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of jar of healthy ranch dressing with text overlay
straight on shot of light ranch dressing pouring onto salad

Healthy Ranch Dressing Recipe

4.73 from 11 votes
No need to worry about the extra calories when enjoying this Healthy Ranch Dressing. Made with Greek yogurt and avocado!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine all three ingredients in a bowl and whisk or in a small food processor. Mix until combined.
  • Cover and chill for 30 minutes for best results.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!

Nutrition

Calories: 50 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 2 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 2 mg, Sodium: 298 mg, Potassium: 120 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 2 g, Vitamin A: 50 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 48 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 50
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy ranch dressing, light ranch dressing, skinny ranch dressing
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of healthy ranch dressing
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.73 from 11 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    My family loves this ranch dressing! It’s really flavorful and much healthier than store-bought. I always have some in the fridge to use as a dip or dressing!

  2. 5 stars
    I love trying new dressing recipes and this one is really yummy – I love the healthier aspect as well. Great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I love making homemade dressings and this fabulous healthy ranch is a perfect addition to my repertoire.