In the 1950’s, a Nebraskan cowboy with big dreams of striking it rich headed west with his high school sweetheart and settled in Santa Barbara, California. Nestled in 120 picturesque acres complete with waterfalls and streams, Hidden Valley Ranch was born. By day, the dude ranch offered hiking tours, horseback riding and fishing; at night, guests were treated to home-cooked meals before gathering around a blazing campfire to hear stories and sing songs.

Besides the beauty of the great outdoors and those wholesome meals lovingly prepared by the proprietor, it was the homemade buttermilk salad dressing that kept everyone coming back for more. People loved it – begging for jars to take home with them. The demand became so great that a mail-order business began to satisfy the ever-growing fan base of what we know today as the original Ranch dressing.

I’m happy that Steve and Gayle Henson realized their vision for happiness and success at Hidden Valley Ranch all those years ago with their “come back sauce.” A mix of herbs, spices, buttermilk, mayonnaise and a little sour cream is all you need to whip up a batch of America’s favorite dressing at home.

The Stock Pot: Fundamental Recipes – Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Author: Cheryl Beverage Barnes
Serves: Makes 1-1/2 cups
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing


  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients through chives into a bowl. Whisk until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate for an hour to allow flavors to meld.


…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen:

Planning: The dressing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Product Purity: If you want to substitute dried herbs for the fresh, the general rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon dried to 1 tablespoon fresh.

Presentation: I love this buttermilk ranch as a salad dressing, of course, but it’s so good as a dip for veggies and my weakness – spicy chicken wings.


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