Dairy and I have a tumultuous relationship. My body seems to handle long-fermented dairy (like kefir or 24-hour yogurt) just fine, but once I dig into unfermented or short-fermented dairy—like regular milk or store-bought yogurt—my body is none too pleased. Over the last few years, I’ve started tuning in to how different foods make my body feel, and that means I’ve had to come to grips with some of my favorite dairy-based foods not fitting in. I’ve had to find non-dairy alternatives for sour cream, coffee creamer, and even my beloved ranch dressing.
I thought it would be really hard to replicate my favorite dairy foods, but I’ve actually found the opposite to be true! I’ve had a ton of luck swapping out dairy for creamy and fatty cashew cream and full-fat coconut milk from the can. That’s exactly what I use here to make this paleo and vegan ranch dressing creamy, thick, and rich without a drop of dairy!
How do you make healthy ranch dressing?
Making this ranch might be even easier than opening a bottle from the store (and it sure is cheaper!). To make dairy-free ranch, you just:
- Combine fresh or dried herbs and spices in a bowl.
- Add in coconut milk, mayo (use plant-based mayo for vegan ranch dressing), and apple cider vinegar.
- Whisk or blend together until smooth. I like using my immersion blender so it gets super smooth.
- Let chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge for the flavors to blend.
Can you eat ranch if you’re following a vegan, paleo, or Whole 30 diet?
You sure can! While all three diets cut out dairy, you can happily enjoy my dairy-free version of ranch dressing. It’s paleo and Whole 30-compliant as written, and if you grab some plant-based mayo, it easily becomes vegan. Enjoy your ranch!
How can you use this ranch?
This dressing is, obviously, delicious on salads, but I’ve also found a bunch of other tasty uses for it in my kitchen. I’ve been using it as a sauce on a cheese-less chicken, bacon, and ranch pizza. The creamy, flavorful sauce almost makes up for the fact that there isn’t any cheese on the pizza. I’ve used it as a dressing for pasta salad. I’ve used it as a marinade for chicken. I’ve used it as a dip for cut veggies (because, as much as I love white bean dip, I need a little variety in my life).
Should you use fresh herbs or dried herbs to make ranch dressing?
To give this dressing the most flavor, you’ll want to use fresh herbs wherever you can. But I know how expensive fresh herbs can be out of season, so I tested this with dried herbs, and they work just fine! I’ve listed the amounts for both fresh and dried—so you can use all fresh, all dried, or a combination of the two. If you do use mostly dried, just make sure to let the dressing rest in the fridge for a good hour or two before using to help bring out the flavors. And if you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful, booming windowsill herb garden, use the heck out of those fresh herbs!
How do you store leftover ranch dressing?
I put my extra ranch dressing in either a wide-mouth pint mason jar or a glass vinegar bottle in the fridge, and it keeps for a week or more. Although admittedly, this ranch never actually lasts that long in our house. We’re lucky if a batch lasts two or three days! It’s that good.
Not sure this ranch dressing is for you? Check out my other ranch dressing recipes:
- Cashew Cream Ranch: This dairy-free ranch is so creamy, rich, and thick, you’d never guess it was dairy-free! Make sure to check out all of our dairy-free recipes using cashew cream.
- Greek Yogurt Ranch: This is your classic dairy-based ranch dressing. It’s thick, rich, creamy, and a winner every time!