Healthy Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing (Dairy-Free, Vegan, Paleo)

Glass bottle filled with healthy ranch dressing sits in front of a white bowl filled with salad.
Recipe At-A-Glance
dairy-free, vegan, paleo30 minutes (includes chill time)
This creamy and tangy Healthy Ranch Dressing is dairy-free, nut-free, and perfect for drizzling on your favorite salad or for dipping your favorite foods. We used creamy and rich coconut milk to make this ranch vegan and paleo. It's a win for everyone!

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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! 

A hand holding a fork spears salad greens in ranch dressing.

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!

Close up of a bowl of salad with ranch dressing in a white bowl.

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!

Spices and herbs for homemade ranch dressing in a white bowl

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:

 
Healthy Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing (Dairy-Free, Vegan, Paleo)

Healthy Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing (Dairy-Free, Vegan, Paleo)

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Drizzle this Healthy Ranch Dressing on your favorite salad or use it for dipping. You can't go wrong with this dairy-free version of a classic!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (use plant-based if vegan)
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder OR 1/4 small onion, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder OR 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill OR 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley OR 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives OR 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk together until smooth. For a super smooth dressing, blend using an immersion blender.
  2. Transfer to a bottle or jar for storage, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (longer if using dried herbs).

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 128Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

45 Responses
  1. carindee

    Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. How long can u keep this in fridge? Although it doesn’t sound like it will last that long!

      1. Marie D

        Some think that “Brewers Yeast” is the same as “Nutritional Yeast” – it is NOT. Brewers Yeast has a very disagreeable taste – whereas Nutritional Yeast has a much lighter, almost cheesy taste and is a bright yellow color.

    1. starfy

      Brooke, have you tried Tofutti’s Sour Supreme or Better than Sour Cream? They are dairy free and I promise the taste is SO close to the real thing, even my cat loves to sneak a lick off my plate 😉

  2. This sounds good- thanks for sharing. We are not daily free but we like to add pureed butternut squash to our mac & cheese (usually half noodles & half cauliflower) in order to reduce the amount of milk and cheese in it. It makes it creamy and so delicious my kids love it.

  3. Thanks for sharing- it looks yummy! We are not dairy free but we add butternut squash puree to our mac and cheese to reduce the amount of milk and cheese in it. It is creamy and very delicious that my kids gobble it up.

  4. LifeSheWrote

    This looks incredible. Also, may I suggest Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cooking? http://www.theppk.com/ I got her “Isa Does It” cookbook for Christmas last year and I cook out of her vegan recipes constantly. I just made a batch of the “Nacho Cheese” (made with cashews) and for lunches over rice and beans with kale chips this week. OMG SO GOOD. Also, she’s super fun. Here’s a variation on it for “Mac and Cheese”: http://www.theppk.com/2013/10/roasted-red-pepper-mac-cheese-video/ Anyway, always interested in your dairy-free recipes, even though I love everything cheese. Sometimes vegan recipes sneak up and surprise me as being as good/better than my cheesy recipes – and I feel better afterwards. SCORE!

    1. Cassie

      Unfortunately, so many of those vegan “cheese” recipes use nutritional yeast to get the cheesy flavor, and I no matter how many times I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to get on board with the flavor. 🙁

  5. Jessamy

    This sounds great! Question – do you use the coconut milk that comes in a can, or the coconut milk in the carton that’s in the refridgerator section?

  6. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made this dressing. It is perfect. Unfortunately, it’s obnoxiously high maintenance, haha (for me anyway – workin’ on that). But every time I have it on hand I’m so glad to have it. Especially right now on a ridiculous low-sugar, non-dairy diet. It’s on my favorites list!

  7. Parsley

    Has anybody tried making this sans mayo? We can’t do eggs, I’m thinking that the solid cream from the can of coconut might work out, with a bit of lemon for added flavor lost from the mayo. I’ve been eating dairy-free the last couple of months, and I find that solid coconut cream (I appreciate Native Forest for taste and insane amounts of solid cream, more than half of every can) slightly warm, with a tiny sprinkle of salt makes a wonderful butter substitute on scones, muffins, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, et cetera. Delicious.

    1. Courtney

      I just tried this without mayo very close to what you suggested. Mostly just used the fat from a can of coconut milk plus a bit of the water to thin it out. I also added a few teaspoons of olive oil to add just a touch of that mayo consistency. I cut the herbs mostly in half since I only had about half the base ingredients. Only used ACV since that’s what I had on hand. It turned out REALLY well. The texture after being in the fridge all night is sort of like whipped butter, so great as a veggie dip. Maybe more of the coconut water next time if I’m going for salad dressing. Flavor is spot on.

  8. Elaine

    Sorry, I was wrong. It doesn’t have dairy. I was thinking eggs. We can’t have either in our house. I’m just getting it all confused. The recipe looks great though!

  9. Mandy

    I thought the recipe given might be *too* herb-y for my picky kids, so I doubled the coconut milk and mayo and used the same amount of herbs and seasonings.

    Yum! And it hasn’t even chilled a while yet to let the flavors mingle! My youngest, who is SOOOOO hard to please with food, gave an immediate two-thumbs-up!

  10. Kate

    This is an awesome recipe, and I use it often when having guests. Ive never made more than a single batch at a time, and never have any left over, but Im wondering:

    How does this freeze? The recipe only uses maybe 1/4 of the can of milk, and I am always at a loss for what to do with the rest. Im thinking maybe just making like a quadruple batch, and freezing it for future use, but I have no idea how it’ll come out once thawed.

    Anyone tried this?

    1. Julie @ Wholefully

      I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it would freeze well – I suspect it would separate oddly when you thawed it. But you could pour the extra coconut milk into an ice cube tray and freeze that, then thaw it in the future for more batches of dressing!

    1. Joan L

      Oh, that is a great idea!!
      I’m new to the Paleo lifestyle … I wonder if the yogurt is workable? Guess I better look around for an answer!

  11. Lorie

    This is the best dressing in the world! I make it often and even my dairy loving people enjoy it and can’t tell any difference. So glad I found this recipe.

  12. Esther

    Hi im interested in making this salad dressing, but I would like to know how long this product will last, because im doing it for a food processing project.

  13. Joan L

    New to the Paleo lifestyle … do you know if this recipe is Paleo? The Mayo is my main concern – I guess I could make my own Mayo & then make this recipe. Hmm … any other suggestions on what I could use for Paleo. I know I should know what I can & can’t have with Paleo – but I’m still learning.
    *AND this recipe sounds wonderful!!

    1. Cassie

      It sure is paleo, if you use paleo-friendly mayo—which you can either make yourself (it’s so easy!) or you can buy paleo mayo brands at most major grocery stores now. Good luck!

  14. yolie marroquin

    This is super simple to make and so tasty!! It was a hit in my home 😛
    I will make this from now on and ditch anything store bought!!

  15. Donna

    Just a question really, I’d like to try this recipe but before I buy the coconut milk, I need to know if the dressing tastes coconut-ty. I really dislike the taste of coconut but like the idea of moving towards dairy free. Thanks.

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