How To Thin Out Ranch Dressing [Store Bought Or Homemade]

Ranch is a dressing commonly used in salads, dips, or whatever else you can think of. It has a creamy, tangy taste that is sure to please anyone's palate. But if you made some of your own or bought some too thick, how do you make it thinner? Let's take a look at how to thin out ranch dressing below.

If you want to make your ranch thinner, you can add the following ingredients:

  • Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Heavy cream
  • Melted butter
  • Water
  • Oil

Ranch dressing is delicious, but if you are making it at home or buying it from the store, it may not have the consistency you desire. In this article, we will take a closer look at thinning ranch dressing and the different methods that can be used to achieve the desired consistency. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about ranch dressing, so keep reading!

Homemade lemon ranch dressing in a small jar with fresh greens, How To Thin Out Ranch Dressing [Store Bought Or Homemade]

How To Thin Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a creamy, tangy dressing commonly used in salads, dips, and other recipes. It has a delicious flavor that many love, but sometimes the dressing can be too thick. If you want to make your ranch thinner, you can use a few methods.

Ranch sauce in a white porcelain bowl with vegetables, herbs and spices on an old wooden table

The methods are the same whether you are making homemade ranch dressing or thinning store-bought dressing (such as Hidden Valley). You can add milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, melted butter, water, or oil to the thin ranch dressing.

Let's take a look at each ingredient in more detail before adding it in:


Milk is an excellent option to thin ranch dressing because it will also add creaminess. Depending on your preferences, you can choose whole milk, 2% milk, or skim milk.


Pouring homemade kefir buttermilk

Buttermilk is another option to thin ranch dressing. It will add creaminess as well as a slight tang. Buttermilk is a good choice because it is already a prime ingredient in ranch dressing, so it won't make a drastic change in its flavor.

Heavy Cream

If you don't have the first options on hand, you can also thin ranch dressing with heavy cream. Add the cream sparingly and taste test as you add it in, as it can make the dressing too rich if you're not careful.

Melted Butter

Another ingredient that can be used to thin ranch dressing is melted butter. It will add creaminess and richness, so use it sparingly. Also, like cream and buttermilk, adding melted butter isn't the healthiest option.


Water is the most straightforward ingredient you can use to thin ranch dressing. It won't add any flavor or creaminess, but it will change the consistency. In addition, it is the healthiest option on this list.

Be careful when adding water because adding too much could make the dressing too runny. Instead, start with a small amount and add more as needed until you reach the desired consistency.


Oil can also be used to thin ranch dressing, but it is not the best option. It will make the dressing greasy, and it won't add any flavor or creaminess. Only use oil if you have no other options.

You can use canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil.

Whichever ingredient you choose, start with a small amount and gradually add more until you achieve the desired consistency. You can also put the ranch dressing in a blender or food processor and blend until it is the desired consistency.

If you want to add more flavor to your dressing, you can add herbs or spices. Fresh herbs, such as basil or dill, are a great way to add flavor to ranch dressing. You can also add garlic, onion powder, or black pepper.

Start with a small amount of the spice or herb and gradually add more until you reach the desired flavor. You can also experiment with other spices and herbs to find the perfect flavor for your ranch dressing.

Why Is Homemade Ranch So Thick?

Homemade ranch dressing is usually thicker than store-bought ranch because it doesn't contain stabilizers. The store-bought ranch generally contains thickeners such as xanthan gum or maltodextrin, which help it maintain its consistency.

In addition, you can use less mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt when making your ranch and add more buttermilk. This will also help thin out the dressing while still maintaining its flavor.

If you find your ranch dressing is too thin, then add more mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt until it reaches the desired consistency. You can also add a thickener such as xanthan gum or tapioca starch.

Whether you are trying to thin or thicken your ranch dressing, remember that less is more. It is always easier to add more of an ingredient than it is to take it away.

Does Ranch Have Dairy?

As mentioned earlier, ranch's main ingredients are mayonnaise and buttermilk, which contain dairy. So, yes, ranch does have dairy.

If you are looking for a dairy-free option, you can make your ranch using non-dairy yogurt, vegan mayo, sour cream, and milk. There are also store-bought options available that are dairy free.

You can typically find these ingredients in a health food store or the health food section.

What Flavors Make Up Ranch?

The three main flavors in the ranch are buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise (depending on the recipe), and herbs. The herbs can vary depending on the recipe, but they typically include parsley, dill, and chives.

If you are making homemade dressing, you can also add ground mustard seed, pepper, and paprika!

You can also find ranch dressing with different flavors such as BBQ, buffalo, or bacon. These flavors are usually achieved by adding additional spices to the dressing or by adding a flavored yogurt or mayo.

Will Homemade Ranch Thicken In The Fridge?

Homemade ranch dressing will thicken slightly when refrigerated. The mayonnaise and buttermilk will separate and become thicker when cold. For this reason, wait to thin your ranch dressing until it has sat in the fridge for at least an hour.

You can also make ranch dressing ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to a week. This will give the flavors time to meld together and create an even tastier dressing!

How Long Does Homemade Ranch Last In The Fridge?

Chia seed healthy ranch salad dressing in a jar

If you properly store your ranch dressing in an airtight container, it can last in the fridge for up to a week or two.

You will know that your ranch has gone bad if it starts to develop mold or if the color changes. If either of these things happens, it is best to throw out the dressing and make a new batch.

In addition, it is important to use fresh ingredients when making ranch to increase its shelf life. Buy fresh buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, or Greek yogurt the day you plan on making your ranch. This will help to ensure that your dressing is as fresh as possible!

How Do You Make Ranch Less Sour?

Sometimes too much buttermilk will make your ranch dressing too sour. To fix this, you can use whole milk as a replacement. Keep in mind that whole milk won't be as thick as buttermilk, so decrease the amount of milk you use if you want a thicker dressing.

You can also choose Mexican table cream instead of sour cream. This will also help to reduce the sourness in your ranch.

If you want to add a bit of sweetness to your ranch, you can use honey, sugar, or agave syrup. Start with a small amount and add more until you reach the desired level of sweetness.

How Do You Keep Ranch Dressing From Separating?

Ranch dressing with fresh carrots and celery

When ranch dressing separates, it is because the oil and water in the dressing have separated. To prevent this from happening, you can either whisk the dressing before each use or add an emulsifier.

An emulsifier is a substance that helps to keep oil and water from separating. This can be achieved by adding a small amount of xanthan gum, lecithin, or mustard to the ranch dressing.

Remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to emulsifiers. Start with a small amount and add more if needed. Too much emulsifier will make the dressing slimy.

Final Thoughts

Ranch dressing is a delicious and versatile condiment. It can be used as a dip, a dressing, or even a sauce! While it is easy to buy ranch dressing at the store, it is also simple to make at home.

When making ranch dressing at home, you can customize it. Don't like dill? Leave it out! Want a bit more of a zing? Add some extra pepper!

The most important thing to remember when making ranch dressing is to use fresh ingredients. This will help to ensure that your dressing is flavorful and lasts a long time in the fridge.

Now that you know how to make ranch dressing, give it a try!

Before you go, be sure to check out these other guides:

How To Make Seasoning Stick To Chicken

How Long Does Pico De Gallo Last?

How To Freeze Apple Butter—4 Steps To Follow!

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