In our new fall cookbook—Ranch—author Abby Reisner walks you through 13 variations of the classic sauce, ranging from the iconic classic to vegan, spicy southern BBQ and even Marinara-infused ranch. Here are a few guidelines for mixing it up, and the Classic Ranch recipe where all our riffing began.
Choose your base.From yogurt to mayonnaise, crème fraîche to coconut cream, you're going to need something cooling and rich to form the foundation of your sauce.
Add the essential herbs. No matter how you mince it, for your dressing to taste like "ranch," you're going to need a few tablespoons of fresh dill and parsley. Typically you would also add mint, but other cooling herbs like chives or shiso can be swapped in for slight shifts in flavor.
Grab some spices. Garlic, onion powder and mustard powder are classicingredients,but can be swapped for their cousins (shallots, for example) or other bold base flavors, like horseradish.
Always remember acidity. Tangy dairy products like buttermilk or sour cream may not need the addition of vinegar, but if your base is more creamy than tart, simply throw in a splash of tang.
Turn up the heat. A dash of Tabasco is key to the classic—but sriracha, cracked black pepper, Aleppo pepper or cayenne are a few other ways to add some zing to your sauce.
Classic Ranch Makes about 1 cup
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, onion powder, garlic, dill, parsley, and mint. Whisk in the buttermilk, season with Tabasco, and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or until ready to use. The ranch will keep in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 3 days.