Vegan Ranch Dressing tastes better than store-bought dressing, and is made without using dairy or mayo! Drizzle it over salads, or use it as an easy veggie dip.
Why You’ll Love It
It tastes like the real thing. This homemade vegan ranch dressing tastes like the popular mix that you can stir together at home, but it’s made with simple ingredients.
It’s easy to make. Just toss a few ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth to create the creamy base. Then pulse in the dried herbs, for an authentic look and flavor!
It’s great for special diets. This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and Paleo friendly. You can also make it oil-free by omitting the 1 tablespoon of oil called for in this recipe. (It’s still delicious either way!)
It’s versatile. You can serve this homemade ranch dressing as a dip for raw veggies, french fries, or buffalo cauliflower wings, or drizzle it on veggie burgers for extra flavor. It will thicken up when chilled, if you prefer a thicker dip!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Rather than using vegan mayo, raw cashews provide the creaminess in this recipe. When shopping for cashews, look for ones that are not roasted or salted, for the most mild flavor.
You can also replace the nuts with hemp hearts, which are a complete source of plant-based protein. They make an easy nut-free alternative.
Dried herbs make this vegan salad dressing recipe more convenient, but you can also use fresh, if you prefer. When swapping fresh herbs for dried herbs, be sure to triple the amount called for. (Dried herbs are more concentrated in taste.)
How to Make the Best Vegan Ranch Dressing
1. Soak the cashews.
To help soften the cashews, place them in a bowl and cover them with a 1/2 cup of hot water. Set that aside while you measure the other ingredients, or let it rest up to 2 hours before you plan on blending. This step is optional, but helpful if you don’t have a powerful blender.
Note: Soaking the cashews for hours is not necessary. I usually only let the cashews soak for 5 to 10 minutes, because I’m impatient and don’t plan ahead. There’s no need to drain the water from the cashews, unless you are doing so to help them digest a little better. (Blending may help with that, too.)
Pour the cashews and their soaking water into the blender, along with the olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, salt, and black pepper.
Blend until the dressing looks smooth and creamy, about 60 seconds in a high-speed blender. If the dressing isn’t looking smooth enough, add 1 more tablespoon of water and blend again, until the cashews are totally pulverized.
3. Add the herbs.
For a classic speckled look, add in the parsley, chives, and dried dill after the dressing already looks smooth and creamy. Secure the lid on the blender and pulse briefly, just until the herbs are evenly mixed in.
If you blend for too long, the vegan ranch dressing will turn green, rather than looking white with bits of herbs throughout.
You can serve this vegan ranch recipe right away, over a salad or as a dip for sliced carrots and celery sticks. Or, store it in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will thicken up even more. (The flavor also gets better when it sits overnight, so keep that in mind!)
This cashew ranch dressing recipe is adapted from a combination of the Hemp Seed Ranch Dressing in my first cookbook, and the dressing from Eat Dairy Free, which is loaded with over 100 dairy-free and allergy-friendly recipes. (Check it out if you need more dairy-free ideas!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditional ranch dressing recipes usually call for a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and sometimes buttermilk. You could swap those for store-bought alternatives, like soy milk, almond milk, or vegan mayonnaise, but I prefer to use these simple nutrient-dense ingredients, instead.
The main spices used in ranch dressing are onion, garlic, and parsley, along with plenty of salt and pepper. I also like to add chives and a pinch of dill. The flavors will get stronger as they meld in the fridge overnight, so keep that in mind when you make this.
You can replace the cashews with hemp hearts, for a nut-free dressing.
Looking for more vegan sauces? Try Tahini Dill Dressing, Romesco Sauce, or the best ever Peanut Sauce.
Best Vegan Ranch Dressing
Vegan Ranch Dressing tastes better than the kind you’d buy at the store, and gets its creaminess from cashews. Serve it over a salad, or as a creamy dip for chips and veggies!
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup warm water , plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried chives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill (optional; but recommended)
Place the cashews in a bowl and cover them with the warm water. Let them soak together while you measure the rest of the ingredients, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Pour the cashews and their soaking water into the blender, then add in the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Secure the lid on the blender and blend until smooth, about 60 seconds. Stop and scrape down the sides, as needed, to make sure everything gets blended, and add an additional tablespoon of water, if needed, to help the cashews break down into a silky-smooth texture.
Next, add in the parsley, chives, and dill, and pulse briefly, just to incorporate them. (This gives the dressing a speckled look, like traditional ranch. If you blend too long it could turn green instead.) Taste and adjust any seasoning as needed. You may want to add up to 1/4 teaspoon more salt, or extra lemon for a more tangy flavor.
Pour the dressing into an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. It will thicken much more in the fridge overnight, so I recommend adding a tablespoon of water, or more, as needed to thin it out again the next day. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake the dressing before each use.
Recipe is adapted from Eat Dairy Free, by Alisa Fleming, and the Hemp Seed Ranch Dressing, from my first cookbook.
Need a nut-free recipe? You can swap the cashews for hemp hearts, which provide a similar creaminess.
Update note: I updated this recipe in January 2021 to taste even better, using less oil. If you preferred the original recipe, increase the water to 2/3 cup total, use 1/4 cup olive oil, add an extra teaspoon of lemon juice and vinegar, and add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. (I lowered the acid content in this recipe to eliminate the need for an added sweetener.) I also added the dried dill, because I think it tastes more like the ranch I buy at the store, but you can omit that, too.
Calories: 85kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 298mg, Potassium: 107mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 565IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg
If you try this dairy-free ranch dressing, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it.