Homemade Ranch Dressing {dairy-free} & substitutions

This Homemade Ranch Dressing {dairy-free} is so delicious, it deserves it’s own special place here on the blog!ย  You may have noticed that I did not just call it Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing, I have my reasons…..

Ranch dressing has always been my absolute favorite, and this recipe is absolutely perfect whether you use regular milk or a non-dairy substitute.ย  When I post a recipe as “dairy-free” I get a lot of emails asking how to make it with regular products, which is completely fine with me ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I love your emails….I just thought maybe I could simplify things and make the recipe appeal to everyone.

Homemade Ranch Dressing {dairy-free} from cookingwithcurls.com

When I convert a recipe to dairy-free, I generally do not change the measurements unless absolutely necessary.ย  This usually works, unless the composition of the substitute is completely different.ย  It’s the same concept as using non fat milk in a recipe that calls for whole milk, it will be more diluted and not as thick.ย  Traditional Ranch Dressing is made with whole milk, so I substituted coconut milk (box) and the consistency is the same as the original…..

Homemade Ranch Dressing | cookingwithcurls.com

this picture was taken right after I made it, I was loosing daylight.ย  Once it chills for a few hours, it will be thick and creamy just like you would expect a Ranch Dressing to be:)

I originally made this dressing with soy milk, also a good substitute for whole milk…but there is a huge drawback.ย  Soy milk is made from soybeans that contain flavonoid compounds called isoflavones that exhibit a weak-estrogenic activity when ingested.ย  The medical community is still arguing the effects of consuming soy for men and women alike.ย  The commercial soy bean growers also use genetically modified seeds that is then used to produce the soy milk. ย  So I am limiting my consumption of soy milk until there is a better understanding of how it truly affects the human body.ย  That’s just me, the choice is yours ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s move on to Almond and Rice Milk.ย  Also great substitutes for dairy, but their viscosity is closer to that of non fat milk.ย  It all comes down to the recipe that you are converting and what roll the milk plays.ย  If the recipe is a cake, it may need the additional fat that whole milk provides.ย  Almond and rice milks have half the amount of fat as coconut or soy milks, so that needs to be factored in.

This is how I convert recipes:

Heavy Cream = Coconut Milk (can)

Whole Milk = Coconut Milk (box) or Cashew Milk

Non Fat Milk = Almond or Rice Milk

Half & Half = Half Coconut Milk (can) & Half Coconut or Cashew Milk (box)

I originally called this recipe Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing and I didn’t want to change the name on the link, so the recipe name does not match the post name…Just in case you weren’t confused enough ๐Ÿ˜› ย  Enjoy!

Dairy Free Ranch Dressing

Serves 12
Prep time 15 minutes
Meal type Condiment
Thick and creamy dairy-free ranch dressing for salads or dips.


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (the kind in the box)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 2 Cloves garlic (pressed or finely minced)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • freshly ground pepper


Ranch Dressing Ingredients
Pour apple cider vinegar into coconut milk. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to "curdle" and become buttermilk
Ranch Dressing Whisk
In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together mayonnaise, pressed garlic, parsley, green onions, white wine vinegar, "buttermilk", and pepper
Ranch Dressing
Pour into container and store in refrigerator


Rice and Almond milk can be substituted, but they will not "curdle".ย  I still add the vinegar and use as if it had.

If dressing is too thick, just add more milk to thin.

This recipe will be partying at these link parties!



  1. Christy R says

    I recently developed a dairy allergy so I am SO looking forward to making this! Thank you, and keep the dairy free recipes coming!!

  2. says

    This is wonderful! While I’m no allergic to dairy, I know a lot of people who are. I will be sure to pass along this recipe! I don’t really use coconut milk much but I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes that uses it as the main ingredient. I must try!
    Min recently posted…Zucchini Basil PestoMy Profile

  3. says

    Looks delicious, Lisa! Great photos! I’m loving how the creamy dressing pops against the dark, wood grain background. And that breakdown of dairy-free substitutions is such useful info. Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    I made this ranch with my jalapeno bottle caps yesterday. It was a hit! Thank you for providing a ranch recipe that is dairy-free. (I made it mainly for myself.) My boys did not even mention the difference… because I never said anything! I mentioned you and this amazing recipe in my post today. Hope you don’t mind. I just love all of your recipes and your style, Lisa! (=

  5. says

    This looks really good! My girls have problems with dairy, so I switched over to Rice Milk. I now use it in every meal I make. I have never really noticed any big issues. However, I did try to make gravy the other day and the rice flavoring was really strong and it just never thickened up like it should. Anyway, thanks for the conversion chart. I think I’ll keep the coconut milk on hand for baking. I’d like to make your dressing, but I’d have to remove the garlic and the onion (which takes most of the fun out of all of our dishes). They have acid reflux as well, so no spicy, fatty or acidic foods allowed. I’ll do some experimenting w/ this and see how it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing!
    Gina @ Gina’s Craft Corner

  6. Jill says

    This was amazing! I made a big, chopped salad to go with it. Almond milk worked out great & I added a sprinkle of cayenne. I haven’t had dairy or ranch in months. Felt like I was cheating ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Leslie says

    Loved this recipe – My son can not have anything dairy and he really liked this dressing. We have tried every dairy free ranch from the store with no success. He could not believe I was letting him eat ranch dressing on his salad. Thanks!!

    • says

      Officially, the FDA would say 3 – 5 days. I use it for two weeks and have never had any trouble. It contains vinegar, which kills bacteria and extends shelf life. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by Emma!

  8. Cecelia says

    I wonder…could I use “nayo-naise”; not sure I’m spelling it right. But it’s a no-egg mayo substitute. I’m sensitive/allergic to eggs (and milk– thus why I looked for non-dairy salad dressing recipes). Thx!

  9. Alison Whyte says

    OMG this is delicious!!! I used a vegan mayo to make this for my son (which tastes disgusting on it’s own) and then after following the rest of your recipe it tasted better than any restaurant ranch dressing I have had!!! Thank you so much!!!

    • says

      I am so glad that it worked for you Alison!! Thanks so much for letting me know. I have had people ask me in the past if vegan mayonnaise would work, and now I know. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Sarah D says

    Just made this, and it tastes just like store bought! (ok, I haven’t had store bought in years, so this might not be an entirely truthful statement… – but it’s delish nonetheless)
    I subbed rice vinegar for white wine vinegar because I didn’t have any, organic parsley for Italian (same reason) but everything else it to recipe. I can’t wait to serve it to my dairy/nut/soy free friend at supper tomorrow!
    Thank you!

  11. amanda says

    Thank you so much! I have had a ranch craving for ages but never thought I would find a viable replacement, let alone something far superior to what I remember Ranch tasting like! My little boy liked it a ton too. Kudos to you!

  12. Mary says

    Thank you so much for putting this recipe up i am a teenager and it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I knew I couldn’t tolerate anything with Lactose but then it came to find out thati can’t have casein or whey either so this recipe helps because the only dressing I enjoyed eating on my salad was ranch and now I don’t have to miss out

    • says

      Officially, the FDA would say 3 โ€“ 5 days. I use it for two weeks and have never had any trouble. It contains vinegar, which kills bacteria and extends shelf life.

  13. Amie says

    This sounds like it will be awesome. I was just wondering if you use sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk and what brand? Also, does it have a coconut flavor at all?

    • says

      Thank you Amie – I use whatever is in the refrigerator. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I try to use unsweetened, but I have made it both ways. I use So Delicious and Silk, it doesn’t make a difference. The garlic does a really good job of covering up the coconut flavor! Even my daughter didn’t notice it, and she hates coconut. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, along with all the extra helpful info! It’s so great to know appropriate substitutions when you’re trying to eliminate dairy, without eliminating some of your faves;)

  15. Amy says

    I have made two batches of this already. I am currently dairy and gluten free and this recipe is my go-to!! Thank you so much for creating this. You’ve saved me! My 4-year-old daughter doesn’t know the difference; she loves this too!
    God bless you,


    • says

      I keep it for a week or two Sarah. There is vinegar in it so it helps keep the bacteria away, but no, it will not last indefinitely like the store bought stuff. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Sandra says

    I love your recipe. However, I can digest mayonnaise well. Is there something I can substitute for the mayonnaise?

  17. says

    I just found out I am lactose intolerant and have been pinning dairy free recipes for weeks. I finally made this last night and oh my! It was so creamy and rich. My husband loves ranch dressing and I think he will only use the bottle again if we are out of this! Thank you for a great recipe!

  18. Amanda says

    Have you tried making this with canned coconut milk? I am doing the Whole30 and haven’t found a carton of coconut milk that does not have added sugar in it but I do have canned that I can use. Just curious. Thanks!

  19. Wendie says

    I’m new to the dairy-free world, so I’m excited to see recipes such as the dairy-free ranch. Any idea how long it will last if refrigerated?

  20. Kahana Chameleon says

    I can have a smidge of vinegar but not a lot…could I use lemon juice instead and would it be a one to one substitution? What would you recommend? I could maybe do a 1/2 tsp of rice vinegar with the lemon juice …

  21. says

    Oh my gosh. I have been wanting Ranch dressing like you wouldn’t believe. I have major food restrictions/allergies: soy, corn, dairy, gluten, all grains, sugars (even honey and natural sugars), no potatoes, and I can only eat 4 different fruits, and eat only coconut or safflower oil. Talk about tricky to find ANYTHING I can eat.

    I do have a question though– I’m not really supposed to eat mayo (surprise surprise), do you know of a healthy mayo alternative/version/substitute? I NEED Ranch dressing in my life. It’s the one thing I’ve been craving (well, that and alfredo sauce) and it would really really help me endure if I could have something delicious to eat.

    • says

      Wow Rochelle, I thought my allergies were bad! I am so glad that you found this recipe and you are one step closer to your ranch dressing dream, I do not however have any suggestions for healthy mayo. ๐Ÿ™ I have never tried to make mayo at home, but I hear it’s really easy to do…I am just too lazy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • says

      Hi Angelica, I would not use the coconut milk in a can, your dressing will be too thick. It has a higher fat content so your dressing will harden in the refrigerator and “could” turn into a solid mass.

  22. MW says

    Is it possible to use homemade coconut milk (water and coconut) or the boxed kind has other ingredients that help with curdling? Thanks!


  1. […] go with these… and ranch happens to by my absolute favorite choice of dip– I made some Homemade Ranch Dressing to go with these Jalapeno Bottle Caps. ย It was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. ย The dressing is dairy-free and was […]

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