Vegan Ranch Dressing (No Mayo!)

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This vegan ranch dressing is my new favorite salad topper, and also doubles as an easy vegetable dip. Instead of using dairy or soy, it gets its creaminess from raw cashews!

carrot dipped in vegan ranch dressing

Ingredients You’ll Need

This vegan ranch dressing is made with cashews instead of mayo, so it’s lower in fat and calories. It calls for only 1 tablespoon of oil, but you can leave that out if you follow an oil-free diet.

Here are the main ingredients you’ll need:

  • Cashews (I use raw, unsalted ones)
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dried herbs & spices

Cashews are my favorite source of “creaminess” for vegan recipes, because they have such a mild, almost sweet flavor. If you’ve tried my Vegan Cheesecake, Vegan Chocolate Tart, or Vegan Nacho Cheese, you know how magical they can be.

Can’t eat cashews? My favorite substitute for cashews is hemp hearts, which are a complete source of plant-based protein. Otherwise, blanched almonds would probably be a similar substitute as well, they are just a little harder to break down in the blender.

How to Make It

To make this Vegan Ranch Dressing, all you need is a blender and 5 minutes of time.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Process the cashews. I use dry cashews most of the time, but if you don’t have a powerful blender, you can soak the cashews in water for 2 hours ahead of time, to help them soften, then drain them. Place the cashews in a blender, and process briefly to help them break down.
  2. Add in the other base ingredients. Now you’ll add in the water, salt, acid ingredients, and other base spices like garlic and onion powder. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning here, so you don’t have to blend too much during the next step, but keep in mind the flavor will be even better with the added herbs.
  3. Add in the herbs. These will add even more flavor, and are the green “specks” you’ll see in typical ranch dressing. Don’t over-blend here, or your dressing will turn green. Just a few pulses will do!

That’s it! Pour the dressing into an airtight container, and let it chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.

Things You Should Know

The flavors will meld even more as they sit in the fridge overnight, and the dressing will thicken, so you’ll probably want to add a tablespoon of water the next day to help balance that out and make it easily pour-able again. This will also help dilute the overall taste, if the salt or garlic flavor starts to get too strong overnight.

This dairy-free ranch recipe is adapted from my friend Alisa’s new book, Eat Dairy Free, which is loaded with over 100 dairy-free and allergy-friendly recipes. If you’re not familiar with Alisa’s website, Go Dairy Free, it’s also a great resource for dairy-free living, including recipes, product reviews, and more.

dairy free book and ranch dressing on spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ranch dressing made with milk? Traditional ranch dressing recipes usually call for a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, and sometimes buttermilk, so they are typically made with milk. You could swap those ingredients for store-bought vegan alternatives, but I prefer this recipe instead!

What are the herbs in ranch dressing? 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.

Is ranch dressing healthy? When it’s made with mayo and sour cream, ranch dressing can pack quite a few calories and grams of saturated fat into each serving. However, when you make dairy-free ranch dressing with whole food ingredients, I think it’s a healthier choice. Especially if it gets you eating more veggies!

ranch dressing on a spoon surrounded by veggies

More Vegan Salad Dressings

I hope you’ll enjoy this dairy-free ranch dressing recipe as much as I do. It makes a great dip for veggies, a party spread with chips, or practically anything else you use ranch for!

carrot dipped in vegan ranch dressing
Print Pin
4.77 from 17 votes

Vegan Ranch Dressing (No Mayo!)

This Vegan Ranch Dressing is made with cashews and herbs for an easy vegan and paleo alternative. It makes a healthy dairy-free dip, too!
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan ranch dressing
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 64kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup 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)

Instructions

  • Place the cashews in the blender and process briefly to grind them into a powder. (If you don't have a good blender, you can do this in a spice grinder or coffee grinder first.)
    ground cashews in blender
  • Add in the water, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides, as needed, to make sure everything gets blended. The mixture should look smooth, creamy, and runny in texture.
    liquid ingredients in blender
  • 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.
    dried herbs added in blender
  • 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.
    vegan ranch poured into glass jar for serving

Notes

Nutrition is for roughly 2 tablespoons of dressing. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
Recipe is adapted from Eat Dairy Free, by Alisa Fleming.
Additional Notes:
  • If you can't tolerate cashews, hemp hearts are the easiest swap. Otherwise sunflower seeds may be used, but they have a more bitter flavor and you may need to balance that out with a little added sweetness.
  • Alisa's original recipe calls for a 1/2 cup of grapeseed or rice bran oil, which will help make the dressing thicker, if you'd like. I only keep olive oil on hand at home, so I used a lot less of it to lower the fat content and keep the flavor neutral. (I think the olive oil taste would be noticeable if you used more.)
  • If you'd like to soak the cashews for easier blending, I recommend soaking them in water for up to 2 hours, then draining and using only 1/3 cup of water in this recipe to start with. (You can always add more to thin it out later!)

Nutrition

Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 224mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 421IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Update notes: 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.

If you try this Vegan Ranch Dressing, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it! And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too. We can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite dairy-free swap? Share your favorite recipe links below!

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Comments

Krista

This was amazing! I can’t believe how similar it is to a ranch dressing made with dairy. I added a bit of dried dill as well. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I like adding a pinch of dill to mine, too. 🙂

Nan sommer

Sounds grea! Recently was gifted with IBS-D, and desperately look for similar recipes.

Do I order this intriguing cookbook through you or on my own?

Thank you again for this recipe.

Name Sommer

Natalie

I’m sure to put it in my dressing list!
Here you used the non-dairy milk, didn’t you?
So the color will be different when you use water or milk..

    Megan Gilmore

    I always use water in dressings. I don’t think the non-dairy milk would be very noticeable, since you’re already mixing it with cashews. (Which is how you make most nut milks, anyway!)

Monica

Curious about using cashew mean/flour if you don’t have a good food processor? Not sure why I didn’t think of this before. Not having a high powered gadget has limited my dairy free options a bit.

rebekah

what could I use if I cannot eat nuts?

    Valerie

    I am curious about this as well because I am allergic to tree nuts. Megan, would we be able to substitute the cashews with something else?

    Alisa Fleming

    You can use sunflower seeds, But the flavor will be a bit more pronounced and not quite as “ranch like.” Still good if you like the flavor of sunflower seeds though!

Bonnie

Is there a good substitute for the cashews that would work? I’m allergic to cashews. Thanks

Nan

Wow!This was easy to make and was a game changer for us in that we have been buying vegan salad dressings for years. The store bought brands are tasty but not as good as this. I lowered the amount of oil to 1 tbsp, added arrowroot powder to thicken it. I didn’t have powdered garlic or onion, so I used fresh onions and garlic. Super tasty! Thanks for sharing.

Rachel

I have a son who is extremely allergic to cashews. Has anyone substituted almonds (he can have almond, pine and hazelnuts)?

Brandon

This is like my holy grail of dressings. I made it as soon as I saw this post. I’m definitely checking her book out. Thanks for sharing this.

Fatima

I’ve recently started making my own ranch dressing at home. I know it’s not traditional, but I like a 1/4 tsp each of dried dill and dried chive in mine.Just yesterday, I was wondering if I could make a vegan version. Thanks for posting the recipe. So excited to try this!

Jen

Does any other nut work for the ranch dressing? I am highly allergic to cashews 🙁

Riddhima Nair

Thanks for sharing the vegan ranch dressing yummy dish.

jenny

yummm! This ranch dressing sounds amazing!

Kirsten

This looks so good! I used to love ranch dressing but now that I am vegan, I never have it. What a great substitute for those of us who don’t eat dairy. Thanks!

Shelah M

Recipe sounds really good but I can’t do cashews and for some reason I didn’t see the cashew substitutes. Has anyone substituted the cashews with something? Thanks so much!

Nelly

Wow, that’s amazing! We looking for such recipe for long time (we use vegan mayo or vegan sourcream, but that’s wasn’t so good)! Thank you for sharing😊😍💖

J

I found this to be really sweet and a bit on the yucky side. It was so overpowered by maple and ACV that it didn’t really resemble ranch. 🙁

Marissa

Hi Megan,

Do you think it would taste off if I omit all sweetners from the recipe?

Amritesh chaubey

I love it

Pam

What is “a serving”? 1 or 2 TBS?? Thank you.

    Megan Gilmore

    If you see the nutrition info that I post directly below the recipe card, I posted the nutrition for 2 tablespoons worth of dressing. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

Marie

This dressing is so creamy and so tasty!

Susan

Has anyone tried a cashew substitute?

Thanks!

Rebeca

Delicious! It’s just perfect:)

Berneda

I’m not using oil these days. Can the oil be replaced with water? Or something else?

Lindsey

I don’t comment on recipes I have tried but I had to for this one. It is amazing! I have tried over 20 of your recipes in the last month since my family went to a whole food vegan diet. All of them have been good but this one surprised me. My other favorite is the lentil curry😊

ChRistina

This ranch recipe is amazing!!! So fresh and light. The texture is just like the real deal buttermilk ranch. I used…
1/2 water and 1/2 Soymilk
1/2 canola oil and 1/2 EVOO
fresh parsley instead of dried
Fresh garlic instead of dried
And added fresh dill

I would give this recipe more stars if I could, this is going to be a new staple in my household!

This is better than anything you will find pre-made at the store.

Thank you for sharing this treasure.

Fantine

can we just use cooked cashews

Amber

This is my go to vegan ranch recipe. I have used fresh chives or green onions before too and its wonderful. I omit the sugar, don’t think its necessary. I add a little more salt, real ranch is super salty!

Sonia

So far the best ranch dressing I have had. I followed the recommendations to sub non-dairy milk and used grapeseed oil instead of olive oil

Kenley gLenn

I’m 14 years old and an ultimate ranch lover, yet a vegan. I tried Daiya’s brand of ranch, but it just wasn’t right. Realized I had all the ingredients and rushed to make it. I didn’t use mustard or syrup, but it was so good! It actually tasted like real ranch dressing! About to go enjoy it with a salad. Thank you so much for this recipe!

Kelly Powers

This is amazing! I love ranch too, but I DO NOT eat mayo. I always sub for yogurt, but the cashews here sound great! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Rebecca

I LOVE the dill! I cut the oil in half as I try not to use any oil in general, it was still delicious! I am so glad I found you. You have made sticking to a plant-based diet easy and 100% more enjoyable. THANK-YOU 😊

Sarah

Delicious! Made it just as written and used as salad dressing and veggie dip. So glad for a healthier and non dairy ranch sauce!

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