Free from dairy or eggs but just as flavorful and creamy as the original version, this vegan ranch dressing recipe is a better-for-you dip perfect for drizzling over salads, serving with veggies, or even using as a marinade. We even paired it with a snack platter for a snack or appetizer that’s just waiting to be served at all your summer BBQs, pitch-ins, and more! Nut free option.
This recipe was adapted from the Eat Dairy Free cookbook written by our friend Alisa Fleming. The book is beautiful and full of so many recipes we love! However, what quickly caught our eye was her vegan ranch. So, we whipped up a batch, immediately fell in love, and knew we had to have it on the site. After all, nobody should be denied the creamy goodness of a classic ranch, right? We thought so!
While we love Alisa’s recipe, we also wanted to put our own Cotter spin on it. As a result, we made just a few tweaks like soaking the cashews before blending to increase the nutrient absorption, but the flavor and texture of the recipe remain the same! All this to say, we appreciate Alisa and her fabulous recipes and highly recommend her book if you’re looking for your new go-to dairy free kitchen guide.
Why We’re Raving About Ranch
If you’ve never tried homemade ranch, we’re here to tell you that you’re seriously missing out! Seriously, run to your kitchen, and make this vegan ranch dressing recipe right now. Like our vegan green goddess dressing, it’s smooth, creamy, and so good you’ll find yourself going back again and again.
You see, unlike store-bought dressings that are full of preservatives, fillers, and added sugars, this vegan ranch is made with a handful of simple kitchen staples like fresh herbs and spices for a healthy dressing you can feel good about eating. Plus, we’ve paired it with a veggie-loaded snack platter for the perfect party appetizer or afternoon snack! You know we love our snack boards and platters!
Of course, that’s not the only way you can use this vegan ranch recipe, but we’ll get into that later. For now, we’re pretty sure you get the point. It’s delicious, and you need it in your life. Trust us, you won’t regret making it. We made the process as simple as possible!
What Is Vegan Ranch Made Of? Traditionally, ranch is an emulsion made with buttermilk, herbs, spices, and mayonnaise. However, with just a few simple swaps, we removed the dairy and created a vegan version with pantry staples!
- Cashews – Raw or roasted versions work to create the smooth and creamy texture we’re looking to achieve.
Food Allergy Swap: For a nut-free ranch, use sunflower seeds instead of cashews. They have a stronger flavor and will create a slightly thinner texture but are still delicious!
- Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk – We used plain almond milk, but any non-dairy milk such as oat milk or cashew milk works as well.
- Oil – High-quality oils like olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil are best to form the emulsion and pack in healthy fats!
- Lemon Juice – Lemon juice is used to cut through the heaviness of the oil to freshen up the flavor of this dressing.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – When paired with non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar helps to replicate the effects of buttermilk and creates a tangy flavor.
- Maple Syrup or Honey – If you prefer, you can also use agave nectar. Or, leave out the sweetener altogether for a zippy flavor that’s Whole30-friendly.
- Herbs and Spices – For the best results, we included sea salt, ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and parsley.
Dairy Free Tip: Find more dairy free cooking and baking alternatives (like the trick for vegan buttermilk listed above) here!
How to Make this Easy Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe
This vegan ranch dressing is so easy to make, you’ll never go back to pre-made versions again!
- Blend the cashews into a powder-like consistency.
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the parsley to a blender, and blend until they are smooth and creamy. This will take roughly 2 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley. Pour the dressing into an airtight container.
Pro-Tip: If your dressing is too thick for your liking, add a dash of extra oil, and blend again.
Build a Plant Based Dressing Snack Platter!
You didn’t think we forgot about the snack platter, did you? We would never! You’ll love how easy this dairy free snack platter is to put together. Perfect for summer when kids (and adults alike) live off of snacking! Haha! Enjoy!
- First, gather all of the ingredients you’ll be using. We used fresh veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, grape tomatoes, and more! However, you could also include nuts and gluten free crackers, too!
- Next, pour the ranch into a bowl, and place it in the center of a serving platter.
- Then, arrange all of your snacks around the bowl, layering the largest items first.
- To finish, garnish your platter with fresh herbs and lemon slices.
From start to finish, it couldn’t be easier, and all your guests will rave!
How to Keep Vegan Ranch Dressing Fresh
This dressing is best kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just be sure to give it a good stir or shake before using!
Note: Vegan ranch does not freeze well, because the ingredients will separate and do not combine well once thawed.
More Ways to Use Homemade Dressing
Of course, we can never say no to a good snack platter, but if you’re looking for more ways to use your homemade ranch, try some of our favorite uses below! Or, feel free to experiment, and let us know how you use ranch in the comments below. You can’t go wrong!
- It’s perfect when paired with a mason jar salad for healthy meal prep that can be taken on the go!
- Spread it on a farmer’s market veggie sandwich for an extra boost of flavor.
- Use it as the perfect dip for all your favorite buffalo recipes like this air fryer cauliflower.
- Our editorial assistant, Shyanne, even says it’s popular in the midwest paired with pizza!
If you give this vegan ranch dressing recipe a try or have any questions, please let us know in the comments below! Your feedback is always appreciated!