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!
Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe + Snack Platter
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 11 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
Simple and easy to make, this Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe is dairy free and full of flavor for a healthy dressing alternative for all your needs! Pair it with a snack platter for the perfect appetizer or afternoon pick-me-up. Nut free option.
- ⅓ cup cashews (raw or dry roasted)
- ¾ cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk + additional as needed
- ½ cup olive oil, avocado oil, or grapeseed oil
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- Optional 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
For the Platter:
- Vegetables of choice, sliced. (Ex: Carrots, celery, broccoli, grape tomatoes, etc.)
- Herbs and lemon slices to garnish
- Optional: gluten free or paleo-friendly crackers
For the Ranch Dressing:
- Put the cashews in a spice grinder or small food processor, and pulse until powdered, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Put the cashew powder, milk, oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey or maple syrup, salt, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper in the blender, and blend for 2 minutes. The ingredients should emulsify and thicken slightly. Stir in the parsley.
- Pour the dressing into an airtight bottle or container, cover, and refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to thicken and let the flavors develop.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake or whisk the dressing before each use. Makes 1 ½ cups.
For the Snack Platter:
- Place ½ cup to ⅔ cup of vegan ranch in a small bowl. Place the bowl on a large serving plate. Add the fresh vegetables and/or gluten free crackers around it.
- Garnish with lemon slices and herbs. Add cracked pepper on top of ranch, if desired. (See notes for a nut free option.)
This recipe was adapted, with permission, from the Eat Dairy Free cookbook written by our friend Alisa Fleming.
Nut-Free Option: Substitute sunflower seeds for the cashews. The seeds have a more pronounced flavor and produce a thinner result but still make for a delightful dressing.
The nutrition information below is an estimate for the dressing only.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Appetizer, Snack
- Method: Food Processor
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 2 tbsp
- Calories: 117
- Sugar: 0.6 g
- Sodium: 13.7 mg
- Fat: 12.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 2.1 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 0.8 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan, healthy snack, dip, dressing, dairy free, nut free, appetizer, kid-friendly, paleo
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!
This was perfection. My daughter is vegan so I’m always looking for great recipes to make when they visit. She loved this one!!
So glad! Let me know what she about it Kim!
This is so perfect for entertaining!! My guests and realtives loved it!
So glad it was a hit Toni!
This dressing is super delish! I love this as a dairy free option.
so glad! Thanks for feedback Wihelmina!
I will keep this in my fridge all summer long! Delicious!
Looks pretty tasty. Thanks!
This is a healthy Super Bowl party staple!
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Love me a good crudites!
Thank you very much. i think a lot of people are looking for such a content from you. hope you will have more share such.
Cassie Thuvan Tran
This ranch looks perfect for a crudite! I never really liked it, but this alternative is probably wonderful!
I swear, cookbook season is REAL. NOT KIDDING. But in all seriousness, I do love reading new cookbooks and trying out new recipes!
I think cookbook season should be a thing.
i actually have never been a fan of regular ranch dressing, but a cashew and dairy free version i can totally get behind. so delicious!!
Alisa is the genius! Her cookbook makes eating dairy free a breeeeeze!
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
I love cashew-based anything. Even as a full on carnivore. This looks amazing!
right?! Me too!
Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
OMG this sounds and looks divine!!! Yum!
Oh my goodness Lindsay, your photos are amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing my cookbook in such a beautiful way. And I should mention, if you do opt to soak (I’m not that patient!), just reduce the liquid a bit at first (down to about 1/2 cup) as the soaked cashews won’t thicken well / absorb much more liquid. I’m so happy that you liked the recipe!