Cheddar Ranch Salad Dressing

This Cheddar Ranch Salad Dressing is a yummy twist on traditional ranch dressing! Made with fresh herbs and sharp cheddar, it’s a fresh, delicious alternative to anything that comes in a bottle. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a long gone, great little restaurant in the town where I grew up. Every time we went there, I would order the (amazing) chicken teriyaki and the house salad with their delicious house cheddar dressing. My mouth is watering just thinking about it – oh it was so good! 🙂 As we were visiting with family last week, I thought about this little restaurant and decided it was time to figure out the mystery of the cheddar ranch salad dressing and create my own recipe. I’m sure it’s not exactly the same as the original, but it sure is delicious! Even my hubby likes it and he doesn’t care for traditional ranch dressings.

cheddar ranch dressing salad

To Get Started Making Cheddar Ranch Goodness:

The first step in this recipe is to mash up a clove of garlic with some salt. I love this trick! Place your garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

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Start mashing with a fork.

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Keep mashing until the salt is mixed in and the garlic is a paste.

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You could probably use crushed garlic or a garlic press, but I really like the smooth paste of this method and there are no raw garlic chunks that show up in the dressing.

Add this garlic paste to a bowl or large measuring cup. Then, add 1/4 cup of sour cream.cheddar ranch dressing 4 Add 1/4 cup of mayonnaise.cheddar ranch dressing 5

And add 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Head out to the garden (or refrigerator or store) to find some fresh herbs. Chives and parsley are my favorites, although I think you could use any type of fresh green herb for an even more unique flavor – cilantro, thyme, basil, oregano would be good as well although will give a little different flavor. You could use dried if you don’t have something fresh on hand. The taste of the fresh herbs is great, but use what you have and like.

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My parsley is a little bit on the pitiful side right now as most of it has gone to seed, so I didn’t have as much I would like to add to this. Chop the herbs small and add to the bowl.

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Add in 1 Tbsp. of milk and 1/2 -1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar (more if you like it super tangy). Give it a stir.

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Mix it Up and Customize:

I like to mix this with a fork and kind of mash the cheese a bit so that it breaks up into even smaller pieces and blends in more. This cheddar ranch salad dressing also makes a nice dip for vegetables. In fact, while I was putting the salad together I kept dipping cucumber slices into this dressing and it was YUMMY! If you like a thinner consistency, add a little more milk. When time allows, make this dressing an hour or two before serving as it helps the flavors to develop. If you make it a day ahead, it’s even more flavorful, although the garlic seems to develop the most. Keep this in mind if you don’t think it is garlic-y enough when you are making it and are tempted to add more – the garlic will get stronger over time. Pour on your favorite salad and dig in!

cheddar ranch dressing salad

You can tweak this recipe many ways to suit your taste. The proportions can be easily adjusted and the ingredients interchangeable. For example, I think this would be great with a Mexican twist – add cilantro, cumin, chili powder. Greek yogurt could probably be substituted for sour cream. If you LOVE garlic, use extra for a bigger garlic flavor. These are just a few ideas to inspire your Cheddar Ranch Salad Dressing masterpiece. 🙂

Recipe:

Cheddar Ranch Salad Dressing
 
Easy to put together, delicious, fresh, and flavorful salad dressing.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ - 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (we like Cabot)
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • ½ - 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • chopped fresh chives and parsley to taste (we use about 1 Tbsp. total, depending on what is available)
Instructions
  1. Mash the garlic and salt with a fork until it forms a paste.
  2. Add the mashed garlic and all other ingredients to a bowl or measuring cup (for easy pouring).
  3. Mix well.
  4. If time allows, let this set for a couple hours in the fridge before serving.
Notes
I'm not sure how long this keeps in the fridge because it never lasts more than a day or two in our home. I would use it up within a week and keep in mind that the garlic gets stronger over time.