Ranch dressing is my guilty pleasure; however, the only problem is that most ranch recipes call for dried dill, and my dill always seems to go bad before I can use it up. After one too many trips to the store for a single spice, I decided enough was enough. It was time to figure out how to make ranch dressing without dried dill.
Basil is the number one substitute for dried dill in ranch dressing, while parsley, chives, and tarragon work perfectly as well, but in different amounts.
Through lots of experimenting in my kitchen, I’ve come up with four easy substitutes for dried dill that add tons of flavor to homemade ranch dressing. The best part is that these ingredients have a much longer shelf life, so I always have them on hand when the ranch dressing craving hits.
Basil is my number one substitute for dried dill in ranch dressing. I love basil’s fresh, herbaceous flavor and how it takes ranch to a whole new level.
To use basil instead of dill, simply chop about 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves and add them to your ranch dressing recipe. You can also experiment by adding more or less depending on how much you like the basil flavor.
I usually add about two tablespoons of chopped fresh basil to start and then taste the dressing, adding more basil one tablespoon at a time until I reach the perfect flavor.
Chopped fresh parsley has an herbaceous, earthy flavor that works great instead of dill. I like to use flat-leaf or Italian parsley, which has more flavor than the curly variety.
Adding about 1/4 cup of chopped parsley to my ranch dressing base provides a fresh herbal kick without overpowering the other ingredients. The parsley’s freshness also helps balance the creaminess of the mayonnaise and buttermilk.
In addition to flavor, parsley adds little green specks throughout the dressing, making it more visually attractive. The flecks of green give the impression that the dressing is fresh and homemade.
To get the specks, I don’t blend the parsley completely smooth. Instead, I pulse it a few times in a food processor or roughly chop it with a knife. This breaks the parsley down into small pieces but still leaves visible green bits.
Chives are one of my favorite herbs to add to ranch dressing instead of dried dill. Their mild oniony flavor pairs perfectly with the creamy buttermilk base.
Simply rinse and pat dry a few sprigs of fresh chives, then use kitchen shears to snip them into 1/4-inch pieces. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chopped chives to your ranch dressing recipe. Their vibrant green color will make your ranch dressing look extra fresh and appetizing. The chives add a subtle oniony kick that’s more mellow than scallions.
Dried chives will work in a pinch but lack the vibrant flavor of fresh chives. Use about one teaspoon of dried chives for every three tablespoons of fresh chives called for in your recipe. Dried chives may make your ranch dressing dull olive green, so consider adding a bit of fresh parsley for an attractive garnish.
If dried dill isn’t your thing, tarragon is an herb that can add a licorice-like flavor to ranch dressing.
Tarragon is an aromatic herb in the sunflower family with slender, pointed leaves and a distinctive anise-like flavor. Its sweet, aromatic flavor pairs well with creamy dressings and sauces.
To use it in ranch dressing, just replace the dried dill with one teaspoon of fresh chopped tarragon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried). Tarragon has an intense flavor, so I always start with less and add more to taste.
Which one is your first choice? Tell me all about it in the comments below!