Easy Creamy Salad Dressing

This homemade salad dressing is easy to make with a few simple ingredients.

We’re not huge salad eaters, which is kind of surprising considering I’m a dietitian. Also, my kids are not huge fans of condiments, even more surprising since many kids are!

So buying a whole jar or bottle of salad dressing for our family doesn’t make sense.

Instead, I like to whip up small batches of dressing whenever we do have a salad or fresh-cut veggies. This way, nothing gets wasted.

Though my go-to dressing is usually a simple balsamic vinaigrette, I sometimes I want a creamy one similar to Ranch.

My homemade creamy dressing is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is customizable based on your preferences.

5 Steps to Making Creamy Salad Dressing

  1. Start with a base: Most creamy dressings contain mayo, sour cream, and/or yogurt, with a 50-50 ratio. For example, 2 tablespoons mayo + 2 tablespoons sour cream. For a lighter version, you can use all yogurt, but I like to use some mayo for the richness it adds. Whatever combo you choose, you will need about 2-3 tablespoons of total dressing per person.

  2. Add an acid: Next add some lemon juice or vinegar which will brighten the dressing and give tanginess. I also like my dressings on the tangier side so I use a good amount of acid. Start with a teaspoon and add more as needed. For vinegars, I use red wine or apple cider though any type will do.

  3. Use aromatics: garlic and onion have nice bold flavors. If using dry powders, start with a small dash and add more as needed. If using fresh, start with 1-2 fresh garlic cloves crushed and 1-2 tablespoons of fresh minced chives or green onions.

  4. Sprinkle in herbs: Herbs are optional but they do add flavor and some color. Start with a few teaspoons of fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or dill. If using dried, start with a pinch or dash.

  5. Add a splash of milk: Finally add some milk or a little water to thin out the dressing. Start with a few teaspoons and add only enough until you’ve reached desired consistency. If using the dressing in a sandwich or burger, I would skip this because it will be too runny.

What I like about this “basic” dressing is you can customize it depending on what kind of salad you’re having. You also don’t have to limit it to only salads!

Change up the Flavors:

  • Indian: yogurt, lemon juice, mint and/or cilantro, toasted garam masala
  • Italian: fresh garlic, dried oregano, parmesan
  • Greek: yogurt, lemon juice, fresh garlic, olive oil, dried oregano
  • Mexican: lime juice, jalapeño, cilantro, and/or hot sauce
  • Southwestern: BBQ sauce and/or hot sauce

Enjoy With:

Here are some Other salad recipes

Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
This salad is full of all the good things that go into a hummus wrap: chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and of course garlic & tahini!
Check out this recipe
Chickpea salad with tahini dressing, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley.
Beet Salad with Feta and Walnuts
A fresh salad full of heart healthy ingredients and flavor!
Check out this recipe
Joby's Test Kitchen bowl of beet and feta salad with walnuts, spinach, and purple onions.
Pasta Salad with Feta and Grilled Veggies
Pasta and grilled veggies mixed with a creamy feta dressing.
Check out this recipe
Plate of pasta salad with feta and veggies.

Joby's Test Kitchen bowl salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, croutons, feta, seeds, cranberries, spinach, and creamy dressing.

Easy Creamy Salad Dressing

Joby’s Test Kitchen
A quick creamy dressing that can be easily customized.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 7 to 14 tablespoons
Calories 81 kcal


  • 2-4 tbsps mayonnaise
  • 2-4 tbsps sour cream
  • 2-4 tbsps yogurt, optional
  • 1-3 tsps lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1-4 tsps milk
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced, or few dashes garlic powder
  • 1-2 tbsps chives or green onions, minced, or few dashes onion powder
  • 1-2 tbsps fresh parsley, cilantro, or dill or few dashes dried herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Add-ins or Variations:

  • cayenne pepper
  • cheeses like feta or parmesan
  • dijon mustard
  • honey
  • hot sauce
  • paprika


  • Mix all ingredients together. Taste and adjust ingredients to your preference. Use immediately or store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • This recipe makes about 7-14 tablespoons of dressing.


Nutrition Info:
Calories are calculated for a standard serving of salad dressing, 2 tablespoons. You may consume more or less servings as you’d like.
The amount of dressing you make depends on the amounts of each ingredient you use. I list ranges so you can adjust to your liking. You can make it creamier by adding more mayo or yogurt, or thin it out with more milk and lemon juice. 
The calories will also vary depending on if you use full or low fat products. Unless specifically mentioned, I usually use full fat products.
Keyword dressing, mayonnaise, salad, yogurt


    • Unfortunately, the recipe pluggin I use on my blog only allows for calories to be listed. 2 tablespoons of this dressing will provide about 80 calories and 8 grams of fat. Of course this depends on whether you use full fat or low fat products. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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