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Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Dressing Copycat Recipe
Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Dressing
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Salad Dressing
Calories: 140
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.4 (16 reviews)

It is true that ranch dressing was invented at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, by a real salad-wranglin' rancher. In the 50s and 60s Steve Henson and his wife, Gayle, shared their 120-acre dude ranch with University of California at Santa Barbara students and other festive partiers for rousing weekend shindigs. The dozens of guests were served steak dinners and delicious salads topped with Steve's special blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and buttermilk. As word got out about the fabulous dressing, more guests were showing up at the ranch and walking home with complimentary take-home jars filled with the stuff. Eventually Steve figured he could make a little cash on the side by packaging the dressing as a dry mix and selling it through the mail. At first he was filling envelopes himself, but within a few months Steve had to hire twelve more people to help with the packaging. Soon Steve had a multi-million dollar business on his hands with a product that for ten years he had been giving away for free. 

Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon MSG (such as Accent Flavor Enhancer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
Pinch dried thyme

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and chill for several hours before using.

Makes 1 cup.

near perfection
Submitted on: 03/22/16
Made as written except that I added a scant 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum and POOF! Unless you have access to a really rich buttermilk, xantham creates the perfect consistency.
cut pepper to 1/8 tsp
Submitted on: 01/31/16
Submitted on: 10/18/15
I used to work at HVR many years ago and I can attest that this recipe is authentic. Except -- no thyme or dill. Just salt, msg, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and artificial parsely flakes -- sorry home cooks, you'll have to sub real parsley flakes, but make sure to break them up into small pieces. Just follow Steve's measurements and you'll have the real thing for a fraction of the price -- and you don't have to make up a whole quart at a time either.
Submitted on: 05/26/15
This was a dream come true. I rate it a big 5 stars. This is the best copycat recipe I have ever found that actually tasted like the real product. Thanks so much. Keep them coming.
Submitted on: 09/21/14
This recipe is good, but the pepper should be white pepper, not black pepper...also requires dill.
Michael W  
Submitted on: 04/21/14
This is the best recipe we have found that even comes close to Hidden Valley and tastewise it's right on the money! Those who say it's too salty or too peppery must not be reading the directions correctly.
Submitted on: 01/14/14
I made this over the weekend and my son who is known as the Ranch dressing King loved it!! We will never buy bottled dressing again.
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
Shelly King  
Submitted on: 12/30/13
I have developed an allergy to Soy, and the original Recipe HVR dressing uses Soybean Oil (1st ingredient). So now I use HellMan's Mayonnaise with Canola Oil. This is even better than the original!! Even my husband loves it!!! Remember to use the Powders and not the Salts (onion & garlic) there is a distinct difference in flavor and can make it overly salty!!!
Spot On
Mazey Grace  
Submitted on: 09/15/13
This is the one! I have tried so many other combinations of ingredients for so long and I've finally found it! It is wonderfuly delicious. I don't know what the others mean by saying too salty or too peppery....did they accidently put in 1/4 cup rather than 1/4 teaspoon? Also the MGS is a must for the perfect flavor, and it doesn't deserve the bad rap it got in the 1980s. Thanks Todd!
Best ranch recipe yet!
Ashley M  
Submitted on: 09/12/13
This has excellent taste! I have tried about 4 other ranch recipes and none of them tasted like the hidden valley my family is used to. They used dill and I found we are just not fans of dill. I would like this to be a little thicker for a dip and maybe to do that I can use half sour cream half mayo. For a dressing its a good consistency. I agree it was too much pepper and will probably add just a dash or two next time. I also doubled the onion powder because my family likes the taste.
Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
Mrs. M  
Submitted on: 03/28/13
I made this recipe WITHOUT the MSG and it was terrific! My husband said "It isn't the same as the bottled dressing, but just as good, if not better"! So happy to have found this site so I can copy the recipes to recipe cards instead of having to hand type them from my book "The Best of Top Secret Recipes". Thank you Todd, for the book and the website :)
Not Quite There
Submitted on: 03/10/13
This recipe did not taste like the original to me at all. It was nice but not like the original.
It's great!
Submitted on: 02/10/13
I wanted it a bit spicier, so I added ground chipotle to one batch, cayenne on another day (not much AT ALL), and to give it a bit more of a southwest flavor, I added about 1/8 tsp taco seasoning when I made it today. A double batch was all gone before the guests were! Thanks!
Karen King  
Submitted on: 09/03/12
I am sorry to say, I tried 2 times, way too salty, not even close to Hidden Valley ranch. I love most of Todd Wilber creations, this one, sorry, I did not like.
Pretty good!
Jenni Chalmers  
Submitted on: 08/30/12
This was pretty good, but WAY too much pepper. It burned the back of my throat and made me choke and cough! It's been 20 minutes since dinner and 2 glasses of water later and my tongue is still burning. I definitely could not feed this to my kids! I'm sure I will make it again, but with half the amt. of pepper (or less, even - maybe just a dash). Also I don't use MSG so I just left that out and it was fine.
angie lowe  
Submitted on: 08/28/12
this is it!!!!!!!!!! have been trying for years to find a recipe for this dressing.didn't have buttermilk so made my own and this tastes right on. am going to make a big batch of the dry ingreds. so i never have to pay those high prices for the packets again.thank you so much