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A light, creamy and healthy Buttermilk Dressing perfectly balances a crisp green salad. With lemon, fresh herbs, and just a handful of other basic ingredients, it’s a simple recipe that comes together in about 5 minutes!

Jar of healthy buttermilk dressing

This recipe came about many years ago, on one of those regular occasions where I found that I had extra buttermilk leftover from a previous recipe (probably our favorite biscuits)! My grocery store only sells buttermilk in the larger 1/2 gallon containers, so I’m constantly working to use up the last few drops after preparing my intended recipe. This healthy Buttermilk Dressing was a pleasant surprise when I whisked it together one night, and it has since remained a staple in our regular rotation.

How to make Buttermilk Dressing:

Homemade buttermilk dressing is a simple blend of creamy buttermilk, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and seasonings that are whisked together to form a thin, pourable addition to your favorite vegetables or salads. It’s great for a basic green salad with lettuce and cucumbers, on a kale salad, on an iceberg wedge salad, or even as a dressing for coleslaw.

Buttermilk Dressing Ingredients:

  • Buttermilk
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Dill
  • Salt, pepper, and a touch of sugar
Overhead shot of ingredients for buttermilk dressing

Simply whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl (or shake them together in a jar). That’s it! Five minutes of effort and your job is done!

Glass bowl of buttermilk dressing with a whisk

How to serve Buttermilk Herb Dressing:

This basic dressing pairs beautifully with just about any meal! We like to drizzle the dressing over a simple green salad tossed with sliced cucumber. It’s also great on an iceberg wedge salad with bacon, cheese and fresh tomatoes; on a kale salad; or as a coleslaw dressing (see notes below).

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • This is a thin, pourable dressing. If you prefer a thicker salad dressing, simply add more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency.
  • To make this buttermilk dressing for coleslaw, you’ll want a thicker consistency because the cabbage and other veggies in coleslaw release liquid and will otherwise make the sauce too thin and watery. As a result, I suggest using about 1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise and adding 1-2 tablespoons of sugar for that classic sweet coleslaw taste. Here’s another great coleslaw dressing recipe.
  • This homemade buttermilk dressing will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze buttermilk dressing for up to 3 months.
  • Tip: if you have leftover buttermilk in your refrigerator, you can also freeze the buttermilk to keep it for another use. I recommend freezing smaller, individual portions of buttermilk that you can thaw as needed. For instance, measure out 1/3 cup of buttermilk in small Ziploc bags so that you have it ready to go for this dressing recipe whenever the craving strikes. No more waste, and no more rushing to the grocery store!
  • Is buttermilk dressing healthy? Yes! The buttermilk gives the dressing a rich, creamy taste without too much added fat or calories. You only need a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise for extra flavor and thickening. A 2-tablespoon serving of the dressing has just 37 calories and 1.3 grams of carbs! Perfect for the Keto diet, too (and you can easily omit the small amount of sugar, if necessary)!
  • This salad dressing is naturally gluten-free.
  • Make a Garlic Buttermilk Dressing by adding about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic to the recipe.
  • Don’t like dill? You can substitute with just about any herb that you prefer. Thyme, rosemary, basil or parsley would all work well!
Jar of buttermilk dressing with fresh lemons in the background

More easy buttermilk recipes to use up your leftovers:

Jar of buttermilk dressing with fresh lemons in the background

Buttermilk Dressing

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings (2 tablespoons each)
Calories 37.3 kcal
A light, creamy and healthy Buttermilk Dressing perfectly balances a crisp green salad!

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill (or sub with ½ teaspoon dried dill)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Dash of pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, salt, sugar and pepper until completely.
  • Store dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week until ready to use.

Notes

  • This is a thin, pourable dressing. If you prefer a thicker salad dressing, simply add more mayonnaise to reach desired consistency.
  • To make this buttermilk dressing for coleslaw, you’ll want a thicker consistency because the cabbage and other veggies in coleslaw release liquid and will otherwise make the sauce too thin and watery. As a result, I suggest using about 1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise and adding 1-2 tablespoons of sugar for that classic sweet coleslaw taste. Here’s another great coleslaw dressing recipe.
  • This homemade buttermilk dressing will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can freeze buttermilk dressing for up to 3 months.
  • Tip: if you have leftover buttermilk in your refrigerator, you can also freeze the buttermilk to keep it for another use. I recommend freezing smaller, individual portions of buttermilk that you can thaw as needed. For instance, measure out 1/3 cup of buttermilk in small Ziploc bags so that you have it ready to go for this dressing recipe whenever the craving strikes. No more waste, and no more rushing to the grocery store!
  • Is buttermilk dressing healthy? Yes! The buttermilk gives the dressing a rich, creamy taste without too much added fat or calories. You only need a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise for extra flavor and thickening. A 2-tablespoon serving of the dressing has just 37 calories and 1.3 grams of carbs! Perfect for the Keto diet, too (and you can easily omit the small amount of sugar, if necessary)!
  • This salad dressing is naturally gluten-free.
  • Make a Garlic Buttermilk Dressing by adding about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic to the recipe.
  • Don’t like dill? You can substitute with just about any herb that you prefer. Thyme, rosemary, basil or parsley would all work well!

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoonsCalories: 37.3kcalCarbohydrates: 1.3gProtein: 0.5gFat: 3.5gSaturated Fat: 0.6gCholesterol: 1.8mgSodium: 231.3mgPotassium: 27.1mgSugar: 1.4g
Keyword: buttermilk dressing, healthy salad dressing, homemade salad dressing
Course: Side
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve just started making my own salad dressings, and I love this recipe. But what prompts me to write is the beautiful jar holding your dressing. Where can I get one of those? Thanks for posting this.

    1. Hi, Chris! Thank you for your kind note! That’s a Weck jar, and I absolutely love them. I have many, many Weck jars in all different shapes and sizes. I use them for storing everything from nuts, seeds and dried cranberries in my pantry, to salad dressings, berries, carrot sticks, jams and pickled red onions in my fridge. Anyway, the one that you see there is the small “tulip jar.” You can find them in kitchen supply shops, online at Amazon, and I think on websites like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. Hope that helps!