How To Make Creamy Italian Dressing

If you have a bottle of store-bought creamy Italian dressing in your fridge or pantry, go take a look at the ingredients. In fact, just grab the bottle and bring it back to the computer. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now, here’s how to tell if you’ve got a good brand. What’s the first ingredient? Is it hydrogenated vegetable oil? (Corn and soy are both vegetables, so they both count.) Minus 50 points. Or maybe it’s corn syrup? Also minus 50. Is either one of these ingredients in the top three? Minus 25 points. There’s a really good chance you’re at minus 75 already.

Now, look for any dairy product, such as cream, or sour cream. You know, like in “creamy Italian”. Is there any at all? Plus 10. Is it the top ingredient? Plus 50.

I hope you haven’t been writing down your score, because I’m just making a point here: The #1 ingredient in a prepared food ought to be something in the name of the product. That’s why my buttermilk ranch dressing is buttermilk. And creamy Italian dressing should have cream. In this case, it’s sour cream. And buttermilk. You’ll see both of these a lot in creamy salad dressings. Good ones anyway.

And you won’t see hydrogenated vegetable oil or corn syrup. Those aren’t even food.


1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon crushed dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, coarsely ground


This one’s really simple. Put the sour cream and buttermilk in a bowl.

Mince the garlic and add that.

Grate the cheese. Use a really good one. It’s a bit more expensive, but the flavor will be much stronger so you don’t need as much.

Add the salt, pepper and basil.

Mix well …

… and pour into an air-tight container and store in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors combine.

And that can be it … if you want it to. But here’s the thing about this recipe: You can extend it however you want. Do you like oregano? Add some. Parsley, onion, chive? Go for it. Or go with some wine vinegar — red or white — or lemon if you like some bite. Double (or triple) the garlic.

You could keep adding things bit by bit until you’ve got nearly the same ingredients as the buttermilk ranch. That’s okay. What’s more important, how it tastes or what you call it? I vote taste. How about you?

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