Spicy Ranch Recipe


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Spicy ranch is the perfect salad dressing, dipping sauce for chicken wings, or dip for your favorite sliced vegetables. If you love Taco Bell spicy ranch, you’ll love this easy homemade sauce!

Spicy Ranch Dressing

Do you have something that you always order if you see it on a menu? Anything with spicy ranch or zesty ranch is that thing for me.

It doesn’t matter if I’m at Taco Bell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Texas Roadhouse, Outback Steakhouse, Jimmy John’s, Wendy’s, IHOP, Cosmo’s Pizza, Chili’s, Popeye’s, Buffalo Wild Wings (OK, you get the gist…basically anywhere) – if I see something with spicy ranch on the menu, I’m ordering it.

I decided that I had to DIY a homemade copycat version of it so I could have it on basically all the things at home. I always keep a jar in our fridge, and we love having it all the time. We actually eat a ton more salad now that we keep this around, so that’s definitely a win-win!

Unlike some reaper ranch dressings, this sauce uses the spice from the hot sauce and cayenne pepper for flavor. It’s not overly spicy and the spice definitely does not overtake the flavor of the ranch.

Another key to the flavor in this dressing is that we’re skipping the buttermilk in the ranch dressing altogether. I know, I know…ranch dressing without buttermilk!? I promise it’s a good call. Since there’s vinegar in hot sauce, I think using buttermilk in the ranch makes the whole dressing too acidic.

A side image of spicy ranch in a turquoise bowl.

How To Make It

It couldn’t be any simpler to make. Just add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse it until everything is combined. I like to stop pulsing while there are still visible bits of cilantro (rather than continuing until it’s a smooth puree).

If you don’t have a food processor, you can also dice up the parsley very finely and mix everything together in a medium sized bowl.

2-Ingredient Spicy Ranch

If you want to use store bought ranch dressing, like Hidden Valley Ranch, you can make spicy ranch by adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper to your ranch dressing. I think it’s better with cayenne than with hot sauce, because the vinegar in the hot sauce combined with the buttermilk flavor can lean a little too acidic.

I really think this recipe is better homemade though, so I highly encourage you to make it from scratch if you have all the ingredients!

The ingredients for spicy ranch in a food processor.

What To Serve It With

There are so many ways I love using this sauce! My two favorites are to use it as a salad dressing or as a dipping sauce for chicken wings. It’s definitely worth skipping the blue cheese dressing and trying this sauce with wings – just the best combo if you like some heat!

  • Dip – Try using it as a dipping sauce for veggies (any of your favorite sliced vegetables), popcorn chicken, fried pickles, pretzels, crackers, chips, onion rings, fries, fried chicken, poppers, pizza, quesadillas, burritos, or pretty much any Mexican Food.
  • Sauce – This makes the most amazing sauce for burgers and sandwiches. Try it on with guacamole on a California Turkey Burger, your favorite beef burger, buffalo chicken patties, or use baked or grilled chicken to make a spicy chicken ranch club sandwich. It’s also a great sauce to drizzle over tacos!
  • Dressing This may just be the best salad dressing ever created. I love having it on a kale and avocado salad, but it’s also delicious on pasta salad, Southwest Chicken Salad, or a chopped chicken cabbage salad.
A kale and avocado salad dressed with spicy ranch dressing.

Optional Alterations

  • If you like a smokier flavor, you can swap the cayenne pepper for chipotle powder. It’ll still add heat, but a totally different and delicious flavor.
  • If you’re looking for more of a Southwest ranch vibe, you can omit the cayenne pepper and use some of my Chicken Taco Seasoning blend instead.
  • Try swapping the cayenne pepper for a salt-free Cajun spice blend.
  • If you don’t have Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce, I’d recommend using Cholula’s Original Hot Sauce instead. You could also use Sriracha, but I think the flavor profile is noticeably different.
  • You can swap the sour cream for Greek yogurt.
  • Try using lemon juice instead of lime juice.
  • Don’t have any fresh garlic on hand? You can use 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder instead.
A carrot stick being dipped into a bowl of spicy ranch.

How To Make It Vegan

To make this recipe vegan, you’d need to swap the mayonnaise, sour cream, and milk for plant-based versions. I think this recipe would turn out really well using vegan ingredients!

Is It Gluten Free?

Yes, as long as you use gluten free spices and hot sauce, this recipe will be gluten free as it’s written.

An overhead image of spicy ranch surrounded by sliced vegetables.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of two pictures of spicy ranch dressing with title text in the middle.

Sauces, Dips, and Dressings

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire sauce recipe section! We have a thing for sauces here, and have tons of recipes I’m sure you’ll love.

Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Spicy Ranch Recipe

Spicy ranch in a small blue bowl surrounded by sliced carrots, cucumbers, and red bell pepper.

Spicy ranch is the perfect salad dressing, dipping sauce for chicken wings, or dip for your favorite sliced vegetables. If you love Taco Bell spicy ranch, you’ll love this easy homemade sauce!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce Original
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dehydrated onion flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor, and pulse to combine.
  2. Stop blending while there are still visible bits of parsley, and before the dressing becomes an even puree.


If you don't have Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce, my next choice would be Cholula's Original Hot Sauce.

I'd recommend using real mayonnaise for this recipe (I don't think the sweetness of Miracle Whip would taste very good here).

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 6.4gCarbohydrates: 1.4gNet Carbohydrates: 1.3gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.9gProtein: 0.6g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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Try making this delicious Spicy Ranch Recipe the next time you get a craving for copycat Taco Bell food!

Spicy ranch in a small blue bowl surrounded by sliced carrots, cucumbers, and red bell pepper.

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