Chipotle lime ranch dressing is smoky, tangy, and as spicy as you want it to be! This versatile southwest salad dressing is the ultimate topping for salads, tacos, wraps, and so much more.
Looking for regular ranch dressing without the heat? Try my Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing.
Why you'll love it
This twist on ranch dressing is so good. The way you can achieve this level of flavor in under 10 minutes is a little mind-blowing, honestly! Boring salads are definitely a thing of the past. If you're a fan of Mexican inspired recipes, I think that you'll like this chipotle ranch dressing a whole lot.
This creamy, spicy, and irresistible ranch cilantro lime dressing works with SO many dishes, from salads to tacos to grilled vegetables. It's ranch dressing with a kick that you didn't know you needed in your life.
What you'll need to make it
- Sour cream - this gives a little bit of tang and a cooling sensation
- Mayo - it's the rich creamy base. Paired with the sour cream, it creates that signature ranch flavor.
- Cilantro - make sure it's as fresh as possible for this vibrant dressing
- Chili pepper in adobo sauce - I like things on the milder side, so I started with just one chili, but you can add in way more heat if you prefer
- Lime juice - adds a bold, fresh note and perfectly complements the chili and cilantro
- Worcestershire sauce - you could skip it, but I adore the savory, umami flavor it adds to dressings and sauces and wouldn't recommend leaving it out
- Garlic powder and onion powder - this classic duo takes the savory element over the top
- Smoked paprika - my not-so-secret ingredient that I use all the time! It just adds a subtle smokiness
What is adobo sauce?
- It's the sauce that comes in those little cans of chipotle chili peppers. It's tangy, smoky, a tiny bit sweet, and typically includes vinegar, garlic, and various fragrant spices. Canned chipotles in adobo sauce are normally readily available in the Mexican/international aisle of most major grocery stores, so you shouldn't have trouble finding them!
How to make it
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Put all the ingredients in your food processor, and blend until it's the desired consistency! Easy peasy.
- It's tasty right after you whip it up, or you can chill it for a bit and it'll thicken up. I prefer to chill it for an hour or so.
- Chilling it will give it more of a dip consistency, so it'll be perfect for dipping vegetables.
Substitutions and variations
- If you're not a fan of sour cream, feel free to substitute with Greek yogurt. I tested with 2% plain Greek yogurt, and it still tasted great.
- I used one smallish chipotle chili pepper and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce. That was enough kick for me, but I know that others may want it much hotter! Feel free to add in more to suit your tastes.
- You could add some chipotle chili pepper powder too while you're at it if you want to set your mouth on fire 😉
What to serve with it
- Make a simple green salad, toss it with this dressing, and serve it as a side dish to pair with my Santa Fe Chicken Skillet, this Beef Taco Skillet, or Skillet Salsa Chicken.
- It's also wonderful on nachos, burritos, steak, as a dipping sauce for vegetables or chicken tenders... the list goes on! Seriously, the possibilities are endless, and you'll want to drizzle it over just about everything. Basically, it makes any Tex-Mex recipe better.
- You can also just make it the star of a taco salad as a main meal. Jazz it up with your favorite toppings like tortilla strips and avocado.
Leftovers and storage
- This dressing will keep in an airtight container for 5-7 days in the fridge. Our kitchen likes to use mason jars.
- If you need to make ahead your salad, just store the components individually until you're ready to assemble and eat it.
Let me know if you've tried this southwest ranch dressing! Questions or comments? Let's talk below. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Chipotle Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup (lightly packed) cilantro
- 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (or to taste)
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high for about 30 seconds.
- Serve immediately or chill for an hour (or longer) prior to serving. It will keep in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container.
- I realize that the size of the chipotle chili peppers vary depending on the brand you buy. I would suggest using a SMALL pepper unless you want this recipe really spicy.
- Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute for sour cream if you want to be more mindful of calories.
- The recipe makes about a cup of dressing.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This post was originally published on May 4, 2016. I am going through and updating some of my old posts with new photos, better info, and more clearly written recipes!
It had a very strong overpowering taste of the sour lime juice. Very disappointing and I have to bring it to a family gathering tomorrow. I sure hope it tastes better after sitting in the fridge.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Hi! We're sorry if it's not suited to your tastes. It's a reader favorite, so I'm unsure what went wrong in your kitchen. We don't suggest a ton of fresh lime juice as written, and readers have often added more. To state the obvious, any dressing is mellowed when it's actually tossed with a salad. In any case, we hope it works out at your family event, Donna.
It is always good to taste as you go along. I adjusted as I found it a bit thick and wanted it to drizzle on carnitas, shrimp or chicken tacos for a party. A little orange juice and olive oil did the trick. I used plain greek yogurt and mayo. Loved it!
Taryn H. says
This looks amazing! Can't wait to try! Quick question: is the calorie count listed (48 kcal) when using mayo or the Greek yogurt alternative? Thanks!!
Hi! It's for the sour cream and mayo.
Pam S. says
I love this dressing! I substituted chipotle powder and added a little lime zest.
Yay!! Glad you like it! 🙂
Charlene herdt says
This was yummy served on taco salad
I made this sauce with the Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. I personally don’t like it very much and I probably won’t make it again. I followed the recipe proportions exactly but it didn’t turn out for me. There’s a weird sweetness and doesn’t really taste like ranch at all. Might be better with the sour cream, though.
Keshini Carlson-Clark says
This was amazing! Thanks for another fabulous recipe!
You're very welcome!! 🙂
What a substitute for Worcestershire sauce(anchovies-seafood allergy)?
Hmmm I'd probably leave it out. I can't think of anything that really replicates the flavor, unfortunately.
What is adobe sauce?
Hi! It's the sauce that comes in the cans of chipotle chili peppers with adobo sauce. It's found in the Mexican section of most major grocery stores. I recommend Googling it so you can take a look at photos (so you recognize it when you see it... or you could even order some from Amazon).
Easy! Delicious! Better than a restaurant! Made for some pork barbacoa wraps! Had left over chipotle peppers so made the dressing. Yummy!!!
Excellent! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it, Tonya... now I want pork barbacoa wraps!!
Is this similar to Panera's chile lime rojo ranch dressing?
Hi! I've never tried that one so I'm not sure.
Great dressing! I used up a pile of cilantro stems & used fresh garlic instead of powdered. Your proportions were just right, thank you!
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
Fantastic recipe with a great kick. Thank you for sharing!
You're very welcome! 🙂
This is one of the best dressings I have ever had!
Jordyn Block says
This dressing is delish! I just happened to google chipotle ranch recipe and this popped up with everything I had the in fridge. I used Greek yogurt and followed Recipe as is and it is so good! Thank you for sharing
Wonderful! I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Jordyn!
I added juice of a while lime just because I'm a lime lover, otherwise followed exactly, using as dressing for a southwestern style Cobb salad and taco salads.
I didn't add the extra adobo sauce and it was spicy enough with out it in my opinion
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Megan!
So good... made it with Greek yogurt! Thanks for the recipe!
Excellent!! You're very welcome!
Nancy Hopper says
I'm wondering how this dressing would taste like on lamb tacos...
Pretty awesome I’m thinking!!
Made this recipe tonight for a TexMex salad, amazing dressing!!! I had to substitute tube cilantro for fresh cilantro, regular paprika for smoked paprika, AND chipotle chili powder seasoning for fresh chipotle chili peppers and it STILL turned out amazing. My limes were super small so I used the juice of 1 whole lime. Thanks so much for such an easy and delicious dressing!
I'm so happy that it worked out!! You're very welcome!
Can I just say that this is THE MOST DELICIOUS dressing EVER!!! Thank you for sharing your recipe. This makes whatever I put it on star quality! Salads, tacos, nachos, seafood, steak, chicken, veggies, endless possibilities. I keep a batch of this dressing in the fridge weekly. I cannot get enough of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you and num, num, num!
Awww you're so sweet!! I'm so glad you like the dressing so much! XO 😀
Oooooh what a good idea to make a batch weekly, will definitely be doing that!
At last I found a delicious dressing for my Mexican salad! I did leave out the Worcestershire sauce (not a fan of it) and I used regular paprika because that's what I had, and the dressing is fabulous! Also - I have a great hint for chipotle peppers in Adobo - I open the can and blend the entire contents in the blender, and then put into a ziploc bag. Flatten the bag out and freeze - and then you can break little pieces of chipotle in Adobo anytime you need it! It defrosts in the microwave in a snap! I was always opening a can of the stuff and it would go to waste - now it never does! Anyway, I never leave comments on recipes so this is saying something. Thanks so much, I will be making this again and again.
That is a genius tip for the adobo peppers!! Thank you! So glad you like this recipe. 🙂
Karen Baker says
Brilliant tip on the chipotles!!! Thank you!
This is my new favorite dressing. I love it on a southwest chicken salad with corn, black beans & avocado to name a few toppings. Thanks so much!!
So happy to hear that!! 🙂
This sauce is absolutely amazing! Made sweet potato fries, and this put them over the edge!!! Now, I'm one of those "fire eaters", so I added in more chilies and sauce, and some ghost pepper powder (wish someone made the superhots smoked). Just curious, I'm facing a coming snowstorm and won't be driving, but some more warm fries and sauce are in accordance. Any thoughts on using sriracha mayo as opposed to regular? Have it on hand, might have to give it a spin. Thanks!
So glad you liked it!! Sure, I don't see why sriracha mayo wouldn't work!
Thank you for the great recipe. For our anniversary we had salad with chipotle ranch dressing at a nice restaurant. Hoping to duplicate it and surprise my husband, I tried your recipe without cilantro, the one ingredient we did not have on hand. It exceeded the restaurant version. He loves it!
Wow that's awesome!! I am so happy that you were able to find a way to make it at home. 🙂
This is INCREDIBLE !!! I make my family mexican rice bowls & we topped it with this goodness. Game Changer!! It is luscious, creamy and full of chipotle pepper, bam! Thank you !!!
I am so happy you liked it so much, Joelle! Thanks for leaving me a comment! 🙂
That sounds like a LOT of cilantro. I like cilantro but my husband isn't crazy about it, I may do what previous reviewer said and use 2 T or maybe 1/4 cup.
Yup, adjust as needed. I didn't find it too overpowering, but I know cilantro is pretty much love/hate haha. Let me know how it goes!
This is seriously addictive dressing. I made it last night (using Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream) and it is still quite flavorful and rich. Can be used as a dip, dressing, etc. Very versatile condiment. I would drink it if possible, lol!
I am so happy you like it!! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment.
Sandy Larson says
This is so fabulous! Making a Bar b q sauced chicken romaine salad , with black beans, grilled corn off cobb, and bacon ends, Needed the Chipotle Ranch Dressing and this is THE ONE!! We get this salad at our fave bar n grill called “Coyote “ ! In Port Angeles, Wa. Gotta say this dressing makes us “HOWL”!! Thanks so much for sharing! Sandy
I am so glad you liked it!! The salad you're using it on sounds absolutely delicious!
Denielle Johnson says
This dressing is absolutely delicious! My husband and I went out to a local restaurant and had a "BLT" salad with a spicy, smoky creamy dressing, so I wanted to duplicate that - your dressing fit the bill perfectly! Can't wait to try it on other things. Thanks!
I'm so pleased to hear that, Denielle! 🙂
Karen Gaylin says
This is really delicious and so easy. I didn’t have enough sour cream so I mixed in some plain Greek yogurt. I also added a teaspoon of maple syrup because I wanted a little sweet contrast with the spicy notes. This dressing makes an excellent macaroni salad. If you add some chopped veggies and a can of drained black beans, it makes a lovely side dish or meal.
Love your additions! So happy you liked the recipe. That macaroni salad does sound good!
Cathleen A says
Excellent recipe. Exactly what I expected and better. Thanks for sharing.
So happy to hear it!! ❤️
I would love to try this dressing but I live in Switzerland and don’t no what’s: chipotle chili sauce... is it like Tabasco? And what’s adobo?
Hi Juliette! Chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce are smoked and dried jalapeños rehydrated and canned in a sweet and tangy purée of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and some other spices (I took that definition from Google haha). Basically, they're found in small cans (tins), and they're widely used in the USA in Tex-Mex cooking. I live in Canada, and every major grocery store sells them in the Mexican foods section. It definitely has a unique flavor, and I can't think of a good substitute unfortunately. 🙁
Juliette, the chipotle sauce Natasha uses in the recipe is the sauce that comes within the Chipotle chilli can. You don’t need to look for a different ingredient, the chilli and the sauce are in the same can.
There's a spot in my home town that has an amazing Chipotle dressing that I must reverse engineer. This looks like a great place to start. Can't wait to try this. I plan to make and mix with brown rice, tomato, red onion, topped with cubed grilled chicken and avocado.
The other dish I'm looking forward to is manifested by making nachos with this on the shredded cheddar before baking, then plate the chips and cover with chopped gem lettuce that's been tossed in a light Olive oil and lime dressing, salt and pepper, tomatoes, avocado.. and a little of the Chipotle ranch on top. Thanks, Natasha, for the post. You rock! I'll report back.
Ooh I hope you're able to replicate it, Mike!! Keep me posted. Your comment is making me hungry... I could use some nachos about now!
Marisela Salazar says
Awesome recipe! My husband and I love it very much. Thanks for posting it =).
So happy you two like it!! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
Awesome recipe, thanks!! I love adobo peppers!! I usually use what’s left in my the can a pepper or 2 at a time to accompany the main dish. I have Mexican shredded chicken in the crock and will serve it over cilantro lime black bean rice. Add home made pico and cheese to these burrito bowls and slather the top in this amazing delish dressing!
So happy you liked it!! And your comment made me hungry haha.
Marcy Kaplan says
Made this for my hubby today. Used it on grilled chicken Sammy's with avocado and bacon for his. I used half sour cream and half Greek yogurt. That's what I had on hand. Was perfect!
That's great to hear! Thanks for letting me know! 🙂
Sandi @ The Welcoming Table says
This look amazing! I am going to make it soon!
Rashonna Travers says
Hey, I am considering the dip for dipping Cuban style marinated chicken and steak kebabs (Cumin, Lime, Garlic and onion...) what do you think?
I would love that!
Natasha's Sister says
Can you finally make this for me already? It's been long enough. God. I am pretty sure I'd love it. Preferably on a salad.
Made this and loved it! Do you have any macro nutrients for it? Specifically, calories, net carbs, protein and fat?
Thanks, Carrie! So glad you liked it. I don't currently include nutrition info on my recipes - sorry. I may at some point in the future, but I don't have a reliable way of calculating them right now that isn't extremely time-consuming.
It tastes great. There are about 45 calories per oz. I wonder if you can get it lower by using a 1/4 cup of mayo, instead of 1/3, with no sacrifice of the taste. Most of the calories come from the mayo.
Be careful too much Chipotle is deadly.
Thanks! You could try that. Or use Greek yogurt instead... or half yogurt/half mayo. 🙂
This dressing tastes wonderful, I love the smoky flavor! I used 2 tablespoons of dried cilantro rather than fresh and I have no regrets. I'll be writing it down in my book!
So glad you enjoyed it!! Thanks for leaving a comment.
how much does this recipe yield?
About a cup of dressing. Hope you enjoy it, Sarah! 🙂
Alicia Purpura Zimmerman says
Mine turned out SUPER spicy. I had to make a second batch with no pepper and blend the two together in order to be able to eat it. I will know to cut that pepper in half next time.
Geez, I've made this plenty of times, and one pepper doesn't usually do that. That's good to know! I am not able to handle spice very well myself. I didn't realize that the peppers can come crazy hot. Thanks for leaving a comment! Glad you were able to still enjoy it.
Sandra Medve says
Made this dressing last night for our Deconstructed Shrimp Salad with all the fixings!
This was so amazing! Hubby and our two kiddos raved about it and want me to make more soon!
I used fresh garlic & sourcream (didn't have powdered garlic or powdered onion on hand so I omitted the onion with no sacrifice to flavor...al all!) ...can't wait to try with Greek yogurt in place of sour cream!
Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe!💕
I'm so glad you guys all loved it!! And your deconstructed shrimp salad sounds delicious!!
Kate @ Babaganosh.org says
You have managed to convince me that this is probably the best dressing out there! Creamy, zesty, smoky, spicy, fresh tasting. Yum.
Aw, thanks!! Let me know if you try it!
Keith @ How's it Lookin? says
Looks delicious. Ranch dressings are my favorite, thanks for sharing
Thanks Keith! I hope you try it 🙂
This looks delicious! I am pinning this so I don't lose the recipe.
Thank you!! Hope you enjoy it.
This looks and sounds amazing!
Currently wishing I could take a bath in this dressing. Seriously, it looks and sounds that good! Love the twist of lime!
Haha thanks Karly!
Tracy | Baking Mischief says
This dressing is so right up my alley. Great video, Natasha! Watching the food processor pulverize is completely transfixing. 😉
Thanks Tracy! Hahaha... I have like so much more food processor footage. I tried to strike a balance between transfixing my viewers and boring them 😛