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This chipotle ranch dressing recipe is creamy, tangy, and a little smoky! It’s a versatile southwest sauce that’s the ultimate topping for salads, tacos, wraps, and more.

Looking for regular ranch dressing? Try my Homemade Ranch Salad Dressing instead.

a jar with a spoon and homemade chipotle ranch dressing

Why you’ll love it

This easy twist on ranch dressing is so good. You get so much flavor in under 10 minutes! Boring salads and tacos are a thing of the past. If you’re a fan of Mexican-inspired recipes, I think that you’ll like this chipotle sauce with fresh lime a whole lot.

This creamy, gently spiced, and irresistible cilantro lime ranch 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 and mayo – the slightly tangy, cooling, and creamy base. It helps to create that signature ranch flavor.
  • Cilantro – make sure it’s as fresh as possible
  • Chili pepper in adobo sauce – I like things on the milder side, so I started with just one chili, but you can add even more for heat if you prefer
  • Lime juice – for citrusy freshness
  • Worcestershire sauce – the umami flavor it adds to dressings and sauces is a must
  • Garlic powder and onion powder – for even more savory depth of flavor
  • Smoked paprika – my not-so-secret ingredient! It adds a subtle smokiness.
ingredients for chipotle ranch dressing in prep bowls

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 chipotle sauce

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

making chipotle dressing in a food processor

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.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

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 chipotle ranch dressing

  • 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 Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup.
  • It’s also wonderful on nachos, Fish Tacos, burritos, steak, as a dipping sauce for vegetables or chicken tenders… the possibilities are endless, and you’ll want to drizzle it over just about everything.
  • 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 in an airtight container.
  • If you need to make your salad ahead of time, just store the components individually until you’re ready to assemble and eat it.
a spoonful of chipotle sauce on a spoon

Let me know if you tried this southwest ranch dressing! Questions or comments? Let’s talk below. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.

a jar with a spoon and homemade chipotle ranch dressing
4.64 from 25 votes

Chipotle Ranch Dressing

This chipotle ranch dressing recipe is creamy, tangy, and a little smoky! It's a versatile southwest sauce that's the ultimate topping for salads, tacos, wraps, and more.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce see note
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup (lightly packed) cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Process on high for about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust if needed.
  • 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.

Notes

  • 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. 
  • The recipe makes about a cup of dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoon, Calories: 48kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 50mg, Potassium: 21mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 160IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on May 4, 2016. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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108 Comments

  1. Jay says:

    Heya, Natasha. From the land down under.
    Great dressing. I’ve used it for serving with beef/pork/chook fajitas. Adds zing to sangers (sandwiches).
    And the jalapeño poppers is a year round request for get togethers.

    Ta (thanks)

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so happy you like it and the jalapeno poppers!! 😀 Australia is on my bucket list! Thanks so much for leaving me a comment, Jay.

  2. Donna says:

    2 stars
    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.

    1. 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.

    2. Therese says:

      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!

  3. 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!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! It’s for the sour cream and mayo.

  4. Pam S. says:

    5 stars
    I love this dressing! I substituted chipotle powder and added a little lime zest.

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay!! Glad you like it! 🙂

  5. Charlene herdt says:

    This was yummy served on taco salad

    1. Natasha says:

      🙂

  6. Emma says:

    2 stars
    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.

  7. Keshini Carlson-Clark says:

    5 stars
    This was amazing! Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!! 🙂

  8. Michele says:

    What a substitute for Worcestershire sauce(anchovies-seafood allergy)?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hmmm I’d probably leave it out. I can’t think of anything that really replicates the flavor, unfortunately.

  9. Maggie says:

    What is adobe sauce?

    1. Natasha says:

      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).

  10. Tonya says:

    Easy! Delicious! Better than a restaurant! Made for some pork barbacoa wraps! Had left over chipotle peppers so made the dressing. Yummy!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Excellent! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, Tonya… now I want pork barbacoa wraps!!