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Cafe Rio Dressing

No wonder Cafe Rio Dressing is all the rage in the States -- is there anything better than this creamy cilantro-lime dressing?! Our flavor-packed restaurant copycat version is ridiculously easy to make (throw it all in the blender and let it whirl!).
Course condiment, Dip, Salad, Vegetarian
Cuisine Mexican, Vegetarian
Keyword Cafe Rio Dressing
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 servings (1-1/2 cups)
Calories 99kcal
Cost $5.32


  • 2 tablespoons (17g) packaged ranch mix Note 1
  • 3/4 cup (12g) lightly packed cilantro (1/2 of 1 bunch)
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (29g) fresh lime juice (plus 1 tsp zest -- optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (10g) coarsely chopped jalapeño Note 2
  • 1/4 cup (58g) salsa verde (or 1 tomatillo -- Note 3)
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup (105g) mayo Note 4
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sour cream (lite works great too!)
  • 1/3 cup (79g) low-fat buttermilk


  • FIRST BLEND: In a blender or food processor, combine the dry ranch mix, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, zest (if using), jalapeño, and salsa verde. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I add 1/4 teaspoon of each, but the seasoning mix may be seasoned enough for your preference!) Blend until ingredients are well incorporated and cilantro is broken down.
  • BLEND AGAIN: Then add in the mayo and sour cream. Blend just until incorporated -- don't over-blend or over-mix--that will thin the dressing. Finally, add in the buttermilk and pulse just to mix through. If you'd like a thinner dressing, add a few additional tablespoons of buttermilk until you reach desired consistency.
  • SERVE: Taste and add any additional seasonings to preference. Chill until ready to serve. As you chill the dressing it only gets more flavorful-- the flavors intensify!
  • STORAGE: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days and give it a good stir or shake before using it again. It will thicken as it sits in the fridge, so thin it with additional buttermilk.



Note 1: Ranch mix: We love the original Hidden Valley® ranch seasoning mix best (not the buttermilk variety, which tastes a little different). Other brands just haven't lived up to the flavor of Hidden Valley (not sponsored). Don't prepare the mix according to packet directions (just use the dry powder) and only add in 2 tablespoons (1 packet is about 3 tablespoons).
Note 2: Jalapeño: If you're sensitive to spice, leave out the seeds and if you love heat, add them in! Add slowly; you can always blend in more if you'd like more heat.
Note 3: Salsa verde: Salsa verde is made from tomatillos, but the tomatillos are typically roasted or browned to get more flavor before being blended into a salsa. By using the salsa, you can have a superior tomatillo flavor with no extra work on your end. Alternatively, coarsely chop 1 tomatillo and throw it in the blender for this dressing.
Note 4: Mayo: A good, high-quality, full-fat mayonnaise is going to deliver the best flavor. Hellmann’s/Best Foods® is hands-down our fave


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg