This Cilantro Ranch Dressing is so delicious! It is our copycat version of the Cafe Rio House Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.
If you’ve followed us for any time at all, you will know we are big fans of Mexican cuisine. When Cafe Rio first opened in 1997 in St. George, Utah, we were huge fans. Now they have locations all over the western United States and Maryland, but back in the day, we lived in California, Nevada, and Washington. Many of our first copycat recipes were from Cafe Rio trying to achieve the “Fresh Mex” flavors at home. We’ve had some success, if we do say so ourselves. Please let us know if you agree!
Cilantro Ranch Dressing
Most people say that their favorite menu item at Cafe Rio is the Sweet Pork, but I say without a MOMENT of hesitation that mine is the Cilantro Ranch Dressing! It is spicy and tangy and SO GOOD. I seriously put it on everything — our Cafe Rio Burrito and Cafe Rio Salad for sure, plus quesadillas, sandwiches, I even dip veggies in it! I can’t keep it in the fridge for more than a few days before the bottle gets licked clean!
Our Cafe Rio recipes are what first made our site take off. We posted the recipe for Sweet Pork and people went crazy over it. Little by little we figured out more recipes and now we have a huge collection! We get great feedback and positive comments from our fans out there. Check them out and you will see why we are the #1 site for Cafe Rio recipes! Make sure to send us your feedback, too! We have had some great feedback and very positive reviews on all the recipes! Check em’ out and then add your own comments after you try them! We love hearing from our readers! ENJOY!
We’ve had some comments about the dressing being too runny. This is easy to prevent. Remember, it is much easier to thin a dressing than try to thicken it later without messing up the flavors. Follow these tips for perfect dressing thickness every time.
- Use Hellman’s/Best Foods mayonnaise.
- Use real buttermilk – not a substitute. If you don’t have buttermilk and need to substitute milk with lemon or vinegar, start with only 1/2 cup of the substitute in the blender and then add a little at a time until your preferred consistency is reached.
- Limes can vary in size and juiciness. Typically a juiced lime will yield 2 tablespoons. Start with 1 tablespoon in the blender. After blending, continue to add 1 teaspoon at a time until the consistency is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
The recipe is seriously so simple — just toss all the ingredients in the blender and blend away! But, here I will answer some questions we’ve had from our readers over the years.
The spiciness is all in the jalapeño seeds. You can eliminate the seeds completely for no spiciness at all, or add as many as you want to turn on the heat.
A tomatillo is a small, tomato-shaped, green fruit with a leaf-looking husk for an outer layer. It is also known as the Mexican husk tomato for this reason. Tomatillos have a similar taste and texture to tomatoes, but they are less sweet and more acidic. There are tomatillos in the photo above on the bottom left.
Remove the husks from the outer layer. You’ll find the tomatillo has a sticky skin on it. Rinse it under warm water and then dry with a dish cloth. Use a sharp knife to remove the stem, then dice as you would a tomato.
Yes. But, a substitute is usually a thinner consistency. Make the substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the remaining cup with milk – preferably whole. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Add only 1/2 cup of the buttermilk substitute to the blender. Blend. Gradually add a little at a time until the dressing is the consistency you prefer.
More Cafe Rio Copycat Recipes
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Sweet Pork Baked Burritos
- Salsa Fresca (Pico de Gallo)
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Sweet Pork Burrito
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Sweet Pork
- Homemade Tortilla Strips
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Cilantro-Lime Rice and Black Beans
- Our Version of Cafe Rio’s Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- The BEST Guacamole EVER
- The Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad
To view ALL of our Cafe Rio / Costa Vida copycat recipes, click HERE.
How To Make Cilantro Ranch Dressing
- Add all the ingredients in to a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve as a dressing over salad or as a dip for veggies and chips.
- Blendtec Blender