Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite salads, sandwiches, and dips. Made with tangy buttermilk and crumbled blue cheese, this one-bowl recipe only takes a few minutes to prep and is easy to customize.
In the world of dressings, I can’t think of anything more classic and satisfyingly indulgent than blue cheese. Creamy, salty, and tangy with the punch of well-veined blue cheese crumbles, it works well with everything from salads to dips and even as a sandwich spread.
Back in the 80’s, our (now-closed) local tavern made the best chunky blue cheese dressing. They served it in a metal gravy boat alongside their house salad with crisp iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, crumbled hardboiled egg, and baby shrimp. It was a simple salad, and the thick dollops of blue cheese dressing on top were the perfect crowning touch.
Years after they closed, I had a craving for their homemade blue cheese dressing, and the bottles I was buying at the grocery store weren’t quite hitting the mark. Much like croutons, once I realized how easy it is to whip up a batch of dressing, I never looked back. Not only do I know everything that went into the dressing, but I can customize the flavor and texture to our personal tastes and my serving needs.
Making Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing: 5 minutes and a bowl!
All you need to do is stir or whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk with a little bit of Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice. Once that’s smooth and creamy, add the blue cheese and season to taste with cracked black pepper. I like to stir in a few snipped chives at the end for freshness.
When I add the blue cheese, I use the back of my spoon to break up some of the larger crumbles, almost mashing them into the dressing base. Breaking down some of the blue cheese gives the dressing a nice depth of flavor. For the best texture, restraint is key here. Leave some crumbles intact for a great “chunky” blue cheese dressing.
Bear in mind that when you taste the dressing immediately after mixing, it might be a little on the bland side. The flavor will develop significantly and the texture will thicken as the dressing is refrigerated. I find that it reaches its optimal flavor after a 24 hour rest.
Thick vs. Pourable Dressing
One of the great parts about making homemade blue cheese dressing is that you can customize the texture to your preferences and serving needs. If you want a more pourable dressing for a salad, add a little extra buttermilk. To turn this dressing into a dip, dial the buttermilk back.
I like my dressing somewhere in the middle, pourable off of a spoon, but not too thin. I most often use 1/4 cup of buttermilk when I’m making the recipe for salads.
Whenever I can, I like to use whole, farm-fresh cultured buttermilk, both for its tangy flavor and ultra-creamy texture. It’s being stocked much more widely in regular grocery stores these days. You’ll often find it in the dairy aisle, near the glass bottles of milk, or in the organic section.
If you’re unable to find “farm” buttermilk, or want to lighten the dressing up a bit, low-fat cultured buttermilk is just fine! The farm milk will just be a bit richer tasting.
What Kind of Blue Cheese Makes the Best Blue Cheese Dressing?
I like to use a wedge of cheese on the milder side for my blue cheese dressing. I find that when it’s too pungent, it overpowers the other flavors in the salad, rather than complementing them.
Some of my favorite varieties for making dressing are Danish blue and California’s Point Reyes blue. (I used “Friendship” Danish Blue from the Whole Foods case in this post.) French Roquefort and Iowa’s Maytag blue are also classic choices, both having a sharper flavor than Danish.
Since the cheese is the primary flavoring agent in the mayonnaise and sour cream base, it’s best to pick a good quality blue that crumbles well, but you don’t have to splurge for the most expensive wedge in the case. The nuances of the creamiest styles, like a Gorgonzola dolce, would be lost in the dressing and are best reserved for cheeseboards and recipes where the texture can be better appreciated.
When choosing a cheese, visit the gourmet cheese case at your grocery store and ask if you can sample what they have in stock that day. The cheesemonger will usually be able to make a few different recommendations, and you’ll get to taste and choose one with the pungency you like best.
Want to read more about Blue Cheese Styles? Check out From Mild to Strong: How to Select the Best Blue Cheese on Delishably.
Serving and Storing Blue Cheese Dressing
Store your homemade blue cheese dressing tightly-covered, in the refrigerator. It keeps well for 3-5 days. If you don’t think you’ll use it all in that timeframe, it’s easy to halve the recipe and make a fresh batch when you need it.
I most often use this blue cheese dressing to top Cobb Salad, Chef’s Salad, and Wedge Salad. If you make it on the thicker side, it’s also great as a dip for a crudités platter and buffalo wings for game day. I also love substituting it for the flavored mayonnaise on my favorite steak sandwich recipe. Blue cheese, steak, and caramelized onions are a match made in heaven!
Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 to 3 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives or chopped parsley
- freshly-ground black pepper
- In a bowl, stir or whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk (start with 1/4 cup), Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Stir in blue cheese (start with 1/2 cup), using the back of a spoon to mash some of the crumbles into the dressing base. Leave some of the crumbles intact for a chunky-style dressing.
- Stir in chives or parsley. Season to taste with black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to meld, preferably longer. The flavor is best after 24 hours.* Store, tightly-covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
- For a little garlicky flavor, add 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, to taste.
- For a spicy blue cheese dressing, add a few dashes of hot sauce, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or sriracha, to taste.