Creamy Tomatillo Ranch {cafe rio copycat}

Creamy Tomatillo Ranch {cafe rio copycat} – Creamy ranch dressing seasoned with fresh cilantro, zesty lime and tomatillos!

Creamy Tomatillo Ranch {Cafe Rio copycat!}

It’s no secret that I adore Mexican food. Both the truly authentic, and the American-ized. Cafe Rio is a regular even at our house. We l.o.v.e. Cafe Rio and we are o.b.s.e.s.s.e.d with their Creamy Tomatillo Ranch dressing. I could put that stuff on everything! And I do. Sometimes I just drink it straight.

Okay I don’t drink it straight.  But I do lick the spoon.

Creamy Tomatillo Ranch {Cafe Rio copycat!}

This Cafe Rio copycat recipe is so simple and quick to make, just throw all of the ingredients in the blender, give it a few good pulses, let it chill and you’ve got the most amazing dressing. I especially love to pour this Creamy Tomatillo Ranch on tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and our favorite copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pork!! (Scroll down to check out that recipe as well!)

4.7 from 7 reviews
Creamy Tomatillo Ranch {cafe rio copycat}
Prep time
Total time
Creamy ranch dressing seasoned with fresh cilantro, zesty lime and tomatillos! A Cafe Rio favorite you can whip up in minutes at home!
Recipe type: Side Dish/Condiment
  • 1 package Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Mix (dry)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup mayo (I used reduced fat)
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 2 medium-sized tomatillos, husked and chopped
  • ½ cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
  • 1½ teaspoons lime juice
  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and pulse 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to reach desired consistency. Chill at least one hour before use and store in fridge in airtight container. **Makes about 2 cups**

These are tasty too!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork {copycat}
Copycat Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Sweet Pork Enchiladas
Sweet Pork Enchiladas

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I followed this recipe, verbatim. After sitting in the fridge over-night, it is still extremely watery/thin.
What do you suggest I do to thicken it up?
The size of the Ranch packet I used was 0.4oz. Is it possible that there is maybe a larger packet that should have been used? Should I maybe throw in another? Do you think that would help?

    You could add another packet of ranch dressing but that might just enhance the ranch flavor (not a bad idea!) I’m not sure how much it would actually thicken up the mixture. If you try that, I’d also add some greek yogurt and mayo to thicken it up.

    I made this recipe exactly as the instructions stated and mine was also completely liquid. I then doubled the mayo and it was still liquid. The flavor is good, but I wished it was more of a dip consistency. Is there something off on the measurements? I think it would taste absolutely amazing… please let me know if you have any suggestions.

      I didn’t add water, instead I added sour cream. It is thick and wonderful. Suggestion – add your water at the end if it is too thick for you

      Mine was great

        I forgot to add that I also added 1/2 tsp salt

This was absolutely delicious but I also found it to be very watery. Do you think leaving the water out of the recipe would help with this?

    I just had this dressing at Cafe Rio and it IS a pretty watery dressing. It’s definitely not creamy like a buttermilk ranch from the bottle. It’s served over lettuce, pico, rice, beans, and meat, so I don’t think the creaminess is desired. Just a little background about the inspiration for this recipe. I’m going to try it tonight and I’m excited! I would like to try it with avocado, however I have a bog issue with avocado turning everything brown! So I’ll eat it on the side.

I added one half of a large Hass Avocado… Took this from a good sauce to a great sauce!
When in doubt add some avocado!! Hope y’all enjoy, cause I know I am.

Peace and blessings,


I made this sauce today and I left out the water and it was still very liquidy. I just made a roux and it worked perfectly. Sauce is warm and delicious and the perfect consistency

What about using sour cream instead of buttermilk? It would still give it the milk/dairy creaminess but possibly take away the runny issue?

    That could be a really good idea. If you do try it please let me know how it turns out!

I used sour cream instead of buttermilk because thats all I had. It was still watery so I added more cilantro. Still runny but a good substitute for buttermilk. I can see using an avocado to thicken it up, I have some in the house but chose to add the avocado later as I use it.

I added Chia seeds to thicken it up! Bonus added protein! 🙂

I love, love this sauce! Thanks for the recipe.

How long would this stay in the fridge for?

    I’ve kept it up to a week but it starts to separate so it’s a good idea to shake it up once a day.

Really nice recipe! Made a few adjustments based on what I had available and to thicken up the sauce as well and it turned out delicious! Rather than use 1 cup buttermilk, I substituted with 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. I also used a 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder instead of minced garlic. To thicken up the sauce, I put in a 1/2 avocado and only put in about a half of the recommended water. It turned out awesome and I will definitely be coming back to this recipe in the future!

I just read all the comments and decided to go with 1/2 sour cream- 1/2 c buttermilk and 1 c mayo- it was super thick and creamy- but I realized i had not added the tomatillas- After I added them the dressing was very watery- so ther’es the answer- maybe squeeze them first??

I think you need to change the recipe to omit the water and only use two tomatillos. It is too watery and lacks flavor when you follow the recipe exactly. I used an additional 1 oz. packet of ranch dressing and added some cotija cheese and extra salt and pepper to make it closer to real Cafe Rio dressing. I happened to have some real stuff in the fridge and also noticed theirs is much creamier and spicier.

Sub the buttermilk and water with equal parts soft cream cheese or mascarpone. Add dryed buttermilk to

Loved this recipe! The flavor was perfect. The only thing I would change is not adding water next time. If it needs to be thinner, then you can always add it later!

Alas I did not read comments before making 😥 Way way too thin! Watery compared to the actual dressing at Cafe Rio 😥

To everyone having the ‘watery’ problem. Let me tell you what I do to get it perfect! First, make the buttermilk ranch according to the packet’s instructions. (one packet, 1 c mayo & buttermilk). Then let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 min. While it is sitting I like to personally roast the tomatillos and jalapeno to give the dressing some depth. Tastes a lot better I think! Then what I did was blend everything EXCEPT for the buttermilk ranch. When it is smooth and a little chunky I just stir it in to the ranch with a spoon and voila! Nice and thick. Oh, and OMIT the water also unless you find the dressing to be a little too thick. But I think it is exactly like Cafe Rio’s consistency. Then you can also let it sit 20-30+ more min to let the flavors mend :]

How are you? Excuse me when it says 1 cup may (I used reduced fat) which is May? thanks

I wonder if using a ranch Dip vs dressing packet would make a difference. I’m totally going to add avocado!

This is a family favorite. I also found the sauce to be delicious, but runny. Here are my modifications: I use ranch dressing from a bottle instead of the dry mix. I use dry buttermilk (can’t string together enough buttermilk recipes to keep it from going bad) so I add the appropriate amount of buttermilk powder but not all the water. After the taquitos are gone, the sauce makes a delicious salad dressing.

Delicious and really flavorful. Definitely a make-again recipe for me. (not sure why this is in all caps?)

    So great! Glad you loved it. Thanks for the great feedback!