North Woods Inn's Creamy Blue Cheese Buttermilk Dressing

Blue cheese dressing on salad

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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Chill Time: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 10 to 11 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
60 Calories
5g Fat
2g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 11
Amount per serving
Calories 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 268mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 70mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This quick and easy recipe is similar to the famous blue cheese dressing served at Clearman’s North Woods Inn, a small restaurant chain in California. 

North Woods Inn has been making its salads sing with this blue cheese dressing since the 1960s, much to the delight of many Californians who have been dining at these restaurants most of their lives. The dressing’s fame has reached far beyond the region and copycat versions of the recipe have popped up online. 

Once you have tried this recipe, you'll never go back to bottled blue cheese dressing. 

The dressing can be served with a wide range of salads, from mixed green salads to robust salads such as red cabbage salads. And you don’t have to stop there, in fact, at North Woods Inn, the blue cheese dressing is served as dip for deep-fried calamari.

For a low-fat version, the recipe gives you the option to use regular or nonfat sour cream. And buttermilk, despite its name, isn’t a high-fat drink, it is a byproduct of butter production. Blue cheese is rich but only a small amount is added for flavor. All things considered, this is not an overly rich dressing.

Depending on the type of blue cheese you use, you can give the dressing a milder or a stronger blue cheese flavor. Danish blue and Gorgonzola are on the mild side, while French Roquefort is a rather strong-tasting blue cheese.

Since this recipe is a cinch to blend, if you only need a small amount for a dinner, you can also make half the recipe. Keep any leftover dressing in a tightly closed jars in the fridge and use it within four to five days. Take it out of the fridge a few minutes before using so it’s easier to pour.


  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup sour cream, or nonfat sour cream

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a food processor or heavy-duty blender, combine buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, sugar, paprika, and salt.

  3. Blend until smooth.

  4. Add blue cheese and pulse quickly once or twice. Do not blend. You want small chunks of blue cheese.

  5. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more before serving in order to let flavors blend.

  6. Enjoy.


Other Uses for Blue Cheese Dressing

If you're a lover of blue cheese, it's probably one of your favorite dressings for green salads. It goes especially well with red onion, so mix a few slices with romaine, green leaf, red leaf, endive, spinach or a mix of greens along with bacon bits for a sensational salad.