Give Copycat Jimmy John's Ranch Sauce A Kick With Cherry Peppers

Ranch dressing in its basic form tends to be among the blandest of condiments, but sandwich chain Jimmy John's had the right idea when it kicked up this boring dressing with the addition of mildly hot and vinegary peppers. Alas, Kickin' Ranch was dropped from the menu in 2024, although the chain still offers jalapeño ranch as a sandwich spread.

While Jimmy John's would probably frown at your bringing in your own sauce to use on its sandwiches for dining in-house, there's nothing to stop you from slathering them with homemade condiments if you get them to go. Mashed recipe developer Erin Johnson, who says of the sauce, "I love this version of ranch dressing [because] it packs such a flavor punch," has come up with her own copycat Kickin' Ranch recipe. She starts with from-scratch buttermilk ranch dressing, then doctors it up with ground-up pickled cherry peppers, vinegar and all. The inclusion of the liquid from the jar not only thins out the sauce but gives it a tang you won't find in ranch dressing made with milk and mayonnaise alone.

You can make a few tweaks to simplify the recipe

Erin Johnson's take on this former fast food favorite is fairly complex as dressings go. The ranch is made from a combination of mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, and no fewer than seven different seasonings. A semi-shortcut would involve using a packet of ranch dressing mix and blending it with the appropriate add-ins, or you could just make it easy on yourself and start with bottled ranch dressing since this stuff already has all of the necessary flavorings besides the peppers.

Even the cherry peppers themselves allow for some modification. Johnson buys them whole and grinds them in a food processor, but if you start with hot cherry pepper relish or hoagie spread, you can skip this step, as well. Johnson also notes that you can add extra seasonings if desired. As she tells us, "If you taste the ranch and you want more heat, add cayenne." You could also bump up the black pepper, garlic, or any other spices if you wish. Jimmy John's won't mind — after all, it's the one that gave Kickin' Ranch its release to "pursue other opportunities."