Creamy Pesto Dressing

This Creamy Pesto Dressing recipe makes a rich and tangy dressing that can be used in a variety of ways. Reach for it when you want to add pizzazz to salads or your favorite sandwich.

Even better, this pesto dressing is super simple. It takes only 5 minutes and 5 ingredients: pesto, sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, and vinegar.

a small bowl of bright green salad dressing alongside a bowl of pesto, salad bowl, wood utensils, and two tomatoes.
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The inspiration for this creamy pesto salad dressing is my basil pistachio pesto, which is a variation on classic basil pesto made with fresh basil, garlic, pistachios, and Parmesan. If you love pesto, check out other recipes using homemade pesto including this orzo pesto salad or tuna pesto pasta with arugula spinach pesto.


In addition to the basil pesto, this creamy pesto salad dressing includes sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, and white wine vinegar. In a pinch, you can always use store-bought pesto to replace the homemade.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream. You can substitute regular yogurt, but it is thinner than either sour cream or Greek yogurt, and so you will want to adjust the amount of buttermilk to get your desired consistency.
  • Make a smaller volume to have the dressing only as you need it. Use two teaspoons of pesto for one of the rest of the ingredients.
  • Make it healthier. Occasionally, life deserves creamy. But if you want to make a pesto vinaigrette, try 1 tablespoon of pesto, 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, and a quarter cup of olive oil. My pesto vinaigrette needs a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid, but taste yours and see what you think.

Recipe tips and tricks

Step by step

There’s nothing complicated about making this creamy pesto dressing. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a clean jar and shake to emulsify.

You can adjust the thickness of the dressing to your preference. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more buttermilk or vinegar, perhaps a teaspoon at a time. To make it thicker, add more mayonnaise or sour cream.

What to serve with a creamy pesto dressing

creamy green herb spread slathered on a slice of brown bread next to the loaf, pieces of cheese and turkey slices on a plate.

Recipe FAQs

Is this creamy pesto salad dressing the same as green goddess dressing?

No. While green goddess dressing is a also creamy and herb-based like this pesto dressing, green goddess dressing includes anchovies, lemon juice, and different greens like chervil, chives, and tarragon.

Can I make this salad dressing ahead of time?


How do I store this creamy pesto salad dressing?

With the sour cream, mayonnaise, and buttermilk, this dressing needs to stay in the fridge. Make a mayo-free coleslaw to a family picnic when it’s hot outside! But this pesto dressing will be good in the fridge for 3 to 5 days.

Can I freeze this creamy pesto dressing?

No, it will completely change the consistency and is not recommended. However, pesto itself freezes quite well!

For more salads, pick a salad or salad dressing from among Ugly Duckling Bakery side dishes:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.


Creamy Pesto Dressing

5 from 1 vote
Category: Side Dish
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 84kcal
This creamy pesto salad dressing is super simple to make with store-bought or homemade basil pesto. Reach for it when you want a tangy salad dressing or spread for your favorite sandwich.
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  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


  • Combine all of the ingredients in a clean jar and shake to emulsify.
    ¼ cup basil pesto, 2 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons buttermilk, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Adjust the thickness of the pesto dressing to your desired preference. For a thinner consistency, add more buttermilk or vinegar, perhaps a teaspoon at a time. To make it thicker, add more mayonnaise or sour cream.
  • This dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and is best within the first 3 to 5 days.


This creamy pesto salad dressing recipe makes three-quarters of a cup of dressing.


Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 84kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 133mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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