This buttermilk dressing with winter crudites quickly and easily turns ordinary vegetables and dip into a veritable winter wonderland. The homemade dressing is easy to make, perfectly juggles tang and richness thanks to both buttermilk and sour cream, and is divine as a dip for any vegetable, white or otherwise. A seemingly virtuous option at any cocktail party yet it tastes anything but abstemious.

Three cups of buttermilk dressing with winter crudites in other cups.

Buttermilk Dressing with Winter Crudites

5 / 4 votes
This buttermilk dressing with winter crudites, made with sour cream, dill, lemon, is a simple way to turn healthy raw vegetables into a stunning focal point at your next holiday dinner or cocktail party.
David Leite
Servings6 to 8 servings
Calories101 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes


  • 1 cup buttermilk (preferably full-fat)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dill leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Assorted white or pale green crudites, such as celery stalks, hearts of romaine, white carrots, cucumber spears, jicama, blanched* cauliflower florets, blanched* white asparagus spears, and thinly sliced kohlrabi


  • In a bowl, stir together the buttermilk, crème fraîche or sour cream, dill, lemon zest and juice, and cayenne. Season with salt and black pepper and then taste and adjust the other ingredients accordingly. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Arrange the crudites in glasses or on a platter or several small plates. Refrigerate for up to several hours.
  • Just before serving, stir the buttermilk dressing until smooth and pour it into small dishes. Set out the crudites alongside the buttermilk dressing, whether you arrange them on a platter or stand them on end in glassware.


*How To Blanch Vegetables

When a recipe instructs you to blanch vegetables, it simply means to submerge them in boiling water long enough so that they become mostly tender yet still retain a slight crunch. The vegetables are then immediately transferred with tongs or a strainer to a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking and ensure the veggies remain vibrant in color. The amount of time it takes veggies to blanch depends on the specific ingredient but typically takes just a minute or less, so consider yourself warned to not walk away from the stove. This technique is particularly useful for hard vegetables destined for a crudites platter, including cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus. Note that white asparagus is typically tougher than the green variety, so before blanching, it’s a good idea to peel the stalks, beginning about 2 inches below the tips and peeling toward the stem ends.
Martha Stewart's Appetizers Cookbook

Adapted From

Martha Stewart’s Appetizers

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 101 kcalCarbohydrates: 4 gProtein: 2 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gCholesterol: 24 mgSodium: 82 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Martha Stewart Living. Photo © 2015 David Malosh. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

After holiday parties loaded with all of the good cheesy, fatty, and sweet foods, this is so refreshing! The buttermilk sort of smooths out the richness of the sour cream and gives the dip a nice tartness. This dip didn’t last long. In fact, I’m going to make another batch (or two) for New Year’s Eve.

Some dips go a little too light on the dill but 1/2 cup is perfect. I didn’t have any white asparagus but I did blanch the cauliflower. I think the blanching takes out a little of the “rawness” but leaves the crunch.

A Testers Choice all the way!

This buttermilk dressing came together very quickly. The combination of buttermilk and lemon juice gave the dip a pleasant tang without being overly tart. It looked lovely alongside the pale veggies, though I think this would also be very nice drizzled over salmon. The suggested crudites were great with it, and the pale-on-pale combination was beautiful.

It was very quick and easy to assemble. The addition of the buttermilk was wonderful; however, it does make the dip quite thin. I wouldn’t use anything less than full-fat buttermilk here for fear of it being too thin. That being said, while the consistency is great as a dip for veggies or even as a sauce, I think it might be too thin for potato chips.

Zippy and delicious, this buttermilk dip comes together in minutes, though we found that it improves after a few hours of sitting, which lets the flavors meld nicely. The lemon and fresh dill with the tang and rich creaminess from the buttermilk and crème fraîche make this dip a winner. We served it with plenty of romaine and cauliflower and blue corn chips. We’ll definitely make it again and imagine it’ll be just as tasty if prepared with Greek yogurt instead of crème fraîche for a very good, everyday creamy salad dressing.

I loved the idea of winter crudites and creating a white appetizer. I used blanched cauliflower florets, zucchini strips, fennel strips, kohlrabi, white button mushrooms, white endive spears, and celery sticks. Loved the flavor of the buttermilk dressing. Dill is a favorite of mine, so 1/2 cup was not too much in my opinion.

I made this according to the recipe, but the dressing was quite thin and a little drippy. I remedied the situation by adding some sour cream to thicken. Next time, I think I’d only start with half the amount of buttermilk and add more as needed to achieve the proper consistency. I will definitely make this again.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    5 starsI thought I had everything to make this – alas, no lemon. So I subbed lemon pepper. Also used dried dill. I’ll be taking it in my lunch tomorrow with baby carrots. Yummy!

    The Other Martha