Skip to Content

Cafe Rio Dressing

Cafe Rio dressing – A homemade version of the Cafe Rio tomatillo dressing.  So good, and great for topping just about anything! 

Have you ever been to Cafe Rio?  It is one of my favorite places to meet a friend for lunch.  They are a quick service Mexican restaurant and have the best salads, tacos and burritos.  My staple order is a Taco Salad with the Cafe Rio Sweet Pork and then this Cafe Rio house dressing on the side. 

The creamy tomatillo ranch dressing is the perfect blend of flavors that goes so well on salads, you can even use it as a dip or sauce for tacos!

spooning tomatillo ranch dressing out of a jar


When you go to Cafe Rio they have two dressing choices, this creamy tomatillo dressing or a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette that is also very good.  But I am partial to the tomatillo dressing, it is just so tangy and full of flavor. 

What You’ll Need

  • Ranch Dressing
  • Tomatillos
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Lime Juice
  • Jalapeno

The base of this Café Rio dressing is ranch. You can start with your favorite bottle of ranch dressing or use this Homemade Ranch Dressing if you want to start from scratch.

tomatillo ranch dressing ingredients

What Are Tomatillos

They are a Mexican plant that is related to the gooseberry. Lots of people think they are small green tomatoes, but they aren’t. They are a green fruit that has a papery husk on the outside. You can find tomatillos in the produce are of your grocery store.  They are usually near the jalapenos and other peppers. To use them, just remove the husk and wash them.  There will be a sticky residue after you take the husk off, just rinse that off.  We love the flavor of them, and they are a big part of my Instant Pot Pozole recipe, if you are looking for more ways to use them.  

pouring tomatillo ranch dressing from blender into a glass jar

How to Make Cafe Rio Dressing

This recipe is pretty darn simple, hopefully will be able to follow along with the instructions.

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor. 
  2. Process until smooth.  

That is it, you are done.  The blender does all the work, so you really can make this in about 10 minutes.  I like to roughly chop some of the ingredients before adding them to the blender to make sure it gets nice and smooth.  But it really is ready in no time!  

I do like to make it a few hours before serving, so the flavors have time to come together and have it taste the best.

tomatillos and cilantro in a blender


Store the dressing in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.  You will want to shake or stir well before serving, but it will last and be great for just about anything you want to serve it with. 

Recipe Tips

  • Use full fat ranch. I know, I almost always have the light stuff in the fridge for dipping. But for this dressing, you really want to use full fat. It will blend the best, be the most creamy, not watery, and you will just have the best tasting dressing.
  • Let the dressing stand for at least a couple of hours before serving. The flavors blend together and intensify as it sits, so if you eat it right away it can be a little bland.
  • There is just a little bit of jalapeno called for in this recipe, it is definitely NOT spicy! It just gives it some flavor, if you want spice leave the seeds in or add more.
  • If you don’t like cilantro you can use parsley. It will change the taste, but if you are one of those people who don’t like it, you won’t like it as written anyway.
a salad topped with cafe rio dressing

How To Use Cafe Rio Dressing

This is a super versatile dressing you can use on so many things.

cafe rio dressing close up for pinterest

More Great Copycat Recipes to try

Yield: 20

Cafe Rio Dressing

close up spooning cafe rio dressing out of a jar

Cafe Rio dressing - A homemade version of the Cafe Rio tomatillo dressing.  So good, and great for topping just about anything! 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 2 cups ranch dressing
  • 2 medium tomatillos, husks removed
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded


    1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.
    2. Store in an air tight container, in fridge,  for up to 2 weeks.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 105Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 6mgSodium 217mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 0g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a picture on social media!

I created a fun group on Facebook, and I would love for you to join us! It’s a place where you can share YOUR favorite recipes, ask questions, and see what’s new at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts (so that you never miss a new recipe)! If you’d like to check it out, you can request to join HERE.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag #dinnersdishes so I can see all the wonderful DINNERS, DISHES, AND DESSERTS recipes YOU make! 

Connect with Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts!

Be sure to follow me on my social media, so you never miss a post!

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 

Erin S
Follow me
Latest posts by Erin S (see all)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 1st of December 2022

This is what I look forward to making tomorrow! So excited!!


Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Okay, this is definitely going on everything!

Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

This dressing sounds incredibly delicious!! I would love to try it!!

katerina @

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

I love the flavor!! I can't wait to try this! YUM!

Allyson Zea

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

This dressing had the perfect flavor!!! Perfect dupe!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe