Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Cafe Rio's Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

 I was away last weekend at the Fins annual Fishing Tournament with That Organic Girl and Cookin’ and Kickin’ down in South Beach.

While my husband was fishing in the tournament, I took the kids to the beach and pool.

If you’ve never been to South Beach just know that a surprising amount of people consider swimsuits optional.

I can see why tan lines could be annoying but I would think sand in your naughty parts would be even more annoying.

I tried to cover my kid’s eyes but thankfully they were too busy in the waves to notice.

My husband caught a huge Tuna that we cooked up for dinner tonight!

Last night I hosted Bunko and made the whole Cafe Rio meal for the ladies. Cafe Rio is a restaurant that we loved when we lived in Utah. The copycat recipes are one of the very first recipes I ever posted on this blog so I thought I would dig them out of the archives for those of you who are new.

Start here to make the Cafe Rio Barbacoa Pork and my other favorite Cafe Rio recipes. Here’s the Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.

I can drink this dressing. I think I actually did last night. And after making it a billion times I finally have it fine tuned to how I like it.
5 from 1 vote
Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Mayo
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatillos (they are green and by the tomatoes)
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 small jalapeno , seeds removed
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor and store in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld. Beware that the dressing tends to get hotter the longer it sits.
Recipe Notes
Source: Sheri Denney
Cafe Rio's Creamy Tomatillo Dressing


Speak Your Mind



  1. Oh my, this sounds delicious…thank you for sharing!

  2. My mom was just telling me yesterday how tasty the salad dressing was! I’m definitely making it — I love Cafe Rio!

  3. Hi Christy
    Your Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Dressing looks tasty
    You can submit your Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Dressing pics on It is a food photography site where members can submit all food pictures that make readers hungry 🙂
    I am already hungry to see these photos btw, LOL

  4. Sounds yummy!

  5. Oh how I have missed this dressing! We moved from Utah three years ago and I dream of this dressing some times. YUM!

  6. I’ve never been to Cafe Rio but have heard mad reviews of it! I guess I’ll be making your copycat recipes at home to see what all the fuss is about since I don’t plan on going to Utah any time soon.

  7. Wow – that dressing looks unbelievable. I’ve been dying to find the right dressing for a taco salad – voila, there it is! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I moved away from Utah four years ago and u have been making this ever since. It is fabulous. The recipe I have doesn’t have the lime, so I will add that next time.

  9. Thank you for sharing this delicious tomatillo salad dressing! I absolutely love Café Rio, especially the sweet barbacoa pork salad that this dressing pairs perfectly with. I made the dressing the other day and had pork salads last night and they tasted just like the real thing! Thanks again for sharing!

  10. hey, I have been making your recipe a lot lately, but I always end up with extra dressing. Do you know how long it lasts in the fridge?

  11. I just made this dressing to go along with a tortilla soup and I just had to come on here and say how spot on this recipe is. It tastes just like the cafe rio dressing and it’s just plain delicious.

  12. I use this same’s great but you have to boil the tomaillos whole for 2-munutes..before you use them in any recipe

  13. I love the cafe rio dressing! I don’t have regular access to fresh tomatillos since I moved back to Alaska. Would canned ones work just as well??

  14. I am soooo going to try this ASAP! 🙂 My 17 year old niece works at Cafe Rio up here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and she happened to bring some of this dressing and tortilla chips over when she stopped by my house after one of her shifts. It is THE best dressing I have ever tasted but it’s too expensive ($6.00 for a 16 oz styrofoam container) for me to buy when it barely lasts a few days when being devoured by three people, lol. Thanks for the post; I can’t wait to see how it turns out! 🙂

  15. On your ingredients It says 1 (1 oz package) hidden valley ranch dressing mix. They only had 16 oz packages. Do I only put part of the package in or the whole thing?

    • @April

      Did you buy a single packet of the dry mix, or did you buy a bottle of the dry mix? The packets are only 1oz, but on the front down in the left corner it says it “makes 16oz.” of dressing. Perhaps you just misread it? However, if you have a BOTTLE of the dry mix it DOES weigh 16oz. In that case 3 Tablespoons of the dry mix from that bottle is equal to one packet. Hope this helps! 🙂

      • I found this chart online that tells you how much to use from the 16 oz. bottle of dry mix. As you can see above, the tomatillo dressing calls for 1 Cup buttermilk and 1 Cup mayo and this handy chart shows that when using those amounts you need 3 Tablespoons of the mix 🙂
        Hidden Valley – The Original Ranch Dressing

        Dressing Mixing Directions:
        To Make Hidden Valley® Mix Milk Mayonnaise*
        4 Servings 2 1/2 tsp 1/4 cup 1/4 cup
        8 Servings 1 1/2 tbsp 1/2 cup 1/2 cup
        16 Servings 3 tbsp 1 cup 1 cup

        Here’s the site I found it at:

  16. Tried this and LOVED it!!! Thanks for sharing.

  17. this was easier than making a sandwich. i cant believe how spot on it is! thank you thank you, this will change my life. SOOOOO good! now i have to try not to drink it all.

  18. I LOVE this dressing from Cafe Rio. I don’t know what it is but I can never get enough and it goes well with so many things. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks!!

  19. Rachel Sheffield says:

    I made the recipe and it came out just a bit more sour than the one at cafe rio. Any ideas what might have gone wrong? I followed everything precisely. Thanks!

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    people do not discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!

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    to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing
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  22. Thanks for the recipe! I don’t know why mine ended up being way too runny, so I added extra mayo and a whole avocado. It is in the fridge now “resting”. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

    • Christy {The Girl Who Ate Everything} says:

      There are 2 sizes of dry dressing mix. Did you happen to use the smaller one (.4oz) and not the 1 oz one?

  23. I’ve made this and it was some yummy! only problem I had was mine was not nearly thick enough. I followed the recipe exact so I have no idea what went wrong.. any idea’s?

  24. L O V E ALL the recipes thanks a 1,000,000,000 for sharing

  25. Thank you for this recipe. I made it and was really pleased with it. I’m really frustrated with Pinterest though because it ruined my pin of it. It says the link has been marked as spam!! That’s crazy! And it won’t let me re-pin it now for the same reason. It said the address is blocked. 🙁

  26. Thanks for finally writing about >Cafe Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo Dressing <Loved it!