This copycat recipe for Panera’s chili lime ranch salad dressing is creamy, zesty, and a little spicy – and perfect for drizzling over salads or burrito bowls.Jump to Recipe
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I was super sad to learn that Panera no longer offers its Southwest Chili Lime Ranch Salad (it was my favorite lunch order!) so I’m on a mission to replicate it at home. After creating my own version of Panera’s bean corn salsa, the next crucial step was to perfect a copycat Panera chili lime ranch dressing recipe.
A dressing can really make or break a salad, so I knew I had to get this right. And while it’s probably been about 2 years since I last had Panera’s Southwest Chili Lime Salad, I can still remember how flavorful and delicious that chili lime ranch dressing was. It was creamy, citrusy, and a little spicy, and it complemented the southwest flavors of their salad so perfectly.
So I was pretty pleased when I landed on a final recipe that, when drizzled over my copycat southwest chili lime salad (recipe coming soon!), tastes just how I remember it from Panera. My memory could be failing me here, and maybe if I had the two side-by-side my version would taste nothing like Panera’s. Who knows? But it tastes exactly how I want it to, and it’s definitely just as delicious.
Keep reading to learn what goes into our homemade version of the Panera chili lime ranch salad dressing and how to make the recipe!
Panera Chili Lime Salad Dressing Ingredients
Our chili lime salad dressing is simply made up of light mayo, lime juice, water, and a few seasonings:
- Ground red cayenne pepper
- Chipotle powder
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
The dressing gets its spice (and a little smokiness) from the cayenne pepper, chipotle powder, and paprika. Turmeric is mostly used to enhance the dressing’s color, but its earthy flavors tone down the lime and balance out the heat as well. Garlic and onion add to the depth of flavor, while salt enhances the overall flavor profile of the chili lime dressing.
Unlike Panera’s chili lime ranch dressing, our salad dressing is mayo-based. Light mayo is the perfect blank canvas for recreating your favorite sauces, dressings, and spreads since it’s so plain. When thinned with lime juice and water, it’s the perfectly pourable consistency for drizzling over salads. Plus, this recipe is so flavorful you’ll never even guess it started with mayo!
How To Make Chili Lime Salad Dressing
It’s super quick and easy to whip up a batch of this chili lime dressing. Here’s how we do it:
- Add light mayo, lime juice, and water to a small bowl
- Whisk carefully to combine until the consistency is smooth and pourable (add more water if you’d like it thinner)
- Add the seasonings and whisk vigorously until combined
That’s it! In 5 minutes or less, this chili lime dressing is ready to use on your favorite salads, burrito bowls, and sandwiches. To make mixing small batches of dressings like this one even easier, we use our trusty mini whisk (it’s one of the best investments we’ve made in our kitchen so far). If you like making your own sauces, spreads, and dressings, we highly recommend getting one.
You can also prepare this dressing ahead of time and store it in a glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator. We like to use these glass bottles for homemade dressings, sauces, and syrups – they’re the perfect size and clean easily in the dishwasher between uses. Or, you can also use a mason jar. Stored properly, this chili lime dressing will stay good for up to 1 month – so you can keep enjoying it over and over!
Love this recipe? You may also enjoy these recipes:
Panera Chili Lime Salad Dressing
- ½ cup light mayo
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground red cayenne pepper
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp chipotle powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Add mayo, lime juice, and water to a small bowl and whisk gently until combined.
- Add remaining ingredients and whisk thoroughly until well-combined. Transfer to a glass bottle or other airtight container for storage, or use immediately.