Taking the tangy buttermilk and herb flavor of ranch dressing and making it into a powder is an easy and fast way to transform plain cashews into a clever party snack. Just grind up dried chives and salt in a spice grinder until powdery. Then mix that with garlic, onion, and buttermilk powders and toss with roasted cashews. Try sprinkling some of the powder on other crunchy snacks too, like popcorn or homemade tortilla chips.

Special equipment: You’ll need a very clean coffee or spice grinder for this recipe.

What to buy: Buttermilk powder can be found in the baking aisle of any well-stocked grocery store.

Citric acid, also called sour or citric salt, is a natural preservative that adds sourness to food and soft drinks. Extracted from the juice of acidic fruits, it primarily comes in powder form and can be found in the baking or kosher aisle of any well-stocked grocery store. You can also leave it out of the recipe, but the ranch powder will lack that characteristic tang.

This recipe was featured as part of our Crazy DIY Flavored Nuts for March Madness.

  • Yields: About 4 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 25 mins, plus 30 mins cooling time 

Ingredients (9)

  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder
  • 4 cups raw cashews (about 1 pound 6 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. Place the chives and salt in a coffee or spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms. Transfer the powder to a small bowl. Add the buttermilk powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and citric acid to the bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
  3. Place the nuts and oil in a large bowl and stir until the nuts are evenly coated. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and spread the nuts into an even layer. (Reserve the bowl—you don’t need to wash it.) Roast, stirring halfway through, until the nuts are browned and toasted, about 10 to 15 minutes total.
  4. Immediately transfer the nuts to the reserved bowl. (Reserve the baking sheet—no need to wash.) Add the ranch powder and stir to evenly coat the nuts.
  5. Return the coated nuts to the reserved baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.