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Ranch Dressing - The Cool, Creamy Condiment

Updated on June 26, 2011
Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean is a freelance writer and author. Her inspiring memoir "Having Faith" is available on Amazon. She resides in North Dakota.

It's an impressive fact that Ranch Dressing has been the number one choice of dressing for Americans since 1992. And since overtaking Italian, Ranch Dressing has never looked back. Why do we love ranch dressing so much? Is it because there are so many varieties? Is it because it is so versatile and can be used for more than just salads? Is it because it's so readily available or it can be made easily at home? Is it because it is so cool, creamy and dreamy? Whatever the reason, it is obvious we love our ranch dressing!

Ranch Dressing Actually Came From a Ranch

Hidden Valley Ranch is an actual place in Santa Barbara, California where a couple named Steve and Gayle Henson operated a dude ranch. The ranch was opened in 1954. Steve had developed a special dressing which he sold to his guests as a side business.

As the dressing's popularity increased, it was packaged into bottles and then the Hensens opened a factory that sold packets of seasoning that had to be mixed with buttermilk and mayonnaise. In 1972, their special brand of dressing was sold to Clorox for $8 million.

Clorox has since made the seasoning packets more convenient by having to add milk rather than buttermilk. In 1983 they were able to make a bottle that didn't have to be refrigerated. This was not easy to do because of its high dairy content. But Clorox was able to add the right blend of preservatives to give the dressing a shelf life of approximately 150 days. This increased its popularity greatly and it is now sold in over 30 countries.

fried shrimp with ranch dressing. Photo from
fried shrimp with ranch dressing. Photo from

Not the Healthiest Choice

Ranch dressing is generally made with buttermilk or sour cream, mayonnaise, minced green onion, garlic powder and other seasonings. It's probably not the dressing of choice if you want something healthy.

A typical 2 tablespoon serving contains 145 caloriesĀ and 15 g of fat. In a reduced fat version of ranch dressing, a serving contains 59 calories and 4 g of fat. It is also high in sodium but on the plus side, it is a good source of vitamin K. If you are allergic to gluten, some companies have it in their dressing but Hidden Valley Ranch is gluten free.

Ingredients in Hidden Valley Ranch:

Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil), Egg Yolk, Sugar, Salt, Cultured Nonfat Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Spices, less than 1% of Garlic (Dried), Onion, Vinegar, Phosphoric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Monosodium Glutamate, Artificial Flavors, Disodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium Edta As Preservatives, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate.

But it Tastes So Good

If you're not concerned about the unhealthy benefits of ranch dressing then go wild! Or maybe just consume ranch with your favorite food in moderation.

Ranch dressing not only taste great on salads but on many other foods where it is used as a dip. Some of the more common foods ranch dressing accompanies includes: chicken wings, french fries, pizza, fried mushrooms, hush puppies, hamburgers, tacos, onion rings, pretzels , breadsticks, and probably a million other types of food.

Types of Ranch Dressing

If you don't like the taste of original ranch dressing, there are some other variations to try, such as:

  • Peppercorn Ranch
  • Bacon Ranch
  • Three Cheese Ranch
  • Spicy Ranch
  • Cucumber Ranch
  • Organic Ranch

Which do you prefer? The Original or one above? I'd also love to know what kinds of food you eat with your ranch dressing! Personally, I love ranch with buffalo chicken moderation of course!


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    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Daniel Leo - thanks for your comment. I didn't ever make the claim that Hidden Valley was the first to introduce bottled ranch dressing - just that they did make it available in a bottle.

    • profile image

      Daniel Leo 6 years ago

      Hidden Valley was NOT the first to introduce bottled ranch dressing. I was responsible for developing the first bottled, shelf stable dressing under the Seven Seas brand. Many companies have claimed to be first but Anderson Clayton Foods was, in fact, the first to develop and introduce it.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      prairieprincess - That's my take on it too that at least the salad part is healthy! Thanks for your comment.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 7 years ago from Canada

      Great hub! Love ranch, even though it's not the healthiest. The salad itself is healthy, so that balances out!

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      You're welcome, Carol!

    • profile image

      Carol 7 years ago

      Good to know - thanks so much!

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Carol - thanks for your comment. According to Hidden Valley Ranch, they will always declare gluten in any of their products. Here is their statement on the subject.

      "The FDA requires that we list the following allergens on our ingredient labels:

      1. Egg

      2. Soybean (excluding high refined oil)

      3. Dairy

      4. Peanut

      5. Wheat (barley, rye, oats, or any source of gluten)

      6. Fish

      7. Crustacean

      8. Tree Nut

      For the most accurate source of information, please check the back of the ingredient panel for every purchase as ingredients may change. Additionally, the term "Natural Flavor" is proprietary to our formula however, if any of the allergens listed above were present in the natural flavors it would be called out specifically on the ingredient panel. Further, none of our products are manufactured on dedicated lines." Rose Hill, Consumer Response Representative

      Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Carol 7 years ago

      I have always loved this dressing. My mom used to make it with buttermilk back in the day - it was so fresh. Wondering how you know for sure it is gluten free? I've been researching and only found your article that says it is, while others don't say or don't know.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      TINA - yeah, I thought the history was interesting too. I use it for my veggie salad too...and my french fries and my chicken wings... and so on! Thanks so much for your comment!

    • TINA V profile image

      TINA V 7 years ago

      It's good to know something about the Hidden Ranch history. I like their products as a dressing for my veggie salad, but I just use it moderately. I like the Bacon and Three Cheese Ranch. This is a well-written hub. Thanks for the information.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 7 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Springboard - thanks so much for your great comment. I think Ranch is here to stay and will probably remain the people's choice for favorite salad dressing because it can be used for so much more than just salad. Not every dressing can say that! The original is my favorite too although I do try to get the one with less fat.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      There are tons of products that come and go, and perhaps nowadays that pace is growing faster, but hitting the proverbial nail on the head and coming up with something that will last the ages is a rarity. But one that was definitely accomplished here. The favorite part of this story is that successful ideas like this often times don't come from the big giant corporations with huge research and development dollars and staff. They come from regular folks who just have a great idea and somehow that great idea makes its way to the masses. The Tombstone frozen pizza story was that way as well.

      Great hub, and as for my favorite Ranch? You really are going to make me choose one? I have never found a variety I didn't like. Perhaps the original is still the best though. Perhaps.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Money Glitch - thanks for your comment. I think there is always something new to discover with Ranch Dressing! Thanks for rating up!

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 8 years ago from Texas

      Good hub, and what a nice surprise, Cari Jean! Thought I knew all the tricks of the trade for using Ranch Dressing, since it's one of my favorite dressings; however, I've never tried it on shrimp. Will definitely have to give it a try. Rating up!

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      kateim2 - thanks for your comment...and the birthday wishes!!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 8 years ago from I'm outta here

      Ranch is such a popular flavor, thanks for the great tips on Ranch Dressing The Cool Creamy Condiment. :)

      Happy Birthday...

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      HealthyHanna - Thanks for your comment. I agree, none taste as good as Ranch - and that is very good advice!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 8 years ago from Utah

      We try to use healthier dressings, but none taste as good as Ranch. The best advise I can give is "moderation". Remember not to use too much, and Ranch Dressing wont hurt you or your waist line.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      DeBorrah - I agree, I like to dip my vegetables in ranch dressing - esp. carrots and celery. Thanks for your comment.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Pamela - I usually only eat ranch too, I just haven't found many other dressings that I like the taste of. Thanks for your comment.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 8 years ago

      Cari Jean, Nice hub! A great healthy appetizer plate adorned with baby carrots, broccoli, jalapeño peppers and celery with a side of cool Ranch Dressing is great for snacks!

      Thanks for sharing Peace & Blessings!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Cari, I like to use a variety of dressings but my husband will only eat ranch dressing. This is a good hub. Thanks.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      Hello, hello again! Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate you reading and commenting on my hubs!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      Sounds great and thank you for the history. It just shows. It is amazing.


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