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Ranch Dressing - The Cool, Creamy Condiment

Updated on June 26, 2011
Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean resides in North Dakota, where she works as a freelance writer and blogs at Faith's Mom's Blog.

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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