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  • Writer's pictureScott Rotella

Ranch Dressing: The most popular dressing in the world

Ranch dressing  as a dip
Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is one of the most popular condiments in the United States and is the most popular salad dressing in the world–and for good reason. It has a creamy, tangy flavor that pairs well with a variety of foods. Ranch dressing can be used as a dip, dressing, or marinade, and it can be found in both powdered and bottled form.

History of ranch dressing

Ranch dressing was invented in the early 1950s by Steve Henson, a plumber who was working in Alaska. Henson was looking for a way to make a salad dressing that would taste good even when fresh ingredients were scarce. He experimented with different herbs and spices until he came up with a recipe that he loved.

Henson and his wife, Gayle, opened a ranch resort in California in 1957, and they began serving their ranch dressing to their guests. The dressing quickly became popular, and Henson started selling packets of his ranch seasoning mix. In 1975, Clorox bought the Hidden Valley Ranch brand, and ranch dressing became a national phenomenon.

Uses for ranch powder

Ranch powder is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used to make ranch dressing, of course, but it can also be used as a dip for vegetables, chips, and chicken wings. Ranch powder can also be added to soups, stews, and casseroles for extra flavor.

Here are some specific ideas for using ranch powder:

  • Make ranch dressing: Mix ranch powder with milk or buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream for a classic ranch dressing.

  • Make a dip: Mix ranch powder with sour cream, mayonnaise, and your favorite herbs and spices for a dip for vegetables, chips, or chicken wings.

  • Add it to soups and stews: Add a teaspoon or two of ranch powder to your favorite soup or stew for extra flavor and creaminess.

  • Use it as a marinade: Mix ranch powder with olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs and spices for a marinade for chicken, fish, or tofu.

  • Sprinkle some on your next batch of popcorn or the next batch of snack mix you make.

Uses for ranch dressing

Ranch dressing is a versatile condiment that can be used on a variety of foods. It is most commonly used as a salad dressing, but it can also be used as a dip, marinade, or sauce.

Here are some specific ideas for using ranch dressing:

  • Salad dressing: Ranch dressing is the perfect dressing for all types of salads, from simple lettuce salads to more elaborate salads with grilled meats and vegetables.

  • Dip: Ranch dressing is a popular dip for vegetables, chips, chicken wings, and other finger foods.

  • Marinade: Ranch dressing can be used as a marinade for chicken, fish, or tofu.

  • Sauce: Ranch dressing can be used as a sauce for pasta, chicken, or vegetables.

Ranch dressing is also a popular ingredient in recipes. It can be added to dips, sauces, casseroles, and baked goods.

Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix Recipe (aka Ranch Powder)

Ranch powder in a deli container
Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix

This is a shelf stable recipe, so we are using all dry ingredients. However, we are not including any anti-caking agents, so make sure to store in an airtight container.


  • Buttermilk powder: This is probably the one ingredient that is not typically found in a pantry. I like this buttermilk powder as it has a nice tang and tastes fresh.

  • See recipe for other ingredients

Ranch Dressing

We now have ranch powder. Let’s turn that into a salad dressing or dipping sauce.


  • Ranch Dressing Powder: It takes just a small amount to create a flavorful dressing.

  • Mayonnaise: You can use our recipe or store bought. If using store bought, I would recommend adding a ½ teaspoon each of granulated garlic and onion.

  • Sour cream: Adds an additional tang and creaminess.

  • Buttermilk: This can be just milk since we already have buttermilk powder in our mix. I rarely have buttermilk in the house. Plus, they tend to be sold in cartons larger than I need. However, I like the concept of additional buttermilk…so I just put a tablespoon of white vinegar per cup of milk in a measuring cup and then add milk. Since I only need a half of a cup for this recipe, I will just use 2 teaspoons. Stir and let sit for a few minutes. It won’t be buttermilk, but will have a similar tang and thickness. If you have some greek yogurt, that is also an excellent substitute.

  • Lemon juice: This adds to the tang and really adds a brightness to the dressing. Lemon can take a plain dish and make it extraordinary.

All you need to do is mix all of the ingredients together and store in a container. The flavors will meld together and intensify with a few hours of refrigeration. If you have some fresh herbs on hand, go ahead and chop them up and add them. It will just add to the fresh flavor. Fresh dill is great here, but I add just about anything…it does not need to be constrained to the dried herbs in the powder recipe.

Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad

BBQ Ranch Chicken salad ready to be devoured
Barbecue Ranch Salad

This is one of my absolute favorite entree salads. It is bursting with veggies, protein and awesome flavors. I am not going to provide a recipe here, just a list of ingredients that you can scale to the salad you want to make.


  • Romaine Lettuce: I like romaine for this. Anytime I use a creamy dressing, I want a sturdy lettuce for it and usually use romaine. I reserve things like a spring lettuce mix for vinaigrettes.

  • Carrots: I like to chop up “baby” carrots here–it adds texture, crunch, flavor and health!

  • Celery: Similar to carrots, I like the crunch that small pieces of celery add.

  • Bacon: Use your favorite bacon or pre-made bacon bits.

  • Cheddar Cheese: I like to shred a bit of cheese for this salad.

  • Roasted Corn: I buy frozen roasted corn at Trader Joe’s. I have also seen a similar product in traditional grocery stores. I just thaw it and use it as is.

  • Grilled Chicken: I use a breast per two people for this. Prep how you like. I keep up the barbeque theme and sprinkle on a little barbecue rub prior to grilling.

  • Red Onion: Just a small amount of finely diced red onion adds a nice flavor punch.

  • Cherry Tomatoes: I love cherry tomatoes for their extreme sweetness and low acidity. I use them on most salads.

  • Black Beans: I like to strain a can of “seasoned” black beans for this. The seasoning is subtle, but really adds a great flavor to this salad

  • Ranch Dressing: Nuff said!

  • Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce: Use our bbq sauce or something on the sweeter side for this like Sweet Baby Rays.

I always like to pre-dress my lettuce for entree salads. In this instance, I just dress the lettuce with the ranch and then assemble. You can arrange however you like. I then drizzle some additional ranch on top and then drizzle with the barbeque sauce. This is just a guide, add what ingredients you have.

A great addition to this salad is a little crunch. You can try store-bought canned crispy onions or fried shallots. I like to slice up a bunch of shallots and fry them as is in oil. They take a while, but the end result is worth it. They are tasty and crunchy bites that you can put on practically anything. Just make sure you salt them when they are out of the oil. If you do this, strain the oil and use it in your next vinaigrette–mind blowing!


Ranch dressing is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. It is a popular choice for dipping, dressing, and marinating foods. Ranch dressing is also a popular ingredient in recipes. If you are looking for a flavorful and versatile condiment, ranch dressing is a great option.

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