I've been buying the wrong brand all these years.
If there’s one thing I know about well, it’s ranch dressing. It was a staple in my home growing up. Every night for dinner I was in charge of making a salad with iceberg lettuce, carrots, green onions, and ranch dressing. My school lunch every day was either rolls dipped in ranch, pizza dipped in ranch, or even just a basket of fries dipped in ranch. (Give me all the carbs and ranch, please!)
Fast forward some years (let’s not say how many!), my fridge always has a bottle of ranch, and it’s what my kids love to dip their veggies, chicken nuggets, and yes, even pizza in.
Full disclosure: I’ve been loyal to Bolthouse Farms ranch dressing for years because I love that it’s made with yogurt and on the healthier side. It has great taste, is reasonably priced, and is one all my kids enjoy. But when the opportunity arose to taste-test a variety of options, I was all in. If there’s a better ranch dressing out there, I want to know about it!
The 11 Brands of Bottled Ranch Dressings We Taste Tested
I gathered my family and good friends—a total of 13 people ranging in age from four to 40—to taste test all 11 bottles of ranch dressing. Together, we decided that the best ranch is uber creamy, able to coat anything well, has a bold flavor, and is a little tangy. With this criteria, we set out on an adventure to find the best bottle ranch you can buy.
Here are the 11 brands of bottled ranch dressing we tested:
Wish-Bone Ranch Dressing ($2.67)
Ken’s Steak House Ranch ($5.99)
Primal Kitchen Ranch ($6.29)
Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch ($3.99)
Great Value Classic Ranch ($1.97)
Hidden Valley The Original Ranch ($3.98)
Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing ($4.99)
Chick-fil-A Garden Herb Ranch ($4.58)
Walden Farms Ranch Dressing ($4.99)
I cut up cauliflower into florets—everyone agreed that this is the best vegetable because it tastes neutral and holds on to the ranch when dunked. Then, I poured the different ranch dressings into mini disposable shot glasses and labeled each one with a number. I created a key with the numbers matched with the brand name, but I made sure to tuck it away so that no one got influenced.
The Two Brands Everyone Agreed We Wouldn't Buy
Everyone gave the following two brands their lowest ratings: Primal Kitchen and Walden Farms.
I had high hopes for Primal Kitchen because it’s made from cage-free, organic egg yolks and avocado oil. It’s also dairy-free, sugar-free, and… enjoyment-free. Not to mention, at $6.29 for an eight-ounce bottle, it was the most expensive brand of the bunch. It had a mustard-like flavor, and my 11-year-old said it “tasted like gasoline.” Strong words, but the truth.
Walden Farms is calorie-free, fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and basically ranch-free. My teenage daughter said, “It can’t even be classified as ranch”—also strong words I agree with.
For Those Who Love Ranch With Tang: Olive Garden
I love tang, like that bite you get in the back of your throat after you’ve had a strong pickle or salt and vinegar chips. So, I put the brands with major bite factor at the top of my list. Olive Garden’s ranch has a really creamy texture. bold flavor, and that tang-a-lang. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! This is the one I'd buy again.
The Ranch You Take to a Party: Hidden Valley and Great Value
If you’re looking for a solid ranch dressing that’ll please a crowd, then you’re looking for either Hidden Valley Ranch or Great Value Ranch (Walmart's private label). Both are creamy and have a neutral ranch flavor.
Hidden Valley is the brand I grew up with, but I haven’t bought a bottle of it in a couple of decades. My husband loved that it was creamy, our friend ranked it his #1 choice, and the teenagers ranked it #2.
Teen Choice: Chick-fil-A
If you ever have the pleasure of taste-testing anything with teenagers, you know they don’t mince words. And their squeals of delight when they like something are the best.
The one ranch the teenagers agreed was “bussin'," “super-duper good,” and “scrum-dilly-umptious” was Chick-fil-A's ranch. As a mother of two of these teens, I feel an award is in order because teens are known to change their minds and moods at the drop of a hat, but a week later, they’re still all in agreement! This is still a clear winner!
Read the original article on Simply Recipes.