Can Ranch Dressing Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

image of Ranch Shelf life, Expiration date, and storage tips

Who doesn’t love the creamy, delicious taste of ranch dressing? It seems to make everything better!

If you look at the numbers, you’ll understand why it’s so popular.

Believe it or not, ranch dressing is actually the most popular condiment in America—it’s more popular than ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise combined. In fact, sales for 2020 were estimated to be over $1 billion dollars! (*)

A typical American household is kinda not complete if you can’t find a bottle of ranch salad dressing in their kitchen. Now that’s something to dip into!

But, does ranch dressing go bad?

Short Answer:

Yes, the ranch dressing does go bad, but it can last for at least a year if you don’t open the bottle yet. Once opened, you can even keep it for a few months. That’s the case for the store-bought ranches, as they contain many stabilizers and preservatives to help extend their shelf life. If you have a homemade ranch, the shelf life is shorter.

In this post, we’ll discuss the answers to these questions about the ranch:

Keep reading!

image of Ranch Dressing

What Is Ranch?

Ranch, ranch salad dressing, or ranch sauce is a famous type of salad dressing that has a combination of:

Starting in the mid-90s, the ranch has become the best-selling salad dressing in the United States. (*)

There are at least 2 versions of the ranch; one with a thicker consistency that serves as a salad dip while the thinner one serves as a salad dressing.

Use of Ranch

Overall, the ranch is primarily used to give additional flavor and creaminess to potato chips, pizzas, fried chicken, french fries, and many foods to mention.

It also pairs well with vegetables such as celery, spinach, arugula, and more. Furthermore, it’s not a surprise that it has become of the daily life of many people’s meals!

The downside about ranch salad dressing is that they are high in fat. So if you’re on a diet, make sure to check the nutrition label to see how much you can get for a serving of ranch.

So now we are going to answer the most important question:

Does Ranch Go Bad? How Long Does Ranch Dressing Last?

Ranch Dressing Time 
Store bought, unopened12 to 18 months
Store bought, opened6 months
Freshly made4 days – 2 weeks

Store-bought ranch

Note that the shelf life of your store-bought ranch will depend on the ingredients it contains. Hence, some varieties can last for a few months, and some can stay for at least a year.

Store-bought ranch contains preservatives and stabilizers, which can help them last for about 12 to 18 months at room temperature.

Once opened, it can last in the fridge for about 6 months.

Homemade ranch

Freshly made ranch or homemade ranch can only last for up to 4 days to two weeks in the refrigerator.

If it has more dairy ingredients, it may only last for 2 hours at room temperature. That’s why you should only produce homemade ranch in small batches to minimize food waste.

image of Ranch Dressing on chips

How To Know If Ranch Is Bad? Ranch Shelf Life!

Eating a spoiled ranch definitely is not something you want to happen. So how can you tell if your ranch has already gone bad?

Here’s what you should do to detect a spoiled ranch.

1. Inspect the appearance of your ranch dressing.

If you notice if the color is different from the time you bought it, that’s already a sign of spoilage. There’s no need for you to taste it; just throw it away immediately.

If you see some fuzzy molds feasting on your ranch, don’t ever think of scraping off the affected part and believe it is okay to eat the “clean” portion.

You can never tell with your naked eyes if that part was already contaminated with mold spores that are just waiting for the right timing and environmental condition to sprout.

We advise that you discard it to avoid the dangers of foodborne illness for your safety.

2. Check the odor

Give your ranch a sniff and find out if it smells okay. If it comes off with an odorous or sour smell, that already indicates that it’s no longer safe to eat. Thus, you should toss it away.

3. Check the condition of the packaging or bottle.

If you have a bloated bottle of ranch, you should never eat the contents.

A bloated or bulging container is a sign that foodborne pathogens are actively thriving in the container. Thus, you should not feel bad about throwing it away. (*)

image of Ranch Dressing on salad

Learn more: What does ranch taste like?

How To Store Ranch Dressing

Keeping your ranch salad dressing in the proper storage condition can help maximize its shelf life.

Storing ranch dressing is easy as keeping a bottle of mayonnaise. Take note of these tips on how to keep your ranch properly:

  1. Make sure to return the cap and seal the bottle tightly.
  2. Please put it in the kitchen cabinet or at the back of your refrigerator to avoid direct exposure to warm air every time you open the door.

If you have a fresh or homemade ranch dressing, make sure to place them in an airtight container before putting it at the back of your fridge.

See that you should consume everything within the week before those bad.

Does Ranch Need To Be Refrigerated?

Ranch dressing should be stored in the refrigerator due to the potential growth of harmful bacteria if left at warm temperatures for an extended period of time.

Mayonnaise has both high acidity levels and fat content which can support the growth of bacteria if not refrigerated, leading to spoilage. It is important to always keep ranch dressing chilled.

image of does ranch sauce go bad


Can you eat ranch that was left out overnight?

It is highly discouraged to consume dairy products such as ranch dressings that have been left out at room temperature. Or in the “danger zone” for more than two hours, as it increases the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Commercial salad dressings may contain preservatives, but there is still a risk if signs of spoilage are present. It is best to avoid consuming any foods that have been left out overnight or in the danger zone for a long period of time.

Is it okay to eat expired ranch?

Expiration dates are not always indicative of when food has gone bad, and should be used as a guide rather than an absolute indicator. If a product is past its expiration date, inspect it carefully for signs of spoilage before discarding it.

In some cases, the food can still be safe to eat up to two months past the printed date if it smells, looks, and tastes alright – use your judgment and senses to decide.

My ranch salad dressing has gone bad. What are my alternatives?

You will need an ingredient as tasty and creamy as you’re missing ranch dressing.
First, you can make one from scratch. If that’s impossible, you can try tzatziki sauce, tarator sauce, or any dip that uses plain yogurt as its base.

Can you freeze homemade ranch dressing?

Yes, you can freeze homemade ranch dressing. You can actually keep it for up to 1 month in the freezer.

The downside of freezing homemade ranch dressing is that its consistency will separate, and the texture will change once you thaw it.


The ranch is a favorite creamy condiment for many Americans. If you have a bottle that’s sitting there for awhile, you might wonder: “Does ranch dressing go bad or expire?”.

Here’s your answer:

  • Store-bought ranch dressing is a shelf-stable product that can last from 12 to 18 months in the pantry. Once opened, the shelf life gets shorter, but you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
  • For homemade ranch dressing, we advise that you should consume everything within the week before it spoils.
  • If you have stored your dressing for a while, make sure that it’s free from spoilage signs such as mold growth, discoloration, and off smell

And that’s all about the ranch dressing shelf life, spoilage, and storage! Feel free to share your thoughts about what you think about the ranch.

Up Next: The Shelf life of Canned Food

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