The ranch is a creamy, tangy condiment that has been popular in the United States for decades. It’s not just for dipping vegetables anymore – it’s also used as a salad dressing, dip for chips and crackers, and in many recipes. But what is ranch made of exactly?
Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Ranch Dressing Exactly?
At its core, the dressing is primarily composed of three key ingredients:
- And herbs.
The mix of mayonnaise and buttermilk provides a rich texture and tangy flavor that is the base of the condiment.
Most recipes call for dill weed or parsley, garlic powder or chopped garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and often some chile pepper such as cayenne or jalapeño.
Some chefs also use Worcestershire sauce or white wine vinegar to enhance the flavor.
In addition to the core ingredients mentioned above, there are endless variations on the dressings depending on personal preference and availability of ingredients.
Some people like to add yogurt instead of mayonnaise to cut calories, while others choose sour cream as an alternative ingredient.
Other additions include lemon juice, horseradish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or anchovy paste (the latter popular in Caesar-style ranch dressings).
Even vegan options are available using combinations of tofu-based spreads and almond milk!
Why Is It Called Ranch?
The classic creamy condiment we know as ranch dressing has been around in the United States since the 1950s, but its roots trace back to a type of buttermilk-based salad dressing popular in Eastern Europe and the United States in the 1920s.
The name “ranch” comes from the fact that this dressing was commonly used at dude ranches—ranch-style vacation resorts—in California, Arizona, and Colorado during that time.
The original ranch dressing was a mix of mayonnaise, buttermilk, and chives (which is still popular today), though it wasn’t until 1952 when Steve Henson created his version with added herbs and spices that the recipe we all know took shape.
No matter which variation you prefer (or make!), the dressing offers a delicious way to add flavor to salads without overwhelming them with extra calories.
With so many variations today – from classic homemade versions to store-bought organic varieties – it’s no wonder why this condiment remains so popular!
10 Weird Facts You Didn’t Know About Ranch Dressing
- The inventor of ranch dressing, Steve Henson, created the original recipe in 1954 after trying out various versions of buttermilk-based dressings while running a guest ranch in California. (*)
- In 1992, Hidden Valley Ranch made history when it became the first to report over $100 million in sales for one product.
- Until recently, the United States consumed more ranch dressing per capita than any other country – over 1.5 billion gallons each year!
- While undoubtedly delicious, many people like to pair ranch with chips and other savory snacks, such as pizza and French fries.
- Today there are numerous variations on the classic ranch, ranging from light and creamy buttermilk versions to smoky chipotle varieties or even sweet and sour honey mustard recipes!
- Some people find that combining their favorite ranch flavors creates an entirely new culinary experience – try mixing spicy jalapeno with cool cucumber for a unique twist on a classic!
- In some areas, the ranch is used as a dip or sauce for chicken wings – talk about a flavor explosion!
- The ranch can also be used as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables for added tangy goodness.
- Even though it’s been around since the 1950s, it wasn’t until the 2000s that ranch started becoming hugely popular worldwide– with Australia leading the pack in sales growth over recent years!
- Some scientists even believe that humans may have an innate taste preference specifically developed to enjoy certain chemicals found naturally in ranch dressing (such as buttermilk).
Up Next: What Does Ranch Taste Like?