Does Ranch Seasoning Really Belong In Your Jar Of Pickles?

Americans eat $1 billion of ranch every year, and Money declared it millennials' favorite condiment. An ultimate guide to ranch dressing reveals some surprising facts about how ranch dressing turned into a must-have bottle in our fridges. There are wide swaths of the United States where pizza isn't complete without a side of ranch, per Dogtown Pizza. Depending on where you stand, it's the perfect dip to polish off pizza crust, or it's an abomination on par with pineapple on pizza. 

According to Edible Alaska, ranch dressing was invented by Steve Henson at a remote Alaskan work camp in 1949. That successful attempt to get a work crew to eat some veggies came with Steve, and his wife, Gayle, as they moved to a ranch in California. They rechristened the ranch "Hidden Valley," and started selling packets of powdered ranch mix that could be mixed into dairy and mayonnaise. Within a few decades, Hidden Valley Ranch was sold for $8 million, and the rest is history. Ranch has found its way into just about everything, including jars of pickles.

Ranch pickles?

As far as TikTok challenges go, ranch pickles are tame, and easy to achieve, thankfully. As Claire Lower, and Joel Kahn, on Lifehacker, discovered the hardest part of making a batch of ranch pickles might be waiting for the packet to dissolve. After a few moments admiring "a pickle-flavored lava lamp," add the lid, shake to dissolve, and stash in the fridge overnight.

The next day, the pickles that emerged from the cloudy brine were deemed snack-worthy, but "not a complete pivot to a different flavored pickle." Pickle brine is already salty with a vinegar tang. And, the pickles have already absorbed their fill of brine. So, it's probably not a surprise that the ranch packet only offered a subtle change. 

Don't give up on ranch dressing seasoning packets providing huge flavor though. Good Housekeeping gives upgrade options for a dozen recipes. That's just the start. That powdered package of flavor pairs with countless recipes.

Ranch seasoning belongs in much more than pickles

Ranch seasoning packets are the secret to restaurant ranch dressing. Using these packets as they were originally intended might be the best move. As Mel Magazine reveals, in restaurants, chefs add their own ratios of buttermilk, mayo, and sour cream to cater their ranch exactly as they want. Adding more fresh herbs, some heat via dried chiles, or up the ranch dressing a notch by adding lavender.

Sprinkling the seasoning on roasted vegetables, or using it as part of fried food dredging, are just a few ideas from Food Network. Think of it as any other seasoning blend to add some tang and complexity to whatever you'd like. Just remember there's plenty of salt, so use a light hand and taste as you go.

If the packet's additives, like MSG, give you pause, The Pioneer Woman has a home-made version that can be used to sprinkle or turn into your own ranch dressing. They add dried parsley, dried dill, freeze-dried chives, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper to dry buttermilk powder. Just whisk it to combine and store it in the fridge for up to a few months.