Is It Ever OK to Put Ranch Dressing on Pizza?

Depends on the pizza.

Photo Modified: Flickr/ Ginny/ CC BY-SA 4.0

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The world of food is no stranger to fierce personal battles. Because what we eat is such an individual thing, we’ll defend our likes and dislikes to the death. And in the pizza world, there are two types of people: those who put ranch dressing on it, and those who don’t.

There are two schools of thought on this. The first says that ranch is a perfectly acceptable accompaniment to all manner of junk food, from Buffalo wings to loaded fries. Its tangy, mellow flavor makes just about everything it touches taste better, so why not add it to pizza? The second school of thought is disgusted by the concept of adding ranch dressing to what’s already the perfect food — case closed.

So who’s right? I’d say it depends on personal preferences, but more often than not it depends on the pizza. Compare it to putting ketchup on steak. If you’re at a Waffle House, you can get away with putting ketchup on your steak. If you’re at Ruth’s Chris, it’s a sin. The same concept applies here: If you’re at a middling Midwestern pizza joint, where the quality of the pizza barely rises above fast food caliber (or is fast food caliber), then who cares what other toppings you add to your crummy slice. Heck, some Midwestern pizza (especially if it’s Buffalo chicken pizza, above) probably even tastes better with ranch.

But if you’re in New York, where all pizza makers treat their creations like works of art, then adding ranch is bound to earn you some nasty looks. Nobody in New York puts ranch dressing on his or her pizza; most pizzerias don’t even carry it, and if they do it’s for the tossed salad. Putting ranch on a high-quality Neapolitan-style pizza in New York is even worse than putting ketchup on your fancy steak; it’s like putting chocolate sauce on a Peter Luger porterhouse.

So to answer the question, yes, it’s probably OK to put ranch on your pizza. Just make sure that it’s crummy pizza, and that you’re nowhere close to New York City when you do it.  

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