Ranch dressing is, quite surprisingly, one of the most divisive foods in America. Some people can’t eat a slice of pizza without it; some shun those who do. Some swear by it as a wing sauce; some only use blue cheese. No matter your opinion on it, ranch has been the best-selling salad dressing in America since 1992, and we tried 10 of the country’s leading ranch brands in a blind taste test, and one came out on top.
This was by far the least favorite of the bunch, and the majority of tasters found it to be nearly unpalatable. It was thin and watery, and had a strange gritty consistency. Its flavor was also off-putting, tasting primarily of vinegar and egg yolk.
Newman’s Own was a real disappointment. The predominant smell and flavor was that of vegetable oil. It was also a little too vinegary, and there’s wasn’t much in the way of identifiable herb or spice flavor.
Bolthouse Farms is based on yogurt instead of mayo, and also contains only three grams of fat and 45 calories per serving, far fewer than the competition. It still fared better than some of its full-fat counterparts, however, which definitely wins it points in our book, but its flavor was otherwise nondescript, with perhaps a little too much cultured tang from the yogurt.
Kraft recently reformulated their ranch recipe, but our tasters still weren’t very impressed. Most of us didn’t think that it actually tasted much like ranch dressing should, and that it was bland and “middle of the road.” The only real discernible seasoning was garlic.
Like Newman’s, the smell and taste of oil was strong in this one, but it also had a strong mustard flavor. It was also pretty heavy on the garlic.
Our tasters were pleased with Ken’s texture and zippy tanginess, but it had an odd chemical aftertaste and not much was noticeable in the way of seasonings. Not bad but also nothing special, it fell squarely in the middle of the pack.
Marzetti’s was a crowd-pleaser, and our tasters noted the welcome presence of extra virgin olive oil. It was creamy and tangy, and while our tasters didn’t have much in the way of complaints, it was missing that “wow” factor.
The original ranch surprisingly didn’t come out on top. It had a pleasant flavor, with notes of black pepper, garlic, and real mayo, and the consistency was nice and creamy, but it was a bit too bland for some tasters.
Wish-Bone’s ranch was a very popular one, largely due to its balance of mayo, tanginess, garlic, and salt. Several tasters mentioned that when they think of ranch, this is what they think of.
Marie’s, which is found in the refrigerated section, was a near-universal favorite. It was the only one where our tasters identified real buttermilk flavor, and it was also the thickest and creamiest, with plenty of real mayo flavor as well. It has more fat and calories than the competition, but also the fewest ingredients. Our tasters could also pick up garlic, black pepper, and parsley, and many noted that while there’s plenty of ranch flavor present, it would also work as a great mayo-based sauce for chicken or fish. We can’t wait to try it on wings!