Why ranch dressing is such a staple in America

People love to hate on ranch dressing, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate it too.

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Love it or hate it, ranch dressing is here to stay, probably for the rest of time. It’s a quintessential American condiment, and TASTE has some things to say on the matter. Matt Rodbard picks apart the classic dip and dressing and delves into what makes it great, and honestly, it’s hard to disagree.

I, personally, eat enough of it that there’s always a bottle stashed in my fridge, typically from Hidden Valley or from Aldi’s store brand, and every now and then it’ll make its way out for dipping cucumbers or frozen pizza in, when the mood strikes.

Food writer Rachel Wharton argues that ranch dressing is a member of the “American mother sauces,” a list that also includes ketchup, barbecue sauce, and blue cheese dressing. That makes weird sense to me. Wharton suggests that ranch particularly excels when paired with bacon and tomatoes.

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But other chefs have gotten more creative. Rodney Scott uses it as the base of a white barbecue sauce recipe in his new cookbook, Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ. And there’s a chef in New York City, Lucas Sin, who puts ranch dressing on fried rice (whoa). Sin’s favorite ranch dressing comes from Jet’s Pizza, and while I’ve eaten their pies plenty of times, I had no idea the dressing had such a following. But Jet’s sells the stuff by the bottle, and you can add it to your pizza delivery. (Personally, my favorite fast-food ranch comes from Wingstop.)

And then there is TikTok. User Jen Curley, aka @snackqween, combined a packet of ranch dressing seasoning with a jar of Vlasic pickles, resulting in a ranch-infused sour bite. I’m not so sold on that one, but apparently it was a huge hit, so it’s inevitable that I’m going to try it, despite my skepticism. Pickles are always delicious in any form. And so, apparently, is ranch.