6 Ranch Dressings You Should Buy And 7 You Shouldn't

Ah, ranch, how we love thee. You're a creamy, cool little sauce that we Americans love drenching over almost anything. Still, there's such a thing as good ranch dressing ... and bad ranch dressing. And, oh boy, there are a lot of bad takes on ranch dressing out there.

I guess I never realized how hard it is to find a truly tasty ranch dressing. My theory is that once you get used to a particular ranch brand, your palate adapts and you begin to think that's all there is. Well, I'm here to tell you that even some of the most popular ranch dressing brands out there don't hold a candle to a few grocery store options I've included on this list. 

From generic store brand dressings to brand-name refrigerated ones, I'm here to share my personal experience with the best and worst ranch dressings on the market. Join me as we explore which ranch dressings you should buy and which ones you shouldn't.

Avoid: California Pizza Kitchen Ranch Dressing

I went into the California Pizza Kitchen Ranch Dressing with high hopes, even though I know that just because California Pizza Kitchen is stamped on the label doesn't mean it's going to taste great. Nevertheless, I had stealthy expectations, so imagine my surprise when I found that this ranch actually wasn't so hot.

It isn't that this ranch is completely gross. Rather, California Pizza Kitchen does a lot in terms of herb flavoring. This dressing is pretty extra, and not in a good way. It was also significantly darker than the other dressings, seemingly because of the amount of herbs crammed within the bottle. Since I tend to lean more towards ranch dressings that bolster a good balance of creaminess and light herbal flavor, this ranch dressing was just a little too herb-forward, if you catch my drift. But if you're the type of person who likes all those herbal essences slapping you in the face, then this might be the right choice for you. Chances are, however, that you'll want to pass.

Buy: Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Wow, talk about a good ranch dressing! This is another one of those dressings that I remember buying way back when, but boy, I didn't remember it being this good.

Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing is a refrigerated dressing that is a ranch-lover's dream. It's a low-calorie yogurt-based option that weighs in at only 50 calories per 2 tablespoons and has an ingredient list with very few additives. What I love most about this Bolthouse Farms dressing is the flavor. You can taste the herbs (it is very dill-forward), yet its garlicky backdrop melds perfectly into its yogurt base.

Of course, if garlic in your ranch dressing isn't your jam, you may want to skip this one. But if you like a decent dose of garlic in your salad dressing, then Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing is the pick for you.

Avoid: Ken's Steakhouse Ranch Salad Dressing

Before I start, I just want to say that I love Ken's Steak House salad dressings. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to try the brand's take on ranch. Ken's variety comes in two main flavors, one being plain ranch and the other buttermilk. When I tasted the plain, to my surprise (and utter disdain), I didn't care for it. In fact, I found it shockingly mundane.

When I first poured the dressing, I noticed that it seemed to have the perfect ratio of herbs and a creamy base. Once it hit my tongue, however, it had a strange flavor. It's not that it was bad; it was just ... meh

I could barely taste any of the herbs and I couldn't detect any garlic, which could have made it more interesting. Overall, it was flavorless and definitely out of the norm for Ken's brand dressings. As much as it pains me to say, I recommend you skip Ken's Steakhouse Ranch Dressing. 

Buy: Ken's Steak House Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing

I did not enjoy my experience with the original Ken's Steakhouse Ranch Salad Dressing. Because of this, I went into Ken's Steakhouse Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing with low expectations. Thankfully, Ken's buttermilk ranch tasted a bit better than the original variety. Like with many ranch options on this list, this dressing focused more on buttermilk flavor than the herbs that often grace it. Though there was none of that enjoyable garlicky taste in the background I looked for, I still found this ranch dressing to be pleasant.

However, I warn you that it tastes a little weird when it first hits the tongue, but it at least eventually mellows into something quite pleasant. I know that may sound confusing, and trust me, I think so too. Overall, Ken's Steakhouse Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing isn't too bad of a pick, though you're unlikely to be wowed.

Avoid: Kroger Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing

Oh, yuck, what is this stuff? I know it's a generic brand, but come on, Kroger. At first squirt, I could already tell I wasn't going to like this Kroger Creamy Ranch Salad Dressing. The dressing was almost stark white with very few — if any — specks of herbs. After tasting so many ranch dressings, I quickly learned that a lack of visible herbs often spells trouble.

This dressing lacked flavor — beyond the unpleasant tinge of food additives — and tasted exactly as its price point would suggest. It simply wasn't enjoyable. Nevertheless, my young daughter liked it, which isn't surprising. Its bland savor is perfectly fitting for a picky little one. 

As for me, the only good thing about this ranch is its price, the fact that there's no high fructose corn syrup in it, and that it's made with cage-free eggs (though that cage-free phrase can get tricky). But don't let those factors fool you. This still simply isn't a good ranch.

Avoid: Kraft Classic Ranch Salad Dressing

I had higher hopes for Kraft Classic Ranch Salad Dressing, but I was disappointed. I know that Kraft isn't necessarily the most sophisticated choice when it comes to salad dressing, but I thought it would be a fairly decent option out of the lineup. Sadly, however, I found this to be on par with the Kroger brand ranch dressing — and that is not a compliment.

In short, this Kraft ranch dressing was extremely bland. It looked like Kroger dressing in terms of consistency and lack of herbs. Of course, like with the Kroger brand, my daughter loved it, and I can see why. There is very little flavor here, which can suit a picky child's taste buds just fine (though it doesn't hurt to encourage them to try new things). As for adults, I would recommend side-stepping this one. Nothing is exciting about it, and there are a myriad of better options out there.

Buy: Hidden Valley Ranch Light Salad Dressing

The Hidden Valley Ranch Light Salad Dressing surprised me. In my experience, light dressing tends to be a pale imitation of the original that lacks flavor. I'm happy to report that though Hidden Valley Ranch Light dressing may have lower calories and contain less fat, it doesn't disappoint in terms of flavor. Dare I say it, it may taste better than the Hidden Valley Original.

I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did, so I tasted the regular and light dressings side by side for a better comparison. The flavor of the additives in the light dressing wasn't as clearly noticeable as in the original. And while I wouldn't say that Hidden Valley Ranch Light dressing is my all-time favorite ranch grab, I can at least tell you that this is a solid pick if you're looking for something with less fat and fewer calories to dress your salad.

Buy: Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Salad Dressing

Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Salad Dressing used to be one of my favorite ranch dressings, though I hadn't sampled it in a while. So, I was looking forward to trying it again to see how it compared to the competition.

This is one of the better ranch dressings out there. This dressing is refrigerated, so it won't have the same shelf-stable qualities as the others. For this reason, the Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Salad Dressing had a cool bite that complemented its creamy texture, resulting in an experience that I quite enjoyed. The flavor of the dressing had a slight tang, almost like sour cream, and was slightly herbal. Unlike a few of the others, this one's additives weren't as easily discernable as in generic ranch brands.

Another thing to note is that the bottle top on this particular dressing can get quite messy, given it doesn't feature a pourable spout but simply a wide-mouth jar with a twist-turn top. While it isn't the most exciting ranch dressing I've ever tasted, it does hold its own, especially when compared to the other dressings on this list.

Avoid: Wish-Bone Ranch Dressing

Let me start off by saying I in no way have anything against the Wishbone brand. But this dressing is so bad. I started by opening the bottle and pouring a bit on a plate. My daughter instantly proclaimed that it smelled funny. I ignored her comment while going full throttle for the taste test. As it entered my mouth, I realized that this was going to be a terrible experience. I instantly gagged. I then went in for a whiff of the stuff ... and it was a double gag.

Aside from the horrid taste of the ranch, there's the appearance and consistency. The dressing looked like Elmer's school glue in that it contained almost no visible herbs. Sure, there was a fleck here and there, but compared to the other ranch dressings, there was little to be had in terms of herb flavoring. All in all, this ranch was a disaster.

Buy: Marzetti Classic Ranch Salad Dressing

The Marzetti Classic Ranch Salad Dressing is a tasty little number. Though not exclusively advertised as having little to no additives, I was surprised when I flipped the bottle around to see very few ingredients. It almost seemed to have fewer ingredients than its Marzetti Simply Ranch counterpart. Comparing the two, I can see that the Marzetti Simply Ranch has only 50 calories per two tablespoons, while the original Marzetti ranch salad dressing has 140 calories in the same amount. Either way, I enjoyed the original more than the lower-calorie option.

The original Marzetti ranch dressing is very creamy and thick, with robust flavor, though no particular herb stands out. It has a pleasant garlic aftertaste. It's especially good if you want a creamy ranch that's delicious but relatively neutral. Out of the many ranch dressings I tried, this is one of the clear favorites.

Avoid: Great Value Classic Ranch Salad Dressing

I knew that the Great Value brand was a risk when it came to the prospect of delivering great flavor, but like with the Kroger brand dressing, I wasn't going to rule it out based on its status as a generic store brand. Still, as soon as the Great Value Classic Ranch Salad Dressing hit my tongue, I was dissatisfied. The truth is that I can't say I was too surprised.

Great Value Ranch Dressing from Walmart comes in a slender bottle and runs a little less than $2 in my area. Is it worth picking up a bottle based on pricing alone? Maybe. If you aren't too pretentious and want something super basic to top salads or dip carrots in, I'd say go for it. But be prepared to be met with another stark white ranch with little taste other than chemical additives and a hint of oddly unpleasant buttermilk-like flavor. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, but this one's a hard pass for me.

Buy: Marzetti Simply Ranch Salad Dressing

I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. Where I come from, Marzetti salad dressings are household staples. With that in mind, I expected Marzetti's Simply Ranch Salad Dressing to taste good, not only because it hails from the Marzetti lineup but also because it's advertised as a simple dressing with fewer additives for a hopefully more authentic flavor. So, did it deliver?

Yes, it did. The flavor of this one was very garlic-forward and with a tangy bite, which I quite liked. It even burned the back of my throat a bit but in a pleasant way. I found the dressing ridiculously flavorful and worthy of a repeat buy.

In terms of ingredients, this one is a breath of fresh air. As a refrigerated ranch dressing, buttermilk is the first ingredient, and all other ingredients are easy to pronounce with very few to no additives in sight. Components like salt, egg yolk, cornstarch, sugar, garlic, and onion grace the list, with no potentially suspicious ingredients lurking within. I appreciate the Marzetti brand for this one, and I'll continue to come back for more.

Avoid: Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing

Look, I know Hidden Valley tends to be the standard when it comes to ranch dressing, but I'm going to shoot straight with you here: it isn't my favorite.

At this point, you're likely rolling your eyes. I understand. It's just that I'm a stickler when it comes to food additives, meaning I avoid them like the plague whenever I can. For that reason, my palate has grown very sensitive to food items and condiments that are loaded with them, and Hidden Valley Ranch is no different. With MSG, disodium phosphate, calcium disodium EDTA, and a hodgepodge of other hard-to-pronounce additions, it's hard for me to enjoy this one.

One thing I can say about Hidden Valley Ranch is that it's a step above in flavor compared to other ranch dressings I reviewed. It's cream-forward rather than herbal and more pleasant-tasting than generic brands like Wishbone, Kraft, or Ken's. Still, there's much lacking in overall delight and, for that, this popular ranch brand simply isn't among my top faves.


To assess the ranch dressings featured in this post fairly, I sampled each with a single carrot. I observed the flavor and consistency of each brand, keeping in mind any specific claims made by the label, such as light dressing or buttermilk varieties.

Other factors considered include pricing and my personal bias. As a fan of garlicky and creamy ranch dressings, I don't particularly care for those that are bland or are heavily herbal. I also hate artificial or chemical-tasting condiments and foods.

Is this how you'd rank your ranch dressings? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I hope that you walk away from this review equipped with enough information about each to make it easy to select your next creamy ranch-scapade.