11 Things You Never Knew About Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a staple in American salad bars, vegetable trays and even pizza boxes. Here's what only serious ranch fans know about the iconic condiment.

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Homemade ranch dressing in a mason jar with fresh vegetables
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Ranch is America’s #1 salad dressing

Ranch dressing is far and away our favorite salad dressing as a nation. It received 40 percent of the vote in a poll by the Association for Dressings and Sauces. Italian dressing took second place with just 10 percent. To make your favorite dressing extra creamy and snack-able, try adding cheese.

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Homemade ranch
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It was invented by a plumber

Steve Henson was working as a plumber when he first created this winning salad dressing. While cooking for his construction crew in Anchorage, Alaska, he played around with a buttermilk dressing recipe until he found the perfect combination of garlic, onion and fresh herbs.

Recreate the magic at home with this ranch dressing mix recipe.

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Baby carrots with ranch dressing dip in outdoor

It was originally sold on an actual ranch

After developing his famous recipe, Henson and his wife moved to a ranch in California and named it Hidden Valley. The ranch soon became famous for the creamy dressing they served in their restaurant, and Henson began selling the mix to guests.

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nachos with dips border background on dark slate
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Doritos made it famous

While ranch dressing was developed in the ’50s, it didn’t become a household staple for decades. Stores first sold the dry mix until shelf-stable bottles of the creamy dressing were introduced in 1983. By the time Cool Ranch Doritos hit the grocery scene in 1986, the ranch phenomenon was officially here to stay.

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Avocado ranch dressing in small jar with salad leaves in a colander.
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You can drink it

OK, maybe not the best idea to chug it straight from the bottle. But quirky-drink creator Lester’s Fixins makes a ranch-flavored soda that’s a super-fun novelty gift or a must-try for the most hardcore ranch lovers out there. We love adding ranch to savory foods like potato salad and even flatbread pizzas, but soda? Who knew?

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Apricot chicken wings
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There’s an entire restaurant devoted to it

You may think you’re in love with ranch dressing, but you don’t have anything on the owners of Twisted Ranch in St. Louis, Missouri. Every single item on the menu contains one of their 31 house-made ranch dressings. From appetizers like loaded tots, all the way to burgers, pasta and pizza; every dish is smothered in fresh ranch.

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Vegetables in a heart-shaped tray ready to eat on light background.
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Celebrities obsess over it

Celebrities may live the most glamorous lives, but they eat their ranch dressing one bite at a time just like the rest of us. Chrissy Teigen has posted on Instagram about her love for ranch, and Courteney Cox even slurped down a bowl of it on Anderson Cooper’s show!

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Ranch dressing
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But chefs do not

Apparently the dressing inspires some strong feelings—on both sides. Some chefs can’t stand the stuff. Referred to as “extravagant and trashy” in a Washington Post article, ranch dressing often doesn’t make the cut at top restaurants.

If you can’t live without it, skip the fancy dining experience and make your own ranch-coated dinner at home.

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Wedge salad with baby lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bacon and ranch dressing pouring over.;
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You can order a ranch dressing fountain

If you’re planning your wedding this year, don’t miss out on the fountain trend—just skip the chocolate. Hidden Valley has you covered with this ranch dressing fountain (ranch not included). Whether your guests want to dip their veggies or enjoy a spoonful on its own, ranch dressing can rain down to surprise and delight the whole party.

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Set of dressings for salad: sauce vinaigrette, mustard, mayonnaise or ranch, balsamic or soy, basil with yogurt.
Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

It inspires seriously fun fashion

You don’t have to spill your dressing to wear it. Display your ranch love loud and proud with a bold sweatshirt or stick with something small (and tasteful!) like these ranch dressing and pizza earring sets.

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Take cheese pizza sticks with a container of marinara sauce, ranch dressing and garlic butter.

Domino’s started the ranch-pizza combo

Drizzling ranch dressing over your pizza—or dipping it—is a controversial topic, but where did the technique get started? There are different accounts from over the years, but Domino’s started including ranch dressing with their chicken wings in 1994. From there, pizza lovers began dipping their crusts in that heavenly dressing, and the rest is history.

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Carrie is a health writer and nurse who specializes in healthy eating and wellness through food. With a master’s degree in public health from the Medical College of Wisconsin, she strives to translate the latest health and nutrition research into interesting, actionable articles. During her six years at Taste of Home, Carrie has answered hundreds of reader questions about health and nutrition, such as if pomegranate seeds are safe to eat, why pregnant women crave pickles and how much caffeine is in a shot of espresso. Carrie is also a former health coach and food blogger.