The 5 Best Ranch Dressings You Should Be Buying
A please-everyone salad topper, a dip for your pizza crust or a gateway to getting your kids to eat their veggies—however you ranch, you're not alone. It's the nation's most popular salad dressing and condiment, even outselling ketchup. We tried more than 30 kinds to find the best store-bought ranch dressings—here are our favorite bottles to buy. Plus, learn what to look for on the label.
5 Best Ranch Dressings
Follow Your Heart Ranch Dressing
130 cal, 125mg sodium
This plant-based pick starts with the brand's Vegenaise to achieve that signature ranch creaminess without any eggs or dairy. Cider vinegar provides a slightly sweet tang.
Marzetti Simply 60 Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
60 cal, 220mg sodium
Marzetti's light version is our favorite in the low-cal category. Unlike others in its class, it isn't overly sweet, salty or gloppy. It's nicely balanced with less than half the calories of the original.
Marzetti Classic Ranch Dressing
150 cal, 200mg sodium
The thickest on the list, we love that this ranch is great for dipping while still being drizzleable enough for salad. The prominent garlic flavor also makes it a standout.
Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing & Dip
120 cal, 230mg sodium
Bits of garlic and onion sprinkled throughout this dressing add nice pops of flavors while sour cream and buttermilk team up as a pleasantly tart base.
What to Look for on the Label
Steer Away from Salty
Like all processed foods, these dressings can be fairly high in sodium. Luckily, there are many herbs and spices in ranch recipes that create excitement, so there's no need to sacrifice flavor. We found plenty of options that keep sodium to 260 mg or less per 2-tablespoon serving.
Be Wary of "Light"
Some ranches can have upward of 180 calories per serving. Our picks capped calories at 150 for a healthy balance of nutrients and calories. Going with a light version can cut calories by as much as half, but they tend to have more sodium and sugar. And steer clear of the "fat-free" kind since a little fat helps your body absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your vegetables.
Keep It Simple and Chill
Some brands (especially shelf-stable ones) contained north of 20 ingredients, including stabilizers and preservatives—something to keep in mind if you are trying to avoid additives. While we didn't find any red-flag chemicals across the category, we did prefer the fresher flavor of refrigerated ranches.
This article originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine, March 2022.