History of Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing is one of the most famous types of salad dressing in the world it is made of onion, garlic, buttermilk, salt, mustard, herbs such as dill, chives, and parsley, and spices like a ground mustard seed, paprika, and black pepper. All of them are all mixed into a sauce based on mayonnaise or other oil mixture. Since 1992, ranch dressing has been one of the best-selling salad dressing in the United States. it is also the most popular dipping sauce and a flavoring for chips, chicken wings, pizza, and other foods. According to a study that was done in 2017, about forty percent of Americans named ranch dressing as their favorite dressing. In this article, we will know the history of how this famous dressing came to be.


A man named Steve Henson concocted what is now know as the ranch dressing in the early 1950s while he was working as a plumbing contractor in the Alaskan bush. Four years after that, he and his wife, Gayle, opened the Hidden Valley Ranch. It is a dude ranch located at the former Sweetwater ranch in Santa Barbara County, California. They started serving the ranch dressing to their customers and it slowly became popular up to the point where they began selling it in packages for their customers to take home. They sold it both as a finished product and in packets of seasoning that is ready to mix with buttermilk or mayonnaise. As their ranch dressing became popular and the demand for it grew, Steve and his wife decided to open the Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products, Inc., they also opened a factory to produce the dressing in larger volumes. They first distributed their products to supermarkets in the Southwest and eventually, they were distributing it all over the United States. in 1972, Steve and Gayle sold the Hidden Valley Ranch brand to Clorox for eight million dollars.

As the ranch dressing took over every state, other food manufacturers such as General Foods and Kraft Foods made similar dry seasoning packets and called it as “ranch style”. The two companies were both sued because of trademark infringement by the Waples-Platter Companies.

On the other hand, Clorox reformulated the Hidden Valley dressing a number of times to make it more convenient for their customers. They made changes such as including a buttermilk flavoring in the seasoning so that the consumers can use much less expensive regular mix to use in the dressing, and they also developed a non-refrigerated bottled formula. As the years passed, the ranch became a common snack food flavor.

Fun Facts about the Ranch Dressing

Here are some fun tidbits about ranch dressing for you to ponder on the next time you cover your salad in a white tasty blanket while claiming that you’re in a diet.

A Dallas pizzeria once charged 1,000 dollars for a side of ranch

However, Jay Jerrier, the owner of Cane Rosso Deep Ellum Pizzeria claimed that the price is all in good fun. He said that his friend in the Pizza Hut innovations department jokingly gifted him a bottle of creamy white ranch dressing on his pizzeria’s opening night. That’s why Jerrier mounted it on his restaurant’s wall along with the sign that says “Side of Delicious Ranch Dressing for 1,000 Dollars”. The same bottle remained on the pizzeria’s shelf for five years until it was bought by a man named Josh Tipton. The money that was accumulated for the said dressing all went to an animal rescue center.

There are ranch-flavored soda

Lester’s Fixins Soda, the same guys who manufactured the peanut butter and jelly flavored soda outdone themselves and created a ranch-flavored soda. It tastes mostly like sugar soda but it smells so repulsive.

The ranch dressing we enjoy today bears a little resemblance to the original ranch dressing

When the ranch dressing was created in the early 1950s, it only had a few basic ingredients such as mayonnaise, buttermilk, herbs, and spices. It is a wholesome and caloric recipe but sadly it is also perishable. That’s why in the journey to make a shelf-stable alternative, Clorox created canola oil and soybean-based alternatives along with other ingredients such as disodium inosinate, calcium disodium EDTA, and of course, MSG.

There’s a restaurant in St. Louis that features a ranch flavor on everything on their menu.

Twisted Ranch use ranch as a prominent ingredient in every dish on their menu and to top it all off, they have a total of 23 house-made assortments of the ranch dressing. They even make a dessert with ranch.

Whether you smother it on your salad, you dip your tortilla or pizza into it, the ranch dressing is undeniably one of the greatest gift mankind has ever received.