What other condiment goes with salad, raw veggies, pizza, sandwiches, chicken wings, and more? Ranch is one of America's most loved condiments, not just for its role as a salad dressing, but also for its versatility and the refreshing flavor and creamy texture it adds to anything you slather it on. Unfortunately, ranch dressing isn't always the healthiest choice.
Ranch dressing is often made from a mixture of vegetable oils, egg yolks, and a number of high-sodium preservatives including monosodium glutamate. While a little saturated fat and sodium won't derail your diet or your health, some brands of ranch dressing can have over 10% of the recommended daily limit for both in just a two-tablespoon serving. And who sticks to just two tablespoons?
Thankfully, there are some healthier options that dietitians recommend. Some of these best ranch dressings available are made with better-for-you ingredients, so you can dip, drizzle, and pour without worrying about the health consequences.
How to choose the best healthy ranch dressing
When choosing a healthy ranch dressing, use this checklist for the best option:
- Saturated fat: Ranch dressing can often have anywhere from 0.5 to 3 grams of saturated fat per two-tablespoon serving. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than 13 grams per day, or to 5-6% of your daily calories to reduce the risk of heart disease. Try choosing a ranch dressing with 1.5 or less grams of saturated fat.
- Sodium: With plenty of salt and preservatives being added to ranch to improve the flavor and keep it fresh, the sodium can easily creep up. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. Just one serving of ranch can easily have over 10% of your daily limit. If you're eating more than one serving and putting it on a food that's already high in sodium, some ranch can make it easy to cross this limit. Choose a ranch with ideally less than 5% DV of sodium or less than 10%.
- Ingredients: Depending on your dietary goals and restrictions, you may want to choose a ranch dressing that is dairy-free, soy-free, or made without preservatives. Some ranch dressings are made with yogurt instead of a high amount of oils, which drastically cuts down on calories and fat grams.
The 6 best ranch dressings
To satisfy your ranch craving, try one of these RD-approved choices!
Marzetti Simply Ranch Dressing
"With just 4 grams of fat per serving, Marzetti Simply Ranch Dressing strikes the perfect balance between flavor and nutrition," says Jessie Hulsey, RD, LD, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian. It's made with Greek yogurt, which adds a creamy texture without extra unnecessary fat. "This dressing offers a creamy and delicious taste, perfect for your salad or as a dip," Hulsey adds.
Follow Your Heart Ranch
"Follow Your Heart Ranch dressing made with omega-3 fatty acid-rich hemp and flaxseed oils, which are great for cardiovascular health," says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT of One Pot Wellness. "Since it's made with veganaise, a vegan mayo substitute that's dairy and egg-free, it's a great plant-based alternative to traditional ranch," Chun explains.
You'll find this ranch option in the refrigerated section of the grocery store as it's made with zero preservatives.
Bolthouse Farms Cucumber Ranch
"At only 35 calories per two-tablespoon serving, this Bolthouse Farms Cucumber Ranch is the perfect choice for adding ranch flavor to your salad, crudité, baked potato, or even to use a party dip on its own," says Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN. This lightly flavored ranch is made with zero preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors, and is gluten-free.
Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing
Because Primal Kitchen Ranch is made with avocado oil, it provides healthy monounsaturated fats which may support heart health, says Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD. It's dairy-free, has zero grams of added sugars, and is gluten and soy-free, making it a good choice for a number of different diets and restrictions.
Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing
"Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing is absolutely delicious and has only 50 calories and 1 gram of added sugar per two tablespoons, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a lighter ranch option," says Jamie Nadeau, RDN, a registered dietitian of The Balanced Nutritionist. Combining buttermilk with yogurt gives this ranch an authentic taste and creamy flavor while saving some serious calories and fat over traditional ranch dressing.
Tessemae's Organic Creamy Ranch
For an ultra-creamy ranch that's made with organic ingredients and zero preservatives, try Tessemae's Organic Creamy Ranch dressing. Made with high-oleic sunflower oil, this ranch is high in heart-healthy fats while only having 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving. It's flavored with whole spices and preservative-free while coming in with less than 10% of your daily value for sodium per serving.
The 3 worst ranch dressings
You're better off leaving these three dressings on the shelf.
Hidden Valley Classic Ranch
Hidden Valley Ranch is the iconic, classic ranch dressing, but also one with more saturated fat and sodium than many other brands. A two-tablespoon serving has 2 grams of saturated fat, or 10% of the daily value, and 260 milligrams, or 11% of the daily value of sodium. It's also high in preservatives like monosodium glutamate and disodium phosphate.
Kraft Homestyle Ranch
"While it may be a popular choice, Kraft Homestyle Ranch dressing contains a staggering 260 milligrams of sodium per serving, accounting for 11% of the daily recommended intake," says Hulsey. Keep this in mind if you often use more than the serving size of two tablespoons, which is easy to do. "Excessive sodium intake can lead to bloating, increased blood pressure, and negatively impact cardiovascular health," Hulsey adds.
Ken's Steakhouse Ranch
Ken's Steakhouse Ranch dressing comes in as one of the worst ranch dressings for its high sodium and high amount of saturated fat. Each serving of two tablespoons has 2.5 grams of saturated fat or 13% of the recommended daily limit.