Does Ranch Dressing Have Dairy?

Question: Does ranch dressing have dairy?

Answer: Ranch is the most popular salad dressing in the United States. Its versatility allows it to be used not for just salads but for other things like dips, chips, burgers, and much more.

Although ranch dressing is popular, many people don’t know its ingredients. A question many people ask is “Does ranch dressing contain dairy?”. Let’s take a look to see if ranch does have dairy.

To determine if ranch dressing contains dairy we reviewed the ingredients of five top-selling ranch dressing brands: Hidden Valley, Kraft, Ken’s Steakhouse, Newman’s Own, and Wish-Bone. Here are the ingredients of each product: 

  • Hidden Valley Ranch: Vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (soy), less than 1% of: spices (mustard), dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid and calcium disodium EDTA as preservatives, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
  • Kraft Classic Ranch: Soybean Oil, Water, Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Salt, Buttermilk, Contains Less Than 2% Of Modified Food Starch, Garlic*, Monosodium Glutamate, Xanthan Gum, Whey, Phosphoric Acid, Onion*, Potassium Sorbate And Calcium Disodium Edta (To Protect Freshness), Spice, Parsley*, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Yeast Extract. *Dried
  • Ken’s Steak House Ranch: Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and/or Canola), Buttermilk, Distilled Vinegar, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Egg Yolk, Contains less than 2% of: Salt, Modified Food Starch, Phosphoric Acid, Garlic,* Vegetable Base [(Carrot, Onion, and Celery), Salt, Sugar, Corn Oil, Potato Flour, Onion Powder, Natural Flavor, Carrot Powder, Garlic Powder], Monosodium Glutamate, Natural Flavor (Milk), Disodium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide (For Color), Xanthan Gum, Onion,* Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA as Preservatives, Spice, Carrageenan, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate.*Dried.
  • Newman’s Own: Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil), Water, Buttermilk (Milk), Distilled Vinegar, Sugar, Egg Yolk, Garlic Juice, Salt, Contains 2% or Less of: Buttermilk Solids (Milk), Onion (Dried), Garlic (Dried), Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Chives, Spice. 
  • Wish-Bone: Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Contains 2% or Less of each of the following: Buttermilk, Salt, Distilled Vinegar, Modified Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Onion*, Garlic*, Spices, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Maltodextrin (Corn), Natural Flavors (Milk), Polysorbate 60, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Modified Gum Acacia, Monosodium Glutamate, Soy Lecithin, Phosphoric Acid and Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA (Used to Protect Quality).*Dried.

Based on our review, ranch dressing does have dairy. All of the above ranch dressing products contain buttermilk with some containing additional dairy such as milk. Buttermilk is made by introducing a culture or bacteria into milk, which produces its tangy flavor. Commercially made buttermilk is not actually derived from butter as its name might imply.  However, long ago it was customary for buttermilk to be made from leftover butter byproducts.

Dairy-Free Ranch

Given the popularity of ranch, there are dairy-free alternatives. Here are some to consider if you love ranch but wish to avoid dairy:

  • Yo Mama’s Ranch Dressing & Dip
  • Daiya Homestyle Ranch
  • Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Vegan Ranch
  • Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch
  • Organiville Non-Dairy Ranch