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Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad? – Full Analysis

Ranch dressing has become a staple at every American picnic table.

The creamy sauce is perfect for dipping chips or veggies into. And who wouldn’t love the tangy flavor of ranch dressing?

Unfortunately, some brands of ranch dressing contain preservatives that can cause food poisoning, and it is important to understand what happens when ranch dressing goes bad, and what the risks of this can be.

We took a closer look at whether or not ranch dressing goes bad, and if so, how long it takes.

Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad – Full Analysis

What Is Ranch Dressing?

Ranch dressing is one of those condiments that we all know and love. It is made from mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, vinegar, and spices.

Some varieties of ranch dressing include cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, sugar, and celery seed.

How Does Ranch Dressing Get Rancid?

The main ingredient in ranch dressing is mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise contains natural oils, which are prone to oxidation. Oxidation occurs when these oils break down over time.

When this happens, rancidity begins to occur. As rancidity increases, the oil becomes more acidic and smells like rotten eggs.

This is why rancid ranch dressing tastes so awful.

The longer you leave ranch dressing out, the worse it gets.

Once rancidity starts to set in, it will continue to get worse until the product is completely spoiled.

What Are The Health Risks Of Rancid Ranch Dressing?

If you eat rancid ranch dressing, then you could potentially get sick. There are many different types of bacteria that live in our bodies.

These bacteria help us digest food, fight infections, and even keep us healthy.

However, there are certain bacteria that can cause illness.

Bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and campylobacter can cause serious health problems.

Eating rancid ranch dressing can put you at risk of getting ill with any of these illnesses.

If you consume rancid ranch dressing, it can also affect your digestive system.

The acids in rancid ranch dressing can damage your stomach lining.

This can lead to ulcers, inflammation, bleeding, and other gastrointestinal issues.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Food-borne pathogens can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, and dehydration.

They can also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.”

Is There A Way To Tell If Ranch Dressing Has Gone Bad?

There are several ways to tell if ranch dressing has gone bad.

One way is by smelling it. If you notice a strong odor coming from the dressing, then it is likely rancid.

Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad

Another way to check is by looking at the ingredients list. If the ingredients list includes hydrogenated vegetable oil, then it is probably rancid.

As a rule, store-bought ranch dressing tends to last for about twelve to eighteen months in the cupboard, and around six months in the refrigerator.

After this point, it will start to lose its flavor and become less appetizing, and will quickly start to go bad.

With ranch dressing that has been freshly made, you will have a few days to eat it before it starts going bad; it is a good idea to be smart about the quantities you make at one time, as you will be required to throw the dressing away after around four days maximum.

What Dishes Does Ranch Dressing Go Well With?

Ranch dressing goes well with many types of food. Here are some suggestions:


Add ranch dressing to your favorite salad recipes. Try adding fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, feta cheese, and avocado.


Try using ranch dressing instead of mayonnaise as a sandwich spread. Spread it onto bread like white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or baguette.


Try serving pasta with ranch dressing. Top cooked penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or spaghetti with ranch dressing.


Use ranch dressing as a dip for hamburgers. Serve them with lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onion rings, pickles, and ketchup.

Main Dish Salads

Top chicken, fish, beef, pork, lamb, or seafood main dish salads with ranch dressing.


Mix ranch dressing into vegetable side dishes like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, green beans, zucchini, and eggplant.

Is Ranch Dressing Healthy? All You Need To Know

So, is ranch dressing healthy? The answer is that, as with so many other foods, it depends on what you put in it.

A few tablespoons of ranch dressing per day won’t hurt anyone, but there are certain things you should keep an eye out for when choosing which brand to buy.

The first thing to look at is the amount of fat in the dressing. Most commercial brands will have around 10 grams of fat per tablespoon.

That’s not bad, but you want to make sure it doesn’t exceed 20 grams per tablespoon.

This is because most fats are unhealthy, and you don’t need more than 15% of your daily calories from saturated fat – some

The next thing to watch out for is the amount of sodium. Commercial brands usually contain about 200 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.

Again, this isn’t bad, but you want it to stay below 300 mg per tablespoon.

You also want to consider whether the dressing contains any artificial ingredients.

Many commercial brands do, and while these may seem harmless, they can actually be harmful to your health.

Finally, you want to check the label to see if the dressing has any added sugars.

While some brands add just one gram of sugar per tablespoon, others can have up to five grams of sugar per serving.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Too Much Ranch Dressing?

Ranch dressing is delicious, and a great addition to a number of meals.

As with anything, however, too much ranch dressing can have some negative side effects, including:

It Can Be High In Sodium

Sodium is a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. When sodium levels rise, they can cause high blood pressure.

If you eat too much ranch dressing, it could be contributing to your high blood pressure and can cause associated risks such as cardiovascular issues and long-term health concerns.

It May Contain Artificial Ingredients

Many commercial brands of ranch dressing contain artificial ingredients.

These include thickeners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, preservatives, and coloring agents. Some even contain sugar.

It May Cause Digestive Problems

If you’re having digestive problems, you should avoid eating large amounts of ranch dressing. It can interfere with the absorption of nutrients and minerals in your body.

It May Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease

As we mentioned, excessive amounts of ranch dressing can increase your risk of heart disease.

High cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure are all risk factors for heart disease.

You should limit how much ranch dressing you consume if these conditions apply to you.

What Are Some Substitutes For Ranch Dressing?

If you discover that your ranch dressing has gone bad with little notice, there are alternatives that you can use. These include:

Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad

Cilantro Dressing

This is a delicious alternative to ranch dressing and is often added to Mexican dishes.

You can find cilantro in most grocery stores, making this a cheap and convenient alternative to ranch dressing when you are caught short.

Dijon Mustard Dressing

This is another great alternative to ranch dressing. Dijon mustard is a type of French mustard which adds a tangy flavor to salad dressings.

It is available in most supermarkets and comes in both yellow and brown varieties.

Honey Mustard Dressing

Honey mustard is a popular condiment used on sandwiches and burgers. It is easy to make and tastes great on salads and vegetables.


Mayonnaise is an excellent substitute for ranch dressing. It is usually found in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.

Mustard Sauce

A simple sauce made from mustard powder and water, this is a tasty alternative to ranch dressing.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is a creamy dairy product that is similar to sour cream but contains more fat than regular sour cream.

It is commonly used as a topping for baked potatoes and other foods.

Blue Cheese Dressing

This is an excellent alternative to ranch dressing. Blue cheese is a sharp-tasting blue cheese that is rich in calcium and protein.

It is best served on salads and pasta dishes.

How Can I Make My Own Ranch Dressing?

Making your own ranch dressing is very easy.

All you need to do is mix together two parts of mayonnaise, one part sour cream, one part milk, and one part vinegar.

Add salt and pepper to taste. This makes a great base recipe for any number of different flavors.

You can add herbs such as basil, oregano, parsley, chives, dill, tarragon, thyme, or rosemary to give your dressing extra flavor.

Once prepared, consume within four days.

Final Thoughts

Ranch dressing is a classic American dish and, when consumed in sensible qualities as part of a good diet, is a healthy and delicious treat that can really enhance a number of meals and other dishes.

Understanding whether your ranch dressing has gone bad, and the risks associated with this can help to ensure that you stay healthy and enjoy your food without any worry or risk of illness or adverse effects.

Jess Smith