They say there is nothing more American than apple pie, but I get to differ. In the year 2023, there is nothing more American than ranch dressing.
It’s a simple dressing, containing buttermilk, mayo, sour cream and various herbs and spices. It’s creamy, tangy and literally tastes good on just about everything. From salads, chicken wings and even pizza (don’t knock it until you try it) ranch dressing is the undisputed king of dressings.
If you’re a ranch aficionado like myself, then you already know that not all ranch dressings are made the same. Some may be thick and creamy, while others may be a little bit more watered down. Others may be heavy on the dill and parsley, while others may have a little bit more zing to it thanks to added spices.
I already ranked the free bread you get at chain restaurants, so I thought I’d be fun to rank the ranch dressings from various restaurants and super market brands. They’re all a little bit different, and if you take ranch dressing as seriously as I do, you’ll know that there are losers, and there are winners.
So let’s get into it! As always, these are my opinions and not yours! Don’t agree with my picks? Feel free to discuss it in the comments and let me know what you think.
For a fast food restaurant that does so many things well, you’d think they’d have a fantastic ranch dressing, but alas, McDonald’s is at the bottom of my list. Where is the flavor, McDonald’s?! I have no problem with ranch dressing from fast food restaurants (you’ll see why later), but the ranch is forever disappointing from McDonald’s. Do better!
#12. Hungry Howie’s
For a pizza chain, I expect more. I just do. Dipping your pizza in ranch is an art form, and the ranch should make the pizza taste even better. There’s nothing technically bad with Hungry Howie’s ranch, I just expect more.
#11. Little Caesars
Honestly, Little Caesars and Hungry Howie’s ranch is equally the same, I just ranked Little Caesar’s a little bit higher because you get their pizza hot and ready for $5. But again, they should be striving for a better ranch dressing.
Wendy’s obviously has a better ranch than McDonald’s, but it still leaves something to be desired, especially since the rest of their sauces are really good! If they can make a delicious sweet-and-sour sauce, they can certainly make a better tasting ranch dressing.
#9. Hidden Valley
This is my first controversial opinion, and I’m sure some people reading are going to disagree, but hear me out! Hidden Valley ranch may be the quintessential bottled ranch dressing, but there are better ones out there! There’s no doubt that Hidden Valley put ranch dressing on the map, and it’s certainly better than the ranch dressings I mentioned above, but at the end of the day, is there really anything to write home about?
I will say, Hidden Valley does get bonus points for having an incredible seasoning packet that you can use to make your own ranch. Still, when I’m shopping for bottled ranch at the grocery store, there are other brands I’m buying first before Hidden Valley. Sorry, not sorry.
Finally, a fast-food restaurant with decent ranch! Where McDonald’s and Wendy’s lack, Arby’s makes up for it, and it comes down to flavor and consistency of the ranch. The ranch has a nice herby flavor to it, plus it’s thick, but not overly thick. It’s a perfect balance, and truly is the best ranch when it comes to fast food restaurants. Dip a mozzarella stick from Arby’s into their ranch and tell me it’s not delicious, I dare you!
#7. Coney Island
If you’ve been to a Coney Island restaurant in the Detroit area then you know what I’m talking about. If not, let me enlighten you. Coney Island restaurants in and around the Detroit area are known for their Coney Island hot dogs, which is a hot dog served on a steamed bun, topped with chili, diced white onion and mustard. What they’re also known for, however, is their ranch.
The ranch dressings may vary from different Coney Islands, but they are more or less the same. The ranch has a fantastic flavor, but doesn’t have that thick and creamy texture. Instead, it’s almost watered down, yet somehow has that distinct ranch flavor. I’ve heard rumors that some Coney Islands water down their ranch so they can have more if it, but I cannot confirm this theory. Whatever they do to it, I just hope it never stops, and if you’re ever making a trip to Detroit, make sure you stop at a Coney.
#6. Red Robin
This is the point in the list where we start splitting hairs. All of these ranch dressings are good and unique in their own way, but decisions must be made. Red Robin’s ranch is low key so good. It would honestly be higher on this list if Red Robin was a more memorable dining experience. Red Robin’s ranch is everything you’d want in a ranch dressing, and it’s especially good when you’re dipping the bottomless fries in it.
#5. Big Boy
Big Boy restaurants are mostly located in Michigan, California, and a handful of random other states, but if you’ve never experienced the joys of Big Boy’s salad bar, you are missing out dear friend. Of course, the salad bar wouldn’t be complete without their ranch, which is Thick, with a capital T.
It can somehow border on too thick, but when it’s good, it’s good. It’s also one of the few ranch dressings on this list that embraces herbs. The dressing is loaded with dill, and it really gives it such a good flavor. It may not be for everyone, but I honestly wish they sold it in a bottle. I’d have it stocked in my fridge all the time.
#4. Buffalo Wild Wings
Look, when you’re known for being the best chain restaurant serving buffalo chicken wings, you’ve got to have a good ranch for dipping, and Buffalo Wild Wings has figured it out. There isn’t really anything special about their ranch, but it’s just flat out good. Maybe it’s so good because I only use while dunking my hot wings in it, but regardless, Buffalo Wild Wings has a perfect ranch dressing and I will hear no further arguments.
#3. Ken’s Steak House
When it comes to ranch that you can buy at the grocery store, no one does it better than Ken’s Steak House. First of all, all of their dressings are really, really good. If you’ve never had it, I highly recommend. Second, they have two different kinds of ranch, and I’d recommend getting the buttermilk ranch bottle. This dressing is thick, creamy and tangy, so basically everything I’d want in a ranch dressing. It’s truly the superior bottled ranch dressing and you all need to go out and try it.
#2. Texas Roadhouse
I may be a bit biased because I waited tables at Texas Roadhouse all throughout college, but Texas Roadhouse’s ranch is out of this world. I’ve never made the ranch while I worked there, but I think the key to it is fresh black pepper. It just adds this special something that you can’t really put your finger on. Plus, it’s a very thick dressing, which if you haven’t been able to tell by now, is exactly how I want my ranch dressing to be.
Texas Roadhouse may be known for their fresh baked bread and honey cinnamon butter, but if you’re ordering a house salad or steak fries and aren’t using their ranch dressing as a condiment, you are doing it completely wrong, my friends.
#1. Jet’s Pizza
Where so many chain pizza restaurants fail at producing a quality ranch dressing, Jet’s Pizza looked at them and said, “hold my beer.”
Jet’s ranch is truly a “if you know, you know” kind of situation. When it comes to dipping your pizza in ranch, you don’t want a super thick dressing, and Jet’s understands that. It has the perfect consistency for pizza, salad or whatever else you want to dip your ranch in.
The flavor is obviously incredible, and what makes it superior to other ranch dressings is that it tastes fresh. So many of these chains have pre-packaged ranch that is lame and uninspiring, but Jet’s tastes like they make it at their store, even if its not.
But truly, what sets Jet’s Pizza’s ranch above any of the other ranch dressings that you can get, is that they sell it in a bottle, so you can have as much ranch as your ranch-loving heart desires. It’s a seriously genius idea by the company, and there is nothing more I love than going home with my large Detroit-style square pizza and a giant bottle of ranch from Jet’s. Is there anything better in this world than that? I think not.
Do you agree with my rankings? Am I missing any of your favorite ranch dressings? Let me know in the comments!