The 9 best and worst ranch dressings on store shelves, say nutritionists

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What other condiments go well with salads, raw vegetables, pizza, sandwiches, chicken wings and more? Ranch is one of America’s most popular condiments, not only for its role as a salad dressing, but also for its versatility and the refreshing taste and creamy texture it imparts to whatever you apply it to. 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 harm your diet or health, some brands of ranch dressings can pack more than 10% of the recommended daily allowance for both in just two tablespoons. And who sticks to just two tablespoons?

Luckily, there are some healthier options that nutritionists recommend. Some of these best ranch dressings available are made with ingredients that are healthier for you, 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 to find the best option:

  • Saturated Fatty Acids: Ranch dressing can often contain between 0.5 and 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 5-6% of your daily calories, to reduce the risk of heart disease. Try to choose a ranch dressing with 1.5 grams or less of saturated fat.
  • sodium: When a lot of salt and preservatives are added to the ranch dish to improve flavor and keep it fresh, sodium can easily build up. Dietary guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. Just one serving of ranch can easily add up to over 10% of your daily limit. On some ranches, if you’re consuming more than one serving and adding it to an already high-sodium food, it can be easy to exceed that limit. Choose a ranch with ideally less than 5% DV sodium or less than 10%.
  • Ingredients: Depending on your dietary goals and restrictions, you may want to choose ranch dressing that is dairy-free, soy-free, or made with no preservatives. Some ranch dressings are made with yogurt instead of a large amount of oil, which drastically reduces the calorie and fat content.

The 6 Best Ranch Dressings

To satisfy your ranch cravings, try one of these RD-approved options!

Marzetti Veggie Dip Lite Ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 50 calories, 4g fat (0.5g saturated fat), 260mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 1g sugars), <1g protein

“With only 4 grams of fat per serving, Marzetti Simply Ranch Dressing offers the perfect balance of flavor and nutrition,” he says Jessie Hulsey, RD, LD, an Atlanta-based Registered Dietitian. It’s made from Greek yogurt, which gives it a creamy texture without the added unnecessary fat. “This dressing offers a creamy and delicious flavor that’s perfect for your salad or as a dip,” adds Hulsey.

Follow your heart, ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 120 calories, 14g fat (1g saturated fat), 125mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 0g sugars), 0g protein

“Follow Your Heart Ranch Dressing is made with hemp and flaxseed oils, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are great for cardiovascular health,” he says Wan Na Chun, MPH, RD, CPT from One Pot Wellness. “Because it’s made with Veganaise, a vegan mayonnaise substitute that’s dairy-free and egg-free, it’s a great plant-based alternative to the traditional ranch meal,” explains Chun.

You can find this ranch flavor in the refrigerated section of the grocery store because it’s made with no preservatives.

RELATED: The 12 best and worst brands of mayonnaise, according to nutritionists

Bolthouse Farms cucumber ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 35 calories, 2g fat (0.5g saturated fat), 210mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 2g sugars), 1g protein

“At just 35 calories per two-tablespoon serving, this cucumber ranch from Bolthouse Farms is the perfect choice to add ranch flavor to your salad, raw vegetables or baked potatoes, or even use alone as a party dip,” he says Michelle Rauch, MS, RDN. This lightly spiced ranch is made with no preservatives, artificial colors, or artificial flavors and is gluten-free.

primal kitchen ranch
primeval cuisine

PER 2 tbsp: 110 calories, 12g fat (1g saturated fat), 240mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 0g sugars), 0g protein

Because Primal Kitchen Ranch is made from avocado oil, it’s said to provide healthy monounsaturated fats that may support heart health Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD. It’s dairy free, contains zero grams of added sugar, and is gluten and soy free, making it a great choice for a range of different diets and restrictions.

Bolthouse Farms Ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 50 calories, 3.5g fat (1g saturated fat), 260mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 2g sugars), 1g protein

“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 twist,” he says Jamie Nadeau, RDN, a registered nutritionist with The Balanced Nutritionist. The combination of buttermilk and yogurt gives this ranch dressing an authentic and creamy flavor while saving quite a bit of calories and fat compared to traditional ranch dressing.

RELATED: The 13 best yogurt brands — and 3 to avoid

Tessamae's ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 170 calories, 19g fat (1.5g saturated fat), 200mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 0g sugars), 0g protein

For an ultra-creamy ranch dressing made with organic ingredients and no preservatives, try Tessemae’s Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing. Made from high oleic sunflower oil, this ranch oil is rich in heart-healthy fats while only containing 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving. It’s flavored with whole spices and preservative-free, while providing less than 10% of your daily sodium requirement per serving.

RELATED: The 21 best low-sodium fast food orders

The 3 Worst Ranch Dressings

Better leave these three dressings on the shelf.

hidden valley ranch

PER 2 tbsp: 130 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 260mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 1g sugars), 0g protein

Hidden Valley Ranch is the iconic, classic ranch dressing, but it’s 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 is also rich in preservatives such as monosodium glutamate and disodium phosphate.

Kraft Homestyle Ranch
Hy Vee

PER 2 tbsp: 130 calories, 13g fat (2g saturated fat), 260mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 2g sugars), 0g protein

“While it may be a popular choice, Kraft Homestyle Ranch Dressing contains an incredible 260 milligrams of sodium per serving, which accounts for 11% of the recommended daily allowance,” says Hulsey. Keep this in mind if you frequently use more than the 2 tablespoon serving size, which is easy to do. “Excessive sodium intake can lead to bloating, high blood pressure, and negatively impact cardiovascular health,” adds Hulsey.

RELATED: 12 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Bloating

Bottle of Ken's Steakhouse Ranch Dressing
Ken’s Foods

PER 2 tbsp: 140 calories, 15g fat (2.5g saturated fat), 290mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0g fiber, 1g sugars), 0g protein

Ken’s Steakhouse Ranch Dressing is considered one of the worst ranch dressings due to its high sodium content and high saturated fat content. Each two-tablespoon serving provides 2.5 grams of saturated fat, or 13% of the recommended daily allowance.

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