Ranch is among the most popular dressings and dips, and it’s easy to make at home. But how long does homemade ranch last in the fridge? And what are the best ways to store it?
Ranch dressing is great for salads or as a dip for chicken wings, veggies, or potato chips. It’s also a delicious way to add some flavor depth to other dishes like mac and cheese, burgers, and marinades.
And while making your own ranch will offer the freshest taste, it also needs to be stored properly so it doesn’t spoil.
In general, homemade ranch dressing can last about 2 weeks in the fridge. But the ingredients you use can affect its shelf life.
Find out how to make your ranch stay fresh for longer — and how to whip up your own homemade dressing.
What is ranch dressing?
Outranking Italian, blue cheese, and Caesar, ranch is the most popular dressing among consumers in the United States, according to a 2017 study by The Association for Dressings and Sauces. Proving, among other things, that there’s an association for just about everything!
Ranch dressing was invented in the 1950s by a couple who owned the original Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California. Made with a base of buttermilk and herbs, the creamy dressing and dip soon skyrocketed in popularity.
Now it’s the most widely consumed brand of ranch dressing sold. And it’s inspired a range of ranch recipes based on the original. That’s partly because it’s easy to make at home with just a few ingredients! In fact, I’ve included a dairy-free ranch recipe at the bottom of this post.
But first, let’s see how long you can store ranch, and ways you can help make it last longer.
How long does ranch dressing last in the fridge?
The shelf life of ranch dressing can vary widely depending on whether its homemade or storebought, as fresh ingredients can spoil more quickly.
Homemade ranch dressing usually contains a host of dairy products like buttermilk, regular milk, sour cream, or greek yogurt. So it has a relatively short shelf life.
Generally, it can keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, if stored in an airtight container.
But that timeline can decrease depending on the type of herbs you use as well. If you add dried herbs, then the dressing can last longer as they won’t spoil. However, a ranch dressing or dip with fresh herbs can spoil more quickly, even in the fridge. So it may stay good for only 4-5 days.
Be sure to check for signs of spoilage to tell if your ranch has started to turn.
Note: Do not keep homemade ranch at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After that, harmful bacteria can begin to grow in it, which can make the dressing unsafe to eat.
Storebought ranch can last quite a bit longer than homemade versions. Unopened ranch dressing can be kept unrefrigerated in a dark place like a pantry for up to 12 months.
Once it’s opened, it will need to be refrigerated, where it can stay good for up to 6 months. Your bottle of ranch will have a best-by date or expiration date indicating how long it will be at peak freshness.
What’s the best way to store ranch?
It’s best to store homemade ranch in the fridge in an airtight or sealed container like a glass mason jar. You can store it this way for up to 2 weeks. But do not leave it out for more than 2 hours as it could become unsafe to eat.
Store-bought ranch dressing can be kept for up to a year in a cool, dry place like a pantry or cupboard if it’s unopened. If opened, it will need to be refrigerated, where it can keep for up to 6 months.
Can you freeze ranch dressing?
If you don’t plan to eat it within a few days of making ranch, freezing can be a good way to extend the shelf life of ranch dressing. In fact, it can keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. But you may notice a change in the dressing’s texture.
To freeze ranch, simply place it in a freezer bag or other airtight freezer-safe container, and add a date label.
The best way to thaw out ranch dressing is to transfer it from the freezer to the fridge, and let it defrost for several hours or overnight.
Chances are the ranch will separate during the freezing process. Giving it a good whisk can help it regain its original creamy ranch consistency. But you may still be left with a slight graininess.
💡 Tip: A great way to freeze large quantities of ranch is to do it in batches. That way you only need to thaw out the amount you need.
Does ranch go bad?
Yes, ranch dressing can go bad, especially homemade ranch that doesn’t include the preservatives you might find in store-bought varieties.
Here are the signs of spoilage to look out for:
- If you notice a sour or off smell, this can be due to the dairy or non-dairy alternatives in the dressing having spoiled. That means the rest of the dressing is no longer safe to eat.
- Discoloration can be another sign. If you notice that your ranch has started to yellow for example, that may mean it’s gone bad.
- Another tell-tale sign of spoilage is the appearance of mold. If you see any mold growth on the surface of the ranch dressing, it’s spoiled.
If you spot any of these signs of spoilage, don’t eat the ranch dressing. That could lead to stomach discomfort and even food poisoning. Your best option is to simply throw away the dressing.
How to make homemade ranch
Making your own ranch dressing at home is simple to do. You just need a few ingredients that are readily available at your local grocery store. Here’s a quick and easy recipe for dairy free ranch dressing. It takes just 10 minutes from start to finish and it also makes a great dipping sauce!
While most traditional ranch recipes call for buttermilk, this one uses dairy-free ingredients like almond milk and dairy-free sour cream instead. But you can always swap them out if you prefer.
Key ingredients include:
- dairy-free sour cream
- almond milk
- apple cider vinegar
- chopped fresh parsley
- dried chives
- dried dill
- onion powder
- salt and black pepper
Garb the full recipe here.
Traditional ranch dressing recipes call for buttermilk. But you can substitute dairy-free alternatives like almond milk and dairy-free sour cream. They will still give you the tanginess and consistency of buttermilk, just without the dairy.
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