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best packaged or bottled ranch dressing? (not hidden valley!)

any reccomendations for a good bottled or dry mix ranch dressing? i hate hidden valley and wishbone.... i know penzey's has a mix, but i don't know anything about it. i do love their spices and some of their spice blends.... anyhow, thanks in advance for your reccomendations.

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  1. Why do you hate Hidden Valley? I'm OK with their dry packet (for buttermilk) even though it's a bit pricey.

    OTOH every bottled ranch dressing I've ever had has a nasty, nasty chemical aftertaste - YUCK!

    4 Replies
    1. re: DiveFan

      Dry package ... good seasons or hidden valley, that way I can add what I want. Not bad ... Have very pricey ones and honestly ... not any better. Trader Joes cost way more and not any better for me. Honestly I make my own, but I always keep a bottle of one I made with the dry good seasons. Keep it for carrots, celery, wings, anything, just for a quick dip when I have 15 minutes to eat. Kens is also ok, I have 4 or 5 of their dressing just on hand for quick fixes. I work guys and don't always have time and take short cuts. Fresh homemade salad with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, avacados but maybe bottled dressing. Sometimes I just have to ...But when I get time .. that is a different story.

      1. re: DiveFan

        I get the Kroegers brand dry packet Ranch dressing and toss in a couple of tablespoons of dry parsley, and a quarter teaspoon each of fresh ground pepper and garlic powder. Definite improvement over HV.

        1. re: NVJims

          I soup mine up a bit too. I make mine with Greek Yogurt and buttermilk, I add lemon juice, garlic, and lots of pepper. Yum.

        2. re: DiveFan

          I agree - if you don't like HVR dry packet buttermilk recipe then you just don't like ranch dressing. All the bottled ranch dressings are nasty.

            1. re: Carrie 218

              Agreed, the jar in the refrigerated salad/vegetable section. No chemical taste

            2. It's sooooo easy to make at home, and homemade ranch doesn't have all that unpronounceable crap in it.

              Buy a little carton of buttermilk. Pour it into a jar. Add about 1/2-3/4 cup of mayo. Add garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, a little paprika, salt and ground black pepper. Put the lid on and shake. Let sit for an hour (it will thicken) and then taste to adjust seasonings.

              It's not like it's *healthy"*, but it's a lot better for you than the bottled stuff.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mudster

                "Buy a little carton of buttermilk" was not too hard to do in Nashville, damn near impossible anywhere else, such as here in SoCal. Sure, AltaDena lists pint cartons in their inventory, but try finding one! Luckily I like buttermilk enough to just drink it, but buying a quart when I need a cup or two for cornbread just irks me.

              2. I don't mind Hidden Valley dry mix.

                Yes, I know it's great to make your own. but I like to have some in the fridge at work for the occasional salad run.

                But, what I HATE about most bottled ranch dressing is how sweet it tastes!!! Why sweet?! UGH.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stellamystar

                  I can't do sugary salad dressings either. Along with Hidden Valley, try Ken's Steakhouse ranch or Litehouse.ranch. If you like bleu cheese, for bottled, Litehouse is second to none. Maries is OK, but Litehouse is all kinds of delicious (for bottled.) Check the refrigerated section for Lithouse, Ken's is shelf stable.

                2. Try this copycat recipe. Similar to the tried-and-true Hidden Valley but with your own quality ingredients so you can make it fresh on demand. Dry buttermilk is in the baking section of most large supermarkets these days.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: MakingSense

                      thanks indeed, sounds like what i was looking for, basically. i love an excuse to buy dry buttermilk in those rad, retro looking tins. cheers.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Interesting, thx. I love to make it fresh for a nice dinner with friends and sometimes just make a whole bottle. I like the dry buttermilk, I bet it would hold up longer. Thx

                      2. I am very discriminating about my ranch dressing. HVR is the original- not the bottled one, the mix that you make with mayo and buttermilk. It must chill for at least an hour tho. I've tried the Penzey's as well, but I Penzey's black peppercorn dressing mix better than the ranch. For bottle, well actually it comes in a jar, I like the Trader Joe's "organic" which is usually in the salad section of the store.

                        1. Absolutely, make it at home. My kids would not even eat salad until i made homemade dressings. My favorite is my celery seed, but ranch and housand island are also much better than bottled.

                          1. Newman's Own is the only one I like.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: marmite

                              I just discovered Newman' Own Ranch in the UK. And now I can't find it anymore! Very tasty.

                              1. What are the ones in the mason jars - that are refrigerated in the produce section? That's the one I get, and I get the lighter version. It's a bit runnier and pourable than most bottled ones, which is how I like it. Otherwise, I've used the Ken's Steakhouse ones.

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Maries is descent. Their blue cheese is ok in a pinch.

                                    1. re: kchurchill5

                                      Nothing comes close to Marie's creamy Italian with garlic. MAN. I can't even come close to replicating that.

                                1. I like HV original recipe, made with buttermilk and mayo.

                                  I do NOT like the Penzey's mix. It just isn't "ranchy"--perhaps it needs a little sugar?

                                  1. Our favorite bottled salad dressing is Cardini, especially the Ceasar. The Cardini dressings don't have sugar or HFCS and they don;t have lots of things that your can't pronounce. We hate salad dressings that are sweet--YUK. The Good Seasons mixes are good, but a bit too much salt.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        After I had to toss all my condiments due to Ike, I bought some Newman's Own and really don't care for it at all. Seems too vinegary and oily to me, I have tried every brand under the sun, except Trader Joe's because we don't have that in this area, and I keep going back to Hidden Valley. Now I get the mix and just make enough for a few servings at a time. I'll have to get the dried buttermilk powder. I'll bet that makes it even better.

                                        1. re: danhole

                                          Ditto, Newmans too much vinegar, Kens is better, Hidden Valley I still make from scratch and is the best but I do keep a few bottles. Honestly ... Publix just my grocery store down here in FL has 3 really good bottled dressings. I thought I would never say that. But for bottled ... good. Their Balsamic Vinaigrette, Their Creamy Caesar, not like most, much better and the ranch. I buy them alot and love them. I just mentioned the others because not everyone has a publix by them. Go to www.publix.com. I think you can order.

                                          Well worth it. To me 5 times better than cans, even hidden vallen or Newmans. Maybe just me, but I think they are quite good.

                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                            I like Ken's better than most bottled dressings, especially since their "light" versions are every bit as good, both Ranch and Caesar. This is one label that I think lives up to its hype, and there are always coupons for it in the Sunday supplements. However, since Mrs. O went veggie she's preferring spicier dressings, so it's back to Trader Joe's for the Cilantro and the Thai Peanut. And I can't get any coupons for those! Dang!

                                      2. If you have a large Target near you that does salads and foods, their fresh Ranch is really really good. Lasts a good while in the fridge at our work - like 2 weeks.

                                        1. I loved Ranch when I was little, and recently began hating it (especially Hidden Valley), but last week I had salad from the salad bar and used the Litehouse Ranch on it because nothing else appealed to me at the time. It's pretty good, I have some in my fridge right now for the small health kick I am on.

                                          1. I cannot eat any bottled dressings. I think the chemically produced nature of them is just wrong on a beautiful salad. I make all my own dressings, and the ranch dressing link posted by Making Sense is exactly what I make, but I add a bit more onion powder. I just don't think you can beat it, and you can control your ingredients.

                                            1. *bump*
                                              I dug up this thread because I've been on a quest to find out what the "good" kind of ranch is. Most that I try (at salad bars ranging from Whole Foods to the ones that feed us office workers here in downtown Seattle, for example) are too sweet, goopy and have a chemical taste. But occasionally--recently, at a wedding--there is a great version of ranch. It's the ranch I remember from my childhood. I'm going nuts trying to figure out what it is. It's not Litehouse, which some in this thread like. Maybe it's the HVR dried mix?

                                              Any recent thoughts on a non-sweet, non-artificial tasting ranch? And yes, I agree, homemade is good (I've used Saveur's recipe) but I want to figure out what this good commercially available kind is!

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: christy319

                                                Hellmann's is/was a very good one, but I'm not sure if its available anymore.

                                                1. re: christy319

                                                  I am an event planner and used to work in hotels, you should call the hotel/kitchen/venue and ask about the salad dressing! People call and ask about food stuff all the time.

                                                  1. re: stellamystar

                                                    You know what? I did. And it's the HIdden Valley buttermilk ranch packet, made with buttermilk and mayo (per the directions). Which explains why it's impossible to get it at salad bars--they use that awful stuff that comes in gallon tubs or bottles.


                                                  2. re: christy319

                                                    Ya know, it might be homemade -- literally! There are some great recipes online that tell you how to make the dry stuff up, and then you add it when you're ready. I've done so, and honestly, you can't beat it, and with no chemical taste, because there's no chemicals! HTH!

                                                  3. Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch- all of the ranch flavor, but it uses a yogurt base so it's less gloppy.

                                                    1. IMO nothing beats homemade with fresh herbs. I can't stand that sugary chemical taste in bottled dressings.

                                                      1. I usually make my own, but I do use Marie's Super Chunk Blue and Ranch. I have to have Maries Blue for hot wings. It just is not right without it.

                                                        What I cannot stand is the junk from Marzetti's. It is all too sugary sweet.

                                                        1. I know you say no Hidden Valley, but their organic bottled ranch has different, and fewer, ingredients and is pretty good.

                                                          1. A healther version is to us greek yogurt in place of mayo and whole milk along with the package HV ranch dressing.

                                                            1. I use Penzey's and can "adjust" to my own taste. In my opinion, it is better than the bottled ones, of which a few are good. I had equal parts of buttermilk and mayo. I also add a little sour cream to give it texture and add flavor. We use it all the time. I keep it in a Food saver vacuum sealed jar and it lasts forever.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: onemagicman

                                                                I know this thread is waay old but to answer the OP's question, I recently bought a bottled ranch dressing that is easily the best, but it's only made locally to me (Chicago area) and not widely distributed,


                                                              2. Litehouse family favorites is near the lettuce in walmart. Just tried my first bottle and it is the best bottled ranch I have tasted. No trans fat, no preservatives and no msg. Made with canola oil. gluten free and 1090 mg omega 3 per serving.

                                                                1. Marzetti has a new line called Simply Dressed. I love their ranch. So good!!