The Best Vegan Ranch Dressings and How to Make It at Home
We taste-tested the best vegan ranch dressings and rated them on taste, texture, "like real" – and also which ones are the healthiest – so you can indulge in your favorite dairy-free ranch dressing. Try this homemade vegan ranch dressing recipe made with dairy-free mayonnaise, herbs, spices, non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, and whip up your own vegan ranch dressing at home.
Anyone who considers themselves a ranch lover probably has a unique way to dip, drizzle, soak or pour the dressing all over every cuisine: Chopped vegetables, french fries, salads, pizza, chips. You name it, we've seen it all from ranch-a-holics, including baby carrots floating in what looks like a ranch dressing soup to ranch dressing flavored soda.
Americans are ranch-obsessed and at least a third of households have some kind of ranch product in their pantry or fridge at any given time, according to Hidden Valley Ranch studies. The dressing even received a shout-out from Homer Simpson who commanded, “Bring me my ranch dressing hose!” in The Simpsons.
We wanted to make sure that those with dietary restrictions, such as anyone who is lactose intolerant, could get in on the fun of National Ranch Dressing Day. So read for a little about the history of the condiment and The Beet's taste test of the best vegan ranch dressings on the market, that taste as good as the real thing.
History of Ranch Dressing
The first-ever ranch dressing was made by a real-life cowboy and the founder of Hidden Valley Ranch, Steve Henson. Henson was born in Nebraska and eventually moved to Alaska in 1949 where he worked as a plumber and started the ranch dressing phenomenon. Henson's lunch breaks were dedicated to cooking for his co-workers and their all-time favorite recipe was Henson's homemade buttermilk mayonnaise-based dressing full of dry herbs.
When Henson left Anchorage, he eventually moved to Santa Barbra California, and purchased a 120-acre ranch called Sweetwater Ranch but quickly changed the name to Hidden Valley Guest Ranch, where hosted tourists and rented the ranch out to private events. At the ranch, Henson continued to make his garlicky, herb-infused, creamy buttermilk dressing for his family and guests who would stop by the ranch for the scenery, an excursion, or for more homemade "ranch" dressing.
When demand for the dressing spiked, Henson packaged the dry ingredients in an envelope and shipped them to his loyal customers who would add the wet ingredients on their own, just like a boxed cake mix. “It was all dry ingredients the way my dad made it,” said his son Nolan Henson in an interview with The New York Times. “People carried it home in mayonnaise jars,” Nolan Henson recalled. “Seemed like we were always mixing it, and we put it on everything: steaks, vegetables, potatoes. The dressing pretty much took over the ranch," he added.
Over the years other makers began to create their own versions and Henson never trademarked the name "Ranch Dressing," but the Hidden Valley condiment food company was bought by Clorox, and eventually the ranch was purchased by Vail Resorts
Here are the best vegan ranch dressings you'll want to stock up on, and a recipe that's worth making on repeat.
Vegan Ranch Dressing Taste-Test
1. Field and Farmer Vegan Ranch Dip
The texture of Filed and Farmer's vegan ranch dip is not as heavy and rich as dairy-based ranch dressing, so if you appreciate a lighter version of the known-to-be-creamy dressing, this is your best non-dairy bet. The flavor is a tad more earthy than regular ranch and has a nutty aftertaste, however, this vegan ranch is one of the healthiest on the market and contains all-natural ingredients: Sunflower oil, cannellini beans, lemon juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, salt, water, chia seeds, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, black pepper, dried dill, dried chives.
2. Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch
This is the best-tasting ranch dressing and has the same texture, creaminess, and flavor as ranch made with dairy. You could fool any original ranch-lover into thinking this is their usual dairy-based dressing. The base of the dressing is Vegenaise®, a dairy-free mayonnaise made with oil, brown rice syrup, apple cider vinegar, soy protein, mustard flour, lemon juice, and sea salt. The texture is heavy, creamy, almost like the consistency of yogurt. The dressing has a hard time coming out of the bottle when you turn it upside down because of its thickness, I had to get the dressing to come out with the opposite end of a spoon.
3. Hidden Valley Plant-Powered Dairy-Free Ranch
This vegan ranch tastes like the OG ranch we all remember before going plant-based, and it does help that it's made by the same company. The texture and flavor are spot-on and the herbs taste extremely fresh. The one caveat is that this dressing is made with highly processed ingredients and isn't the healthiest for us. The ingredients are listed: Water, Vegetable Oil (soybean And/or Canola), Sugar, Salt, Soybean Protein Isolate, Vinegar, Less Than 1 Percent Of: Spices, Phosphoric Acid, Garlic*, Onion*, Xanthan Gum, Modified Food Starch, Natural Flavors, Parsley, With Nisin Preparation, Sorbic Acid, Calcium Disodium Edta And Rosemary Extract Added To Preserve Freshness.
This vegan ranch dressing is as natural as it gets, and sort of tastes like it. It doesn't have the same creamy or chunkiness as dairy ranch dressing but has a strong acidic taste that has a bold flavor, one I personally really like. The raw plant-based ingredients include the following: Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Filtered Water, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Hemp Seeds, Coconut Palm Sugar, Nutritional Yeast, Minced Garlic, Minced Onion, Gray Sea Salt, Dill, Black Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Parsley, Chives. This dairy-free ranch dressing is perfect for anyone who wants to eat healthier and still enjoy similar flavors to classic ranch dressing.
5. Organicville Non-Dairy Ranch Dressing
This non-dairy and gluten-free ranch dressing does not taste like your typical creamy ranch dressing. The consistency is much lighter and thinner than heavy, creamy ranch dressing. The taste of herbs isn't as vibrant or bold as what you can expect in a bottle of ranch. However, if you're looking for a light, milky texture and a soft flavor of herbs for your salads, wraps, or chopped veggies, then this bottle would be your go-to. The main ingredients are sunflower oil, apple juice, coconut cream, and an array of organic herbs and spices, a much healthier option when it comes to ranch dressings.
The best vegan ranch dressing based on taste and texture goes to: Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch and Hidden Vallery Plant-Powered Dairy-Free Ranch.
The best vegan ranch dressing based on health goes to: Field and Farmer Vegan Ranch Dip and Mother Raw's Ranch Dressing.
Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tbsp dried chives
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- salt if needed
- water or non-dairy milk, to thin
1. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until combined, adding water as needed to thin.
To make the full recipe, check out this Pasta Salad with Vegan Bacon and Homemade Ranch Dressing.