13 Ways To Get Over Ranch Fatigue

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If you've found yourself reaching for ranch dressing less often, you might have ranch fatigue. According to Uber, the most requested extras on Uber Eats orders before the Covid-19 pandemic was ranch dressing, extra ranch, or ranch on the side. However, ranch dressing isn't even among the top 20 in Uber's 2022 Cravings Report. Uber Eats's most popular salad pairing is now balsamic vinaigrette, and people are starting to use nearly anything for dipping or dressing.

If you've found yourself growing tired of ranch, you might try making it yourself and changing up the ingredients. If your ranch fatigue has left ranch of any sort sounding off-putting, there are plenty of other alternatives that will still provide the intense flavors and creaminess you crave. However, if you're off ranch dressing as a dipping sauce or dressing altogether, you can still use your last remaining ranch reserves by hiding it in other foods or making it into a rub or marinade.

13. Try a different brand

Sometimes, eliminating ranch fatigue can be as simple as trying a different brand. If you grew up putting Kraft Buttermilk Ranch Dressing on everything from salad to baked potatoes, it might be time to seek out some other brands. Consider Buttermilk Hidden Valley Ranch or Olive Garden Parmesan Ranch, which are among the best-ranked store-bought ranch dressings. Even within the same brand, you might find different flavors that you like, such as classic ranch instead of buttermilk ranch. Or if you're used to getting your dressing from a bottle, you can try it from a make-it-yourself seasoning packet instead. Don't forget to check the refrigerated section of your grocery store to see if they have a version with fresher, more perishable ingredients.

Every brand has a different take on what ranch dressing should taste like, using different bases and spices. You may find that you don't have ranch fatigue so much as you have your-brand-of-ranch fatigue.

12. Elevate your store-bought ranch

If you're tired of ranch dressing as it is, there's always an opportunity for add-ins to make it zing. Try adding heat, mixing your condiments, or adding flavorful ingredients for a new take on an old standard.

The spices in ranch can taste pretty amazing the first time you try them, but sometimes they just need a little help if you want them to wow you again. Why not try adding heat to your ranch? Some options include adding hot sauce, salsa, Sriracha, chopped jalapeños, chili oil, or even harissa.

Why not try following Heinz's lead and mixing condiments? Heinz Kranch Saucy Sauce combines ketchup with ranch for a flavorful change. So it's not beyond weird to try combining other condiments with ranch, like spicy mustard ranch or barbecue ranch. Would you call those Mranch and Branch?

You can also take your cue from Olive Garden's Parmesan Ranch and try adding a strong flavor like Parmesan cheese to your ranch to take the flavor up a notch. Other strong flavors that can elevate your ranch include caramelized onions, roasted garlic, or pesto.

11. Make your own ranch, but change it up

When store-bought ranches just aren't making you happy, you can always try making your own. Once you understand the basic components of ranch dressing creation, you can get a little more creative. Adrian Perez of How to Cook Vegetables explains the components of ranch on Reddit: a dairy and fat base, an acid, herbs and spices, a source of umami, and maybe some heat.

The most common ranch base is equal parts mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk. If you don't have buttermilk, you can try cream or heavy cream instead. Even changing the mayonnaise brand can change the flavor. The acidity tends to come from vinegar or citrus, which gives you a wide range of unconventional choices like apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, lime juice, or orange juice. Herbs and spices tend to include flavors like dill, chives, parsley, thyme, black pepper, onion, and garlic. Fresh herbs will certainly taste different than dried ones, and you can always add something new to the mix, like tarragon or celery seed. Then, finally, you'll want to add some umami or heat components like MSG, cayenne pepper, or Worcestershire sauce.

Just tweaking a homemade ranch dressing recipe ever so slightly can give you a new dressing entirely. You can even start with a ranch seasoning mix and add your desired extras to it instead of trying to make everything from scratch. Just taste and tweak the flavor until it puts a smile on your face.

10. Try ranch with a yogurt base instead

The classic base for most homemade ranch dressing recipes includes buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise. However, not all ranch dressings use this combination for their creamy bases. For example, Hidden Valley Greek Yogurt Dressing uses Greek yogurt instead.

A reviewer for Hidden Valley's Greek Yogurt Dressing said that the addition of Greek yogurt made the dressing a little too thick for her. So if a thick-textured ranch would upset the balance of your food, you might want to try making your own. While it's entirely possible to replace all the dairy products in a ranch dressing recipe with yogurt, you might want to consider just replacing the sour cream, since both have a similar consistency and strong flavor profile.

Unlike sour cream, yogurt is fermented, which provides extra health benefits from probiotics. Overall, using Greek yogurt as your base provides you with calcium, B vitamins (particularly B12 and riboflavin), phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D. Greek yogurt is also high in protein and can help promote digestive health (via Healthline).

If you're lactose intolerant, you may even have an easier time digesting ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt. According to the Journal of Translational Medicine, there are only 0.5 grams of lactose in 100 grams of Greek yogurt. In comparison, buttermilk has 4.5 grams, and sour cream has 3.4 grams of lactose per 100 grams.

9. Try smashed avocado or guacamole as a creamy alternative

Sometimes, it's really the creaminess of ranch that we're craving. But it's possible to find creaminess in more natural products like avocados. So, if you're looking for something creamy to add to your salad instead of ranch dressing, why not smash up some avocado and place it on top? According to Healthline, avocados are a source of folate, potassium, copper, phosphorus, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin B. They also contain healthy fats and antioxidants.

Guacamole makes an even more flavorful addition to salads than avocado alone. However, if you like the idea of avocado as an alternative to ranch for dipping, guacamole works for more than just tortilla chips. If you dip it in ranch, you can dip it in guacamole.

The typical guacamole recipe contains fresh ingredients like avocado, tomato, cilantro, lime juice, and onion or garlic. So it packs plenty of flavors that will prevent you from missing ranch as your standard dipping sauce.

8. Substitute creamy Italian dressing

Some people like ranch because it's full of lip-smacking flavor. If that describes what drew you to ranch in the first place, why not replace it with another lip-smacking dressing – creamy Italian dressing? If you've ever found yourself dipping your breadsticks or chicken into your Italian dressing at Olive Garden, you just might be a candidate for replacing your ranch dressing with creamy Italian dressing.

The recipe for copycat Olive Garden dressing suggests you start off by making mayonnaise, which is one of the bases of most ranch dressings. It also contains ingredients like Italian seasoning (like basil, oregano, and thyme), parsley, garlic powder, and Romano cheese to give it flavor and bite. So creamy Italian dressing can pass as a cousin of ranch dressing.

You can use Italian dressing for more than just adding to your salad. It's nice as a marinade and as a base for a summer pasta salad full of fresh vegetables. However, there's no need to limit yourself. If you would use ranch on it, you can try it with Italian dressing.

7. Try a honey drizzle

You could try overcoming your ranch fatigue by going sweet instead of savory. There's no rule that says that you have to dip your fries and nuggets in a condiment. Instead, try honey for drizzling and dipping. Healthline says honey is high in antioxidants and may improve heart health. Just keep in mind that honey is high in sugar, so it can make you gain weight if you go overboard adding it to everything and increasing your calorie intake. Moderation is key.

It's easy enough to just buy local honey for your honey drizzles. Even among local honey purveyors, you will find that the honey flavor changes based on location and what types of pollen the bees are sampling in the fields. As such, there's a wide variety of unique honey from which to choose. Each type has a different flavor profile. For example, avocado honey has a rich flavor like molasses (via My Beeline). If dark and spicy honey with smoky overtones sounds intriguing, you might try chestnut honey (via Bees Wiki). Another smoky honey with hints of caramel, sage, and mint to try is heather honey (via Saveur). For saltier and more woodsy honey with caramel notes, you might want to seek out palmetto honey (via Backyard Beekeeping). Tasmanian leatherwood honey has more of a bold and spicy balsamic flavor profile (via Healthy With Honey). It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole of flavor possibilities.

6. Consider a marinara dipping sauce instead

Obviously, marinara sauce isn't going to replace ranch in every instance. For example, you're probably not going to want to put it on your salad unless you're a braver person than most. However, if you were using ranch dressing as a dipping sauce, marinara can work as an acceptable substitute in most cases, like for dipping fries, chicken fingers, or breadsticks. Plus, without all the fatty dairy ingredients of ranch, it's also a lot healthier. In fact, if you eat the equivalent size of a whole tomato, you can count it as a vegetable serving (via Very Well Fit).

A classic marinara sauce recipe is fairly simple, containing tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. It's easy to whip up on your own. If you have the opportunity to make it from fresh homegrown (or farmer's-market-acquired) tomatoes and fresh basil, it's going to taste that much better. However, opening up a jar of Rao's Homemade Marinara has the capacity to rival homemade. If plain marinara isn't exciting enough for you, Food & Wine Magazine suggests adding additional flavor with ingredients like kimchi or curry powder.

5. Let fancy hummus serve as a substitute

Why not switch out your ranch for hummus? With the right ingredients, it can be just as flavorful as ranch. Healthline says that chickpeas (one of the main ingredients in hummus) have 12.5 grams of fiber. Since the protein makes hummus more filling, it can be part of your meal rather than simply a sauce for your meal. Chickpeas also contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, including 74% of the daily value (DV) of manganese, 71% of the DV of folate, and 64% of the DV of copper.

A typical hummus recipe contains a base of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. So it may not meet your flavor requirements on its own. However, there are plenty of variations that pack more bite or provide added creaminess. If you're after something creamy, avocado hummus can provide a more decadent texture than chickpeas alone. Lemon hummus has lemon zest to give it more bite. But you can take it even further in flavor, depending on add-ins. Adding caramelized onions provides more flavor depth. Pesto takes hummus to the next flavor level with umami Parmesan and pine nuts, along with fresh basil. Other ingredients that can spice up your hummus include paprika, sumac, cayenne, green onions, dill, rosemary, or parsley (via Taste of Home). You could even go as far as to add a packet of ranch mix to your hummus.

4. Switch to tzatziki sauce

If you've somehow managed to get through life without trying the refreshing and garlicky wonder that is tzatziki sauce, you're really missing out on something special. You're most likely to find it at a Mediterranean restaurant as a dipping sauce for everything from falafel to pita or kabobs. However, tzatziki sauce is fairly easy to make at home with Greek yogurt, grated cucumbers, finely diced or grated garlic, and fresh herbs like dill or mint. Some people also add lemon juice. The fresher your ingredients the better, but you can make do with dried ingredients when your herb garden is dormant in the winter. To prevent your tzatziki sauce from becoming too liquidy, it's a good idea to remove the watery seed portion of the cucumber before getting started.

It's likely that garlic and Greek yogurt make a zesty-enough combination that you'll like tzatziki sauce as it is. However, you can always add some of the same herbs and spices that a standard ranch dressing recipe requires, like dill, parsley, and onion powder, for a refreshing new take on ranch.

3. Experiment with aioli

When creamy is what you crave, aioli can help. What's the difference between aioli and mayonnaise? Both fall into a class of colloids called emulsions that chemically combine liquids (oil and water) that normally resist combination (via How Stuff Works). However, aioli is always infused with garlic and always uses olive oil instead of another type of oil. So it's far more flavorful than ordinary mayonnaise. While people tend to use mayo as a spread or salad mix-in, aioli is also suitable for dipping. Plus, a recent study shows that olive oil could help you live longer, making aioli a healthier choice than ranch and mayonnaise if you've dumped ranch for health purposes.

Don't let words like "emulsion" make you think it's difficult to make at home. If you can't find aioli in the grocery store, you can let your food processor or blender do all the chemistry-level work for you. A recipe for basic aioli contains ingredients you likely already have on hand: egg yolks, fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. If you just want to dress up your mayonnaise or don't have any olive oil or egg, you can try this roasted garlic aioli recipe, which starts out with mayonnaise instead.

To make an even more flavorful aioli, try adding extras like chili powder, chipotle, cilantro, lime, curry, Cajun seasoning, Sriracha, or basil. You can also go in a more ranch-like direction by adding parsley, dill, chives, and onion powder.

2. Use it up as a meat seasoning or marinade

So you've got a bottle of ranch in your fridge and you're absolutely gorged out on ranch? There's no reason you have to trash it. You can use it as a marinade to tenderize meat before cooking. And ranch seasoning can breathe new life into your tired meat recipes.

The internet is full of recipes for Crock Pot or Instant Pot ranch chicken, which seems to merely require dumping a bottle of ranch dressing in with your chicken before cooking. It's lazy cooking at its best. While you usually think about ranch dressing in relation to chicken (like dipping chicken fingers into it), it can also serve as a marinade for cheap cuts of steak that can do with a fat and flavor infusion (via Reddit).

In August of 2022, Cracker Barrel released Kick'n Ranch Fried Chicken with three different types of ranch. This menu item starts out with ranch-seasoned bone-in fried chicken that's drizzled with buffalo ranch and served with a side of dill pickle ranch. Yes, it's an absolute ranch overkill. And if you have ranch fatigue, you're probably reeling at the thought. However, using your leftover ranch seasoning to season your homemade fried chicken or chicken fingers is a good way to finish it off. Like with ranch dressing, there's no need to stop at chicken with ranch seasoning. Go ahead and add it to beef as well.

1. Add it as a secret ingredient in recipes to use it up

If you have ranch fatigue, adding your leftover ranch to random recipes can help use it up so that you can get it out of your fridge or pantry. The easiest solution is to add it in place of mayonnaise in recipes. However, you can sneak it into many other dishes.

So if you're making tuna salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw that calls for mayonnaise, substitute some or all of it with ranch. It can really add a bit of energy to ordinary recipes. This recipe for classic potatoes salad with a twist showcases just how much better potato salad can be with ingredients that made you first fall in love (before you fell out of love) with ranch: garlic, onion, and dill –- but with jalapeño and cilantro for a twist.

Reddit suggests adding ranch to spaghetti or mac and cheese. You could also use it in a burrito instead of sour cream. If you think of ranch as individual ingredients rather than as "ranch," you may find yourself inspired. Just think about what would taste good with its creamy ingredients like sour cream and its spicy ingredients like garlic, onion, parsley, and dill to inspire new combinations.