Here's Why So Many People Eat Pizza With Ranch

There has been a great debate raging on the internet – even Reddit has enough threads on this topic to fill several pages of a Google search – for several years, engaging the greatest minds and palates: Does ranch dressing belong on pizza? But rather than get dragged into a conversation that has no clear end in sight nor victor, other than each person's personal taste buds, we wanted to know why so many people enjoy this either bizarre or sublime combination, depending on which side of the pizza you sink your teeth into.

The first question on your mind might be who thought up this combination in the first place? No one really knows for certain, but there is conjecture that its genesis might be traceable from where all good drinking stories commence: College. A story in the Houston Press cites a Washington Post article from 2008 that claimed drunk students in Washington, DC. created this oftentimes polarizing combination. Taste of Home suggests that the combination was first introduced when pizza places commenced offering this condiment to accompany breadsticks. But whatever folklore you subscribe to regarding the actual creation of this duo, somehow, it caught on, and well, now, here we are asking: Why do people eat ranch dressing with their pizza? For those who are against this pairing, please don't hate us, but the answer is actually somewhat logical.

It might be a cleanser for your taste buds

Taste of Home suggested that this cool, creamy, and savory condiment works with pizza because it might cleanse the palate. Their explanation is that the acid in the dressing eliminates the grease of the cheese and pepperoni. And while we're not certain that their science is right, they still may not be too far off the mark. According to a Chapman University blog post, dairy products contain casein, a fat-soluble protein capable of dissolving the fat-soluble flavor compound, capsaicin. Capsaicin can cause the burning sensation you get from spicy food by attaching to receptors on your taste buds. When you dip spicy hot wings in ranch dressing, the casein in the buttermilk-based dip latches on to and dissolves the capsaicin, reducing the burn your tongue might otherwise feel. Perhaps, a similar reaction is going on when you eat pizza and ranch.

Still, the Dallas Observer notes, a group dubbed the Pacifists – those who will not take a stand either way in the great pizza and ranch dressing conversation – believe ranch dressing might serve to cover up bad pizza or leftover crust. A food study is definitely needed to sort this one out, but rest assured, pizza and ranch dressing lovers will happily step up and participate. You know, for science.