What we now know as ranch dressing was invented by Steve Henson, a dude ranch owner in California in the 1950s. He eventually commercialized his signature sauce, and ranch dressing really took off in the United States and Canada in the 1980s. Nowadays, ranch is one of the most popular condiments in the country, used as a dip or sauce for all kinds of fast foods as well as a dressing for lettuce salads.
As happens with most any American food that is popular and good, ranch dressing, already excellent, can be made even better by the addition of a Mexican ingredient or two. Try this basic recipe, then play around a little with the proportions and/or ingredients to develop your very own signature ranch dip/dressing/sauce.
- 1 cup milk (whole)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 package dry ranch dressing mix
- 1 tablespoon powdered chile pepper (such as ancho o piquín chile)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
With a whisk, mix together the milk, mayonnaise and sour cream in mixing bowl until smooth. Add the dry ranch dressing mix and the remaining seasonings; whisk again until smooth and all seasonings are blended evenly. Place mixture in a covered container and refrigerate at least one hour so that the dressing can thicken and the seasonings have time to release their flavors.
Spoon your delicious Ranchero Ranch Dressing into one or more small pitchers or serving bowls. Pour onto salads or use as a dipping sauce (see suggestions below).
Variations on Ranchero Ranch Dressing
If you want to go a little fancier, think about doing one or more of the following with your dressing/dip:
Omit the powdered chile pepper and add a spoonful of the adobo sauce that comes in a can of chipotle peppers.
Use the smashed flesh of an avocado in place of half of the mayonnaise in this recipe. Voila! Instant guacamole-ranch.
Skip the commercial seasoning packet and make your own ranch herb mix.
What’s Good with Ranchero Ranch Dressing?
Lettuce salads love ranch dressing, of course, but there are so many other things that this sauce can be used for. Here are a few to get your thinking cap kickstarted:
Potato chips, tortilla chips, homemade totopos, pretzels, and similar dip-able snack thingies.
Mexican chicharrones, either the real kind (deep fried pig’s skin) or the snack-chip-like flour based puffed creations.
Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, mushrooms, cucumber, zucchini, radishes, and cauliflower.
Any kind of deep fried or baked breaded goodies: chicken nuggets or tenders, fried okra, fried clams, breaded fish or shrimp, etc.
Pour your delicious ranch dressing into a squeeze bottle and use it on your torta, hamburger, or sandwich. Try some as a sauce for your pizza, French fries, meatloaf, or chicken wings.
Edited by Robin Grose