Does Ranch Go Bad? How Long Does Ranch Last?

Ranch sauce is among the most popular and beloved dressings, toppings, and dips in the USA.

Whether you prefer to make your own Ranch or rely on a store-bought one, the chances are that you have some of this dressing in your refrigerator.

But, do you know how to store it and tell if it has gone bad?

Please, read on to find out whether Ranch goes bad, how to preserve it, and when it’s time to throw it out.

What is Ranch?

The Ranch is a dressing usually made of buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic, onion, parsley, dill, chives, ground mustard, black pepper, and other herbs and spices. Depending on the recipe, it can include yogurt or oil emulsions.

The creamy dressing has a tangy and sweet flavor and is a perfect addition to a salad, a topping for a burger, or a dip for veggies, chips, wings, or others.

An interesting fact is that the name of the dressing comes from its inventor Steve Henson. He and his wife made the dressing and later on started serving it at their Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara.

Once it became hugely popular, the couple started selling it to its guests, and it became known as Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing.

Later on, the ranch brand was purchased by Clorox, which started making different ranch-style products.

Today, many manufacturers make ranch-style dressing in different variations. It has consistently been the most popular dressing in the USA since the early 1990s.

How Long Can Ranch Last? Does It Go Bad?

How long this delicious and versatile dressing lasts depends on the type of Ranch you have, as well as how you store it.

When you buy a ready-made ranch, it will have a best-by expiration date on it. This is the date up to which the dressing will be at its best quality.

But even after its expiration date, most opened store-bought Ranch can be stored and remain edible for about a month. This is true if it’s properly sealed and kept in the refrigerator.

Sealed ranch dressing, which is ready-made, can be stored in the pantry for 6-8 months, as long as it’s kept in a cool and dry place and its packaging is not damaged.

Even though some brands contain preservatives allowing Ranch to be kept out of the refrigerator, we still recommend that you keep the open bottle of the dressing in the fridge.

When left outside opened, the Ranch’s oil and another fatty emulsion will go rancid, and the buttermilk or yogurt will quickly become sour.

As for homemade ranch dressing, which has no preservatives, you should make sure to eat it within a week of making it. In the meantime, put it in an airtight container, jar, or bottle and keep it in the fridge until the next use.

Overall, the shelf life of homemade ranch topping depends on which ingredients you use.

How to Tell if the Ranch Has Gone Bad? What is its Shelf Life?

First of all, check the best-by date on the label of your ranch sauce. If you haven’t opened it, the dressing should be good for about a month after its expiration.

If you have opened homemade or store-bought ranch dressing, it may go bad after time, even if you have meticulously kept it in the fridge.

To tell whether the dressing is no good and should be thrown out, you should use your senses. Look at it, smell it, and as a last resort – taste a little bit.

It should be easy to determine if the ranch salad dressing has gone bad. If it has an odd or unpleasant smell, it likely needs to be discarded.

When you examine the consistency of the dressing, make sure to inspect it for a suspicious-looking texture or any signs of mold. Another sign that the dressing has gone bad is if the contents have separated even though it does not contain oil. If you notice these tell-tale signs, then throw the old sauce out immediately.

If you are not entirely sure, then you can taste a tiny bit of the leftover ranch. If it tastes off, then it has probably gone bad.

To stay safe and to make the best of this type of dressing, dip, or topping, make sure you keep an eye on its expiration date. Also, close it tightly and store it in the fridge.


When made with healthy ingredients and consumed in moderation, Ranch is among the healthiest dressings in American cuisine.

It is also very universal and will go well with any salad, snack, grilled meal, or other.

But to save your money and to prevent the wastage of food, make sure to use the dressing within its best-by expiration date. If you prepare the sauce at home, make as much as you plan to eat within the next 6-7 days.

Good luck, and enjoy your delicious ranch dressing, topping, and dip!

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