You’re Not Imagining Things—Ranch Dressing Really Does Taste Better in Restaurants

LauriPatterson/Getty Images

The relief of not having to clean your own dishes isn't the only thing that makes eating out enjoyable. Some customers swear that certain mass-produced items taste better in a restaurant setting than they do at home—and they may be on to something. The way that Coca-Cola from McDonald's is stored gives it a slight edge over the bottled stuff, for example. According to MEL Magazine, Hidden Valley Ranch also benefits from the restaurant bump.

Unless they advertise it on the menu, you can assume that the condiments at your neighborhood restaurant aren't made from scratch. This includes ranch dressing. Ask someone in the food service industry about the creamy dressing they serve with salads and wings and they may say it starts as a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix.

If you have a bottle of ranch dressing in your fridge, there's a good chance that it's Hidden Valley as well. So why does the dressing taste better in a restaurant than it does at home? The answer comes down to how the mix is prepared. Ranch is generally made of herbs, pepper, salt, onions, garlic, and powdered buttermilk mixed into a creamy base. When it's bottled, much of the "cream" in ranch consists of an oil-based dairy substitute. It's cheap to make, and it doesn't go bad when it sits unrefrigerated on the shelf.

While many restaurants use mass produced ranch mix, they often add it to a higher-quality base. This might include milk, buttermilk, sour cream, or mayonnaise. So when you notice that the ranch in a restaurant tastes better than the bottled dressing from the store, what you're really tasting is delicious, creamy fat.

McDonald's Coke isn't easy to recreate at home, but restaurant ranch is. Just buy the powdered mix instead of the bottled product and combine it with the base of your choice. The benefits will be worth it for ranch lovers, who are a plentiful bunch. The dressing is one of the most popular condiments in the country.

[h/t MEL Magazine]