Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing


Now my son is OBSESSED with this stuff.  Some of you may only have it occasionally.  But this is a true staple in our house and we usually have a bottle or two in reserve.

Let’s take a look at what Hidden Valley has on their website as their description of their Ranch dressing:

Our Original Ranch® recipes are made with wholesome ingredients and the perfect blend of herbs and spices. Enjoy the farm fresh taste of Hidden Valley® ranch dressing mixes, dips and salad toppings


Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Ingredients:

  • Vegetable Oil (soybean and/or canola oil)
  • water
  • egg yolk
  • sugar
  • salt
  • cultured nonfat buttermilk
  • natural flavors
  • spices
  • dried garlic
  • dried onion
  • vinegar
  • phosphoric acid
  • xanthan gum
  • modified food starch
  • MSG
  • artificial flavors   (still with me?)
  • disodium phosphate
  • sorbic acid
  • calcium disodium EDTA
  • preservatives
  • disodium inosinate (huh??)

WOW!  Ok … where to start.  First things first.

  • The ingredients you see listed on any label, BY LAW, must list them in from highest to lowest.  So the first ingredient you see would be what the product is primarily made MOST OF and will go down from there.  Ingredients at the bottom (usually say contains less than 2% of) contain the smallest amount.
  • I want to focus today on the first ingredient listed in this Ranch dressing:  Vegetable oil (comprised of soybean and/or canola oils).  Canola oil is a newly comprised oil from the 1970s.  Through the oh so wonderful world of genetic engineering, canola oil was created through rapeseed plants which are genetically modified to make rapeseed edible (long story, another post).  So unless your canola oil is certified organic it most likely is genetically modified.  You want to stay as far away from canola oil as possible!
  • Another thing to watch out for are the trans fats in canola oils, which can be as high as 4% (source).  Highly processed and refined oils are highly unstable under heat, light, and pressure, and this heavily oxidizes the polyunsaturates which increases free radicals in your body.
  • So how do the trans fats get in there?  It’s in how the oil is made.  The process of making and refining these types of oils leads to PUFas (rancid polyunsaturated fatty acids) which DO NOT hold up well to high heats.  In the process of being extracted from the seed these oils oxidize and turn into trans fats.  The smell is so rancid that a cleaning process has to take place using bleach to deodorize it.  Bleeech !!!
  • Besides the oil, let’s just see what else is in our Ranch dressing:  natural flavors (you all know how I feel about that!  It takes 49 ingredients to make strawberry flavor), dissodium phosphate, sorbic acid, preservatives.  All stuff I know I don’t have in my pantry or ingredients I use to make my dressing at home.

I then took a trip to the supermarket in search of a ranch dressing that did not contain canola oil, vegetable oil or soybean oil as the first ingredient and got exhausted.  If any of you find one, please let me know.  As a matter of fact I pulled this from Annie’s Organic website.  Here are the ingredients in their ranch dressing:  *EXPELLER PRESSED VEGETABLE OIL (*CANOLA, *SOY, AND/OR *SUNFLOWER), WATER, *TAHINI, *APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, *SOY SAUCE (WATER, *SOYBEAN, SALT, *WHEAT, *ALCOHOL), *LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, SEA SALT, *GARLIC, *TOASTED SESAME SEEDS, *PARSLEY, *CHIVES, XANTHAN GUM.*ORGANIC INGREDIENTS.

All expeller means is the oil wasn’t extracted using a heated solvent like hexane.  Rather, they were heated and put under extreme pressure to release the oil.  Given a choice, ALWAYS choose organic oil over it’s counterpart as at least it’s GMO free.   I’m disappointed in Annie’s because I find they have a few products we use.

What should you do instead?

  • Of course your first option should be to make your own Ranch dressing.  That way you know what’s going into your dressing.  Here is my recipe for Ranch dressing and all I have to say is this stuff is gooooood!  I will NEVER EVER EVER go back to store bought again.
  • Bottom line:  Label read!  If you don’t understand a word, look it up!  Learn and understand what you are putting in your body and make your choice from there.


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  1. Kraft ranch doesn’t have canola oil. My mom is highly allergic to canola and it one she can eat.

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