Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie
Ranch dressing

One of the most vital condiments in the United States is ranch dressing, or ranch sauce, in most restaurants and fast-food places. This dressing can be eaten with everything, and everyone who loves ranch sauce usually asks for extras so they can have some at home. 

For some reason, ranch dressing from a restaurant and ranch dressing from a bottle in the grocery store taste different, and the restaurant version is usually waterier than the one in the bottle. But no matter which one you like; ranch sauce is always there to make your meals better!

Does ranch dressing go bad? Yes, ranch dressing does go bad. Depending on whether it is fresh or store-bought, it can last for several months or only a few days. Store-bought ranch dressing will last about 12 to 18 months as long as it is not opened. Once the dressing is opened, it will last about 6 months if it is stored in the refrigerator. 

As long as the dressing is stored in the fridge, you can eat ranch dressing up to 2 months past its expiration date.

Does Ranch Dressing Go Bad?

Yes, ranch dressing or sauce does go bad, but it can be used for a long time after it is opened. Ranch sauce purchased from the grocery store has many preservatives and shelf stabilizers, so it is designed to last a very long time whether or not it is open. This is good news because ranch dressing is a variable of condiment in the United States. 

I don’t know any American who doesn’t have ranch sauce in their home. As long as it tastes great and there are no chunks inside the dressing, it is safe to eat.

How Long Does Ranch Dressing Last?

Store-bought dressing: Because of the preservatives and stabilizers, store-bought ranch dressing lasts about 12 to 18 months in the cupboard and the refrigerator; it will last about 6 months.

Freshly-made dressing: Nothing is better than homemade fresh ranch dressing. Unfortunately, it does not last that long. The moment you make ranch dressing, you only have four days to eat it before it goes bad.

How Long Does Ranch Dressing Last? [Chart]

Ranch Dressing Time 
Store bought, unopened12 to 18 months
Store bought, opened6 months
Fresh made4 days

How to Know if Ranch Dressing has Gone Bad?

Mold: As ranch sauce is approaching its expiration date, you may start to see little bits of mold forming at the opening and around the plastic bottle. If you see mold growing on the bottle but not floating in the dressing itself, you still have to throw it away

Never eat any type of food that has mold in it. Many people believe that they can just scrape off or move some mold, and the food will be perfectly fine to eat. But that is not true. Science now tells us that if an item has even the smallest little mold, the entire phone is infected with mold spores, and they are just waiting to grow.

Bad smell: When you open a bottle of ranch sauce, you will not have to wonder if it smells bad. It will either have a ranch cool smell or a horrible vinegary smell. There will be no in-between. The vinegar smell is from bacterial buildup, and it is unsafe to eat.

Bloated bottle: No matter what type of food it is, never eat food that comes from a bloated container. A bloated container means foodborne pathogens are multiplying in the container, and it’ll give you food poisoning if you eat it.

Not stored properly: Since most people keep an open bottle of ranch dressing in the cupboard until it is time to open it, you will find that some people forget it is supposed to go in the fridge and stick it back in the cupboard instead. 

If it is in the cupboard overnight, then it should be fine to put it into the fridge when you discover it. But if it has been weeks or months since it was opened and placed in the cupboard, then throw it out and get a new one. The milk and dairy in the dressing will most likely go bad. 

Can You Eat Expired Ranch Dressing? 

While it is never a beneficial idea to eat expired foods, just because the date has passed doesn’t mean that the food expired. If you stored your ranch sauce in the refrigerator right after you opened it, then the fridge will extend the shelf-life. 

So as long as it was in the fridge and it smells and tastes okay, you can eat ranch sauce up to 2 months after the expiration date.

However, if you make your fresh ranch dressing, then after four days have passed, throw it away. It is not as stable as store-bought ranch dressing.

Ranch Dressing Has Gone Bad – Substitutes to Use

Ranch dressing is known for its delectable creamy texture and cooling flavor, so it is best to find other sauces that are the same. One rare but nearly identical dressing is cilantro dressing. Cilantro dressing is made with the same ingredients as ranch dressing, but there is cilantro instead. However, you can’t find cilantro dressing in many restaurants and limited stores. 

Plus, many people do not like cilantro, and if this is you, you should try a blue cheese dressing. Blue cheese dressing is almost as popular as ranch dressing, and many places that serve popular foods like wings, pizza, burgers, and finger foods will also have blue cheese on the menu. 

How to Store Ranch Dressing

In the cupboard: When you bring your ranch sauce home from the grocery store, place it in the back of the fridge where it is less likely to experience a temperature change. Once you open it, place it in the fridge.

In the fridge: Most people place their sauces and dressings on the door sides because it is easier to organize them, but you should place the ranch dressing at the back of the fridge, so it won’t be exposed to warm air every time you open the fridge doors.

Fresh: Place your homemade ranch dressing in an airtight container and put it in the back of the fridge. Make sure to eat it in 4 days.

Final Thoughts

  • Ranch dressing is a delicious condiment that is beloved all over the US.
  • Store-bought ranch dressing usually last 12 to 18 months in the cupboard.
  • In the refrigerator, the dressing will last up to 6 months.
  • If you make fresh ranch dressing, it must be eaten in 4 days.
  • If your ranch sauce is moldy or the bottle is bloating, then throw it out.
  • Two ranch dressings alternatives are cilantro dressing and blue cheese dressing.

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