What Makes Ranch Dressing At Restaurants So Much Better

Side of ranch dressing
Side of ranch dressing - Baileystable/Getty Images

When considering why meals taste so much better in restaurants than when prepared at home, the answer is usually lots of butter. However, when it comes to ranch dressing, there's another creamy ingredient that steals the show — buttermilk. Whether to accompany buffalo wings, a classic Cobb salad, or chicken tenders, it's one of the most common requests. And while the condiment is popular throughout America, the Midwest interestingly consumes more ranch dressing than any other region.

The reason it's so beloved is because it has a very particular aromatic flavor profile, which all comes down to the seasoning. Where the sauce typically differs is in its consistency. Some dressings are thicker, tangier, or creamier, but ultimately they can all be recognized as ranch. The popular brands we see stocked in the condiment aisle, like Hidden Valley and Kraft, are bursting with ranch's signature flavors but lacking when it comes to thickness often because they use more oil.

The higher-end brands that use less filler ingredients can easily be found at local markets but have a price tag that can be tough to justify, especially when considering the short list of ingredients. Thankfully, chefs have conquered this dilemma with a few solutions, one being the magic of seasoning mix and fresh herbs.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

How To Make Homemade Ranch Restaurant Quality

Homemade ranch mix
Homemade ranch mix - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

The secret that many restaurants have up their sleeves is seasoning mix. Well-known brands make dry counterparts to their bottled ranch that encapsulate all the flavors, including powdered buttermilk, with none of the additives and oils. From there, seasoning packets can be mixed with sour cream, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or a blend whipped up by hand. At this point, homemade buttermilk ranch dressing has essentially been made, just with a little assistance. It may be made in minutes, but the flavor and consistency would say otherwise.

Pouring ranch right from the bottle can also leave it a little flat whereas whipping it up gives it more air to create the perfect dipping sauce. Another way chefs elevate their pseudo-homemade ranch is with fresh herbs and garnishes. Many will fold in chopped dill or parsley and it makes all the difference.

However, if it's pre-made ranch dressing you covet from your favorite pub, the answer may be the brand. Restaurants sometimes utilize wholesale distributors to score great deals and regular consumers don't always have access to those products. Ultimately, it could also just be that when something is served to us it always seems to taste better.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.