It’s the nation’s favorite dressing. It’s everywhere. You will be given ranch dressing if you go to a restaurant and order a healthy salad. Sometimes it’s the light version or the regular, but you’re getting ranch dressing with your salad. It’s creamy, and delicious and can transform a bland salad into something spectacular.
But does ranch dressing have a long shelf life? When you walk down the grocery store aisle, there are rows and hundreds of bottles of the ranch, and surely it must go bad at room temperature.
This article will uncover the truth about ranch dressing and if it lasts for a long time at room temperature. We will answer the most frequently asked questions, giving you the information to make wise choices.
Let’s get into it.
Can ranch dressing go bad?
Yes, it can. It has fats in the components that make up ranch dressing. Fats go rancid pretty quickly in the right environment, so eating ranch dressing needs to be assessed before you dive in.
Store-bought Ranch dressing has many preservatives and shelf stabilizers to allow the ranch to stay in good shape that seems almost indefinitely when unopened.
Ranch is specifically designed to be shelf stable and has a long life even when opened at home. It’s hardly surprising so much effort goes into range dressing to keep its shelf stable and prevent spoiling; it’s the most used salad dressing in the US.
How long is ranch dressing good after opening?
Contrary to many articles on the internet, the FDA suggests that ranch and other salad dressings have a life span of two months when opened and stored in the fridge. Is it possible their knowledge articles are referring to the homemade ranch and not store-bought ranch dressing?
It seems like a short lifespan for a product designed to stay in good condition with preservatives and stabilizers to extend the shelf life.
But this issue of expiry dates comes into play when discussing how long a product can remain fresh if refrigerated.
How long is ranch dressing good after the expiration date?
Most of you buy store-bought ranch dressing for convenience and taste profile. It’s convenient, and you don’t need to collect a bunch of other condiments to make your ranch dressing.
If you leave the lid seal on your store-bought ranch dressing, it will stay good for 12 to 18 months.
Once you remove the seal and pop the lid, the clock starts ticking on the expiry of the ranch dressing. Typically it will last for six months in the fridge, and once it reaches the critical expiration date, you can still consume the ranch for a further two months, so eight months in total from opening the bottle of ranch dressing.
How long is ranch dressing good after opening?
It depends on the method of storage. You can store ranch dressing in a cool pantry for a couple of weeks.
But to get the most life out of your opened ranch dressing, store it in the fridge, which will be suitable for two months.
Does ranch go bad in the fridge?
It will not last forever, much the same as most foods. Using common sense, you can make it last for up to nine months in the fridge. The ranch should be thrown in the garbage if you are not diligent.
To keep your ranch salad dressing of the best quality, use it and refrigerate it. This way, it will last for nine months.
What does an expired ranch dressing look like?
Ranch dressing is typically creamy in color and has a delightful aroma from the bottle, and it pours thick and creamy without lumps or any foreign bodies in the ranch. It should be smooth.
If your ranch dressing is not looking creamy and does not pour as it should, it is turning bad and should be discarded.
Ranch dressing can turn pink, a definite sign that all is not well; with the ranch dressing, some ranch dressings turn shades of brown, another indicator that the ranch dressing has expired.
Any discoloration of the ranch dressing is a flourish of bacteria in the product. Eat this dressing at your peril, as it will make you sick.
Can you eat expired ranch dressing?
Check for tell tackle signs such as mold growth, an expended bottle, or a funky small. If it’s clear of the tell-tale signs, it should be perfect. It could be acceptable to eat if it’s been kept refrigerated and is only two months past the expiry date.
How long does homemade ranch last?
Store the homemade ranch in an airtight container in the fridge will last for two weeks. This assumes that you have used buttermilk and sour cream in the recipe.
There are advantages to making homemade ranch dressing, and you can alter the taste to your preferences, but more than that, you can control the quantity of ranch you are making to prevent waste.
Can you freeze ranch dressing?
It is a controversial topic. Some say yes, and others say no. The yes vote says you can freeze the ranch for three months. This is the homemade ranch, of course.
While the no vote says that ranch dressing made with buttermilk is not suitable for freezing, buttermilk separates when frozen, leaving you with chunks of indescribable. It’s said that the taste profile is bitter and not edible.
So, let’s assume you don’t have buttermilk in your ranch recipe and proceed with freezing.
You must prepare the ranch dressing before freezing it. For freezing, it must be fresh. Take your favorite recipe ( no buttermilk) and whip up a significant quantity.
Put in Bags: Put the dressing in a freezer bag. To allow the sauce to expand after being added to the bag, make sure to leave around 20% of the bag empty.
Remove Air: To do this, just place the bag you’re using in front of you, lift your hands to the top of the bag, and force out the last inch or two of air with your hands. Seal the bag when that air has been eliminated.
Does ranch dressing freeze well?
Not really, and the benefits are questionable. The max life of ranch dressing in the freezer is three months, and often defrosting the ranch dressing can see the ranch separate. It is a bit of a nightmare.
How can you tell if store-bought ranch dressing is bad?
When ranch dressing is getting close to its expiry date, you may notice subtle changes around the bottle lid and inside the bottle. These changes could be mold, which first develops as tiny specs in the ranch dressing.
Views on food safety have transformed, and where you once thought it may be acceptable to remove the specs and consume the ranch dressing have long gone with new evidence from scientists saying the bottle is entirely contaminated with spores.
A store-bought ranch approaching the end of its life may give off gas and expand the ranch dressing bottle if it’s plastic. A glass bottle will give a pronounced squirt of gas and maybe the product when opened. If this is the case in either scenario, discard the bottles of ranch dressing.
Regardless of the food or sauce, never be tempted to eat food that comes from a bloated expanded container. It is dangerous.
Your nose never lies. If your ranch dressing smells funky when you open it is funky. At this stage, the smell cannot be mistaken for anything other than a bad ranch dressing, and it will smell like vinegar, which the high levels of bacteria have created in the product.
Look in many kitchen cabinets, and you can often find an unopened bottle of ranch dressing, which is fine in the cabinet until you open it. After this, it needs to be refrigerated. Why not place the ranch dressing straight into the fridge?
If you find an open bottle of ranch dressing in the kitchen cabinet, throw it in the garbage and start again. Eating contaminated ranch dressing will cause you to be sick, and you may end up in the emergency room.
Ranch dressing has an incredibly long shelf life, but it does go bad, and when it is bad, there is no halfway stage. It is, or it isn’t.
The tell-tale signs of ranch dressing going bad in the fridge are evident:
- Mold proliferates in fat substances, and it may first manifest as tiny specs. If you see this, discard the ranch dressing.
- Swollen plastic ranch containers are a sure sign the ranch dressing is bad. Glass bottles will release the pressure when the lid is removed. If you get a squirt of gas and maybe the product from the bottle, discard the ranch dressing.
- Trust your nose. Bad ranch dressing will smell awful and may smell of vinegar, created by the overload of bacteria.
When you purchase ranch dressing from the grocery store, place it in the refrigerator, it will develop good habits for storing the ranch.