Is it OK to put ranch dressing on pizza?

For most of us, ranch dressing was a childhood go-to when the ‘rents forced the consumption of yucky vegetables. For some, ranch dressing remains a trusted sidekick for not only salads, but also pizza.

Opinions on this subject are split, to put it mildly. Those who love ranch dressing on pizza are all in and are largely unabashed in their love for its creamy consistency and tangy flavor. Those who are opposed to it, however, are really opposed to it. 

You’ll be hard pressed to find Swiss-style neutrality when it comes to ranch dressing on pizza, but we’d here to explain both sides of the story and offer up one scenario in which everyone should reach for the ranch.

Yes, we all can get along, even when it comes to one of the world’s most hot-button issues. Let’s dig in:

Where did ranch dressing come from anyway?

Hidden Valley Ranch

Ranch dressing was the creation of Steve Henson, a California man who owned a property called Hidden Valley Ranch in the 1950s. Henson and his wife made the dressing for guests and it quickly became the highlight of the tour. Later, the Hensons began mass producing their ranch dressing and, in 1972, they flipped their company to Clorox for a cool $8 million. 

That $8 million sum may seem light given the popularity of Hidden Valley dressing today, but that sum translates to nearly $48 million in 2019 dollars. Not bad for a couple of dude ranch owners with a knack for kitchen experimentation.

How is ranch dressing made?

Recipes vary depending on brand and fat content, but the standard Hidden Valley goop is a 50/50 blend of buttermilk and mayonnaise with a spice blend that is heavy on parsley, thyme, onion powder, and garlic powder. Oh, and it’s got MSG too, because MSG is awesome and a low-cost source of umami flavor.

Why do people like ranch dressing on pizza?

Pizza with ranch dressing

In the name of journalism, we asked one pro-rancher to defend her pizza position:

“Why do I put ranch dressing on pizza? Why wouldn’t I put ranch dressing pizza?,” she said. “Ranch is just plain bomb and the contrast between the hot cheese and the cool ranch takes a slice to a whole ‘nother level.”

Why do so many people think that ranch dressing on pizza is gross?

In the interest of equal time, we also checked in with an ardent pizza purist:

“Just look at it,” he said, declining to elaborate any further.

A usage for ranch dressing that even the haters can appreciate.

Buffalo chicken ranch pizza

Should traditional pizza be topped with ranch dressing in New York or Italy? Probably not, but there is a time and place for ranch dressing that everyone can get behind. We’re talking, of course, about buffalo chicken pizza, a mashup pie that could never be complete without a hefty drizzle of ranch dressing.

If you think ranch never belongs on a pizza, we dare you to try a buffalo chicken slice with ranch. It may not lead to you substituting the crushed red pepper shaker with a bottle of Hidden Valley, but you’ll at least gain a bit more perspective and understanding for the pro-ranch crowd. 

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