Ranch dressing is a great dressing for everyday foods because of its unique creamy flavor. In fact, it has been among the top best-selling salad dressings in the USA for decades.
Since ranch dressing contains dairy products, it is important to know how to store it properly so it stays fresh and safe.
Brief Introduction About Ranch
Ranch dressing is a type of salad dressing that typically contains dairy products, such as buttermilk and sour cream, as well as herbs and spices.
Ranch goes so well as a dip for veggies, such as baby carrots, celery, or mushrooms. It is also used as a dressing on top of a green luttuce salad.
Some store-bought ranch dressings contain tons of fat. Thus, it would be best to check for the nutrition value or create a clean homemade sauce if you are being health conscience.
How Long Can Ranch Sit Out?
How long can ranch sit out? The answer may vary, depending on the main ingredients in your dressing and the storage conditions.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that all perishable foods, including commercial ranch dressing, be kept at a temperature of 40°F or below to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Leaving commercial ranch dressing out at room temperature for more than two hours can cause bacteria to grow, which can potentially cause food poisoning.
Usually, commercial salad dressings will last much longer than the homemade ones as they are highly acidified and processed. The highly acidic environment helps to inhibit bacterial growth.
However, it is generally not safe to leave any ranch dressing out of the refrigerator for an extended period of time. Since ranch dressing typically contains dairy products, such as buttermilk and sour cream, they can easily spoil if they are not kept at a safe temperature.
How Long Can Homemade Ranch Last?
This may depend on the key ingredients of your homemade salad dressing. If it contains many dairy products, it will only last up to 2 hours at room temperature.
This period can be much shorter if it is left outside in hot or humid temperatures.
On average, homemade dressing can stay fresh for 1-2 weeks, depending on how fresh its ingredients are and the storage conditions.
What about freezing? Can you freeze ranch dressing to extend its lifespan? If so, how long can ranch dressing sit out in the freezer?
The good news is that you can freeze homemade dressing and thaw it whenever you want to use it. This way, your prepared dressing can maintain its quality for around a month.
However, because it contains ingredients, such as sour cream or almond milk, thawing might lead to some changes in the overall texture.
How Long Can Store-bought Ranch Last?
Now, let’s move on to the store-bought ranch dressing. How long does ranch last out of the fridge?
Like homemade dressing, the opened ranch salad dressing only lasts for a few hours if you open the package and leave it at room temperature due to the bacteria growth.
What if you don’t open the package? Does ranch go bad if left out overnight? Definitely, not. In this case, the shelf life of the unopened ranch dressing depends on the date printed on the bottle.
But, you have missed the sell-by-date or best-by-date. Does ranch expire in this situation?
Expired ranch dressing may still be edible, though it no longer stays at its peak quality.
How long is ranch good for after expiration date? It can last for 1-4 months beyond the date printed on the package if you store it properly in the fridge.
So, how long is ranch dressing good for after opening if you store it in the refrigerator?
Continuously refrigerating unopened ranch bottles enables this dressing to stay at its best quality for about 6 to 9 months, depending on its main ingredients. Once opened, refrigerating ranch dressing helps it stay fresh for up to a month.
What about freezing this flavorful sauce? How long is ranch dressing good for once being frozen?
If you store ranch in airtight containers and leave it in the freezer, it can last for 3-6 months. However, its flavor will decrease a little bit, and its texture will slightly change when thawing for usage.
How To Tell If Ranch Is Bad?
Yes, you could get food poisoning from ranch dressing if you eat bad dressing. So, how to detect spoiled ranch dressing?
The first method is to take a closer look at the appearance of the salad dressing. If it’s a significantly different color than when you made or bought it, you might not want to taste it.
Besides, you may notice some mold growing on the sauce. In this case, it would be best to discard the ranch immediately, as consuming it poses dangerous health risks.
Another way to check is with the odor. If the ranch salad dressing smells off, it must be discarded immediately, as it is no longer safe to eat.
How To Store Ranch Properly To Maximize Its Shelf Life?
It is super easy to store ranch dressing. All you need to do is place it in a small jar covered tightly with plastic wrap or a sealed plastic bag. Then, you can store it in the cool drawer or the freezer.
In case you intend to freeze the dressing, it would be best to divide it into small portions and store it separately in different airtight containers.
That’s because thawing might badly affect the texture of the sauce. If you keep thawing and re-refrigerating the dressing after each use, its quality will quickly decrease.
We hope that our article has provided everything you want to know about the shelf life of ranch salad dressing.
Aside from the question – “how long can ranch sit out” do you have any other queries about the ranch or other cream-based sauces, such as blue cheese?
Whatever you wonder, such as “How long can blue cheese dressing sit out?” please let us know through the comment box below. Just let us know, and we can try to write another article to help answer your questions.