Ranch dressing is one of the most popular sauces in the United States. It is traditionally made from buttermilk, mayonnaise, and other spices that give ranch dressing its distinctive taste. Most foods keep very well when frozen, but is ranch one of them?
Although ranch dressing can be frozen, it is not the best method for storing ranch as it can cause separation. Instead, ranch should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This article will go over what happens when you freeze ranch and the most popular methods for doing so.
Can You Put Ranch Dressing in the Freezer?
The short answer to this question is that yes, you can put ranch dressing in the freezer and it will be safe to consume when you remove it. However, freezing ranch is not the best option.
Ranch dressing is not known for freezing well. This is because it is an emulsion of different dairy and egg products, none of which are known for freezing well.
If you freeze ranch, the initial result may look okay. However, you will see the real problem as the ranch begins to thaw. As the ranch thaws, all the individual components will separate creating a lumpy, runny mix that is a combination of chunks of buttermilk and a watery liquid.
Once the ranch has thawed this way, it will be difficult to get it to recombine. If you do manage to recombine all of the individual components and get a decent texture, the flavor will still be affected. After freezing, the ranch will be bitter and will not have the same creamy, salty flavor that you look forward to when you eat ranch.
What Happens If You Freeze Ranch Dressing?
If you freeze ranch dressing you will initially get a solid block of frozen dressing. As long as it is kept frozen solid, the ranch dressing will stay fresh and remain safe to eat while it is frozen. However, the real issue begins when you attempt to thaw the ranch.
As you thaw the ranch, you will notice the individual ingredients of the ranch separating into chunks and liquid. This is because the ranch is primarily made from buttermilk and mayonnaise, neither of which freeze well, and both of which will separate. You will end up with a mixture of oil and dairy solids from the separation of the mayonnaise and the buttermilk.
With everything separated, you can try to get all of the ingredients mixed back together by whisking. However, this does not always work and you will rarely get the same texture that the dressing had before freezing.
To learn more about the ingredients used to make ranch, click here.
How Long Does Ranch Dressing Last in the Freezer?
Ranch dressing will usually last about one year in the freezer like most other foods. However, this brings up the point of why freeze your ranch in the first place.
Ranch typically contains a lot of preservatives. These preservatives allow this dressing to stay fresh for 6 to 9 months in the refrigerator. This is an exceptionally long time for a food item and it is unlikely that you are going to need your ranch to stay fresh for longer than that. For the most part, your ranch will stay fresh in the refrigerator long enough that you won’t have to freeze it to get an extra 2 months of freshness.
How to Freeze Ranch Dressing
If you do decide to freeze your ranch, it is important to do it correctly. That way, when you thaw your ranch you are able to recombine it easily and avoid having a chunky ranch.
The best methods to freeze your ranch are the cube method and the freezer bag method.
The best way to freeze your ranch and prevent the texture from becoming excessively lumpy is the cube method. With the cube method, you will be able to freeze your ranch and thaw your ranch in portions. This will also make the thawing process thicker since smaller cubes melt more quickly than one giant cube.
Here are the steps for freezing your ranch using the cube method:
- Clean out an ice cube tray
- Pour your ranch into each cube
- Fill each cube with about 80%
- This allows for expansion*
- Freeze solid
- Pop cubes out
- Place ranch cubes in plastic freezer bags
- Store in freezer until ready to thaw
Once you are ready to thaw your cubes you will take out however many cubes you need and place them in a large bowl. As they melt you’ll want to stir the cubes and liquid around to discourage separation.
Once everything is fully melted you can re-whip the mixture using a whisk or an electric mixer. This will help to recombine all of the ingredients and make your ranch have a smooth texture.
*Make sure to leave some extra space in each ice cube mold. Ranch, like most liquids, expands when solid so it is important to leave extra space. If you don’t leave extra space, you risk cracking the tray from the expansion of the frozen ranch.
Freezer Bag Method
The next method for freezing ranch is the best if you need to freeze large amounts of ranch. In this method, you will place all of your ranch into large freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible. This will allow you to freeze large amounts of ranch quickly without having to squeeze it into individual molds.
Here are the steps for freezing your ranch using the freezer bag method:
- Open several clean freezer bags
- Pour ranch in them
- Only fill to 75% of maximum capacity*
- Squeeze out as much air as possible
- Seal bags
- Place bags upright in the freezer
- Freeze until ready to use
Once you are ready to use the ranch you should move the full freezer bags from the freezer to the fridge. Leave them in the fridge for the next 1-2 days until they are fully thawed. Once the bags are fully thawed you can pour the contents into a large bowl. In the bowl, you can whip the ingredients together again using a whisk or electric mixer until you have a thick, creamy texture.
Keep in mind with both of these methods it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve the same texture as before freezing.
*Ranch expands when frozen. In order to prevent the freezer bag from bursting as the ranch expands you should fill the bag to no more than 75% of its capacity. That means if you have a 1-liter bag you should add no more than 750 milliliters of ranch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about freezing ranch.
How to thaw ranch dressing from the freezer?
The best way to thaw ranch dressing from the freezer is by placing it in the fridge until it is fully thawed. Once it is thawed you should remix the separated components together using a whisk or an electric mixer.
Can you refreeze ranch dressing?
Technically, you can refreeze ranch dressing. However, every time that you freeze the ranch you will experience the same separation process that has a negative effect on the texture. Every time that you refreeze ranch, the texture will worsen.
How to tell if ranch dressing has gone bad?
The easiest way to tell if ranch dressing has gone bad is by observing the odor and appearance. If the odor becomes rancid, the color changes or mold appears to be growing on the ranch, it is best to throw the ranch away to avoid food poisoning.
Ranch is one of the most popular salad dressings in the United States. It is traditionally used to top salads, but it is also used as a dipping sauce for pizza and other foods like chicken wings.
Although freezing ranch is a way to preserve it, ranch dressing is not known for freezing well. When ranch is frozen it tends to separate which negatively affects the texture of the dressing.
The best way to store ranch is to keep it in a sealed container at a stable temperature in the refrigerator. When stored properly, an open container of ranch can stay fresh for up to 9 months without spoiling.