It's an all-in-one seasoning that's just waiting to live up to its full potential in your kitchen.

Home cook Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, has feelings about ranch dressing, and she wants to share them with you. Here are 10 ideas from Nicole for using ranch dressing as a shortcut ingredient to more flavorful cooking — whether as a dry mix in a packet or ready to pour from a bottle.

1. Dip

Yes, ranch dressing makes a great dip all by itself, but you can also use it as a base to boost the flavor in other dips. Try this recipe for Amazing Buffalo Dip made with ranch dressing. Another idea: Substitute ranch dressing for half the amount of mayonnaise in spinach dip and artichoke dip.

2. Dressing

Start with bottled ranch dressing and blend it with chopped jalapeño, avocado, and a squeeze of lime to make a creamy jalapeño ranch dressing. Thin it out with lemon and olive oil for a creamy ranch vinaigrette. And make pasta salads with ranch dressing instead of mayonnaise or vinaigrette.

3. Casseroles

Want to transform your next creamy rice casserole? Add ranch dressing. You can use the dry packet or bottled dressing and just mix it right in.

4. Soups

Sprinkle in a packet of dry ranch mix to add flavor and a little bit of thickening. Try it with taco soup and chili.

5. Roasts

Ranch dressing is one of the five ingredients you need to make this top-rated slow cooker Mississippi Pot Roast. You can also try it in a classic Slow Cooker Pot Roast that's loaded with root vegetables. For oven-baked recipes, sprinkle it on before roasting chicken or vegetables. (You might like this Sheet Pan Chicken and Vegetables, sprinkled with ranch dressing.)

6. Sauces

Nicole likes to use ranch dressing (bottled or dry mix) to help thicken and richen cream sauces. Try melting some cream cheese and milk or broth together and stirring in some ranch for some great flavor. Serve over pasta with bacon and scallions. (You might also like this recipe for Ranch and Bacon Chicken with Penne Pasta.) Use ranch dressing as a creamy white pizza sauce or to cool down a spicy Buffalo sauce. This top-rated recipe for Buffalo Chicken Dip is a perfect example.

7. Marinades

Ranch dressing makes great marinades. Pour the bottled dressing over the chicken and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Or you can combine a packet of dry ranch dressing mix with olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire for a marinade you can use on grilled chicken, pork, fish, and vegetables.

8. Coating & Breading

Create great seasoned coatings using dry ranch dressing mix. Sprinkle on potatoes before frying or roasting, and add it to breadcrumbs to make a super flavorful coating.

9. Secret Ingredient (Shhh!)

Add bottled or dry ranch dressing to burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs for an instant flavor boost no one will be able to quite pin down. Mix it into hummus and add a little to a pan gravy to make everyone wonder what your secret is! (We won't tell.)

10. Ice Cream

Yes Ranch Dressing Ice Cream is a thing. And Nicole says she's not making it!


  • Want to make ranch dressing from scratch? This recipe for Dry Buttermilk Ranch Dressing makes a homemade mix you can use as a dry seasoning, or mix it with mayonnaise and milk to make a creamy dressing (the recipe gives you the amounts).
  • Get more recipes for homemade ranch dressing.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.