Which ranch dressing is gluten-free?

Ranch dressing is a popular salad dressing in the United States, known for its creamy, tangy flavor. It’s made from a combination of ingredients like buttermilk, mayonnaise, herbs and spices. For people avoiding gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, finding a ranch dressing that’s guaranteed gluten-free can be tricky. Many popular brands of ranch contain additives or thickeners that contain gluten. Thankfully, there are some great gluten-free ranch options available, including several mainstream brands. This article will explore common ingredients, labeling and some of the best gluten-free ranch dressings on the market.

What is ranch dressing?

Ranch dressing was invented in the 1950s by Steve Henson, who worked as a plumbing contractor and ran a dude ranch in California called Hidden Valley Ranch. To serve to guests, Steve whipped up a tangy, creamy dressing mix with buttermilk, mayonnaise, herbs and spices. It became so popular that Steve began packaging the seasoning and selling it to the public. Hidden Valley Ranch was acquired by Clorox in 1972 and has become one of the top-selling salad dressing brands in the U.S.

While Hidden Valley remains the most popular brand, ranch dressing is also offered by many other companies today. It’s frequently served as both a salad topping and a dip for vegetables and chips. Most ranch dressings have a similar flavor profile – creamy, cool, tangy and rich, with notes of garlic, onion, herbs like dill, parsley and chives, as well as black pepper and salt. Buttermilk is the ingredient that gives ranch its signature tang.

What ingredients typically contain gluten?

By itself, the main ingredients in ranch dressing – buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, herbs, spices – do not contain gluten. However, many commercial brands add thickeners and emulsifiers that do contain gluten:


Maltodextrin is a very commonly used thickener derived from corn, rice or potato starch. Although the origins of maltodextrin are gluten-free, the FDA allows wheat starch to be used when producing maltodextrin. Therefore, unless the source is specified as gluten-free, maltodextrin should be avoided.

Modified food starch

Food starch can come from gluten-containing grains like wheat. Modified versions, such as modified food starch, are unable to be determined gluten-free or not without knowing the original source.

Soy sauce or tamari

Many traditional soy sauces contain wheat. Tamari is typically gluten-free, but some tamari sauces still contain wheat so it’s important to check.


Like maltodextrin, dextrin is another thickener that can be derived from wheat. Without a gluten-free label, it’s best avoided.

Hydrolyzed wheat protein

This savory flavor enhancer contains wheat gluten.


Xanthan gum, guar gum and carrageenan help thicken and stabilize ranch dressing. They are generally made from gluten-free sources like seaweed, bacteria or beans, but check for gluten-free labeling or certification to be safe.

What to look for on labels

When shopping for gluten-free ranch dressing, read the entire ingredients label carefully. Avoid any dressings that contain maltodextrin, modified food starch or dextrin unless they’re specifically labeled as gluten-free. Also steer clear of soy sauce (unless marked gluten-free) and hydrolyzed wheat protein.

Ideally, look for a “gluten-free” label on the bottle. In the United States, foods marked “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

You can also look for certification from GFCO, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. GFCO tests products regularly to ensure they meet the proper standards to be certified gluten-free. Their symbol, which includes an ear of wheat crossed out with a circle, is commonly found on gluten-free products.

Popular gluten-free ranch brands

Here are some of the top gluten-free ranch dressing options from major brands:

Hidden Valley Ranch (available in refrigerated and shelf-stable versions)

The original ranch dressing, Hidden Valley Ranch is labeled gluten-free. It’s made with cultured nonfat milk, salt, vegetable oil, monosodium glutamate, nonfat dry milk, lemon juice concentrate, spice and herbs.

Kraft Ranch Dressing

Kraft Ranch is marked gluten-free. Ingredients include soybean oil, water, buttermilk, egg yolk, distilled vinegar, modified food starch, contains less than 2% of salt, sugar, monosodium glutamate, dried garlic, dried onion, sodium benzoate and phosphoric acid (to maintain freshness).

Ken’s Steak House Ranch

Ken’s is one of the top refrigerated ranch dressings and explicitly labeled “gluten-free.” It contains sunflower oil, buttermilk, water, egg yolk, distilled vinegar, salt, monosodium glutamate, modified food starch, nonfat dry milk, dried garlic, dried onion, chives, parsley, dill, black pepper, gum arabic, sugar, dried kosher dill, lactic acid, xanthan gum.

Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing

Newman’s Own Ranch is certified gluten-free and vegan. It’s made with purified water, soybean oil, corn vinegar, onion, garlic, salt, mustard flour, sugar, dill, citric acid, parsley, and other spices and natural flavor.

Annie’s Naturals Goddess Dressing

Though not technically ranch, Goddess dressing from Annie’s is a popular ranch alternative, with a similar creamy herb flavor. Certified gluten-free, it contains oils from sunflower, soybean and olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, tahini, basil, parsley, onion, spinach, kelp, mustard seed and other natural flavors.

Brianna’s Home Style Ranch

Brianna’s offers several gluten-free salad dressing options, including a Home Style Ranch made with canola oil, buttermilk, water, dried chives, salt, garlic, parsley, dill, black pepper, dried onion, sugar, citric acid, lactic acid, xanthan and guar gums. Brianna’s dressings are labeled gluten-free.

Litehouse Ranch Dressing

Litehouse Foods produce a variety of refrigerated dressings that are labeled gluten-free, including their Homestyle Ranch. It’s crafted from canola oil, cultured nonfat buttermilk, water, vinegar, egg yolk, red bell pepper, salt, dried onion, garlic, black pepper and dried parsley.

Best gluten-free ranch seasoning mixes

In addition to pre-made dressings, there are several great options for gluten-free ranch seasoning mixes that allow you to prepare homemade ranch dressing or dip:

Hidden Valley Original Ranch Mix

Just like the bottled dressing, Hidden Valley’s original dry Ranch mix is labeled gluten-free. To make 1 cup, combine the packaged spices with 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup buttermilk.

McCormick Gluten-Free Ranch Mix

Specifically formulated to be gluten-free, McCormick’s ranch mix contains salt, maltodextrin, dried garlic, dried onion, black pepper, dried parsley, dried dillweed, dried buttermilk, monosodium glutamate, and citric acid. You can mix it with mayo and milk or yogurt to make ranch dressing or dip.

Good Dee’s Ranch Dressing Mix

This dedicated gluten-free brand makes a ranch seasoning blend with raw cane sugar, dried buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, black pepper and herbs. Just add mayonnaise and milk or buttermilk.

Edward & Sons Let’s Do Organic Ranch Mix

Certified organic and gluten-free, this vegan ranch seasoning from Edward & Sons has only 8 ingredients: nutritional yeast, sea salt, garlic, onion, black pepper, parsley, and oregano. Mix with milk and vegan mayo.

Can you make gluten-free ranch from scratch?

Absolutely! Making homemade gluten-free ranch dressing is simple. Here is an easy recipe to try:

Gluten-Free Homemade Ranch Dressing


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Taste and adjust salt, pepper or herbs if desired.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend. Stir before use.
  4. Store leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

With this easy homemade recipe, you can create your own delicious gluten-free ranch dressing customized to your taste preferences. Swap in different fresh herbs like parsley or chives, add some lemon juice for extra tanginess, or adjust the garlic or pepper to your liking. Make it dairy-free by using plain unsweetened dairy-free yogurt instead of buttermilk.

Which store-bought ranch dressings contain gluten?

While there are many solid gluten-free options, some popular brands of ranch dressing do contain gluten. Here are a few to be aware of:

Kraft Ranch Dressing (bottled)

Kraft’s refrigerated ranch dressing contains wheat ingredients. However, as mentioned above, Kraft’s shelf-stable ranch in the powdered dressing mixes section is gluten-free.

Hidden Valley The Original Ranch (shelf-stable)

Despite the refrigerated Hidden Valley being gluten-free, the shelf-stable Original Ranch contains wheat flour.

Wish-Bone Ranch

Regular Wish-Bone Ranch is not gluten-free or labeled gluten-free, as it contains wheat flour. They do offer a separate gluten-free ranch variety.

Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing

This ranch contains wheat flour. Marzetti does offer other dedicated gluten-free dressings, but not this version of their ranch.

Cardini’s Original Caesar Dressing

Cardini’s regular Original Caesar dressing contains maltodextrin, which may be derived from wheat. They do formulate a separate gluten-free Caesar.

Most store brand dressings

Be extra careful when selecting ranch dressing from a store or generic brand. Always thoroughly read the ingredients, as most do contain maltodextrin, modified food starch, or other gluen sources without being labeled gluten-free.

Ranch dressing alternatives

For those with multiple food intolerances or in search of healthier options, several great gluten and dairy-free ranch swaps exist:

Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

Certified gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan, Follow Your Heart makes their dairy-free ranch with non-GMO expeller pressed canola and sunflower oil, tahini, non-GMO organic sugar, apple cider vinegar, vegan natural flavors, sea salt, lemon juice, garlic, onion and spices.

Garden of Eatin’ Ranchero Dressing

Free of the top 8 allergens, Garden of Eatin’ crafts this ranch dressing from yellow cornmeal, red bell pepper, extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, agave nectar, sea salt, garlic, onion, black pepper and spices.

Annie’s Goddess Dressing

As mentioned previously, Goddess dressing shares that zesty, herbaceous ranch flavor in a smooth, dairy-free blend of oils, vinegar, tahini, lemon juice and organic seasonings.

Primal Kitchen Greek Ranch Dressing

With a Greek yogurt base instead of buttermilk, Primal Kitchen’s ranch incorporates olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, avocado oil and signature ranch seasoning blend for a tangy, gluten and dairy-free dressing.

Should you make your own gluten-free ranch seasoning?

Making your own homemade ranch seasoning can be a great way to ensure it’s truly gluten-free and customize the flavor to your preferences. However, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind:


  • Total control over ingredients – you can avoid all potential sources of gluten
  • Can adjust spices to your taste
  • Less expensive than store-bought packages
  • Can make it organic, non-GMO, paleo, etc.


  • More time consuming
  • Have to purchase all the individual herbs, spices, etc.
  • May lack flavor complexity of commercial mixes
  • Doesn’t keep as long – shorter shelf life

Overall, making your own gluten-free ranch at home can be satisfying but requires more work. For convenience, commercially prepared ranch mixes that are certified gluten-free may be a better choice for most people. But cooking enthusiasts will enjoy experimenting with their own homemade mixes.

Gluten-free ranch dressing FAQs

Is Hidden Valley ranch gluten-free?

The refrigerated Hidden Valley Ranch is gluten-free, but the original shelf-stable version contains wheat flour. Always verify the bottle lists “gluten-free” before purchasing.

Is Walden Farms ranch dressing gluten-free?

Yes, Walden Farms Calorie-Free Ranch Dressing is gluten-free and vegan. It’s sweetened with sucralose and thickened with xanthan gum.

Is buttermilk gluten-free?

Pure cultured buttermilk is naturally gluten-free. Occasionally powdered buttermilk may contain gluten sources, so check labels if using a dry powdered form.

Is adding fresh herbs to ranch dressing safe for celiacs?

Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, chives, etc. are naturally gluten-free. However, any pre-chopped washed herb packages would need to be verified gluten-free, as cross-contamination is possible.

What oil is best for gluten-free ranch?

Canola oil is common in refrigerated ranch dressings. For homemade, canola, grapeseed, avocado, olive and rice bran oil are all good gluten-free choices. Avoid questionable oils like “vegetable oil.”

Is vegan ranch dressing gluten-free?

Many vegan ranch dressings are gluten-free, but always check. Some contain thickening agents like wheat-derived maltodextrin. Leading brands like Follow Your Heart Ranch and Annie’s Goddess are vegan and gluten-free.


Ranch dressing is a flavorful salad dressing adored by many, but finding a gluten-free version can be difficult with so many potential hidden sources of gluten. Thankfully, there are reliable gluten-free ranch options from trusted brands like Hidden Valley, Ken’s, Newman’s Own and more. Or you can easily mix up your own homemade ranch with basic ingredients like mayo, buttermilk, herbs and spices. With the help of diligent label reading and using certified dressings, those avoiding gluten can still enjoy the cool, tangy deliciousness of ranch. Just ranch responsibly!

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