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Is ranch good as a pizza sauce?

Ranch dressing is a creamy white sauce made from a combination of buttermilk, mayonnaise, and herbs. It’s a popular salad dressing and dip in the United States. But can it work as a replacement for traditional red pizza sauce? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using ranch dressing as a pizza sauce.

The Pros of Ranch Pizza Sauce

There are a few potential benefits to using ranch as a pizza sauce:

  • It provides a creamy, rich base – The creamy texture of ranch dressing coats the crust and adds moisture and fat/flavor from the mayonnaise and buttermilk. This can create a more indulgent, decadent pizza experience.
  • It cools down spicy toppings – Ranch balances out heat from spicy pepperoni or jalapeños, cooling your palate between bites of intense flavor.
  • It pairs well with chicken – Chicken and ranch are a classic flavor combination. Using ranch dressing as the sauce on a chicken pizza just makes sense.
  • Kids may prefer it – Younger children often enjoy the creamy, tangy flavor of ranch more than a traditional pizza sauce.
  • It’s familiar – Most people are very familiar with the flavor of ranch dressing, so using it on a pizza may appeal to those who want something recognizable.

Overall, ranch pizza sauce can offer a cooling, rich counterpart to cheesy, meaty toppings. The familiar flavor may appeal to kids and ranch dressing fans.

The Cons of Ranch Pizza Sauce

However, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind when using ranch dressing as a pizza sauce:

  • It lacks the acidity and herb flavor of pizza sauce – Traditional pizza sauce has a bright, acidic tomato flavor and robust Italian herb seasoning. Ranch dressing doesn’t offer the same fresh flavor.
  • It can make the pizza too rich – A ranch-based pizza layered with cheese and meat may end up feeling heavy or greasy.
  • It’s an untraditional choice – Most people expect pizza to have tomato sauce, so ranch dressing may seem like an odd substitution.
  • It can break down under high heat – When exposed to high oven temperatures, some ranch dressings may curdle or separate.
  • It’s challenging to distribute evenly – The thickness of ranch dressing can make it difficult to spread evenly across the crust.

Overall, while ranch dressing seems like a quick and easy pizza sauce shortcut, it lacks the complexity and applicability of traditional tomato-based sauces. The richness can become overwhelming very quickly.

How Does Ranch Pizza Taste?

Opinions are mixed on how ranch dressing tastes as a pizza sauce. Some of the key considerations include:

  • It’s very rich and indulgent – The extra creaminess from the ranch makes the pizza feel decadent.
  • It lacks traditional pizza flavor – Many report missing the acidic tomato kick of a normal pizza sauce.
  • It pairs well with chicken – Most agree ranch excels when paired with chicken topping pizzas.
  • It can dominate more delicate flavors – Ingredients like veggies or shrimp can get lost behind the thick, dominating ranch flavor.
  • Kids and ranch-lovers tend to enjoy it – Younger palates and ranch enthusiasts appreciate the creamy familiarity.

Overall, a ranch-based pizza is unlikely to emulate the well-balanced flavor layers of a traditional pizza. However, it can be a fun way to change up your pizza night if you don’t take it too seriously. Kids and hardcore ranch fans may enjoy the sauce substitution.

Should You Use Ranch as Your Pizza Sauce?

Using ranch dressing rather than tomato sauce on pizza comes down to personal preference. Consider these factors to decide if it’s the right call for your pizza:

  • It’s better on chicken-topped pizzas
  • Kids may enjoy the flavor more than adults
  • It works best with lots of toppings to cut the richness
  • Avoid it if you don’t like heavy, creamy sauces
  • Stick to tomato sauce if you want an authentic pizza experience

In general, lean away from ranch sauce if you like thin, traditional pizzas with complex sauce flavors. But don’t be afraid to give it a try on occasion for a change of pace, particularly with kids or fellow ranch enthusiasts. Just know the flavor will be decidedly different from a margherita pizza!

Best Ranch Pizza Topping Combinations

If you do opt to try ranch dressing as your pizza sauce, here are some topping ideas to complement the rich, creamy ranch flavor:

  • Chicken Ranch Pizza – Grilled chicken, mozzarella, onions, bacon
  • Buffalo Chicken Pizza – Spicy chicken, ranch dressing, mozzarella, red onion, hot sauce
  • BLT Pizza – Bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing
  • Taco Pizza – Ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, crushed tortilla chips, ranch dressing
  • Veggie Ranch Pizza – Mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, mozzarella, ranch dressing

In general, ranch sauce works best with bold, complementary toppings. The creamy base pairs especially well with chicken, bacon, vegetables, and spicy flavors. This helps prevent the pizza from becoming too one-note rich.

Making Your Own Ranch Pizza Sauce

You can easily whip up a homemade ranch pizza sauce if you want to avoid the preservatives and stabilizers found in bottled dressings. Here’s a simple ranch sauce recipe to use in place of tomato sauce:

Homemade Ranch Pizza Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk together all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Spread over pizza crust just before adding toppings and baking as normal. Store leftover sauce in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Buying the Best Ranch for Pizza

If preparing homemade ranch dressing seems like too much work, you can use a store-bought ranch. Opt for a refrigerated ranch rather than a shelf-stable, powdered ranch mix which will have less flavor. Here are a few of the top options:

Brand Details
Hidden Valley Ranch The OG ranch brand; choose refrigerated original or buttermilk ranch
Ken’s Steak House Ranch Thicker texture than Hidden Valley; refrigerated is best
Marie’s Ranch Organic ranch made with olive oil; trouvable in the refrigerated section
Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch Higher-quality ingredients than typical grocery store ranch

Avoid ranch dressings with added garlic or herb flavors, as you want the plain ranch flavor for the pizza sauce. Always check the bottle to make sure the ranch dressing hasn’t expired and give it a quick sniff test before slathering it on your pizza.

Ranch Pizza Sauce vs. Regular Pizza Sauce

How does ranch dressing really compare when used as a pizza sauce substitute? Here’s a quick rundown of ranch pizza sauce versus regular pizza sauce:

Ranch Pizza Sauce Traditional Pizza Sauce
Base ingredients Mayonnaise, buttermilk, herbs Tomato, olive oil, herbs
Texture Thick, creamy Smooth, spreadable
Flavor Cooling, tangy Savory, acidic
Use cases Chicken pizzas, appeasing picky eaters, ranch lovers Traditional pizzas, vegetable pizzas, Italian flavors
Ease of use Harder to spread evenly, can break down at high heat Easy to spread, consistent at baking temps

As the table shows, ranch and traditional tomato pizza sauces vary greatly in terms of ingredients, flavor, use cases, and ease of use. Ranch works best in limited applications, while tomato sauce is incredibly versatile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ranch taste good on pizza?

Opinions are mixed on ranch as a pizza sauce. Some enjoy the cooling, creamy flavor as a contrast to hot and spicy toppings. However, many find that ranch lacks the bright, herby flavor they expect from pizza sauce. Using ranch dressing can make the pizza excessively rich.

What is the best ranch for pizza sauce?

The best ranch dressings for pizza are refrigerated (not shelf-stable) and have a simple flavor (not garlic or bacon ranch, for example). Popular brands like Hidden Valley and Ken’s Steak House produce quality ranch dressings that work well as pizza sauce.

Can I use any ranch for pizza sauce?

You can use almost any refrigerated ranch dressing as pizza sauce, but avoid powdered ranch dressing mixes and ranch with added flavors like bacon or garlic. Refrigerated original ranch or buttermilk ranch work best. Always check expiration dates before using.

Is ranch pizza unhealthy?

Using ranch dressing instead of tomato sauce does make pizza a bit less healthy. Ranch is higher in calories, fat, and cholesterol compared to traditional pizza sauce. Loading up the pizza with high-fat meats and cheeses in addition to the ranch can result in a very high-calorie slice.

Why do people put ranch on pizza?

There are a few reasons people substitute in ranch dressing for pizza sauce:

  • Kids often prefer the creamy, cooling flavor over acidic tomato sauce
  • The rich creaminess provides an indulgent contrast to the crispy crust
  • Ranch complements toppings like chicken, bacon, and spicy flavors
  • Some pizza places offer it as a novel, alternative pizza sauce option

While unconventional, using ranch dressing as the base for pizza sauce does have some logic behind it. The familiar flavor and richness can be appealing in the right context.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, using ranch as your pizza sauce comes down to personal preference. While ranch pizza will never replicate the authentic flavor of tomato-sauced pizza, it can serve as an occasional indulgent treat. Stick to chicken-topped pizzas, embrace the richness, and you may just find a new favorite pizza style. But for traditional, balanced flavor, tomato-based pizza sauce still reigns supreme.