National Ranch Day – March 10, 2024

March 10th marks an occasion cherished by many across the nation: National Ranch Day. This day celebrates the iconic condiment that has found its way into the hearts of countless Americans. From dressing salads to dipping pizza crusts, the ranch has become a staple in kitchens and restaurants alike, embodying a unique culinary experience.

History of National Ranch Day

The history of National Ranch Day traces back to the origins of ranch dressing itself. Developed by Steve Henson in the early 1950s while working as a plumbing contractor in Alaska, ranch dressing gained popularity when Henson and his wife Gayle opened the Hidden Valley Ranch in California. Originally served to guests at their dude ranch, the dressing’s fame quickly spread, leading to its commercial production and eventual worldwide recognition.

Hidden Valley Ranch wasn’t born in a lab, but rather on a California ranch in the 1950s. Steve Henson, a plumber turned rancher, whipped up a buttermilk and herb dressing that captivated his guests. Word spread like wildfire, and soon, the demand for his creation outgrew his home kitchen.

Supermarkets across the Southwest fell in love with the tangy concoction, prompting a move to a larger production facility in Nevada. Gone were the days of hand-mixed packets; Ranch dressing was going national.

In 1972, Clorox saw the gold mine that was Ranch and bought it for a cool $8 million. Competitors quickly emerged, but lawsuits kept them at bay while Clorox focused on innovation. Expensive buttermilk was replaced with more affordable ingredients, and a shelf-stable bottled version was developed, eliminating the need for refrigeration.

The 1980s saw the rise of Ranch-infused everything. From Cool Ranch Doritos to pizza-flavored Ranch dressing, the creamy condiment transcended the salad bowl. Popcorn, chips, and even fried vegetables weren’t safe from the Ranch Revolution.

Today, Ranch reigns supreme as a top-selling dressing in North America, inspiring endless culinary creativity. From classic uses to more adventurous concoctions (like fried cheesecake, although the jury’s still out on that one), Ranch continues to bring people together over a shared love of flavor. So, on this National Ranch Day, let’s raise a glass (or bottle) to the unexpected star born on a dude ranch, proving that sometimes, the best things in life come from the most humble beginnings.

How to Celebrate National Ranch Day

Make your own ranch dressing:

This is a great way to appreciate the flavors in ranch and maybe even create your own special twist. You can find many recipes online or experiment with your own ingredients.

Organize a ranch potluck:

Get your friends and family together and have everyone bring a dish that features ranch dressing in some way. This could be anything from a classic salad with ranch to something more creative, like buffalo chicken dip or ranch-flavored pasta salad.

Go out for ranch:

Many restaurants offer ranch dressing as a condiment, so you could celebrate by going out to eat and indulging in your favorite ranch-drenched dish.

Hold a ranch taste test:

This is a fun way to compare different brands of ranch dressing and see which one comes out on top. You can do a blind taste test where people don’t know which brand they are trying, or you can have an open tasting where everyone can discuss the different flavors.

Bake something with ranch:

Ranch dressing can actually be used in some baking recipes. You could try making ranch-flavored cookies, biscuits, or even a savory ranch pie.

5 Facts About Ranches

The ranch is America’s Favorite Salad Dressing: 

Since 1992, ranch dressing has held the top spot as the best-selling salad dressing in the United States, showing its widespread appeal. Interestingly, Hidden Valley Ranch, a popular brand, claims only 30% of their dressing is actually used on salads! 

Hidden Valley Ranch Was a Real Place: 

The iconic ranch dressing wasn’t born in a corporate lab. It was created in the 1950s by Steve Henson, a plumber, who perfected his buttermilk dressing recipe while living at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California. He initially sold it to guests and local supermarkets before it gained wider popularity. 

The Great Ranch Debate: 

Ranch dressing, despite its popularity, isn’t without its controversy. While some hail it as a versatile flavor enhancer, others find it overpowering or even question its culinary merit. This playful debate adds to the cultural phenomenon of the ranch, sparking discussions and memes online.

Ranching: A Way of Life: 

The word “ranch” also refers to a large area of land used for raising livestock, particularly cattle. Ranching is a historical and ongoing agricultural practice in many parts of the world, shaping landscapes, economies, and even cultural traditions.

Beyond the Bottle: 

While most commonly known as a dressing, “ranch” can extend beyond the condiment world. “Dude ranches” are guest ranches that offer tourists a chance to experience ranch life and activities, while “ranch style” can describe various dishes or clothing styles associated with ranching culture.

Why We Love National Ranch Day

The Versatility of Ranch: 

Unlike ketchup, which tends to stick to the world of fries and burgers, ranch dressing is a champion of versatility.  Its creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy flavor profile makes it a welcome addition to salads, vegetables, pizza, chicken wings, and even stranger creations like popcorn or cinnamon toast crunch (according to some!).  National Ranch Day celebrates this ability to elevate so many dishes.

A Uniquely American Condiment: 

Ranch dressing, while having influences from buttermilk dressings around the world, is considered an American invention.  Its rise to popularity alongside Hidden Valley Ranch in the mid-20th century makes it a condiment with a quirky history and a distinctly American taste.  National Ranch Day allows us to celebrate this cultural icon.

A Delicious Indulgence:

Let’s face it, ranch dressing is tasty!  That creamy buttermilk base with herbs and spices hits all the right flavor notes.  National Ranch Day gives us a guilt-free excuse to indulge in this delightful condiment and all the delicious food it enhances.

A Fun and Shareable Holiday:

National Ranch Day isn’t a high-pressure holiday. There are no specific traditions or expectations.  It’s a lighthearted day to celebrate a favorite flavor and share your love of ranch with friends and family.

It Sparks Creativity: 

National Ranch Day isn’t just about drenching everything in the ranch (though you can do that if you wish!).  It’s a springboard for culinary creativity. People come up with new recipes, experiment with using ranch in unexpected ways, and share their creations online. It’s a day to have fun with food and celebrate a flavor that brings people together.

National Ranch Day Dates

2024March 10Sunday
2025March 10Monday
2026March 10Tuesday
2027March 10Wednesday
2028March 10Friday


What is National Ranch Day?

National Ranch Day is a commemorative occasion dedicated to celebrating the popular condiment known as ranch dressing. It honors the history and cultural significance of this beloved culinary creation.

When is National Ranch Day?

National Ranch Day is celebrated annually on March 10th, serving as a day of recognition and appreciation for ranch dressing enthusiasts nationwide.


As March 10th approaches, let us come together to celebrate National Ranch Day with enthusiasm and appreciation. Whether enjoying a classic ranch dressing or exploring new and inventive ways to incorporate it into our meals, let us embrace the spirit of camaraderie and culinary delight that this day represents.

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