Can you use liquid ranch dressing instead of dry mix | when and how to substitute it


homemade liquid ranch dressing
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Liquid ranch dressing and a dry mix of ranch seasonings are not identical in their makeup, so swapping one for the other is not ideal. 

While ranch dressing includes the same seasoning as those found in the dry mix, the dressing is liquid with the seasoning more diluted. The dry seasoning packet consists of a blend of seasoning and buttermilk that has been dehydrated and concentrated. On the other hand, a bottle of ranch dressing does have a hint of the seasoning flavors.

But can you use liquid ranch dressing instead of dry mix?

Yes, you can use liquid ranch dressing instead of dry mix. But, it’s going to water down the flavor of the recipe and probably cause an oily and curdled mess.

Before dumping that bottle of dressing into a recipe, assuming that ranch is ranch regardless of its form, ask yourself why are you doing it? Are you simply out of the ranch dry seasoning packets you usually have on hand?

Some substitutions sound good. After all, the name on the bottle is the same as the name on the seasoning packet. But, when you realize what you’re really using to flavor your meal, it’s time to stop, think, and ask yourself a few questions.

How do you want the end result to taste? Is there a better way to achieve the flavor you’re after? Also, consider the texture and how adding liquid milk will change that.

The dry mix and a bottle of liquid ranch dressing do not contain the same seasoning proportions. Since it is probably the taste of the ranch seasoning in the dry mix that you’re wanting to add to your recipe, a better substitute would be to simply use a mix of dry seasons prepared at home, leaving the liquid out of it.

Let’s take a look at what happens when you use liquid ranch dressing instead of a dry mix as well as some better options to get the tasty meal you want to prepare.

Can you use liquid ranch dressing instead of dry mix?

It is possible to substitute liquid ranch dressing instead of a dry mix, but the end results are probably not going to be how you intended the recipe to taste. The dry mix provides the flavors of specific seasonings without the liquid to dilute the taste. Just because both products are labeled as ranch doesn’t mean they are interchangeable in a recipe.

Where does the substitution work?

There are some times when you can substitute liquid with a dry mix or vice versa. When you do, you will need to compensate for the moisture level.

Ranch seasoning mix in packets usually consists of dried buttermilk. So, following the rules of exchanging liquid milk with evaporated milk will help. For instance, in a basic recipe, you could exchange 1 cup of milk for ½ cup of evaporated milk and ½ cup of water.

What to look for if you substitute it

Two main things to look for when substituting liquid ranch dressing with the dry packet mix are:

  • the moisture content
  • the overall flavor

By swapping out one for the other, you are changing the taste and texture. These are the types of balancing acts that every cook needs to take into consideration when making successful exchanges.

Downsides to substituting liquid for dry

When you use a bottle of ranch dressing in exchange for the dry ranch seasoning mix, expect the flavors to be muted. Additionally, one of the biggest downsides to using the liquid ranch in exchange for the dry mix is that it will likely form an oily mess.Also, when it is heated up, the creamy liquid will probably start to curdle.

Can you substitute bottled ranch dressing with dry mix for crockpot dishes?

When using a slow cooker like a crockpot for cooking chicken, beef, or other recipes, you can go ahead and pour that bottle of ranch dressing into the pot. However, bottled ranch dressing is likely to become less flavorful as it dissipates throughout the pot. And, that’s just the beginning of how the meal may be ruined.

Additionally, when milk products heat up they begin to curdle. If you use the bottled dressing in the slow cooker, eventually it’s going to become an oily mess of curdled buttermilk surrounding your chicken or whatever meat you used.

When you come back to check on the slow cooker, you’ll likely find your chicken or beef swimming in a conglomeration of liquids you didn’t expect. Unless you like the taste of watered-down, muted flavors infused throughout the soupy mess, there is a better option.

If you do substitute bottled ranch dressing for the dry mix in a crockpot, try to balance it out by eliminating another liquid or oily ingredient. For instance, cut back on the milk, water, and butter.

A better option would be to use just the dried seasons that typically come in the ranch dry mix. Using only the dried seasons will add the flavor intended for the recipe without creating a disgusting deluge of curdled milk and oil.

Instead, use:

  • dried parsley
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • dried thyme
  • dried dill
  • dried chives
  • dried minced onion

Adjust the amounts according to the recipe and preferred taste. Start with a teaspoon or less of each ingredient, and slowly add more of each season as desired.

Conclusion

Making substitutions in recipes sometimes works, but it often requires a bit of a balancing act. While it’s possible to make liquid ranch dressing work in the place of the dry packet, it’s not ideal. Instead, make your own ranch seasoning to add to the recipe.

Sources:

Image source: “Ranch Dressing” by whitneyinchicago is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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