How To Tell If Ranch Is Bad? (Does Ranch Go Bad?)

Ranch is easily one of the most popular, if not the most popular, sauces in the United States. Being put on anything from salads and carrots to pizza and wings. There are many uses for ranch and it is typically in every American refrigerator.

Since ranch is so popular in North America, how can we tell if ranch is bad? One of the ways you can tell is by the smell and taste of that ranch. If the ranch smells very off and not how it first smelled, then it has gone bad.

It also will have a different look to it when it goes bad. The usual color of ranch is like an off-white/pale color with small herbs, so if it looks like anything than that, it has gone bad.

So, what do we need to know about ranch going bad? This article will be covering everything you need to know about ranch going bad, and how long it lasts!

Does Ranch Go Bad?

The short answer to this simple question is, yes, Ranch can go bad eventually. It’s good for a long time after being opened, as long as you store it properly. The way you store it can also play a part.

The ranch you purchase from stores is filled with preservatives and shelf stabilizers, so opened or closed, it is designed to last a while. Of course, if you don’t store it properly after opening it, it will go bad very quickly.

Homemade Ranch dressing

How Do You Know If Ranch Is Bad?

There are many different ways to tell if your ranch has gone bad. You can go off color and smell like I mentioned above. If it looks or smells off, it is. Those are probably the easiest ways to tell.

Another way you can tell that ranch went bad is by the texture. If the ranch is separating and coming apart in chunks, that is a very obvious telltale sign you need to throw it out and get a new bottle. Ranch should always look smooth and creamy.

I will give one more example, which is most likely the last one you would have to worry about unless it’s out for days, or hasn’t been used in a while. If you see specks of mold in the ranch bottle. Mold forms when there are dark, wet, and dirty areas/food.

How Long Does Ranch Last After Expiration Date?

An unopened bottle of ranch can last up to two months after the printed expiration date. Unopened bottles of ranch can be kept in the cupboards for up to 12 to 18 months. If you do open your ranch, it will need to be put in the fridge, or it will go bad immediately.

There have been some manufacturers of ranch claiming that if you forget it out of the fridge and it was less than 24 hours, you should still be able to use it and put it back in the fridge.

Since it can last so long in the cupboard, it is always a good idea to stay stocked on it. It can be used in so many different ways.

Does Ranch Expire?

Yes. Ranch does expire and it has an expiration date printed on every bottle in the stores. There is a difference in when it expires, depending on if it’s homemade and organic, or if it’s packaged and sold in the stores.

The homemade ranch will expire after a week at maximum. However, if it’s outside of the fridge, it most likely won’t last past a day. It is always best to use homemade ranch the same day it is made.

Any ranch you buy in stores lasts much longer out of and in the fridge as I have mentioned above. Since it has other things added to it to keep it good for however long it is on the shelves, it doesn’t expire as quickly as any kind of homemade ranch you could make.

Does Ranch Spoil If Not Refrigerated?

Ranch spoils whether you refrigerate it or not. Though if you just don’t put it in the fridge after opening it, and you keep it in the cupboard, it will spoil. There is also something called being “shelf stable” which is what most store-bought ranch is.

Ranch is a dairy-based sauce, containing nonfat buttermilk, and egg yolk. Dairy products are needed to be refrigerated, hence the ranch needs to be refrigerated, plus, it is best refrigerated.

Can Bad Ranch Make You Sick?

Like any other kind of food, bad ranch shouldn’t be consumed. Although the expiration date that is on the bottle is typically there for the freshness of flavor and the quality of that certain food, it is recommended to buy new food by that date.

Of course, with everything, the amount of bad ranch you end up consuming (hopefully by accident) also plays a part in if bad ranch can make you sick.  If you taste a little to see if it has gone bad, you won’t be harmed. A tiny taste test will be okay.

If you end up eating a huge amount of ranch that has gone bad, however, will make you start to feel pretty sick. Doing this can lead to bad food poisoning, which is not a fun thing to have.

The other factor that leads to getting sick or not, is also how your immune systems handle sickness, germs, and spoiled food. Many people have weakened immune systems for other reasons, and if there is a chance of food poisoning, those with weakened immune systems may get sicker, than a non-compromised person.

Some others may just have a weaker immune system, which can also end up building immunity to certain things and germs. It is very possible for immune systems to “get used to” or build immunity to foods. Some foods that can help someone build their immune system to spoiled and/or germs, including cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. These are foods that are spoiled on purpose.

We also have a type of medication that is made with something found in mold called penicillin. Though this kind of mold can be found in every home and is completely different than the mold that grows on or is made into foods.

There is a certain amount of time after the expiration date passes, that you can eat the ranch. As long as you store it in the fridge after opening it, you can eat it 2 months past the expiration date.

What Does Bad Ranch Taste Like?

So, since we are talking so much about bad ranch, what does it taste like? I, personally, wouldn’t be using the taste test to tell if food, especially ranch, is bad. I would rather go off the looks and the smell. But the taste is something some people might end up doing, so this question will let you know what bad ranch tastes like.

Although I can’t seem to find an exact test of tasting spoiled ranch, normal ranch already has a tangy and slightly sour taste. I am sure spoiled ranch will have the worst sour taste ever. If anyone ever tries it, remember only a tiny bit and you won’t get sick… Hopefully.

Even though the original bottle of ranch might have a very sour, and weird taste if spoiled, that can’t be said for every bottle of ranch, now that there are multiple different kinds of ranch. They would all taste a little different when spoiled, which is probably why I can’t find an exact taste.

How Long Does Ranch Dressing Last In The Fridge?

There are many ways you can store ranch. If you aren’t going to use your ranch right away and you haven’t opened it yet, then you can store it right in the pantry, and it will be good for a year to a year and a half.

If you open it and put it in the fridge, can be good for at least 6 to 9 months as long as it is always put back in the fridge after using it. You should always make sure it is tightly closed, however tight you can make it without making it impossible to open again. Although there will always be something that can ruin that, so always check your ranch to make sure it’s still good!

If the ranch that you are using is homemade, the longest it is good for inside the fridge, is 2 weeks, although checking to make sure there isn’t mold and that it still looks and smells good is important.

Now, there is something else besides the fridge that people may have tried to use to store ranch before. That would be called the freezer.

Can ranch be stored in the freezer?

No. The ingredients inside of ranch make it unsuitable to be frozen, so sticking with putting your ranch in the fridge after being opened is the best option.

Becky
Becky

Hello, I am Becky and I run this blog. I am a mother of two and a home baker. I love sharing my recipes with food knowledge and that's how it all started.

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