Ranch dressing is the most popular salad dressing in the United States. It’s a winner on salads, but is also popular as a dip for veggies, chicken, and other foods. I’ve even seen Ranch dip make cameo appearances on burgers.
Every grocery store I know of carries Ranch dressing, and most have their own generic version of it. Aldi, for example, carries both a standard Ranch as well as a buttermilk version. Aldi’s distant cousin, Trader Joe’s, also carries Ranch … and because it’s Trader Joe’s, it’s also organic. We set out to see if that made it good.
Trader Joe’s Organic Ranch Dressing comes in a 16-ounce bottle. At the time of this post, it runs $2.79 a bottle, which comes out to about 17 cents an ounce. Compared to other organic Ranch dressings, that’s a good price: Walmart’s Great Value Organic Ranch, by contrast, is 21 cents an ounce.) Non-organic Ranch dressings are less expensive, with the two kinds of Aldi Ranch coming out to 5.6 cents an ounce. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the organic label is worth it.
We taste-tested the TJ’s organic alongside the non-organic Aldi standard and Aldi buttermilk. The TJ’s organic has a thinner consistency than both Aldi versions; it’s not water, but it did flow when I tilted the plate I poured some on, unlike the Aldi Ranches.
More importantly, the TJ’s Ranch tastes different than any Ranch we’ve ever had. It’s sweeter, and has a more pronounced vinegar note to it that we don’t taste in other Ranch dressings. It’s different enough that we’re not sure we’d say it tastes like Ranch … at least, not the Ranch we’re used to.
Does that make it bad? Not necessarily. It’s got a flavor that would pair well with a salad and maybe even work as a dip. But there’s also an expectation that comes with the word Ranch on a bottle. If you buy this thinking you’re going to get a specific flavor, you might come away disappointed.
Trader Joe’s Organic Ranch Dressing is an unconventional Ranch, with a sweeter, more vinegar taste that is distinctive from other Ranch dressings we’ve tried. We like it on its own merits — and we think it’s worth a look if you want to expand your Ranch horizons — but whether that’s good enough for you will depend on how badly you want a specific kind of dressing. The price tag, while low for an organic dressing, is higher than non-organic dressings.