Can Pregnant Women Eat Ranch Salad Dressing? Is it Safe?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Ranch salad dressing raises many questions for some women. The base of many ranch dressings contains buttermilk and soy, and not all buttermilk is suitable for pregnant women to consume. Soy raises questions of its own, so is it safe to eat Ranch salad dressing when pregnant?

Ranch salad dressing is generally safe for pregnant women to eat, provided it has been pasteurized because of the buttermilk and sour cream. Most commercially made ranch dressings are safe during pregnancy.

We’ll look at different types of Ranch dressing, including dips and snacks, and include some good brands to choose that are safe to eat when pregnant!

Is Ranch Salad Dressing Safe During Pregnancy?

Bottled, commercially-made Ranch dressing is safe for pregnant women to eat when it is pasteurized. There are no particular issues to be aware of with Ranch dressing, as the other ingredients are safe for pregnant women.

The main ingredients in Ranch dressings are: salt, onion, garlic, buttermilk, sour cream, and sugar. Some Ranch dressings also contain soy.

These ingredients are all also safe when pregnant (though you should check that the sour cream and buttermilk are also pasteurized).

The reason for this is that unpasteurized dairy can lead to serious foodborne illness such as salmonella, which is particularly dangerous during pregnancy.

When pasteurized, most commercially-made dressings are very safe. Several brands were tested by scientists and the incidence of bacterial contamination was very low (source: Journal of Food Protection).

Is There Egg Yolk in Ranch dressing? Is It Cooked?

Unlike Caesar dressing and some other salad dressings, Ranch dressing does not usually contain eggs.

However, eggs are sometimes used in commercial dressings, but these are usually pasteurized and are safe.

Later in this article, we give you a list of commercial dressings and their ingredients, so you know which ones to buy next time you’re in a store.

Some homemade or fusion versions might, but generally, Ranch is egg-free.

Homemade vs Store-bought Ranch Dressing When Pregnant

Store-bought Ranch dressing is usually safe for pregnant women, as it has been pasteurized.

The label may or may not indicate that the dressing has been pasteurized, but if it is shelf-safe (on a shelf and not in the fridge) in the supermarket, then it will have been pasteurized or sterilized and is safe for you to eat while pregnant.

Check the sugar content of store-bought Ranch dressing, as some brands contain more sugar than others.

Some stores will sell fresh dressings in the refrigerated section, and with these dressings you will need to check that they have been pasteurized.

Homemade Ranch dressings will usually contain either sour cream or buttermilk, and as long as these ingredients are pasteurized, the dressing will be safe for you to eat.

Some homemade recipes might contain eggs – and it’s these ones that might be unsafe, so check first if you’re not the one who made the dressing.

If you are choosing Ranch dressing at a restaurant such as Subway’s, most restaurants use a variant of the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing which will have pasteurized, pregnancy-friendly ingredients.

If in doubt, ask at the restaurant if their dairy products have been pasteurized (in the US, commercially-bought dairy products are all pasteurized.)

ranch dressing with salad

Pregnancy-Safe Ranch dressing Brands

If you just want to know which dressings you can continue to buy and eat during pregnancy, here are some pregnancy-safe Ranch dressing brands to help you on your next shopping trip:

Kraft Ranch. Kraft’s Ranch dressing uses pasteurized buttermilk so is pregnancy-safe.

Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing. Litehouse’s Ranch contains non-fat buttermilk, egg yolk, non-fat sour cream, salt, sugar, and spices and is pasteurized. It’s safe during pregnancy.

Styletoyz Hidden Valley Ranch. This brand contains buttermilk and egg yolk but it is a pasteurized, pregnancy-friendly dressing. It also contains soy.

Wish-Bone Light Ranch Dressing. This pasteurized Ranch dressing contains just 70 calories per serving, and is also pregnancy-safe.

Newman’s Own Salad Dressing. With buttermilk, whole eggs, and sugar, this is another pasteurized brand that is pregnancy-safe.

Hidden Valley Ranch. No eggs, just buttermilk, onion, garlic, sugar, and spices. This is the original Ranch flavor that many restaurants base their recipes on. It’s fine to eat during pregnancy.

Is Buttermilk Ranch dressing Safe for Pregnant Women?

Many Ranch dressings contain buttermilk, and as long as the dressing has been pasteurized, they are also pregnancy-safe.

Buttermilk, like with other dairy products, must be pasteurized before consuming when pregnant because raw milk products carry a risk of listeria bacteria (Source: APA).

Can Pregnant Women Have Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing?

Most commercially-made salad dressings made with blue cheese will be safe for you to eat when pregnant.

These dressings are typically made with hard blue cheese and pasteurized milk.

We have a dedicated article to eating blue cheese during pregnancy – including times when it’s NOT safe, too.

Is Ranch Dressing a Healthy Choice During Pregnancy?

Ranch dressing can be a healthy choice for pregnancy, provided that it does not contain high amounts of refined sugar.

Many Ranch dressings will indicate on the label whether they contain high fructose corn syrup – which is best avoided as it is high in sugar content.

Other Ranch dressings are lower in fat because they have used skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, and these will be healthier choices.

One serving of full fat Ranch dressing usually contains about 120 calories for just 2 tablespoons (Source: Nutritionix), so it is worth using low-fat options which can contain just 66 calories for the same serving.

veggie and ranch dip platter

Can I have Ranch Dip for Veggies if I’m Pregnant?

Ranch dip is safe to eat while pregnant, provided it has – yes, you’ve guessed it – been pasteurized.

As with Ranch dressing, shelf-friendly options will be pasteurized or sterilized and will be safe to eat. For fresh Ranch dips, check the label to see if it has been pasteurized or not.

Many of the brands of salad dressings named above are sold as dips, too, so any of those would be suitable for dipping veggies.

There are also many Ranch dip mixes which are essentially spice mixes. You can buy these to enable you to make your own Ranch dressing at home using pasteurized ingredients.

Hidden Valley, Mrs Wages, and Lipton are all brands that provide Ranch dip spice mixes that you can use at home.

If you’re dipping raw veggies in your ranch, then you’ll need this guide to safely prepping veggies during pregnancy.

What About Ranch Flavored Snacks When Pregnant?

Ranch flavoring is perfectly safe to eat when pregnant, as it is essentially a mixture of spices without the dairy products.

You can find Ranch-flavored snack mixes with pretzels, popcorn, salted nuts, chips, and crackers.

Ranch-style mixes usually use a mixture of dried garlic, onion, salt, buttermilk powder (which will have been sterilized or pasteurized), and sometimes dill or parsley.

This is all fine to eat when pregnant, too!

Overall, ranch dressing is, in most instances, perfectly safe to eat for pregnant women. Just watch the sugar and fat content, and check the label to make sure it is pasteurized.