If you have a thing for ranch, you probably really have a thing for ranch. No one likes ranch “enough.” People who like ranch love ranch. They have a salad dressing brand they’re loyal to. And they dip pizza in the stuff. And why shouldn’t they? Ranch is amazing! It’s creamy, tart, herbal, and, well, just downright interesting. It’s also everywhere: Just walk down the snack aisles at your grocery store, where ranch-flavored options dominate the landscape.
With all the ranch-spiked crackers and chips and popcorn and nuts out there, we had to wonder if they were all good enough to satisfy true ranch-lovers, or if they were just pretending. Sadly, we found a lot of pretenders sporting a sad dusting of something vaguely buttermilky with a touch of garlic and no other herb flavor. Others were oddly sweet in a way that just didn’t jive with the savoriness of ranch. But a few options rose to the top.
Here’s the best of what we found.
1. Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos, $3.50 for 9.75 ounces
If you haven’t reached for Doritos in years, we’re here to tell you they taste as good as you remember. Cool Ranch Doritos, especially. They’re the original, from which all other ranch-flavored snacks got their inspiration, and they’re still the gold standard. The crunchy corn chips are the perfect backdrop to the creamy-tart buttermilk powder dressed up with spices. If you want yours with a punch of spice, though, go for the baby-blue bag of Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch. It’s essentially the Cool Ranch you know and love, with a piquant, tangy heat akin to Frank’s Hot Sauce.
2. Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Chipotle Ranch, $3.50 for 8.5 ounces
The surprisingly complex flavor of these bright-red crunchy squiggles unfolds in quick succession. First you get a taste of creamy ranch, followed by smoky chipotles, and then a hit of spicy heat. And it’s that cavalcade of flavor that keeps you coming back for more and more and more. Be forewarned that they’re quite spicy and the bag is impossible to put down — especially if you love heat.
3. Simple Truth Creamy Ranch Mini Rice Cakes, $2 for 3 ounces
If you’re craving a healthier snack, these crispy gluten-free rounds offer a hefty dose of ranch flavor. The little discs of puffed rice and corn are well-coated in a flavorful powder that includes buttermilk, garlic, onion, tomato, cheddar, and “spices.”
4. Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins, $3 for 4.25 ounces
The sprig of dill on the front of the box is your first clue that these super-crispy, gluten-free crackers are going to deliver big on herby flavor. And they don’t disappoint. They’re coated in a rich buttermilk powder that’s generously spiked with dill and flecked with parsley. Eat them right out of the box, or spread them with cream cheese or Boursin.
5. Garden Veggie Straws Zesty Ranch, $3 for 7 ounces
Veggie Straws, with their french fry format and airy-crispy crunch, are surprisingly yummy enough on their own. But dust them in ranch powder and they’re even harder to put down. Although the flavor skews a bit more tangy and less herbal than some of our other favorites, these still offer a lot of complexity and interest.
What are your favorite ranch-flavored snacks? Also, what’s your favorite brand of ranch dressing?
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