Can You Marinate The Steak In Ranch Dressing?


The internet is full of conflicting information on whether or not you can marinate the steak in ranch dressing. Some sources say that ranch dressing is too acidic and will break down the meat, while others claim that it’s a delicious way to add flavor to your steak.

So, which is it?

Let’s find out!

Can You Marinate The Steak In Ranch Dressing?

Yes! You can use ranch dressing to marinate steak. Ranch dressing makes a fantastic component of a marinade as it is acidic and has great flavors too.

Ranch dressing is a type of salad dressing made from buttermilk, sour cream, and herbs. The most common herbs used in ranch dressing are parsley, chives, and dill. Other ingredients may include garlic, onion, mustard, vinegar, and salt.

Ranch dressing does have all the required properties to help prepare a good marinade.

For a marinade to be effective, it needs to have acidic components, and in ranch dressing, both buttermilk and sour cream can help play that role.

Both sour cream and buttermilk are independently used as part of marinades and are very popular. Thus, there is no way you cannot use both of them together in a marinade.

Here is a pH (acidity) table of popular acids used in marinades –

MarinadepH (Acidity)
Apple Cider Vinegar3.0 - 3.2
Beer3.7 - 4.1
Bourbon 3.7 - 4.0
Butter Milk4.4 - 4.8
Carbonated Drinks3.0 - 4.0
Coffee4.9 - 5.1
Cranberry Juice2.6 - 2.8
Grapefruit Juice3.0 - 3.8
Heavy Cream6.5 - 6.8
Lemon juice2.0 - 2.6
Lime juice2.0 - 2.4
Orange Juice3.3 - 4.2
Pickle Juice3.2 - 3.7
Red Wine3.0 - 4.0
White Vinegar2.3 - 2.5
Yogurt4.4 - 4.8
Sour Cream4.5

Apart from this, the presence of herbs and seasonings make ranch dressing even better to be used as a marinade. You do not need to select these separately when you are marinating with ranch dressings.

Not only ranch dressing, Italian dressings are also popular as marinades for the same reason.

How To Prepare An Amazing Ranch Dressing Marinade?

One thing to note is ranch dressing cannot be used as a marinade in itself as it does not have any oil component to it.

Oils are needed in a marinade to ensure the meat remains moist.

There are many ways you can prepare ranch dressing marinade; there is no right or wrong in that.

Here is the list of ingredients –

1/2 cup of ranch dressing
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
minced garlic clove
Black pepper

Instead of lemon juice, you can opt for any other juice or altogether discard it too.

In terms of seasoning and herbs, feel free to add them based on your taste and the recipe you plan to prepare.

Here is a great video to prepare ranch dressing at home –

How To Marinate The Steak In Ranch Dressing?

Here is a step by step guide to marinating the steak in ranch dressing –

  1. In a bowl, whisk together all the components of the ranch dressing marinade. Do not use reactive cookware to mix the ingredients. Always use glass/plastic bowls or freezer bags.
  2. Place your steak in the bowl, making sure each one is coated in the marinade. It is important to choose the right quantity of marinade based on the amount of steak you have. If steak is not covered properly, there will be paths that will not be tender & flavored.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours or up to 12 hours.
  4. Cook asap after taking it out from the fridge

In The End

It seems that you can marinate the steak in just about anything, and ranch dressing is no exception!

While the jury is still out on whether or not this is the MOST effective way to tenderize meat, it’s certainly worth a try if you’re looking for something new to experiment.

So go ahead and give it a shot – your steak (and taste buds) will thank you for it!

Do share your experience of using ranch dressing with us.

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.