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Can You Eat Ranch On Paleo?

Can You Eat Ranch On Paleo?

The Paleo Diet is without a doubt on its way to the big leagues. With a percentage of people that are on this diet going all the way up to 3% in the United States, we can say with confidence that it’s no longer just a trend. But there’s another statistic that inspired us to write this article.

The ranch is the most popular dressing in the United States, and it has held that title since 1992. But the 90s and the Paleolithic era from which this diet comes are… well, pretty far apart.

The bare-bones approach to meal preparation and the limited choice of foods make Paleo an easy plan to stick to – well in theory. But one second of walking past the dressings in the supermarket and you could start questioning the whole thing! 

Sure, the meals are simple and your body is responding well to the diet, but there’s a burning question at hand and we must find an answer. Can You Eat Ranch On Paleo?

Can You Eat Ranch On Paleo – The Short And Long Answers

Well, the simple answer is – NO.

But, in some cases, the answer is also a YES. We know, it’s complicated, but let’s try to make it plain and simple. 

First of all, to find answers we must ask ourselves a couple of simple questions. The ingredients are a good start. After all, the simplicity of Paleo has an advantage in this type of research. So let’s break the Legendary Ranch down into bits and pieces and see what we got inside.

What Is Ranch Dressing And How Is It Made?

Finding out the ingredients and how a certain food is made is one of the most important steps in making diets easy to follow. Taking the time to learn these things is an investment that truly pays off. Researching Ranch, for instance, will let you know in the first five seconds that it’s not suitable for Paleo.

In its simplest form, Ranch is made of buttermilk, salt, garlic, onions, mustard, and various herbs. Now we could discuss salt for a couple of hours as it truly divides the Paleo community like no other basic compound. Garlic and onions are completely fine and probably already in your diet, and mustard is… tricky.

The mustard plant is one of the oldest things that we humans tried to eat. And it was a good idea, let us tell you, but the dressing that you can find on the shelves in the supermarket with the plant is quite far from Paleo so it’s a no-go for that ingredient as well.

But let’s say we take away all the ingredients that we can’t fit into the Paleo lifestyle. Take out all the herbs, take out the mustard and even the garlic and the onions. Well, what we’re left with is maybe the most problematic part of them all – Buttermilk.

Don’t worry though, we might be able to cram Ranch into your Paleo meal planning just yet.

Eat Ranch On Paleo

The Dairy Problem

Buttermilk is one of the main ingredients in Ranch, and it’s quite a historic drink on its own. The trouble is, it’s not historic enough. We, as a species, did not figure out dairy products in the Paleo era. So by default, they shouldn’t be used in any way shape, or form.

There are alternatives, of course, but the most popular ones are sour cream and yogurt. So how are we going to get this darn Ranch to go back in time and shed some of its dairy fat along the way? Well, simple. We find better alternatives.

Buttermilk Alternatives

There are many paleo recipes for Ranch that you can find online. The reason is simple, people just love the stuff! And while purists will hate changing the original recipe you can kind of do whatever you want. The first and most popular dairy-free alternative that you can try is an oldie but a goodie – mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise (kind of)

Now you might be thinking that we are pulling your leg here. After all, mayo is not a Paleo dressing as far as many people are concerned. But don’t worry, there is quite a simple solution for this and that is avocado-based mayonnaise.

Avocado-based mayonnaise is as easy to make as any other mayo. You just make sure that you use avocado oil instead of a non-paleo one (olive would do just fine as well). The trick is to use an oil that’s not inflammatory like vegetable ones or canola for instance. 

As far as we’re concerned avocado is the best option, the zing that it will add to the mayo (and later the Ranch) is just better than the alternatives. But there are problems for some. The first one is texture, but don’t worry, we can figure this out.

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk is our next best thing for Paleo Ranch, but don’t just go pouring it in the jar! For this recipe a combination of ingredients is necessary. 

Because of its stronger aroma and taste, mixed with its lightweight texture, using just coconut oil won’t do the trick. What you want to do is use coconut oil to thin out the mayo!

Some people use just water to do the trick, and that’s fine, but you can go a bit further than that. Using coconut milk in combination with the avocado mayo is, as far as we’re concerned, the absolute winner combination. 

Those are our suggestions for turning Ranch into a Paleo-friendly treat. One last piece of advice before we go back to the main subject is to always try and make it yourself! Knowing exactly what went in the food you eat is a major plus for keeping your Paleo diet straight and healthy.

Now let’s get back to the point and take a look at some health statistics.


The health side of the ranch is a bit of a debated subject. While some people rightfully claim that it’s one of the healthier dressings in your fridge, others worry a bit when they see their family members pouring it all over every single meal!

Let’s take a look at the nutritional values so we can figure this out.

Nutritional Value

Total Fat53.7g

As we can see, the ranch is not the lightest of all the dressings. Sure it won’t make you gain a pound a day, but drenching your deals in it isn’t recommended. Now you might be thinking but what about the paleo ranch that we suggested a minute ago?

Well, let’s take a look and see.

Nutritional Value (Dairy-free)

Total Fat31.5g

Now that’s light. Still not suitable for dipping your whole plate in the stuff, but better.

Let’s get it straight, you shouldn’t overeat anything, especially on a Paleo diet. That would defeat the whole purpose. So as long as you stick to just using Ranch as a regular dressing, you’ll be fine. But just to be on the safe side, we did a little research on the benefits and risks. Better safe than sorry.

Can I Eat Ranch On Paleo

Health Benefits And Risks

As far as the benefits go, there are a few that you might not know about. 

Healthy Bones

The ranch is packed full of Vitamin K, a substance that truly does wonders to your bones. Deficiency in Vitamin K can lead to osteoporosis. So we might think twice about that advice on not dipping meals in Ranch.

Cardiovascular Health

This one is a bit of a stretch since more research needs to be made, so take this advice with a grain of salt. Vitamin K deficiency can have the side effect of stiffening blood vessels that lead to the heart. This can produce cardiovascular problems.

So just like with bones, bringing your Vitamin K to normal numbers can help prevent these problems.

A Low-Risk Dressing

The main risk of Ranch can be for lactose intolerant people, because of it being full of buttermilk. But if you’ve been paying attention, the Paleo Ranch alternative that you’ll be eating is completely dairy-free and safe. 

We must once again mention, that eating any food in abnormal amounts can’t be good for you. Keep that in mind and you’ll be just fine!

Final Words

Can you eat Ranch while on Paleo, so if you were wondering about the dressing and how it would fit in your Paleo diet, we’re hoping your questions are answered and problems resolved? 

The ranch is just an absolute classic of a dressing and even if you have to adapt it to your diet it’s still worth it. 

And for the last word, we said it once and we don’t mind repeating ourselves. If you want the best ranch, make it yourself. That’s it from us for now, enjoy!