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Ranch Vs. Mayo (What’s the Difference?)

Ranch dressing is hugely popular in the United States, and it’s also starting to appear on some grocery store shelves in the UK.

You could be forgiven for thinking that ranch is similar to or the same as mayonnaise, and they’re often associated with each other. Still, there is a difference between the two when it comes to ingredients, nutrients, and uses.

In this article, I’ll compare ranch dressing (or topping) against mayonnaise to find out the difference between the two and which is the best nutritionally.

You’ll learn that Ranch and mayo, while often associated with each other, have distinct differences in ingredients, nutritional content, and uses. The primary components of ranch are similar to mayo, but ranch includes buttermilk and added flavors like dried garlic and onion. Nutritionally, ranch dressing is lighter than mayo, containing fewer calories and fats but slightly more sugar, making it a potential alternative for those seeking a lower-calorie option.

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Ingredients Comparision

I’ll be using nutritional data for top brands, Hidden Valley Original Ranch and Best Foods Real Mayonnaise, for this comparison.

When you look at the ingredients comparison between the two, you can see the main ingredients of ranch is vegetable oil, water, eggs, sugar, and salt, which are almost identical to the main ingredients of mayonnaise. This information tells us that the basis of ranch is a mayonnaise-type dressing.

The main difference between the ranch and mayonnaise I compared is that ranch contains buttermilk and additional flavors, including dried garlic and onion.

Ranch Dressing Ingredients
(Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
Mayonnaise Ingredients (Best Foods Real Mayonnaise)

Vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), water, egg yolk, sugar, salt, cultured nonfat buttermilk, natural flavors (soy), less than 1% of spices (mustard), dried garlic, dried onion, vinegar, phosphoric acid, xanthan gum, modified food starch, monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors, disodium phosphate, sorbic acid, and calcium disodium EDTA as preservatives, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
Soybean Oil, Water, Whole Eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality), and natural flavors.
ranch dressing on the left and mayonnaise on the right to show the difference between the two

Ranch Vs. Mayo Nutritional Comparison

Moving onto the nutritional comparison and because the recommended servings are different, I’ll be comparing them weight-for-weight (per 100g), but I’ll also include the serving data for information.

The brands I’ll be comparing are top-sellers Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing/Topping and Best Foods Original Real Mayonnaise.

Calorie Comparison

When comparing the calorie content of original ranch and real mayo, the sauce with the least calories is ranch dressing, with 259 fewer calories per 100g than mayo.

If you compare each sauce per 13g (equivalent to a tablespoon), ranch dressing contains 56kcal compared to mayo which has 90kcal. So if you’re looking for a lower-calorie alternative to mayo without going down the ‘light’ route, ranch dressing is a good option.

Sauce TypeCalories Per 100gCalories Per Serving
Ranch Dressing
(Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
433kcal130kcal (Per 30ml Serving)
Mayonnaise (Best Foods Original Real Mayonnaise)692kcal90kcal (Per 13g Serving)

Nutritional Comparison

When it comes to nutritional values, the main differences between ranch dressing and mayo are that ranch is higher in carbs and sugars. In contrast, mayo is higher in fat and saturated fat and slightly higher in cholesterol.

Because ranch and mayo are made from vegetable-based oils, it’s not all bad fat, although it does push up the calorie content and can be an issue if you need to reduce your fat intake depending on your diet.

Mayonnaise is slightly lower in sodium (per weight). However, the daily value percentage for sodium in ranch dressing is 11%, compared to a serving of mayonnaise is 4%, but this is because a serving of ranch weighs more than a serving of mayo.

The table below shows the nutritional values Per 100g of ranch and mayo:

Nutrition TypeRanch Dressing
(Hidden Valley Original Ranch)
Mayonnaise (Best Foods Original Real Mayonnaise)
of Which are Sugars3.3g0g
Dietary Fiber0g0g
of Which is Saturated Fat6.7g11.5g
Trans Fat0g0g

mcg = microgram (1000th of a milligram) / mg = milligram (1000th of a gram)

Percent Daily Value of Fat (per 100g) for Ranch and Mayo
Here’s the bar graph comparing the daily value percentages of Fat per 100g for Ranch and Mayo.

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet:

  • Ranch has approximately 46.7% of the daily value of fat per 100g.
  • Mayo has approximately 77% of the daily value of fat per 100g.

Ranch Vs. Mayo Uses Comparison

Ranch Uses

Below are just some of the most popular ways to use ranch dressing/topping (although they both have many other uses:

  • As a dip for pizza.
  • Dip for chips and tortillas.
  • Dip for fried foods, including fries and nuggets.
  • Salad dressing (drizzle).
  • Sandwich or wrap topping.

Mayonnaise Uses

  • As a dip for pizza.
  • Dip for fried foods, including fries and nuggets.
  • Salad side condiment.
  • Sandwich or wrap topping.
  • Burger topping.
  • As a base for various sauces and mixes.

Can you use Ranch Instead of Mayo?

Ranch dressing can be used instead of mayo in many situations, especially when it comes to dips and toppings, but it has a looser consistency so it’s not a suitable replacement where a thicker mayonnaise is required.

Ranch dressing also has added flavorings, including onion and garlic, which are great as a dip or topping but keep in mind that may clash with some ingredients.

Best for Flavor/Texture

When it comes to finding out which kind of sauce is best for flavor, this is subjective and not something we can judge without a broader public opinion.

Please help us out by voting for your favorite (ranch or mayo), and once you vote, the winner so far will be revealed (no personal information is required to vote).

Which do you prefer?

Comparison Summary

So we’ve now compared ranch against mayo for calories, nutrition, and uses, and here’s a summary of the differences between the two:

  • The main ingredients of ranch dressing are almost identical to mayo, with ranch having the addition of buttermilk and added flavors.
  • Ranch dressing contains 34 fewer calories per tablespoon compared to mayo.
  • Ranch dressing is lower in fat and saturated fat than mayo but contains a small amount of sugar per serving.
  • In many cases, ranch can be used instead of mayo in many situations, although keep in mind that it’s a bit looser and contains more flavor.

Ultimately it all comes down to which sauce you like best and how you prefer to use it!

More Ranch Vs. Mayo FAQ’s

Is mayo healthier than ranch?

Ranch dressing is a lighter option compared to mayo because it contains fewer calories and fat, but it’s a little higher in sugar.

Is ranch dressing mostly mayonnaise?

The main ingredients of ranch dressing are vegetable oil, water, and egg, which is the same as mayonnaise. This confirms that ranch is a mayo-based dressing with added ingredients, including buttermilk and dried flavors such as onion and garlic.

Related Articles

I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:

Nutella Vs. Peanut Butter

Salad Cream Vs. Mayo

Fiber One Vs. Cheerios (Which is Better?)

Brown Sauce Vs. Ketchup (What’s the Difference?)

Rice Krispies Vs. Cheerios (Which is Best?)

References Used for this Article

To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the manufacturers; the links below contain the source information:

Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Information

Best Foods Real Mayonnaise Information