Serious Eats / Burlap and Barrel

Last week, I found myself hiding in the depths of my closet, holding tightly to a large bowl of popcorn still warm from the stove. I’d seasoned it generously with “Nothing Hidden Ranch” seasoning and was shoveling handfuls of it into my mouth as quickly as I could. My goal? To eat it all before my husband inevitably found me, simply because I did not want to share. (My husband and I share many things: a home, a bank account, and even a child. It seems perfectly reasonable to not have to share my favorite seasoning.) The spice blend was so delicious that I stuffed it in my handbag and brought it to the office with me the next day so I could sprinkle it on snacks of all sorts.

“Nothing Hidden Ranch” seasoning tastes just as good—if not even better—than homemade ranch dressing. It has a deep savoriness from nutritional yeast, onion, and garlic, with a pleasant tartness from buttermilk solids. Dried chives and dill lend a herbaceous kick, and fermented white pepper gives it a subtle funkiness. Balanced with a touch of sugar, the spice blend is everything you’d want in a snack: a little sweet, a little salty, and just straight-up delicious. Though I most frequently enjoy it on popcorn, potato chips, and the like, it’s also a fun way to mix up weeknight dinners. I whisk it into a flour dredge for chicken cutlets and shower it onto my roast vegetables. I’ll certainly be coating shrimp and fish with it when grilling season rolls around.

Serious Eats / Genevieve Yam

Sohla El-Waylly collaborated with single-origin spice company Burlap & Barrel on this spice blend. El-Waylly used to cook professionally in restaurants (and is a former Serious Eats editor), so it’s no surprise that the “Nothing Hidden Ranch” seasoning is as complex-tasting as it is. The collaboration also includes two other spices. Made with sun-dried tomato powder, garlic powder, chile, thyme, and oregano, “Pizza Party!” will remind you of your favorite slice shop, while “Yo Quiero Taco” brings a little bit of Tex-Mex’s smoky sweetness to whatever you use it in. They’re both excellent, but the ranch just can’t be beaten.

Serious Eats / Genevieve Yam

I’ve only had the ranch seasoning for a week, but I’m already halfway through the jar. There’s another one—okay, maybe three—sitting in my basket, waiting to be checked out. Will I tire of it eventually? Maybe. But for now, I’ll be taking it with me wherever I go, whether that’s the office, a dinner party, or the confines of my closet. 


What is ranch seasoning? 

Ranch seasoning is a mix of dried ingredients that was first created to make ranch dressing. Though it’s reasonable to assume that the seasoning came after the invention of the creamy salad dressing, the very first iteration of ranch dressing was made exclusively with dried ingredients. According to the New York Times, a plumber named Steve Henson created the blend when he was a construction worker in Anchorage, Alaska circa 1950. Because fresh ingredients were difficult to come by, Henson prepared dressing using a mix of buttermilk powder, garlic and onion powders, and dried herbs. Henson eventually purchased Hidden Valley Ranch with his wife, Gayle, in 1954, where his specialty—ranch dressing—took off.

Is ranch seasoning gluten-free?

Yes! The ingredients in this ranch seasoning are: buttermilk solids, onion powder, sea salt, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, dried chives, dried dill, sugar, fermented white pepper, and black pepper.

Why We’re the Experts

Genevieve Yam is the culinary editor at Serious Eats. In her free time, you’ll find her chatting to people about produce at the farmers market and burying her nose in cookbooks. Before becoming an editor, she was a cook at Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.She has written stories and tested, edited, and developed recipes for Serious Eats, Bon Appétit, Epicurious, and Food52.

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