Well, There’s Hidden Valley Ranch-Flavored Ice Cream Now

We got an advance taste, and spoiler alert: It tastes better paired with a salty snack.

March 09, 2023

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Photo by: Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley, Van Leeuwen

Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley, Van Leeuwen

Ranch dressing is — we all know — a highly divisive food. There are those who won’t go near it. And those who eat it on pretty much everything. Including … ice cream? Now ranch lovers will have their chance.

Hidden Valley Ranch is collaborating with creative cult brand Van Leeuwen Ice Cream to introduce Hidden Valley Ranch ice cream. (The launch is loosely pegged to National Ranch Day, which is on March 10, and yes, there is a holiday for everything.) Described by the brands as “powerful,” “zesty” and at once “savory” and “sweet,” the ranch-dressing-flavored ice cream boasts the flavors of “buttermilk, garlic and salt.” (Hmmm.) Boosting the salty factor, the brands recommend pairing the ice cream with salty snacks.

“We know that Hidden Valley Ranch goes with just about everything – pizza, carrots, French fries – but ice cream is a first for us,” Rachel Garrison, associate director at Hidden Valley Ranch, shares in a press statement.

I got an advance taste of Hidden Valley Ranch x Van Leeuwen ice cream. And? Well, at first spoonful, I have to say, I was kind of unsure what to think. It was sweet, salty, creamy and strange … with a tang that really did summon to mind ranch dressing, but — what was that flavor doing in my ice cream? (Full disclosure: Although I respect others’ love for ranch, I don’t really share it. Not strongly opposed, but I generally find the dressing a bit gluey.)

Then, however, I took the brands’ advice and crumbled some salty snacks on top of the ice cream: first pretzels, then potato chips. The snacks changed the game, adding a savory crunch that either elevated or masked the flavor — not sure which (or whether it matters). It does raise the question: Does everything taste better with potato chips crumpled on top? I may need to explore further, starting with other ice cream flavors.

In fact, we all have our chance to explore that question further: Van Leeuwen (which, don’t forget, once brought the world Kraft Mac & Cheese ice cream) is also launching, in tandem with its new ranch-flavored ice cream, six other new spring flavors: Sweet Maple Cornbread, Blood Orange Chocolate Chip, Carrot Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Honey Graham Cracker and Limoncello Cake. All seven seasonal flavors will be available (priced at $4.98 for a 14-ounce container) exclusively at 3,500 Walmart stores nationwide for a limited time only, March 20 through May 28, while supplies last.

Having also been given an early taste of the new Carrot Cake flavor, a subtle variety featuring cheesecake ice cream flecked with chewy pieces of carrot cake, and Honey Graham Cracker, a strongly cinnamon-forward flavor with graham cracker pie crust pieces and honey swirls in a maple brown sugar ice cream base, I can share that Carrot Cake was the one of the three I tried that I’d be most likely to reach for again.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Co-Founder and CEO Ben Van Leeuwen allows that the new Hidden Valley Ranch flavor is “possibly” the premium ice cream maker’s “most surprising ice cream yet,” adding in a press statement that he’s excited for Walmart shoppers to try it, along with the rest of the spring flavors.

Given that Van Leeuwen not so long ago released a Grey Poupon-mustard-flavored ice cream, we can only guess which condiment is likely to follow Hidden Valley Ranch in sparking the creative ice cream brand’s imagination. Will we soon be dipping our spoons into ketchup ice cream? Don’t relish that thought.

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