If you’ve ever sunk your teeth into Arby’s slow roasted beef sandwich, you’ve likely experienced the complex combination of tangy, sweet and savoriness that comes from their signature Red Ranch sauce.
But what exactly is this mysterious condiment that makes Arby’s roast beef taste so good?
In this article, we’ll learn exactly what it is and how you can make one, so don’t go anywhere!
What’s the Secret Behind Arby’s Red Ranch Sauce?
Arby’s Red Ranch Sauce is a tomato based sauce (not ranch) that is savory and sweet and typically added to Arby’s beef sandwich for an extra kick in flavor.
While the exact recipe for this sauce remains under wraps (as it should), we can still take an educated guess at some key ingredients based on the way that it tastes.
The base of Arby’s Red Ranch Sauce likely consists of ketchup or tomato soup, which provides both sweetness and acidity to the mix, and then mayonnaise for extra creaminess as well as to balance out the flavors with its neutrality.
For added depth and complexity, various spices and additives such as garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika, corn syrup and black pepper are likely incorporated into the sauce, and then a touch of white sugar or another type of sweetener is used to enhance the overall sweetness.
Finally, vinegar is likely added to give Arby’s Red Ranch Sauce its distinctive tangy kick. Most likely, cider vinegar is used for its more complex flavor profile, and the fact that it creates a smooth texture when combined with other ingredients like ketchup and mayonnaise.
Then water can be used to thin out the mixture to the desired consistency or tone down flavors.
Is Arby’s Sauce And Red Ranch The Same Thing?
Arby’s Sauce and Red Ranch are both red sauces you can get at Arby’s, but they are not the same thing although they are very similar.
Arby’s Sauce typically comes in small red and white packets with the words “Arby’s Sauce” boldly printed on them, and it’s typically more tangy and only slightly sweet and lends itself well to many meats on Arby’s menu.
It’s typically made from the unique blend of ingredients such as tomato paste, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, spices and seasonings such as: garlic powder, onion powder, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor and salt.
On the other hand, Red Ranch is a creamy dressing with a milder taste (more like sweet) compared to Arby’s Sauce, and it’s the sauce you normally get when you order the Arby’s Beef ‘N Cheddar.
This smooth concoction features ingredients that we mentioned above.
What Does Arby’s Red Sauce Taste Like?
Arby’s Red Sauce has a flavor profile that can be characterized as tangy, sweet and slightly spicy which perfectly complements their roast beef sandwich.
Fans of barbecue sauces will likely find some similarities in flavor profiles between the two; however, Arby’s Red Sauce stands out with its own unique twist (that tastes like Catalina Dressing) all thanks to Arby’s special formula.
Arby’s Red Ranch Recipe
To recreate the iconic Arby’s red ranch sauce at home, follow these simple steps using the ingredients listed below.
- – ¾ cup Ketchup
- – ½ cup Light Corn Syrup
- – ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar (can substitute white vinegar)
- – ½ teaspoon sugar
- – ½ teaspoon paprika
- – ¼ tsp Pepper
- – ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- – ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- – ½ teaspoon salt (you can use MSG to add more umami)
- – ¼ cup water
- – 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Combine everything except the Mayo in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over medium and mix the resulting sauce until it reaches a gentle simmer. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent any scorching or sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Once hot and thoroughly combined with all flavors melded together nicely in your mixture – usually taking around five minutes – remove your saucepan from heat.
- At this point, add in the mayonnaise and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated into your red ranch sauce mixture.
- Allow your homemade Arby’s red ranch sauce to cool down slightly before using, or transferring into an airtight container or jar for storage in the refrigerator.
What Are The Closest Alternatives to Arby’s Red Ranch?
There are several options available that can provide you with a similar taste experience as Arby’s red ranch.
Here are three popular ones:
Catalina Dressing is known for its bright red color and unique flavor profile that works well in salads as well as a dipping sauce. It contains nearly the same ingredients as Arby’s red ranch; tomato, vinegar, sugar and spices.
BBQ sauces are typically made with a tomato base, but can vary widely in terms of flavor – from sweet and tangy to spicy and smoky, so not all can actually serve as a perfect replacement for your Arby’s red ranch.
Dorothy Lynch Dressing
Another option worth exploring is Dorothy Lynch dressing – with origins from Nebraska having similarities to French or Thousand Island dressings but boasting its own unique twist on flavor combinations.
This thick, tomato-based dressing is seasoned with various spices and has both sweet and savory notes that make it suitable for salads, sandwiches or even as a dipping sauce.
What Can You Eat With Arby’s Red Ranch?
You technically can’t purchase Arby’s Red Ranch from their restaurant, but we have shown you how to make one at home and below are the various ways you can use it.
Spread a generous layer of red ranch sauce on your favorite type of sandwich for an extra zesty flavor. Whether it’s a classic roast beef or turkey club, the tangy taste will complement the savory ingredients and bring your sandwich to new heights — Arby’s know that for sure with their Beef ‘N Cheddar Sandwich!
Crispy Chicken Tenders or Nuggets
Dip your crispy chicken tenders or nuggets into red ranch sauce for a delightful contrast between the crunchy exterior and smooth, creamy sauce. This combination works well to create a burst of flavor that’ll have you reaching for more.
The gooey cheese inside mozzarella sticks pairs wonderfully with Arby’s red ranch sauce. The rich creaminess of the cheese is balanced by the zesty tanginess of the sauce, making each bite utterly satisfying.
For those who love heat in their snacks, jalapeño bites dipped in red ranch make for an irresistible treat. The spiciness from jalapeños marries perfectly with this cool and tangy dipping partner.
Swap out ketchup for Arby’s red ranch next time you enjoy fries! There’s ketchup (or a variety of it) in Arby’s red sauce and much more which will add excitement to every crispy bite you take!
Make your boring grilled veggies exciting by drizzling them with Arby’s red ranch sauce or using it as a dip on the side! It adds depth to vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant.
Upgrade your burger game by slathering on some red ranch sauce before taking that first bite. The tangy, zesty taste pairs well with beef, chicken or whatever patty you’re using, and adds a delightful twist to the classic burger experience.