Is there a difference between blue cheese dressing and blue cheese dip?

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My wings are very shrewd

Forget Thanksgiving. The most gluttonous day of the year is Super Bowl Sunday, when bowl after bowl and paper plate after paper plate are filled with bacchanalia that would make even the mad genius responsible for TGI Friday’s appetizer selection blush ( and certainly the ancient Romans). And so, all week leading up to game day, we’ll be delivering our own menu of scientific investigations, origin stories and majestic snacking feats that even the biggest sporting event of the year can’t top. Read all the stories here.

Admittedly, I approach any topic related to blue cheese dressing with a fair amount of bias. From the age of 10, my father and grandfather instilled in me that a house salad without blue cheese was simply not a salad worthy of being honored with a baptism of teeth. Ranch was for kids, French was disgusting, Italian was far behind and what is Thousand Island anyway? (Don’t send me a link – even this one, I don’t care.)

Don’t get me wrong: Bad Bleu cheese dressing is obviously a thing, and there’s nothing more disappointing than sinking your incisors into crispy salad lettuce, only to be disappointed by bland blue cheese, devoid of its characteristic sharpness, with a sour aftertaste and not enough salt to carry it through to the finish. However, when your salad or chicken wings have been accompanied by delicious blue cheese with chunky chunks, I contend there is nothing better.

So… (*Seinfeld voice*) what’s the deal with blue cheese dip? Is there a difference between this and blue cheese dressing? I’ve never had a problem dipping my Buffalo chicken in blue cheese dressing in the past, so what makes the dip so special? Is it just blue cheese dressing with a thickener like cornstarch added?

To untangle such an enigma, we apply the magic of juxtaposition! If we take Ken’s Steakhouse Blue Cheese Dressing and list its ingredients, we see that it is mostly made up of:

  • soybean oil
  • Cultured buttermilk
  • Blue cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, penicillium roqueforti, natamycin)
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Egg yolk

Now, when we look at a jar of Litehouse Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing and Dip, we find that it’s mostly:

  • Canola oil
  • Skim buttermilk (whey, water, skim milk powder, corn starch, tapioca starch, carrageenan, locust bean gum, culture)
  • Blue cheese (milk, salt, culture, enzymes)
  • The water
  • Egg yolk

So far, basically, there’s not much difference between blue cheese dressing and the stuff advertised as double blue cheese dressing and dip, at least as far as the commercial stuff produced en masse.

Now, let’s focus on the homemade segment of the blue cheese economy. If we rate Inspired Taste’s blue cheese dressing recipe, we have a simpler ingredient list that includes sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, parsley, lemon juice, salt, pepper and milk or buttermilk.

Then when you look at a blue cheese dip recipe – courtesy of 15 spatulas – you see that the dip consists of blue cheese crumbs, sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon, salt and pepper.

Essentially, at least when it comes to blue cheese, blue cheese dressing and blue cheese dip are interchangeable whether you buy them off the grocery store aisle or mix them together on your own counter. As a little parting tip, I’ll warn you that no matter how you choose to enjoy your blue cheese, always make sure it’s big. After all, as Dusty Rhodes (probably) once said, “If it ain’t big, it ain’t funky!”

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