Ranch Style Beans Recipe

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Ranch-style beans have been described as the ultimate easy food for camping and outdoor travel. They are a great addition to barbecues, get-togethers, or even just a simple meal or snack at home.

This simple recipe offers a bold taste of authentic southwestern cooking made from scratch. Its unique blend of seasonings makes it a winner at every table. It makes an easy lunch or dinner, and has lots of serving options and flavor variations. It can pretty much be made and adjusted to your liking with ease. It’s sure to become a favorite family recipe!

A side view of a bowl of Ranch Style Beans. A white towel and wooden spoon lay to the left of the bowl.

What Are Ranch Style Beans?

Ranch Style Beans is a bean dish that is typically made with pinto beans, tomato sauce, and a variety of seasonings. They are a popular side dish in Texas cuisine and are often served with barbecue, burgers, or hot dogs. It’s one of my personal favorite recipes!

The delicious blend of spices used in Ranch Style Beans typically includes chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes smoked paprika, which give the beans a spicy and smoky flavor. Some varieties may also include bacon or other meats for added flavor.

What Is The Difference Between Ranch Style Beans And Chili?

While both Ranch Style Beans and chili are popular Texan dishes, there are some key differences between them.

Ranch Style Beans are a milder, bean-based side dish that typically only uses pinto beans, while chili is a hearty, meat-based stew with a spicier kick and can include many different types of beans, such as black beans, blackeye peas or kidney beans.

Also, chili tends to be a main course, while this one makes a tasty side dish. Of course, with the right toppings and a side of cornbread, it can be a full meal too!

This particular recipe offers real western flavor. Basically a tex-mex flavoring that is so often found in authentic southwestern cookin’. Thanks to the appetite pleasin’ spices, the natural flavor shines through to enhance any dish you pair this with.

An overhead view looking down ingo a small bowl filled with Ranch Style Beans. A white towel and wooden spoon lay to the left of the bowl.

Can You Make This In A Crock Pot?

You can! To do so, simply sauté the veggies as called for and place everything in your slow cooker. If you want to cook the beans from dry in the slow cooker, you’ll just need to add the extra broth (read the package directions for the amount) to the slow cooker. Stir well and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Are Ranch Style Beans Healthy?

If they are made healthy, then yes! Absolutely! The truth is, the ranch style canned pinto beans (like bush’s beans or bush’s chili beans) usually have a lot of unwanted ingredients in them. But when you make them at home, they can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you want them to be. 

The recipe below is pretty darn healthy, depending on what your diet calls for. If you are keto, this obviously isn’t for you. If you are vegan or vegetarian, get ready for a great meal!

So if you just want something tasty to go with your barbecued chicken, make a pot of these immediately. A 1-cup serving gives you 9 grams of fiber, 10 grams of protein, and 35 grams of healthy carbs!

Are Ranch Style Beans Gluten Free?

The short answer is: they can be! It all comes down to purchasing gluten-free ingredients to make this dish. Aside from that, there are no gluten-based ingredients called for in the recipe.

Topping Ideas

If you are serving these as a main course or side dish, here are some topping ideas.

  • Grated cheese
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Chopped onions
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fresh, chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Chopped avocado
  • Chopped green chili peppers

How To Serve Ranch Style Beans

  • Serve as is as a side dish or main course.
  • Pour over nachos
  • Use in enchiladas
  • As a side to almost any Mexican food in place of refried beans.
  • Mix in some rice or quinoa.
A small bowl with Ranch Style Beans and a wooden spoon resting in the bowl.

Recipe Variations

Omit the can of green chilis and add a can of Rotel instead. Just be sure to get the kind without added sugar.

About The Ingredients

Dried pinto beans – Cook to package directions. You can also use canned beans. (4 cups drained and rinsed). I cooked mine in my Instant Pot. I add a lot of water, between 8-12 cups, and cook the beans on high pressure for about 40-50 minutes. Older beans may take longer, newer beans may take a little less. It’s up to you if you soak the beans overnight before cooking them. I never do, but some people prefer it. Just be sure to use a large bowl with plenty of water.

Oil – I used coconut oil. You can use whatever oil works best for you.

Red onion– dice these small for better overall texture.

Garlic cloves – pressed or minced – I find that pressed garlic adds more flavor. 

Red bell pepper – Just like the onion, you’ll want to dice these small.

Green chilies – You can use fresh or canned. I used canned just to make life easier. Just make sure to read the label to be sure there are no unwanted ingredients in them.

Diced tomatoes – I used the canned stuff with no added sugar.

Tomato paste – Here again, make sure there’s no added sugar.

Chili powder – Follow the recipe for mild spice, or double up for a bold flavor.

Ground cumin– Follow the recipe for mild spice, or double up for a stronger flavor.

Smoked paprika– Follow the recipe for mild spice, or double up for stronger spice.

Vegetable broth – or chicken broth, no sugar/dextrose added. Beef broth works too if you want a meatier flavor.

Unprocessed sweetener – You can use anything you prefer. Maple syrup, Sucanat, coconut sugar, or monk fruit are all good choices. I used brown erythritol because that’s what works best for my blood sugar. Traditional ranch style beans use brown sugar in most cases.

Salt and ground black pepper – to taste

Optional Additions

Spicy – Add 1 minced jalapeno. Love it hot? Add the seeds too!

Meaty – Add a half pound of good quality bacon or tiny pieces of cut-up steaks.

Umami – If you want a bit more depth of flavor, you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

How To Make Ranch Style Beans

Dry pinto beans in a glass jar viewed from overhead.

Cook the beans to package directions. While the beans cook…

Adding oil to a pot to start making Ranch Style Beans.

Add oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and warm the oil.

Chopped red bell pepper and red onion sautéing in a large pot in oil.

Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in the oil, over medium heat, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking, add the garlic and cook for the remaining 1 minute.

Diced tomatoes, green chilis and tomato paste added to a pot of sautéd vegetables.
Adding broth to the Ranch Style Beans base.
Adding spices to the Ranch Style Beans base.

Add the green chilies, diced tomatoes, broth (or whatever liquid you are using), tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika to the pot and stir to combine.

Adding sweetener to the Ranch Style Beans.

Lastly, add the sweetener and stir to dissolve. You can stir in more later if you want it sweeter.

Adding cooked pinto beans to a pot of Ranch Style Beans sauce.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the beans, simmer for 5 minutes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

An overhead view of a small bowl filled with Ranch Style Beans.

Garnish with your favorite toppings, if desired. Enjoy!

Storage

Store this in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days IF you used vegetable broth. If you used a meat broth, then it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezing

This freezes great! It may be easier to freeze this in individual portions, however. Pack well and freeze for up to 6 months.

Reheating

From frozen – Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours or in a microwave on defrost.

From cold – Reheat in a pot on the stovetop or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.

Recipe Supplies

Large soup pot sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Wood cutting board sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)
Wooden spatula set sold on Amazon. (Affiliate link)

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Ranch Style Bean Recipe Card + Video

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A side view of a bowl of Ranch Style Beans. A white towel and wooden spoon lay to the left of the bowl.

Ranch Style Beans

Delicious beans that make a wonderful side dish or main meal. NOTE: I doubled up on the spices in the video because I like a strong flavor. But the recipe calls for half of what you see me use there. If you want the traditional milder spice, follow the recipe below. If you want a stronger flavor, double up like I did in the video.
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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern, SouthWestern
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 11 servings
Calories: 202kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • 1 large pot

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans (cooked to package directions)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • cups diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 8 large garlic cloves (pressed or minced)
  • 4 oz. can green chilies
  • 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 6 oz.. can tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, no sugar added)
  • ¼ cup unprocessed sweetener (maple syrup, Sucanat, coconut sugar or monk fruit are great choices.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the beans to package directions. While the beans cook…
    Dry pinto beans in a glass jar viewed from overhead.
  • Add oil to a large pot or Dutch oven and warm the oil.
    Adding oil to a pot to start making Ranch Style Beans.
  • Sauté the onion and red bell pepper in the oil, over medium heat, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking, add the garlic and cook for the remaining 1 minute.
    Chopped red bell pepper and red onion sautéing in a large pot in oil.
  • Add the green chilies, diced tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika to the pot and stir to combine.
    Adding spices to the Ranch Style Beans base.
  • Lastly, add the sweetener and stir to dissolve. You can stir in more later if you want it sweeter.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Adding cooked pinto beans to a pot of Ranch Style Beans sauce.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice, if desired. Enjoy!
    An overhead view of a small bowl filled with Ranch Style Beans.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 927mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1999IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 4mg

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I'm Tiffany, a cookbook author, food lover, mom, and writer for MSN and the AP Newswire.
   
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