What Are Ranch Style Beans: A Look Beyond The Can!

When it comes to southern cooking, or Tex-Mex to be specific, one ingredient that is ever-present is a can of ranch style beans. It is known for its versatility as it can be integrated into different recipes, depending on how creative with you when you are cooking.

Interested to know what are ranch style beans? Curious about its flavor and why it is well-loved by many? Thinking about the substitutes that can be possibly taken into account? Stop wondering! Instead, keep on reading and I will share with you some valuable insights.​

What Are Ranch Style Beans?

Ranch style beans are known for their strong flavor, which will be perfect to complement a variety of dishes. It has sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor, which is pretty much unique. You cannot compare it with just any other type of beans in the market.

Aside from the flavor, ranch style beans are unique because of the ingredients that they have. They should have pinto beans, chili, tomato, cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, and sweetener. They are available as canned variety, but there are also many who chose to replicate them at the comfort of their own homes.

Among others, the pinto beans contribute to the uniqueness of ranch style beans. If it is used in its actual form, it is common for such to be mashed or refried. It has a creamy texture, which makes you look forward to every bite.

More than the beans itself, the boldness of the spices is one thing that makes ranch style beans delicious. If you ask experts in the kitchen, they will surely agree that it embodies almost everything about southwestern cooking.

It is believed that the ranch style beans first became popular in the 1930s. Since 1870s, it is claimed that the product already existed, but in a form that may be different from what the public knew in 1935.

How To Use Ranch Style Beans​

For most people, they choose to eat ranch style beans on its own. Straight from the can, all that you have to do is to heat it up. It will make an excellent choice for a quick but filling snack.

For others, meanwhile, it is used as a side dish. It can perfectly complement a delicious steak. Also, because of its dominant flavor, it can also be eaten with any dish that comes with a mild taste only.

A Tijuana pie is one of the many delicious treats that you can prepare with ranch style beans. Simply combine the beans, green chili peppers, and cream of mushroom soup. Next, put the bean mixture on the top of tortilla chips and add cheese. Heat it in the oven until the cheese has completely melted.

You can also prepare crock pot chili soup, although this will not be quick. In a crock pot, all that you have to do is combine ranch style beans, ground beef, onions, tomatoes, minestrone soup, and chili powder. Cook it in slow heat for four hours, which will help in the maximum extraction of flavor and in making sure that the soup will end up creamy.

Here is a short video showing another easy recipe using ranch style beans:​

What Are Excellent Substitutes For Ranch Style Beans

First and foremost, let me start by saying that as much as possible, you should use the real thing. Nonetheless, if it is nowhere to be found, there are some substitutes that can be taken into account.

For instance, if you hate beans, one good thing that you can do is to combine peas and yellow corn, smother it in barbecue sauce and you will have an excellent substitute for ranch style beans.

If you plan to make your own version of ranch style beans but pinto beans are nowhere to be found, you might also want to use kidney beans. Dark red beans will also prove to be a promising alternative.

If it is only the flavor that you would like to integrate into your recipe and not the texture of beans, you can consider chili as a substitute. However, you need to find a variety that comes with a smoky flavor. In this case, some of the excellent choices include chile California and chile guajillo.

The tangy flavor of ranch style beans can be replicated as well with using something that is as simple as garlic and onion. You can use dried, fresh, or powdered varieties. Also, avoid adding salt as this can alter the natural flavor of the two main ingredients.

You might also want to consider using a sweetener if you want to imitate the flavor that can be yielded from ranch style beans. With this, brown sugar is a good pick. It will be perfect complement to spicy chilies and will also help you to come up with thicker sauce, similar to the sauce of ranch style beans.

Lastly, you might also want to consider oregano if you are looking for the perfect substitutes for ranch style beans. Whether dry or fresh, it has a distinctive flavor that can lead to a tangy taste.


I hope that now you are done reading, you already know what are ranch style beans. In case you already forgot, here are some of the most important things that I have discussed earlier in this post:

  • Ranch style beans are essential in Tex-Mex or southwestern cooking. They are known for their smoky, sweet, and tangy flavor, which is distinct.
  • If you do not have ranch style beans, the flavor can be replicated by using different substitutes, such as cumin, oregano, garlic, onion, sweeteners, and chilies, among others.
  • There are many ways to enjoy ranch style beans. You can eat it on its own, use as a side dish, or be integrated into different recipes, such as casseroles, soups, and wraps.

Have you tried ranch style beans before? Did you love it? How does it taste? Feel free to leave a comment below.


Hi, my name is Chidinma. I’ve been happily married for 4+ years (actually almost 6 years now), and my husband and I have been trying to have our own children for almost all the time we’ve been married, with no success…yet. We haven’t lost hope (far from it), and we believe it will happen very soon.

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