If you’ve ever had ranch-style beans, then you’ll how utterly delicious they can be. These are pinto or black beans that are cooked with onion, smoky bacon and chili powder to make an almost meaty flavor.
You can either eat this dish alone or have it as a side with your meat dish or salad. This is a very beefy meal, so you won’t have to worry about having your stomach full after eating some ranch-style beans.
But what if you are out of some of the ingredients needed to make ranch-style beans? Luckily, there are other options out there for you. But to give you a jump start, we’ve got a list of the 5 best substitutes for ranch-style beans.
What Are Ranch-Style Beans?
These beans are usually a mixture of two types of beans, traditionally pinto and black beans. However, there are some people who use different types of beans like kidney beans and broad beans.
Ultimately what makes your beans ranch-style is the seasoning. Onions, smoky bacon and chili powder are the cornerstone of this dish and are what give it this distinctive flavor.
Bell peppers and garlic are also used to make ranch-style beans. Often a dressing is added to the beans to make the whole mixture a lot thicker.
Ranch-style beans are often used in Mexican dishes, although it has strayed over into states like Texas, which is close to the Mexican border. This is why a lot of Americans have adopted the name ‘ranch-style’.
There are many dishes that ranch-style beans are used in, the main ones being tacos, burritos and nachos.
But what if you do not have the requisite ingredients that you need to make ranch-style beans? Well, we have a list of some of the closest alternatives to ranch-style beans, so that you can make your own when supplies are running low.
The 5 Best Ranch-Style Bean Alternatives
1. Bush’s Chili Beans
If you are looking for something that is similar in flavor to ranch-style beans, then we would certainly recommend Bush’s chili beans. This comes with a tomato and chili flavor that closely resembles ranch-style.
This bean is very tangy with plenty of flavors that will really pack a punch when you are cooking them. Also, you won’t really have to add anything to these beans as they already come with a distinctive flavor.
If you are looking for some beans that will really fill you up, then you can’t go wrong with these ones.
They can be sued in a wide variety of dishes, including tacos and burritos. In fact, these are probably the best beans to use for burritos, as you can get them ready very quickly.
That is one of the beauties of having beans is that they are very thin-skinned and are super easy to cook. They are also a great substitute for meat for vegetarians and vegans.
2. Rotel Beans
Next, we have another selection of tinned beans that actually combines a rich tomato flavor with that hint of chili to make a flavor that packs a similar punch to ranch-style beans.
This is not flavored with chili powder though. This is made with freshly diced green chilis, which makes these tinned beans the most organic variety on this list.
The flavor is very strong and will work really well when bared with vegetables, guacamole and a floury tortilla.
These beans are available all across the country, so you should have no problem finding them. Getting these beans straight out of the tin will also reduce the amount of prep time that you’ll require.
The heat of this bean mix is very mild, which might be a drawback for anyone looking for the intensity of ranch-style beans.
However, if you are looking to inject some of the same flavors as ranch-style, then you can always add more chili powder or onions and garlic to replicate the flavor.
3. Great Value Chili Beans
Next up, we have a tin of beans that you can find in Walmart, which is great if you are in a hurry and you don’t have time to Google your local street food market.
These bear a lot of resemblance to pinto beans, but there are some subtle differences in taste and texture. We would say that these beans are a lot more acidic than ranch-style.
This is because these beans contain only chili powder. They do not contain tomato or green peppers, which will certainly affect the final flavor of your beans.
One of the drawbacks of having these beans is that they are dry compared to the ranch-style. However, you can add water and other ingredients that will alleviate this problem somewhat.
This would not be the most ideal replacement for ranch-style beans, but if you are in a hurry and are sticking to a strict budget, then maybe these beans would work for you.
4. Dried Pinto Beans
Now we have the very basic ingredients for ranch-style beans – the humble pinto on its own, dried, without any flavoring.
The only reason why you might choose this is that you want to have a certain degree of control over the final flavor of your beans.
One of the main drawbacks of this is that these beans are dry and will require soaking overnight to get them to have a decent flavor.
However, soaking them overnight will be a lot better than having them from a can, as you will get a lot less starch in your final product.
Starch often will not taste great and will also be the source of a lot of unnecessary carbs, which certainly won’t be great for anyone looking to cut back.
Once you have soaked them overnight, then you can cook them over low heat for around half an hour. Then you should get all the rich textures that come with the traditional pinto bean.
While this certainly won’t pack the same flavor as a ranch-style bean, you can be sure that it will add body and flavor to your taco or burrito, even if it is very, very mild.
If you are looking to make refried beans, all you have to do is mash these to the side of the pan. Once you have done this, then you’ll be able to scoop them into a fresh tortilla and consume immediately.
5. Old El Paso Spicy Beans
Finally, we have some pre-seasoned beans that you can be sure will really give you much of the same flavors as ranch-style beans.
This is a great bean for anyone who is looking to have a quick fry option. If you are stuck on time and you need to quickly have a batch of spicy beans for your guests, then grab a few tins of these and shove them in a pot with the heat turned up.
You can also make refried beans with this tin, all you have to do is boiled them at a higher intensity until a lot of the fluid has evaporated. Then you mash them to the side of the pot like you would do with the regular pinto beans.
You might have to change the time that you cook these beans if you are following a recipe that comes with ranch-style beans. This is because these beans will have a lot less moisture than the ranch-style.
The great thing about getting beans in a tin is the fact that they will also be a lot cheaper. If you are looking to cut back on your weekly shopping costs, then buying tinned beans is one way to go.
We hope that our list of some of the best ranch-style bean substitutes has given you a better idea of what you are looking for when it comes to swapping them out for something similarly spicy and tangy.