Smokey and spicy, ranch-style beans are a Tex-Mex bean soup loaded with onion, garlic, and jalapeño. With lots of cumin and paprika, it’s a hearty ranch-like side at its best.
Easy Homemade Ranch Style Beans
Loaded with Tex-Mex spices, these Ranch-Style beans will make you put the canned stuff down for good. Incredibly simple to make and way better than anything you can get in the stores, why wouldn’t you make some?
This spicy bean soup is excitingly smokey, tangy, and bright. Despite this, the flavor isn’t overwhelming— tomato paste keeps all the ingredients in check as the bean soup parties in the pot. It’s unintentionally vegetarian, but adding a bit of chorizo can help extra layers of wholesome goodness develop.
Don’t rush the process, though. Think of it as bean chili; it needs to be cooked low and slow. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your life easier with a couple of cheats. Served on the side, they’re a great way to kickstart a homemade Tex-Mex meal.
If you love these Ranch Style Beans, I bet you will also love this recipe for Instant Pot Charro Beans!
What Are Ranch Style Beans?
Ranch-style beans are a Tex-Mex pinto bean soup in a bold and spicy broth.
With lots of garlic and onion as a flavor base, the cumin and paprika only add mild heat and smokiness. The true spiciness comes from the chopped jalapeños and whether or not they were seeded.
Simmered until nice and tender, the soup is bright, zesty, and extremely comforting once the flavors come together and naturally thicken with the broth.
Why Are They Called Ranch-Style Beans?
Ranch-Style beans receive their name from a popular Texan canned bean product, much like baked beans. Packed with Tex-Mex spices and ingredients that remind people of the Wild West and ranch life, the company that first made them decided to keep the name short and sweet.
What’s The Difference Between Ranch Style Beans and Pinto beans?
Pinto beans are a type of dried Mexican bean. On the other hand, ranch-style beans are a spicy soup that uses pinto beans as the main ingredient.
If your spice cabinet is well stocked and you’ve got some beans in the pantry, you’re ready to get started. For full ingredient amounts, check the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Dried Pinto Beans
- Water – Use beef broth for extra flavor.
- Olive oil – Vegetable, corn, and canola oil also work.
- Onion – Use white or yellow onion.
- Garlic – You can also substitute every clove in the recipe for 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
- Jalapeño – Serrano chili is a good substitute. Don’t use poblano peppers because they’re much sweeter.
- Tomato Paste
- Chili Powder – This recipe is traditionally spicy, but feel free to leave it out.
- White Vinegar – If you don’t have any, swap it for apple cider vinegar instead.
- Ground Cumin
- Paprika – Smoked paprika will do too.
- Granulated Sugar – White or light brown sugar is fine.
- Black Pepper
How to Make Ranch-Style Beans
They’re very easy to make! Just throw everything into the pot in the right order and let time do the rest.
- Soak the beans. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak overnight.
- Cook the onions. Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Toss the onions, garlic, and jalapeño in. Stir to combine and let them cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened.
- Add the tomato paste. Add the cumin, paprika, and chili powder to the pot. Stir well. Add the tomato paste and vinegar. Mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the beans. Drain the soaked beans and discard the liquid. Add them to the pot along with 4 cups of water.
- Cook. Let the beans cook for at least 1 hour or until fork-tender. If the water begins evaporating, add more as needed. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy.
Tips & Variations
This recipe for ranch-style beans is quite simple, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved with a couple of tips for perfectly cooked beans:
- Use the Instant Pot. Add the beans and 4 cups of water to your Instant Pot. Seal the pot and set it to “Beans”. Allow them to cook and then select the slow-pressure release option. Incorporate them into the recipe as usual.
- Clean the beans. Sometimes dried beans come with tiny pebbles and debris. Spread them out on a baking sheet and pick out rocks and damaged beans.
- Remove the seeds. Use a small knife to carefully remove the seeds and veins from the jalapeño. This will tone down the heat.
To spice things up, take a look at these easy recipe variations for extra flavorful beans:
- Add chorizo. Add about 1 cup of chorizo to the pot and cook it until nice and crispy. Then add the onions, garlic, etc, and continue with the recipe as usual.
- Use lard. For extra flavor, use lard instead of oil for cooking the onions.
- Top it with cheese. Shredded sharp cheddar is my favorite for topping these beans.
- Crumble chicharron. Crush chicharron (pork rind) and sprinkle it over a bowl of ranch-style beans for some crunch.
- Add guajillo. Lightly toast 3 guajillo chiles in a skillet over low heat. Remove the stems and seeds. Add the chiles to the pot for 10 minutes or until softened. Place them in the blender and add 1 cup of the bean’s cooking liquid. Blend until you get a smooth mixture. Strain back into the pot and mix. It will add wonderful smokiness.
What To Serve with Ranch Beans
Hearty enough to be the main course (especially if you add chorizo), they’re great with corn or Homemade Flour Tortillas. Using them to make tacos while dipping them in the broth is extremely comforting.
However, ranch-style beans are usually served as a side with other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes like tacos and enchiladas.
If you want the beans to be the star of the meal, enjoy them with some simple Carne Asada Tacos. For saucier dishes, try them with my Spicy Avocado Chicken Enchiladas, Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas, Adobo Chicken Enchiladas, and Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat, pop them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat them in a pot over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Can I Freeze These?
Place the cooled beans in a freezer-friendly bag or container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Transfer them to the fridge a day before you’re ready to eat them. Once fully thawed, heat them in the microwave or stove.
Ranch Style Beans
- 1 16 oz package dried pinto beans
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, diced (optional)
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Cover the beans with water and soak them for 8 hours. (Read tips for instant pot directions or a fast soaking method.)
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until softened.
- Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, vinegar, salt, cumin, paprika, sugar, and black pepper.
- Drain the beans, then add them to the pot. Add 4 cups of water to the pan and set the heat to medium.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the sauce is thicker. This will take a minimum of one hour but may take longer, depending on how soft the beans were before cooking.
More Easy Side Dishes
- Air Fryer Green Beans
- Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan
- Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Ensalada de Coditos con Jamon (Macaroni Salad with Ham)
- The Best Texas Caviar
- Crockpot Baked Beans
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.