Ranch style beans are a Texas classic: tender pinto beans slow cooked in a rich chili sauce. Perfect as a flavorful side dish with Mexican or TexMex and good enough to serve as a main course!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This is one of my most-missed foods from when I lived in Texas! Ranch style beans are a classic Texas recipe and even though I’ve been in Tennessee for a while now, I still get cravings for this dish. It’s that good!
- It’s a hearty, chili-esque recipe that makes a great side dish for Mexican or TexMex recipes, but is absolutely substantial enough to serve as its own meal! Serve it with some fresh baked broccoli cornbread to sop up every drop. It’s great for BBQ season, but be sure to bookmark this one for the fall and winter when stews and chilis are in full swing, too.
- Every bite is seasoned with the perfect blend of chili powder, oregano, cumin, and brown sugar. It’s deliciously savory with just the right amount of sweetness and spice.
- Leftover ranch style beans will keep up to 5 days if you refrigerate them in an airtight container! That makes them a great option for weekday lunches – just make up a big batch on the weekend and enjoy it all week long!
Pinto Beans – This budget-friendly source of protein and fiber is SO good for you! They’re full of antioxidants that can help fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, and they can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you want more pinto beans in your diet, be sure to try our Instant Pot Pinto Beans (No Soak!).
Chipotle Chili Pepper Powder – You can also use cayenne pepper in place of or along with the chili pepper powder.
Tomato Paste – This will thicken the ranch style beans mixture some and gives the whole dish a great, slightly sweet tomato flavor.
Can You Cook This Recipe in the Crock-Pot?
Yes! And it’s SO easy!
Skip the soaking and go straight to the slow cooker. Add the dry pinto beans, beef broth, onion, garlic, tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beans are cooked through and tender. You can also cook on high for 6 hours if you need them sooner.
Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir in water as needed for a thinner consistency.
- If you add too much water and want a thicker sauce, just let the ranch style beans simmer uncovered on the stove before serving. They’ll also thicken as they cool.
- The beans will expand as they soak, so I recommend using a large bowl and enough water to cover the dry beans completely plus 2-3 inches. That way they stay submerged even as they expand.
- Salt can keep the beans from softening, so wait and add it towards the end for the best texture possible.
- For more kick, top your ranch style beans with sliced jalapeños, a sprinkle of cayenne, or a dash of hot sauce.
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- 1 pound dried pinto beans rinsed
- 6 cups beef broth or water
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar see Notes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- lots of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup water divided, plus more as desired
- shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped cilantro
- chopped green onions
- sliced jalapeños
- sour cream
- Bowl or pot for soaking
- Large pot with lid
- Large skillet
- Soak beans one of two ways.Option 1 – Add dry beans to large bowl. Add enough water to cover beans. Let beans soak in water at room temperature overnight (8-12 hours).Option 2 – Add dry beans to pot. Add enough water to cover beans. Bring water to boil, cover pot with lid, and remove pot from heat. Let beans soak for 1 hour.
- Drain soaked beans. Add drained beans and beef broth to large pot and place over high heat. Bring liquid to boil and cover pot. Turn heat to low and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil over medium heat. Add diced onion to hot oil and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 additional minute.
- Transfer cooked onions and garlic to blender. Add tomato paste, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, and chili pepper powder. Blend until mixture is smooth.
- Pour tomato mixture over beans and stir. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, or until beans are tender and sauce has reduced. Add water in ½ cup increments to thin sauce to desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Portion bean mixture into serving bowls and garnish. Serve warm.
- Make it Added-Sugar Free: Substitute Brown Swerve in place of the brown sugar, and use a tomato paste with no added sugars.
- Make it Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth or water in place of the beef broth.
- Make it Vegan: Use a vegan brown sugar and use vegetable broth or water in place of the beef broth. Skip the cheese garnish or use a vegan cheese.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.