5 Easy Recipes And Swaps When You Can’t Find Ranch Style Beans

If you are making a chili or any dish that requires beans, you may be used to using canned ranch style beans.

Ranch style beans are both a canned good you can commonly find in the grocery store, while also being a Texas classic side dish that you can make on its own.

Whether you are looking to perhaps spruce up your chili recipe with a whole food bean addition, rather than relying on canned goods, or you just can’t find your beloved canned beans good at the grocery store, we have found some substitutes for you to consider, in both situations.

Read below to find some new cooking tips, new recipes, as well as some products that can replace your usual purchases

5 Easy Recipes and Swaps When You Can’t Find Ranch Style Beans

What Are Ranch Style Beans?

Put simply, ranch style beans are a Texas classic. Invented by ranchers back in the days of the Wild West, ranch style beans usually refers to pinto beans cooked in a chili gravy. Products that were cheap, plentiful but also filling, not forgetting tasty.

People enjoy them for being spicy, but also just being a quick and easy way to bulk out a dish, or a simple dinner when you’re in a pinch.

In the modern day ranch style beans are a common side dish in many restaurants, and a staple of tex-mex cuisine.

They are a great dish to bring to a potluck, dinner party, or BBQ and are pretty easy to make.

It’s the kind of recipe that easily lends itself to being spruced up and made fancy with fresh high quality ingredients, but is also a cheap and economical way to feed the family. Here’s a classic recipe for ranch style beans.

Ranch style beans have become such a staple of American cuisine that they are also sold widely and commercially as a canned good.

While many enjoy them on their own or with other things, they are also a common ingredient in chili and in other dishes that require a bean element.

Even served on their own with rice as a quick dinner, should you not make them from scratch. You can buy them here.

Substitutes For Ranch Style Beans

Below are some products and recipes that we think can help you replace the canned goods or just give you some new ideas on how to use your beans.

1. Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki)

This Greek bean dish is an ideal sub for ranch style beans should you be looking to have a bean side dish at a dinner party or potluck, this is similar but with some different flavors and qualities – consider it a Mediterranean take on a Texas classic.

A perfect dish to enjoy in the summer sun with friends and family.

The dish is a little less spicy than ranch style beans, but there’s no stopping you adding more spice to it should you want to.

The butter beans typical of this dish are really great, if you like beans and haven’t tried butter beans you should really give them a go.

Butter beans are called butter beans for a reason, they melt in your mouth but still have a pleasant toothy bite, and are much larger than pinto beans which provides some interesting textural contrast.

The dish is pretty great as you can add a bunch of cheese to it, particularly Greek feta goes well with the dish as it is crumbly and tangy which is an ideal contrast.

As a side dish this feels like it has more of a place at a dinner party than ranch style beans, being quite filling but also a little prettier with bigger beans, and a little more indulgent.

2. Baked Bean Casserole

If you enjoy having a can of ranch style beans for dinner, then this recipe could help you replace the canned stuff for a whole food alternative that is likely much more healthy and lower in salt, but still a filling and easy dinner you can prepare in advance.

The recipe presents some interesting options of ingredients you can add like dill pickle juice, barbeque sauce, or even bacon slices.

This shows the dish still has American tex-mex flavors at its heart, but you can throw some extra vegetables and stuff in there too for a health kick that you won’t get with the canned varieties.

3. Refried Beans

Refried Beans are another classic Mexican side dish which is very common to serve alongside Texas cuisine, the latter being heavily influenced by their proximity to the former.

Refried beans are actually really easy to make and if you want to have a bean side dish that hasn;t come out of a can this is a great way to get comfortable with cooking beans.

If you haven’t cooked beans before, this is a good way to start, and can be pretty healthy when made from scratch as the recipe directs.

Equally you can riff on the recipe as much as you want, perhaps adding extra spice should you need it, or even consider changing the beans to your favored choice, even pinto beans.

We love refried beans because they can go quite far even as leftovers. In other words, refried beans can be used in basically anything, whether you are making a sandwich, baking a potato, making burritos, or even nachos.

Once you have made refried beans from scratch you will realize the benefits of home cooking.

4. New Orleans Spicy Creole Cream Style Navy Beans

If you are in the grocery store and just want a can of beans to whip up a quick dinner, but aren’t sure what is similar to your favored ranch style beans, this option of New Orleans style beans, from the company Blue Runner, is both widely available but also somewhat similar to ranch style.

The New Orleans twist is a little less spicy than you expect but is very flavorsome. The gravy is more Creole inspired and will have some spice but is more focused on flavor.

Creole cooking often relies on flavors from carrots, celery, onion, and more, while the Texan ranch style beans use a chili gravy instead.

If you are looking for some beans to add to your chili or meat, then it’s a good option, but we would still implore you to look at making your own bean dish from scratch.

5. Easy Bean Salad

Sometimes in the summer a can of ranch style beans just won’t cut it, especially if you’re taking a dish with you to someone’s house.

If you are looking to impress, simply eat a little healthier, or want something a little more fresh, but still versatile, to present at a dinner party or BBQ, this is a recipe worth looking at.

Combining black beans and pinto beans shows how you can use beans themselves to bring flavor and textural contrasts to any dish.

A whole bunch of other veggies like cucumbers, sweet corn, onion, and even more pulses such as lentils or quinoa, can really boost the health of the dish while still being really tasty.

With the addition of other vegetables you could arguably boost up the spice contents, something typical of ranch style beans, by adding chilies or hot sauce.

Moreover, the recipe is great because it’s easy, all you need is some basic knife skills and you are there. But, the dish can still be pretty impressive at a cookout, an easy way to impress guests or hosts.

The addition of vinegar, vegetables, and other salad dressings bring a whole world of flavor to the beans that you just won’t get from a can, showing why home cooking is great and doesn’t have to be hard.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a whole world of beans out there beyond the canned stuff.

While the canned stuff is certainly easy and not something we should take for granted, there are a lot of benefits of making our own bean dishes, most of which are really easy, to add flavor as well as health to our food.

You can be sure any of these dishes can mirror your favored bean style while also having the ability to impress guests and hosts with something simple

That said, when we are having a canned bean day every now and again, there are canned bean products out there which will emulate and substitute ranch style beans quite easily.

5 Easy Recipes And Swaps When You Can’t Find Ranch Style Beans

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


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  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy
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