Substitute for Ranch Style Beans

If you are anything like me, you like trying out new recipes from time to time. Ranch style beans are one of those recipes that you should try out.

Ranch style beans are a dish that has its origins in Texas. They are Texan cuisine that is popular when making barbeques.

They are a combination of several ingredients:

  • Pinto beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Chilli
  • Sweetener
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Pepper and salt
  • Garlic and onion
  • Stock

Now that you know ranch style beans are a combination of many ingredients, you might be wondering if you can find substitutes for all the ingredients. Yes! You can find substitutes for the ingredients used to make ranch style beans.

Also, Check Out: How To Fix Over Salted Beans

Is ranch style beans a type of bean?

A while ago, before I knew what ranch style beans were, I would have sworn that they were some type of beans I did not know existed. If you thought so too, it is understandable.

However, ranch style beans are not some type of beans. Yes, they contain beans, but they cannot be classified as beans. It is a whole dish, and as mentioned earlier, is made by a combination of various ingredients.

They are made from pinto beans, so there is also a huge difference between pinto beans and ranch style beans.

Why Are My Beans Still Hard After Cooking? Click on to Read.

Ranch Style Beans Substitutes

For this, we will look at every ingredient and what you can substitute it with. Read on.

Pinto beans

You cant have ranch style beans without beans in the recipe. It is a crucial ingredient. Pinto beans are what is commonly used in this cuisine recipe. These beans have an earthly flavor and are creamy upon cooking. Their unique taste and feature make them the best choice for this recipe.

If you, however, find that you don’t have pinto beans, or you don’t like them for some reason, you do not need to worry.  You can replace pinto beans with a particular type of bean. Kidney beans, especially the red ones.

Kidney beans come in varieties, and if you are looking for a replacement that won’t stand out as much, you need to use the ones with a light red color. You can use the dark red ones, though I wouldn’t highly recommend that.  Only use them when you are out of alternatives.


I am a huge fan of tomatoes, especially fresh tomatoes. I find the flavor to be charming. They completely change the taste of your food. If you include tomatoes in a recipe, you will note the difference compared to when you do not.

Other than that, tomatoes have a tonne of health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and vitamin c, which help prevent diseases such as cancer.

Tomatoes are readily available everywhere. Unless you forgot to get some, or you dont like them, it’s hard not to get tomatoes.

If for any reason, you dont have tomatoes for your recipe, a great substitute will be tomato paste. I dont like tomato paste as much, but if the need arises, I can use it.

One thing about tomato paste is that it will give you a nice thickness in your dish.  Be careful about the type of tomato paste you are using. If it is too sweet, that means you have to use less sweetener and vice versa.


There is a wide variety of chili in the market today. Each chili type has a unique flavor, giving your ranch style beans a unique taste.

I recommend using chili with a smoky flavor for your ranch-style beans to taste exactly the way they should. Examples include; chili ancho and chili California.

When you dont have access to these chillis, you can substitute them with red chili sauce.

You can use paprika as a last resort if you dont have any chili.  I advise you to use chilly paprika and avoid the sweet one for this recipe.


The most common sweeteners used for ranch style beans are brown sugar and molasses. To use as the sweetener depends on whether you lean to the sweeter side or, the more nutritious side.

What do I mean by this? Brown sugar is sweeter as compared to molasses. It, however, lacks in nutrients when compared to molasses. In short, molasses are more nutritious. They also have a more robust flavor as compared to brown sugar.

A good substitute for either sweetener is honey or maple syrup. I would not highly recommend replacing the sweetener since brown sugar is everywhere.

If you decide to substitute the sweetener with honey or Marple syrup. It might affect the level of water in your recipe.  So, be careful and only use either of them as a last resort.


Oregano is one of those ingredients that are hard to replace. Its unique and out-of-this-world flavors make it one of a kind.

I am not saying that there are no substitutes to oregano because there are. I just wanted to put it out there that you will notice a slight difference if you use a replacement over the oregano.

As it is, desperate times require the same measures. If you can’t find any oregano, a great replacement will be thyme or basil.


Cumin is a common ingredient in Asian and Mexican dishes. This is because it mainly grows in Asia and the Mediterranean region.

Cumin is a crucial ingredient in the preparation of ranch style beans. Since it is hard to find at times, you need an excellent substitute for it.

Caraway seeds and coriander powder are both excellent replacements. However, only replace cumin when you have to.

Pepper and Salt

As you already know, pepper and salt are used for seasoning. Salt is the most common seasoning ingredient.

You don’t need to use salt or pepper when preparing ranch style beans. I am not a massive fan of very spicy food, so pepper is always the last option since I already have chili.

To avoid overdoing the seasoning, finish cooking first and determine whether you need pepper and salt.

Garlic and Onion

In almost all my cooking, nothing beats big red fresh onions. Onions hold a special place in my heart, and I sometimes put more than is required. 

For this recipe to work right, you need garlic and onions.  Fresh garlic and onions are the best choices for this dish due to their distinct flavors.

However, if you dont have access to fresh onions or garlic, you can opt for the powder forms of both. The flavors are different, but the results are almost the same.

Be sure to buy them separately. It will make it easier to use when making the measurements. Onions should be more than garlic.


Stock is excellent for sauces and soups. It helps in forming a good base. Stock comes from cooking vegetables, meat, and bones.

I can’t necessarily tell you what the best stock for ranch style beans is since this will hugely depend on your taste.

If you love chicken more, the chicken stock will be your choice. However, if you are like me, and beef is the way to go, you go with the beef stock.

You can also use mutton or pork.

Also, Check Out: Do mung beans smell? (5 reasons why)

Can I make ranch style beans in my kitchen?

Yes, you can! If you have all the ingredients outlined above.

This Texan cuisine is famous in texas but not so much in other parts of the world. If you moved from texas and your recipe demands you use ranch style beans, you need to get the right ingredients. And if you are like me and just want to try new foods, getting the right ingredients is a good start.

You might get lucky and find canned ranch style beans in the grocery store. But seeing that they are not quite famous out of texas, it might be hard.

Another hardship when you want to make the recipe is finding the ingredients. Some can be hard to find, and that is why you need to know the perfect substitutes for every ingredient.

Keep on reading to know the substitutes of each ranch style beans ingredient.

Final Thoughts

Preparing ranch style beans is not that complicated. All you need is the right ingredients or their substitutes. You then follow it with the recipe, and you will have made this Texan cuisine to enjoy.

Whichever method you decide to use when cooking this cuisine, this dish will take you as long as twelve hours to finish cooking. If you are patient, this delicacy is worth the time.

Now that you know all the ingredients or their substitutes, you are one step closer to making ranch style beans.

Most of these ingredients are readily available in the grocery store. Some of them, like salt, are most probably already in your kitchen.

Some ingredients might be harder to find, but once you find them, your hustle will be worthwhile.

Now, go ahead and prepare yourself a delicious ranch style beans meal. All the best!

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