Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

These easy crock pot ranch beans are sure to hit the spot! Our version is also gluten-free. Ranch beans are a type of bean dish that is popular in Texas and the southwestern United States. They are made with pinto beans, tomato paste, and a variety of spices, including garlic, onion, chili powder, cumin, and paprika. Ranch beans are typically served as a side dish but are equally good when served with cornbread or corn tortillas thus making them a complete protein.

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Ranch beans are a hearty and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cold winter day or any time, really.  They are an inexpensive dish perfect for your family dinners. They are also a good source of protein and carbohydrates, making them a healthy and filling meal. Even picky eaters will love these ranch beans, so full of flavor and filling as well. Paired with a salad and cornbread there is nothing better for a nutritious family meal.

Historical Bean Dish

Historically beans were a staple food for our early Texas settlers, as they were a good source of protein and carbohydrates. Beans were also relatively inexpensive and easy to transport, making them a practical choice for trail and ranch hands.

There were many different types of beans that trail hands ate, including pinto beans, black beans, and kidney beans. Beans were often cooked with other ingredients, such as bacon, salt pork, or beef, to add flavor and fat. Beans were also sometimes ground into flour and used to make bread or tortillas.

Beans were an important part of the cattle trail diet, as they provided these hard-working ranch hands with the energy they needed to work long hours and travel long distances. Beans were also a good source of vitamins and minerals, which helped to keep them healthy on the trail. Cattle drive cooks or “Cookie” as they were called would have stocked the chuckwagon with plenty of ranch bean fixins’.

Western ranch-style beans became a consumer staple in the form of a canned bean product in 1934. Today these western-style ranch beans are still popular and continue to be an economical food choice. They are easy to make with common ingredients that you may already have on hand. This crock pot version makes it even easier since you don’t have to replenish the water or worry about burning.

Tips for Cooking Perfect Ranch Beans

Taste testing throughout the bean cooking process is recommended. Some dried beans, depending on their age may take longer to cook. Also, depending on the desired texture of your finished beans, checking them periodically will help you prevent overcooking or undercooking them.

Our top tips for cooking pinto beans are:

  • Adding oil to your beans helps soften them and makes them more flavorful. Extra virgin olive oil is a good choice for beans.
  • Acids can make your beans tough, so wait to add the acidic ingredients until the beans are tender.
  • Soak the beans overnight. Soaking beans overnight helps to reduce the cooking time and helps to remove some of the phytic acid, which can make beans difficult to digest.
  • Change the soaking water. After soaking the beans overnight, drain the soaking water and rinse the beans well. This will help to remove any impurities that may be in the soaking water.
  • Check your beans regularly throughout the cooking process to adjust cooking time, spices etc.
  • Add aromatics to the cooking water. Adding aromatics to the cooking water, such as onion, garlic, or bay leaves, can add flavor to the beans.
  • Stir the beans occasionally. Stirring the beans occasionally helps to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Cover the pot while cooking. Covering the pot while cooking helps to keep the moisture in and helps the beans to cook evenly.
  • Let the beans rest after cooking. After cooking, let the beans rest for about 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the beans to absorb all the flavors of the cooking liquid.

We often use various bouillons in our recipes but if you do not have any you can easily substitute salt. Just add to your personal taste. In general, they can be used in equal amounts or slightly less salt than bouillon. Tasting your beans throughout the cooking process is one key to perfect bean dishes.

Please note: If making the gluten-free version please check your labels. We have listed the products we have used below that have a GF label. Any other ingredients you use should always be checked if they are not marked gluten-free. Jump here for GF products we have used.

Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans Recipe

crock pot ranch beans

Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

These easy crock pot ranch beans are sure to hit the spot! Even picky eaters will love these ranch beans, so full of flavor and filling as well. Paired with a salad and cornbread there is nothing better for a nutritious family meal. These western-style ranch beans are a popular and economical food choice. This version is also gluten-free.
 
Ratings Full
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
soaking time 12 hours
Total Time 18 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 300 kcal

Equipment

  • crock pot
  • medium bowl

Ingredients
  

Step One

  • 2 cup dried pinto beans
  • water to cover

Step Two

  • 2 cup Soaked beans
  • 7 cup water
  • 1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Step Three

  • Add the following spices after 3 hours of cooking at a high temperature.
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin or comino
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 – 2 tbsp granulated sugar Optional * use if desired, increase to 2 tablespoons for more sweetness
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small pinch Herbes De Provence or Oregeno
  • 1 small pinch cayenne pepper optional
  • 1-2 seeded sliced jalapenos optional

Step Four

  • Add the following in the last hour of cooking (or when beans are softened to your liking). Always add acids and sodium or salt at the end of cooking beans.
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 5 tsp tomato bouillon with chicken flavor (If using bouillon do not add salt)

Optional Thickener Ingredient

  • 1 – 2 tbsp potato starch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water optional – depending on desired thickness – start with a lower amount and increase if needed

Instructions
 

  • Soak beans overnight

Step Two Instructions

  • Drain soaked beans in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Add beans to crockpot, add water and olive oil to crockpot. Set on high and cover with a lid. Cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or until the desired texture has been met.
  • Please note cooking times are for beans that have been soaked overnight. If you have not presoaked your beans the cooking time will be longer.
  • Taste testing throughout the bean cooking process is recommended. Some dried beans, depending on their age may take longer to cook. Also, depending on the desired texture of your finished beans, checking them periodically will help you prevent overcooking or undercooking them.

Step Three Instructions

  • Add chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, ground mustard, bay leaves, Herbes De Provence, or oregano to the crockpot. If desired add optional ingredients of cayenne pepper or jalapeno, and sugar.
  • Turn the heat down to low if the desired texture has been met. Cook for at least one more hour on low for spices to incorporate with the beans before going to step 4.

Step Four Instructions

  • Last hour of cooking (or when beans are softened to your liking) add acids and sodium or salt as follows.
  • Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and tomato bouillon with chicken flavor.
  • Cook for one hour on low setting.

Optional Thickener Instructions

  • If you like your bean sauce a little thicker, add potato starch during the last 10 minutes of cooking to help thicken it slightly.
  • When using potato starch mix it with 1/2 – 3/4 cup cold water, mix thoroughly, and then temper it by adding some of the hot liquid from the crockpot. Stir well then add the slurry to the crock pot stirring continuously until thickened. Cook for an additional ten minutes then turn down the crockpot to the keep warm setting if not eating right away.

Notes

Taste testing throughout the bean cooking process is recommended. Some dried beans, depending on their age may take longer to cook. Also, depending on the desired texture of your finished beans, checking them periodically will help you prevent overcooking or undercooking them.
  • Acids can make your beans tough, so wait to add acidic ingredients until the beans are tender.
  • If you like your bean sauce a little thicker, add potato broth or potato starch during the last hour of cooking to help thicken it slightly.
  • Please note cooking times are for beans that have been soaked overnight. If you have not presoaked your beans the cooking time will be longer.
  • This recipe uses bouillon but if you do not have any you can easily substitute salt. Just add to your personal taste. In general, they can be used in equal amounts or slightly less salt than bouillon.

Nutrition

Serving: 113.4gCalories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 8gFat: 3gSodium: 568mgPotassium: 1396mgFiber: 13gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 830IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 115mgIron: 5mg
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Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as a courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Read more about the sodium content of bouillon and salt here.

Gluten-Free Options

Verified gluten-free products we have used are:

Thrive Market Organic Potato Starch

Thrive Market Herbes De Provence

Thrive Market Cayenne Pepper

Thrive Market Smoked Paprika

Thrive Market Yellow Mustard Seed Powder – Check out Thrive Market here.

Bolner’s Fiesta ground cumino

Bolner’s Fiesta New Mexico Chili Pepper, ground

Bolner’s Garlic Powder

Bolner’s Onion Powder

Wholesome Organic Cane Sugar

Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

Stubbs Mesquite Liquid Smoke #founditonamazon

As an Amazon Associate, Texini earns from qualifying purchases.

The above ingredients are marked gluten-free on the packaging. Be aware some manufacturers make similar products in a regular form and a gluten-free form. Always check your labels.

Gluten-Free options are provided as a resource only. Always check your product labeling or contact the manufacturer of the ingredients you are using. If there is not a gluten-free or GF on the label of the product packaging, read the ingredients label thoroughly. Check for hidden or questionable ingredients. Some ingredients may contain hidden gluten.

Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

Side Dishes for Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

You can dress up your beans in many ways with various side dishes such as:

Rice: Rice is a classic side dish that pairs well with beans. It can be steamed, fried, or boiled.

Cornbread: Cornbread is a hearty and flavorful side dish that is perfect for soaking up the juices from beans. It can be made in a skillet or in a muffin tin. This one is our personal favorite!

Salad: Salad is a refreshing and healthy side dish that can be customized to your liking. Add your favorite greens, vegetables, and fruits.

Avocado: Sliced avocados are a great topping for beans. They impart a coolness that is perfect for a spicy bean.

Salsa: Salsa is a tangy and spicy condiment that is perfect for adding flavor to beans. It can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices. We recommend a sweeter, milder salsa for ranch beans.

Tortillas: Tortillas are a versatile side dish that can be used to make burritos, tacos, quesadillas, or wraps. They can also be used to scoop up beans and other foods.

Vegetables: Vegetables are a healthy and colorful side dish that can be roasted, grilled, or steamed. They can also be added to beans to make a complete meal.

Fruit: Fruit is a refreshing and healthy side dish that can be eaten fresh, frozen, or canned. It can also be added to beans to make a complete meal.

Corn Relish: Corn relish can be made fresh or canned. To make fresh corn relish, the corn kernels are cooked and then mixed with the other ingredients. Canned corn relish is made by cooking the corn kernels in vinegar and then packing them into jars with the other ingredients.

Chow Chow: Chow Chow is a common southern dish like a pickle relish but so much better! If you have never tried it on beans, then you are in for a real treat. Chow Chow is made of various chopped vegetables such as green tomatoes, pickling spice, cabbage, green bell peppers, and red bell peppers. It can be either sweet or spicy. We recommend the sweet version for ranch beans.

Oh, and don’t forget a dollop of sour cream on top just before serving as well. These are just a few ideas for side dishes that go with beans. There are endless possibilities, so get creative and experiment!

In Conclusion, Easy Crock Pot Ranch Beans

In conclusion, these easy crock pot ranch beans are a hearty and flavorful side dish that is perfect for a barbecue or potluck. They can also be enjoyed as a main dish with cornbread or tortillas. Make a pot today and enjoy!

See our gluten-free – Mom’s Texas Skillet Cornbread recipe here.

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What is Chow Chow?

Chow chow is a pickled vegetable dish made from a variety of coarsely chopped vegetables. They often contain cabbage, green tomatoes, onions, and peppers. They also include spices, such as turmeric, mustard, and allspice in a vinegar base. Chow chow originated in the South to use up ingredients in the pantry. The recipes are highly regional and tend to be passed down through families.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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