Cornbread Cowboy Casserole is a two-layered casserole with a seasoned baked bean and ground beef base, and a cheesy cornbread topping. The idea for this dish came from my cowboy beans, which so many readers have said is one of their favorite recipes! 

Cornbread Cowboy Casserole with Some Removed and Spoon in Pan from Overhead.

Cornbread Cowboy Casserole 

Yee-Haw! This Cornbread Cowboy Casserole really packs in the flavor! The base is my cowboy beans, which are a hearty blend of ground beef, bacon, onion, peppers, brown sugar, and baked beans. Because this is a casserole and meant to be a meal, I did add ground beef to make it heartier.

The top layer of this dish is a delicious, crumbly, cheesy cornbread. When paired together, these two layers are the perfect blend of savory and sweet that are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Cowboy casserole is the perfect recipe to bring to a cookout, especially served with a side of homemade coleslaw and a pitcher of homemade lemonade!

Scoop of Cornbread Cowboy Casserole in front of skillet.

Cornbread Cowboy Casserole Ingredients

Ground Beef: I prefer ground beef in this recipe. You could definitely try ground turkey as a substitute for a leaner protein.

Bacon: Cook and crumble the bacon before adding it to the skillet. To make this easy (with little clean-up), bake the bacon ahead of time on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet for 18-20 minutes at 415°F.

Baked Beans: Choose a 28-ounce can of your favorite brand of baked beans. I used Bush’s Original Baked Beans.

Barbecue Sauce: As with the baked beans, choose your favorite kind of barbecue sauce. Or, use this homemade BBQ sauce

Cornbread: I made a homemade cornbread for topping my casserole. If you decide to try a box mix cornbread feel free to let me know how it turns out!

Pan of beef mixture, been mixture, cornbread mixture, and then adding it all together to make Cornbread Cowboy Casserole.

How to Serve Cornbread Cowboy Casserole

This dish is so filling and could be served a couple of ways. It is great on its own as a hearty dinner, but it also makes a great side dish to bring to any cookout to share with a crowd! We love it with ribs, brisket, and even burgers!

Can I Reduce the Sugar in this Recipe?

You can. I loved the slightly sweet flavor of the beans, but you can definitely reduce or omit the brown sugar in the cowboy beans layer if desired. You could also opt to leave in the sugar and add in a spicy element, such as cayenne or a hotter pepper should you want a stronger flavor contrast.

Two Bowls of Scooped Cornbread Cowboy Casserole and Forks from Overhead.

How to Store Cornbread Cowboy Casserole

Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you want to prepare the dish ahead of time, you can freeze the prepared cowboy beans. When ready to make, allow the mixture to come to room temperature, add to prepared skillet, then add the cornbread mixture on top. Bake as directed. 

More Ground Beef Recipes

4.50 from 2 votes

Cornbread Cowboy Casserole

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Cornbread Cowboy Casserole is a two layered casserole with a seasoned baked bean and ground beef base, and a cheesy cornbread topping.

Ingredients

COWBOY BEANS

  • 1.5 pounds (680g) ground beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar,
  • 1 can (28 ounces) baked beans, (I used Bush's Original Baked Beans)
  • ½ cup (140g) barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard

CORNBREAD

  • 1 cup (122g) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (245g) whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (113g) mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cowboy Beans

  • In a large (the skillet pictured is a 12-inch), oven-safe skillet* over medium-high heat, add the ground beef, onion, green pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until the beef is no longer pink. Remove from heat. Drain grease.
  • Add the cooked bacon crumbles, brown sugar, baked beans, barbecue sauce, and dijon mustard. Stir together until fully incorporated.

Cornbread

  • In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until fully combined.
  • In a separate large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter.
  • Add the cornmeal mixture to the milk mixture, stirring until just combined.
  • Fold in the cheese.
  • Carefully pour the cornbread batter over the beans, and spread to the edge of the skillet, making sure they are completely covered.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Notes

*You can also use a 9×13 casserole dish. 

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Reader Comments

  1. I made this with the bush’s brown sugar beans and hunny cornbread. It was savory and so filling.

  2. I made this on whim for my husband and I but used a boxed cornbread mix (Fleischman’s) and it turned out really good. I used diced green chilies and red bell pepper. I used the baked beans with brown sugar that were too sweet so next go round I will stick to the original baked beans. This was such a fun recipe to make and I even had a cast iron skillet to cook it in! Thank you!

  3. 4 stars
    I used a bit more ground beef than the recipe – we are carnivores! I used Splenda brown sugar and I also used Jiffy cornbread muffin mix and it worked just fine (2 boxes). Be sure to mix with real milk of some variety – almond milk, etc will not rise. For a household of two adults this makes enuf for 3 nights entrees with some frozen veggies on the side the second & third nights. Very filling!

  4. I made this casserole tonight and it was a hit with everyone. I used two boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix for the topping with 2/3 c.milk and 2 eggs, and sprinkled the cheddar cheese on top

  5. Can you suggest something to use in place of the beef to make this a meatless dish, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    1. Looks great! I usually use an off brand baked beans and add onion, bacon, molasses, a dash of dried or prepared mustard, and yes brown sugar and sometimes a bit of ketchup too! I like to bake them till they are firm.

  6. 5 stars
    This was great! Quick and easy! I only made a couple changes. We don’t eat alot of beef but keep deer meat in the freezer year round. I used deer meat chunks, cut into small bites, in place of the beef. I had to cook it in the pan a few more minutes but it was delish! My husband kept eating the cowboy beans before I could get the cornbread on top.

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