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 Cowboy Grub

4.91 from 21 votes

Cornbread Cowboy Casserole

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



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

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Reader Comments

  1. Your recipes sound really good and I will be trying any. You like cowboy food so ever write to or call Eating, Colorado Middle School for their Cowboy Bread which is yummier than guessing. You might also like the Yellow Squash Casserole from The Blackened Pea Restaurant or the book Beans, Greens & Sweet Georgia Peaches.
    The best cornbread I ever had included a small amount of creamed corn. I did not get the recipe but I would try Jiffy in which I always add 1/8c sugar to each box.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Turned out pretty well except I had a hard time getting the Cornbread to be cooked fully. Any ideas or suggestions?

    1. You could bake it longer. Try covering it if you are adding significant time, like 10+ minutes.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! The only thing I changed were, I didn’t have a green pepper, I used a yellow and orange one. And, I did have to make gluten free for my family, I used “Bob’s Red Mill GF Cornbread Mix” following the mix directions for the milk, butter and eggs and then added the cheese as the recipe states. The cornbread batter fit perfectly on the top of the 12″ cast iron skillet. Baked 22 minutes! YUM!!! Into the 3 month rotation of main dish recipes we use! 🙂

  4. Can this be made in crockpot? I know I can make the bean mixture first then add to crockpot, though don’t know how long and what temp to cook the cornbread mixture

  5. I made this recipe according to the exact instructions. I enjoyed the final results; however, it was a bit too sweet for my taste. If I were to make it again, I would omit the brown sugar since barbecue sauce is semi sweet and there is sugar in the cornbread. I prefer a more savory taste than sweet and perhaps diced jalapeños in the cornbread. Also, I added a dollop of sour cream on top with a few splashes of Tabasco sauce. My husband loved it.

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