Cowboy Beans are a hearty side dish made with ground beef, bacon, onion, peppers, brown sugar, baked beans, and barbecue sauce. Try my Simple Country Baked Beans for another sweet and savory baked beans side dish.
What are cowboy beans? The name most likely came from the days when pioneers traveled along the trails and needed quick, easy, and filling foods. Beans last for a long time, and they can be made with just some water, so they were the perfect staple for extended journeys. By adding the ground beef to this recipe, it makes the dish even more filling!
Cowboy Beans Ingredients
Ground Beef: I prefer ground beef in this recipe; but, you could definitely try ground turkey as a substitute.
Bacon: Cook and crumble the bacon before adding it to the pot. 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.
Seasonings: I added a little bit of garlic salt and onion powder to the mix.
Baked Beans: Choose two 28-ounce cans of your favorite brands of baked beans. We used Bush’s Original Baked Beans.
Barbecue Sauce: As with baked beans, choose your favorite kind of barbecue sauce. Or, use this homemade BBQ sauce.
How to Store Cowboy Beans
To store cowboy beans, first, let them cool to room temperature. Then, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Can I Freeze Baked Beans?
Yes! This recipe does make quite a bit, so you can easily freeze the leftovers. Be sure to let the side dish cool completely before putting it into a freezer-safe container. Label and date the container; they will last up to 6 months.
More Side Dishes
- 1 pound 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 brown sugar (this is optional – you could omit)
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) baked beans, we used Bush's Original Baked Beans
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a 4 quart, heavy bottom, oven-safe pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat, add ground beef, onion, bell pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. Cook until the hamburger is no longer pink. Drain the excess liquid.
- Add cooked bacon crumbles, brown sugar, baked beans, barbecue sauce, and dijon mustard. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
- Cover and bake for 1 hour. (When done, the beans should be hot and bubbly and thickened.) Serve warm.
Did you make this recipe?
You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.
I made this recipe at 7 a.m. this morning as party of my batch cooking for the week. It is so good. We both ate it for lunch. I also made the Dill Pickle Roasted Potato Salad. My daughter says this is a Potato salad that she will actually eat. Thank you
Thank you so much for letting me know, Peggy! Thrilled you all enjoyed both recipes!
Lost this recipe years ago. Thanks for bringing it back in time for the weekend.
Just ran across your blog and want to see more of your recipes.
I make this time after time and have been asked repeatedly for the recipe. One of the best! Yummy! And yes they freeze perfectly!
I would like to make these in crockpot Sunday. What timing would you suggest?
We are going to try your cowboy bean recipes,to be continued
A huge hit at our “Cowboy Dinner” that we had at Church. We doubled the recipe and did not have a drop left. There were about 27 people at our dinner and every body wanted the recipe.
I love the flavors in this dish. However, mine never did thicken up. It was like soup when I put it in the oven so I did not cover it. I am hoping when it sits after baking it will thicken up some. But the flavor is outstanding. Thank you!
PS I did not drain the canned beans. Maybe I should have?
I drained one can after reading your comment and mine thickened!