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.

Cowboy Beans Recipe in Pot
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Cowboy Beans

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!

Raw Ingredients for Cowboy Beans Recipe

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 Cook Cowboy Beans Recipe

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.

Spoonful of Hot Cowboy Beans

More Side Dishes

5 from 80 votes

Cowboy Beans

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cowboy Beans are a hearty side dish made with ground beef, bacon, onion, peppers, brown sugar, baked beans, and barbecue sauce.


  • 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.


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Reader Comments

  1. I omitted the meat and added a dash of ACV for acidity. What a flavorful dish. I make it as a side with Dr. Pepper ribs. Perfect.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious!!!!! Made this Harty and tasty meal for my family. I fried the bacon and meat ahead of time then at dinner popped it into the oven. So amazing! Another great recipe

    1. 5 stars
      It is the best baked beans recipe!
      All the best flavors all in one pot!
      It can be a hearty main dish or side.
      I love it ❤️‼️❣️

  3. I would like to make this for 75 people but need help to get in the right amount also would like to uae a electric roaster

    1. If you multiply this recipe 6x that Is enough for 72..I have made this for 100 and it was a super hit!!! I’m making some tonight for our family with just a single recipe..l9l

  4. Looks like a good recipe. I am going to try it out for a family get together. How many servings will this recipe make?

    I was searching for “trail ” beans and only found cowboy beans. Looks like the same thing but with ground beef in it.


    Ken V

  5. 5 stars
    I made this recipe without any modifications and it received rave reviews. I used the leftovers in breakfast burritos and everyone loved them. Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    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

  7. I make this time after time and have been asked repeatedly for the recipe. One of the best! Yummy! And yes they freeze perfectly!

  8. 5 stars
    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.

  9. 5 stars
    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?

5 from 80 votes (46 ratings without comment)

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