Cowboy Beans With Ground Beef

Cowboy Beans

The Spruce

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1063 Calories
21g Fat
151g Carbs
71g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 1063
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 787mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 151g 55%
Dietary Fiber 39g 139%
Protein 71g
Calcium 349mg 27%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Cowboy beans is a hearty, southwestern dish consisting of beans and ground beef in a sweet and tangy sauce. This recipe is made with four different kinds of beans, along with bacon, ground beef, bottled barbecue sauce, and plenty of flavorings, making the dish even more complex and filling. Cowboy beans are perfect alongside barbecue at a cookout, when tailgating, or as the main dish for an everyday family meal.

You can cook these cowboy beans in the oven or the slow cooker. Finish them off with some shredded cheddar cheese, if you like, and serve with cornbread or crusty rolls and a green salad or roasted Brussels sprouts.


Click Play to See This Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans Recipe Come Together


  • 1/2 pound bacon (diced)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup​ barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4​ cup packed​ brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1​ tablespoon ​​chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 (16-ounce) can baked beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) can butter beans (drained)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans (drained​)
  • Optional: 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steps to Make It

Prep and Combine the Ingredients

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Put the diced bacon in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.

  3. Cook, stirring, until the bacon is crisp.

  4. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and reserve.

  5. Pour off the bacon drippings.

  6. In the same skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it is browned, breaking it up and stirring as it cooks. Add the chopped onion and cook until tender. Drain off any excess fat.

  7. Add the ketchup, barbecue sauce, white and brown sugars, the molasses, chili powder, salt, pepper, and mustard. Add all of the beans and stir to blend the ingredients.

Cook in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. If the Dutch oven isn't ovenproof, transfer the bean mixture to a casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle the bacon over the top of the bean and beef mixture.

  3. Bake for 1 hour.

Cook in the Slow Cooker

  1. Transfer the bean mixture to the crockery insert of a slow cooker. Sprinkle over the cooked bacon.

  2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour, then reduce heat to LOW and cook for 2 to 4 hours longer.

Finish and Serve

  1. If desired, top the beans with about 1 cup of shredded cheese. Continue baking in the oven or slow cooking for a few minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

  2. Or, simply top each serving with 1 or 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.

  3. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Variations

  • Replace the ground beef with sliced smoked sausage or hot dogs.
  • Sauté about 1/2 cup of chopped green or multicolored bell peppers along with the ground beef and onions.
  • Feel free to vary the beans in this dish. Black beans could replace the butter beans or kidney beans, or use great northern beans, navy beans, or chili beans.