Cowboy Caviar Recipe

This easy recipe for Cowboy Caviar is fun, fresh, colorful, and endlessly adaptable. It makes a great dip, salad, side dish, or even a topping for grilled meats. Always a potluck favorite!

Cowboy caviar in a bowl on a white plate with tortilla chips.

Recipe ingredients:

Cowboy caviar ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Sugar: The recipe reflects how we make it in my family. But YES, it has a lot of sugar. Please feel free to reduce it or omit it entirely. If you want to reduce it, mix the dressing with just a tablespoon of sugar to start, taste it, and go from there.
  • Extra sweet “shoepeg” corn: Regular canned sweet corn or frozen corn may be substituted for the extra sweet corn. The closest measurement for either option is 3/4 cup, but feel free to use the whole 15-ounce can of corn.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl (large enough to hold the whole salad, a serving bowl if you want to).
  2. Then add the beans and all the vegetables to the bowl and mix everything together. Stir in the cilantro, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until it’s time to party.

Separated cowboy caviar ingredients in a clear bowl.

Recipe tips:

  • Make ahead: If you’re cooking ahead of time, a few of the vegetables might soften a bit in the dressing, but the beans can be dressed ahead of time without a problem. One day in advance should be fine.
  • Storage: This recipe keeps about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. It doesn’t freeze well.
  • Leftovers: Enjoy the leftovers inside an omelet, spooned over a grilled steak, or tossed with fresh greens for a quick lunch.

Recipe variations and substitutions:

  • Dried beans: Dried beans are extremely economical and much lower in sodium. Cook each bean variety separately, as cooking times may vary depending on size and age of the dried bean. How many dried beans makes a can? You need to cook 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dried beans for every 15-ounce can of beans the recipe calls for.
  • Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if that’s what you have. A splash of fresh lime juice is good too!
  • Onions: 1 white, yellow, or sweet onion, or a bunch of green onions may be substituted for the red onion.
  • Avocado: Avocado is good with everything. The avocados may darken over time, so the salad may not last as long in the refrigerator.
  • Spicy: Add a few chopped seeded jalapeños or serranos to the salad for a little kick.
  • Italian dressing: If you want to use Italian dressing (many readers have) just don’t make the vinaigrette in this recipe. Start with using about 1 cup of dressing, taste it, and see if you think you need more.
  • Mix with leftover cold cooked rice for a Cowboy Rice Salad.

Cowboy caviar in a bowl on a white plate with tortilla chips.

More delicious salsas and dips:

Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a rating and a comment below!

Cowboy caviar in a bowl on a white plate with tortilla chips.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe

This easy recipe for Cowboy Caviar is fun, fresh, colorful, and endlessly adaptable. It makes a great dip, salad, side dish, or even a topping for grilled meats. Always a potluck favorite!
4.78 from 157 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 111kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar or to taste, see notes
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces black beans drained and rinsed
  • 11 ounces sweet corn
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro or parsley, from 1 bunch

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt. 
  • Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine.
  • Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill until serving time.

Video

Notes

  1. Sugar:  Please feel free to reduce the amount of sugar or omit it entirely. If you want to reduce it, mix the dressing with just a tablespoon of sugar to start, taste it, and go from there.
  2. Extra sweet corn: Regular canned sweet corn or frozen corn may be substituted for the extra sweet corn. The closest measurement for either option is 3/4 cup, but feel free to use the whole 15-ounce can of corn.
  3. Dried beans: Cook each bean variety separately, as cooking times may vary depending on size and age of the dried bean. You need to cook 1/2 to 3/4 cup of dried beans for every 15-ounce can of beans the recipe calls for.
  4. Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar if that's what you have.
  5. Onions: 1 white, yellow, or sweet onion, or a bunch of green onions may be substituted for the red onion.
  6. Avocado: Avocado is good with everything. The avocados may darken over time, so the salad may not last as long in the refrigerator.
  7. Spicy: Add a few chopped seeded jalapeños or serranos to the salad for a little kick.
  8. Italian dressing: If you want to use Italian dressing (many readers have) just don't make the vinaigrette in this recipe. Start with using about 1 cup of dressing, taste it, and see if you think you need more.

Nutrition

Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 672IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This form collects your name, email, and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Margot

    Have made this multiple times. I like to add some lime juice and a touch of cumin to dressing. I reduce sugar to 1.5 tbsp.

  2. Robin

    We love this recipe. I make it often , changing up the spices sometimes and it is always great. I like it better the second day. I sometimes top a salad with this. It adds another layer of flavor and textures.
    Thanks!5 stars

  3. Elaine Ausmus

    I added half the corn, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, some cumin & a little hot pepper flakes.
    Also add quartered grape tomatoes and avacado right before serving. It is really delish & healthy!

  4. Cindy B

    I made this for a BBQ/birthday party & it was the first dish to go!! So many people commented on how good it was. We’ll definitely be making this again!!5 stars

  5. Henrietta

    This Cowboy Caviar is my go-to recipe. Everyone always loves it! I add diced avocado whenever I have them on hand. So good.5 stars

  6. Frenchie

    Hello. Can I use fresh sweet corn on the cob for this? Thanks so much!

    1. Meggan

      Hi Frenchie! Yes, that sounds absolutely delicious! Just cook it and let it cool before you throw it in! -Meggan

  7. Jill

    I made this for a group of friends and it was a huge hit! I wouldn’t change a thing!5 stars

  8. Jim

    Try balsamic vinegar instead of adding sugar. I also like soy sauce to balance the flavors and that five sense of taste–umami. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Tammy

    I usually add jalopenos, leave out the sugar (diabetic) and add fresh lime juice instead of the vinegar. It just changes it up to a more southwest flavor. Add cooked chicken, quinoa or pasta to it the next day with more of the vinaigrette for a really good side dish or hot weather meal.5 stars

    1. Christy L Brinkley

      that’s a great idea! thanks

  10. Rosario

    This is lovely. Just lovely. My kind of sandwich. I
    never knew tomatoes and avocado go together.5 stars

  11. Janet

    This recipe was great. I used what I had in my pantry and also substituted apple cider vinegar for white vinegar. The results made an easy summer side dish for burgers!5 stars

  12. Jewls

    Love this recipe. Thanks for sharing. My family is crazy about it. I generally substitute whatever is in my kitchen and pantry. It always comes out great. For those worried about the sugar, we substitute Stevia to taste. Voila! Sugar free :)5 stars

  13. kevin p mccabe

    We leave out the oil and sugar. I add a Jalapeno pepper diced diced up. I also add a combo of red wine, white wine and a touch of balsamic. Some Cumin and chipotle chili powder. We make this weekly.5 stars

  14. Mitra S

    Best Cowboy Salad that I have made. My picky son devour on it :).5 stars

  15. Ally

    absolutely loved this recipe-such a fun summer side dish. didnt have any black eyed peas so i used a can of canneli beans and it came out just as great! also added a bunch of tajin.5 stars

  16. Jim Bob Joe

    Used a can of ro-tel tomatoes with green chiles instead of fresh and it turned out good.

  17. Tia

    I made this for the first time last night, with a coupl.e of minor tweaks. I used a bag of Baby Sweet Peppers, (Red, Yellow and Orange), and instead of Roma tomatoes, I used Sunset Wild Wonders Gourmet Medley Tomatoes (Orange, yellow, wtiahite, red, and brown) cut in quarters. Turned out so good I’m making it again today.5 stars

  18. Stephanie Taylor

    So good! Used 2 cans black beans I stead of black eyed peas (couldn’t find any). Next time I’d use a little less sugar. Yum!5 stars

  19. lisa conley

    Thank you for the recipe will make tomorrow for a birthday party 🥳

  20. Nanci

    I just made this again – reduced the sugar. It is amazing!5 stars

Scroll to top