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

Cowboy Caviar

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!
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 185kcal


For the dressing:

For the vegetables:

  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can sweet corn drained (see note 3)
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro or fresh parsley, chopped, from 1 bunch


  • To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon). 
  • In a large bowl, add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, red onion, bell peppers, and cilantro. Drizzle with the dressing and stir to combine. Cover and chill until serving time.



  1. 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.
  2. White wine vinegar: Or substitute apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or even lime juice. It changes the flavor, but not in a bad way.
  3. 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.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes about 12 cups of Cowboy Caviar (more or less depending on the size of your bell peppers).
  5. Storage: This recipe keeps about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  6. Make ahead: You can make the dressing up to 3 days in advance. You can assemble the full recipe a day in advance too, but the bell peppers might soften a bit in the dressing.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 201mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 872IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg