Easy Cowboy Caviar | Cookies and Cups

This easy Cowboy Caviar Recipe is the perfect appetizer or even light dinner. Enjoy it with a bowl chips, as a baked potato topper, or on top of a plate of nachos!


And if you like this recipe make sure to try my Spicy Frito Corn Salad too! CRAZY GOOD!

A bowl of Cowboy Caviar

What Is Cowboy Caviar? 

It’s a fun name right? Cowboy Caviar aka Texas Caviar is a bean-style salsa that originated in…you guessed it… Texas! It’s a cross between a chunky salsa and a bean dip, with a very simple vinaigrette to add tons of flavor. Typically it includes black eyed peas, but I don’t love those, so my version uses all black beans! I also include a not-so-secret ingredient to really bring out all the flavors: granulated sugar! There are tons of variations of Cowboy Caviar out there, so feel free to get creative! I’ve included a few ideas later on in this post! This is the perfect dip to bring to a potluck, or BBQ!

bowl of corn and bean salsa



  • Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Canned corn, drained
  • Ro-Tel (diced tomatoes and green chilis), drained well
  • Fresh Cilantro 
  • Red bell pepper 
  • Jalapeño
  • Red onion 
  • Cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar. It might seem strange to add sugar to this recipe, but it really works! You can certainly add less, or even omit it entirely, but I definitely recommend you try it. The subtle sweetness pairs so well with the savory ingredients, and enhances the overall flavor! I also really like to use an extra fine granulated sugar because it dissolves so fast. This is great if you are serving this right away. But don’t worry if you don’t have extra fine sugar. Any granulated will work!
  • Any light oil. I like to use avocado oil or light olive oil!
  • Juice of a lime
  • Ripe avocados

How To Make Cowboy Caviar/Instructions:

  1. All you need to do is add all the ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. 
  2. You can enjoy this immediately or cover the bowl and refrigerate to allow the flavors to combine. If you let this sit for a few hours in the fridge everything comes together nicely, which makes it a great recipe to prep for entertaining!

How To Serve Cowboy Caviar:

The choice is yours! Here are some obvious and not so obvious serving ideas:

  • With tortilla chips! This is the most obvious and popular serving idea for Cowboy Caviar. 
  • On top of a baked potato! This is such a great idea and a way to turn your potato into a meal. Just add a little butter, cheese, sour cream, and a whole lot of Cowboy Caviar. SO good!
  • If you love making nachos, this is such a great addition. 
  • I have a recipe for Cowboy Caviar Pizza here on my website that this works great on!
  • On top of grilled chicken or steak! I grill tons of chicken breasts, especially in the summer, and this is so good served right on top with a sprinkle of cotija cheese!
  • Inside a burrito!
  • As a side dish on New Years Day! Sub in black eyed peas for a can of the black beans and you have a traditional good luck side dish in the new year!
  • Any night when you make a Tex-Mex style dinner or on tacos! 
  • In a burrito bowl with your favorite protein and rice!
  • On a taco salad!

Can You Make This Cowboy Caviar Recipe Ahead?

  • If you plan on making this recipe in advance, wait to add the avocado until ready to serve, especially if you prep a day before. The avocado can turn a little brown the longer it sits, which is fine taste-wise, but it’s nice to add it at the last minute to look prettiest!
  • If prepped ahead you might notice liquid forms in the bowl as the veggies macerate. Simply stir the mixture up with the liquid, to maximize flavor and then drain any excess. 
  • You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days airtight. 

Recipe Tips:

  • Chop everything the same size! This is such a simple recipe to make that chopping the ingredients is the primary part of the prep! Since you will most likely serve this with chips, it’s best when all the ingredients are uniformly diced so it’s easily dipped like a chunky salsa!
  • Wash your cilantro well! Nothing worse than getting sandy cilantro into your cowboy caviar! 
  • Make sure to drain the can of Ro-Tel well. The mixture will naturally form some liquid so you don’t need any added. Same goes for the corn and black beans!
A bowl of Texas Caviar with a chip in it


This is one of those recipes that can be altered endlessly. Whether it be with seasonings, or vegetables, the possibilities are endless! Here are a few easy ideas:

  • If fresh tomatoes are in season feel free to swap out the can of Ro-Tel for fresh. You can add in some diced green chilis if you want too!
  • Omit the cilantro. I know so many don’t love cilantro, so it’s a very simple ingredient to leave out (although I personally love it!). Simply sub in chopped flat leaf parsley instead!
  • Switch up the seasonings and add what you like! Cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, chili powder are a few great additions to spice it up!
  • Use Black Eyed Peas along with the black beans. I don’t love black eyed peas, so I like to use all black beans in my recipe, but you could swap them in if you want, like pinto beans. Honestly most beans will work in the recipe. 
  • Use orange, yellow, or green bell peppers along with or in place of the red bell pepper if you prefer!
  • Add in some green onions! You could do this at the last minute for a garnish or mix them right in!
  • Use pickled jalapenos instead of fresh.
  • If you don’t have fresh lime juice swap that out for lemon juice or even white or red wine vinegar!

Check out the FULL RECIPE HERE! This recipe was made in partnership with my friends at Imperial Sugar. Thank you for supporting the brands that continue to make this site possible!

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