This hearty side dish combines beans, ground beef, and bacon with a tangy and sweet sauce. Simmered right in your slow cooker for easy cooking and clean up!
I’d bet you came to this recipe for one of two reasons – either you love cowboy beans and are looking for a great recipe, or you’ve never had them and need to see what we’re talking about. Growing up I don’t think I can recall many summer holidays, picnics, birthdays, etc. that someone didn’t make Cowboy Beans. If you’re a fan on baked beans, then you’ve love them! Kicked up several notches, these beans are a serious favorite of many, especially for Summer holidays and potlucks.
What Are Cowboy Beans?
Similar to baked beans, Cowboy Beans come from the Southwestern regions of the United States. Made with ground beef, bacon, and a sweet and tangy sauce, then either stewed, or baked. You’ll sometimes hear them called Calico Beans because of the different beans used and the “calico” colors. They’re great for cookouts, potlucks, picnics, game day, and much more!
How To Make Slow Cooker Cowboy Beans
This recipe is so incredibly easy to make. Even better, using your slow cooker will save you time, and if you’re making them during the Summer months then you’re also not heating your kitchen up by turning on the oven.
- COOK the ground beef, bacon, and onions. Additionally, if you’d like to prepare ahead of time you can store the cooked ground beef, bacon, and onions in the refrigerator overnight, then prepare everything for the slow cooker the following day.
- COMBINE the ground beef, bacon, onions, and beans in the slow cooker.
- ADD the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and liquid smoke
- STIR everything together and allow the slow cooker to do the rest
Note that many recipes will call for VanCamp’s Pork and Beans instead of the Bush’s beans that I use. Should you choose to use those simply swap them out for the Bush’s. You’ll need no other substitutions. I personally prefer the Bush’s beans and have had great success with this recipe using them. Either way, you don’t want to leave these out because they will become the “base” of this recipe that we’ll then spruce up.
How To Serve Cowboy Beans
You’ll probably come up with 100 different ways to serve them once you’ve had one taste, but here are some great ideas
MAIN COURSE top some store bought or homemade biscuits or cornbread, or garnish with corn chips and chese for a more “chili” like meal.
SIDE DISH we typically make these for our Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and other summer get togethers as a side dish. You could also bring them along to potlucks at your local school, church, and work place.
APPETIZER think game day! Serve up some cowboy beans with tortilla chips and you have a super easy and tasty dip!
Can Cowboy Beans Be Frozen?
If you’d like to plan ahead, you can freeze cowboy beans. I typically put them in a large freezer safe resealable bag and push out as much air as possible. Seal and freeze for 3-4 months. To reheat simply let thaw on the kitchen counter or inside your refrigerator then either heat them on the stovetop, microwave, or in the oven.
Cowboy Beans can also be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days in an airtight container.
If you’re looking for moe great slow cooker recipes try:
IF YOU’VE MADE THIS RECIPE AND ENJOY IT PLEASE CONSIDER GIVING IT A STAR RATING AND LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW. I LOVE TO HEAR FROM EVERYONE!
ALSO, IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY FOLLOWING ME ON PINTEREST YOU CAN HEAD OVER HERE NOW TO PIN THIS RECIPE AND FOLLOW ME THERE!
- 6-quart slow cooker
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
- 1 16 oz can kidney beans drained & rinsed
- 1 16 oz can white beans drained & rinsed
- 1 28 oz can Bushes Baked Beans (any flavor)
- In a large skillet, brown the ground bedf, breaking it up into crumbles as it cooks. Drain and set aside.
- Add the bacon to the skillet and fry until it's cooked through. Remove from the pan to a paper towel lined plate, then crumble and set aside.
- Add the diced onion to the same skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes until slightly tender. Remove skillet from heat.
- In your slow cooker add all the ingredients. Give it a stir to combine and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours. Gently stir a few times as it's cooking.
- Serve hot and enjoy!