Bean, corn, and onion mixture in white bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.
Appetizers,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

Easy Cowboy Caviar Recipe

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When I need an easy appetizer that doesn’t require cooking, my favorite one to make is Cowboy Caviar! It is delicious and easy, and people love it. Who doesn’t love to dip tortilla chips in this yummy mixture? If you haven’t had it before, you definitely need to try it.

Bean, corn, and onion mixture in white bowl on teal tablecloth.

It’s made with canned beans, corn, and cilantro as well as some chopped fresh veggies and topped with a homemade dressing. So simple, yet so yummy!

Ingredients You Will Need

Ingredients for cowboy caviar in bowls on white background.

Olive oil is the base of the dressing and provides healthy fats and a smooth texture.

Red wine vinegar adds acidity and a touch of tanginess to balance the sweetness of some ingredients.

Garlic adds a pungent aroma and depth of flavor.

Salt and pepper enhance all the other flavors.

Cumin is a warm, earthy spice that complements the beans and other vegetables.

Black-eyed peas and black beans are the main body of the caviar, adding protein and heartiness.

Sweet corn adds sweetness and a bit of crunch.

Red onion provides a sharp bite and pungency.

Tomato adds juiciness, acidity, and a touch of sweetness.

Cilantro contributes freshness and a citrusy, herbal flavor.

Avocado adds creaminess and richness.

Why You’ll Enjoy Making Cowboy Caviar

Versatility: Cowboy caviar can be served as a dip with chips, a salad, or even a topping for tacos or grilled fish.

Nutritious: Packed with protein from the beans, fiber from the beans and corn, and healthy fats from the olive oil and avocado.

Ease of Preparation: Most ingredients require minimal chopping, making it a quick and easy dish to prepare.

Perfect for Summer: With its fresh, vibrant ingredients, cowboy caviar is ideal for summer potlucks, picnics, or backyard barbecues. It’s a refreshing and satisfying side dish that complements grilled meats and other summertime dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bean, corn, and onion mixture in white bowl on wooden background.

Why is it called cowboy caviar? Cowboy caviar is a fun name for this dish, possibly referencing the black-eyed peas that resemble fish eggs found in caviar. It originated in Texas, hence the “cowboy” theme. Some also call it Texas caviar.

Can I make it ahead of time? Yes! Cowboy caviar is great for making ahead. You can prepare it up to 2 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Just be sure to stir it well before serving and add the avocado right before serving to prevent browning.

Can I freeze it? It’s not recommended. The beans will be fine, but the tomatoes and avocado will get mushy when thawed.

How long does cowboy caviar last? Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but again, add the avocado at the last minute.

Do I need to cook the black-eyed peas and black beans? No, if you’re using canned beans, they are already cooked and ready to use. Just drain them.

Substitutions and Variations

Beans: Pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, or even lentils can be used in place of black-eyed peas or black beans, or use a combination of your favorites.

Corn: Frozen or fresh corn can be used in place of canned corn. You can also try fire-roasted corn for a smoky twist.

Onion: Yellow onion is a milder substitute for the red onion’s bite. Chopped green onions are another option for a fresher flavor.

Cilantro: Not a fan of cilantro? Use fresh parsley or chopped chives instead.

Spice it Up: Add chopped jalapeno pepper or a dash of cayenne pepper for a kick.

Cumin: Instead of cumin, try smoked paprika or chili powder.

Red Wine Vinegar: While red wine vinegar is common, try experimenting with balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, or even fresh lime juice for a slightly different flavor profile.

What to Serve with Cowboy Caviar

Bean, corn, and onion mixture in white bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

Tortilla chips: The classic choice! The salty, crispy chips provide a great contrast to the cool, refreshing caviar.

Grilled meats: Cowboy caviar pairs well with grilled steak, chicken, or fish.

Burrito bowls: Fill a bowl with rice, beans, grilled meat or veggies, and top it off with a generous scoop of caviar for a satisfying and customizable meal.

Salad: Serve the caviar alongside a simple green salad for a refreshing and balanced meal.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

If you like Cowboy Caviar, you might also like my Spiced Almonds or my Dill Pickle Dip. This Mexican Street Corn Dip and this 7 Layer Dip are also delicious.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with this recipe! It is so tasty and versatile. You can use it as a dip for tortilla chips and vegetables or as a topping for tacos, grilled chicken, or fish. No matter how you decide to eat cowboy caviar, it won’t last long!

Bean, corn, and onion mixture in white bowl surrounded by tortilla chips.

Cowboy Caviar

Heidi Bruaw
Cowboy Caviar is a refreshing and flavorful salad made with a variety of beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado. A simple vinaigrette dressing with a touch of cumin ties all the ingredients together.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Cups



  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • ¾ teaspoon Salt
  • teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin

Bean Mixture

  • 1 Can Black Beans drained
  • 1 Can Black-Eyed Peas drained
  • 1 Can Sweet Corn drained
  • ¾ Cup Red Onion chopped
  • ½ Cup Tomato chopped
  • Cup Cilantro chopped
  • 2 Avocados chopped


  • In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  • Shake or whisk well and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine black beans, black-eyed peas, sweet corn, red onion, tomato, and cilantro.
  • Pour dressing on bean mixture and stir well.
  • Just before serving, add the chopped avocados.
  • For best taste, refrigerate for at least an hour.
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