This hearty and satisfying Cowboy Stew is perfectly spiced and loaded with ground beef, smoked sausage, beans, potatoes, and corn. It's a big bowl of comfort on a fall day and perfect with a thick slice of cornbread with cinnamon honey butter!

Looking for more soups and stews? Be sure to try our reader favorite Easy Minestrone SoupLemon Chicken Orzo Soup, or Corn Chowder.

A bowl of cowboy stew with ground beef and smoked sausage.


Table of Contents
  1. What You'll Need
  2. How to Make Cowboy Stew
  3. Recipe FAQ's
  4. Tips for Success
  5. What to Serve With Cowboy Stew
  6. Storage & Freezing Instructions
  7. More Hearty Soup Recipes
  8. Texas Cowboy Stew Recipe Recipe

There is something so relaxing about making a bit pot of Texas cowboy stew for dinner. The warm aroma of sauteed vegetables, southwestern spices and meat simmering on the stove while you prep a side salad, bake some crusty french bread, or throw together a pan of cornbread is one of the best things about the changing menu with the change of weather. 

This old-fashioned cowboy stew perfect to make in the morning and reheat on a busy day so dinner is ready to go, and somehow the flavors are always even better then next day. The leftovers with some cornbread muffins are my favorite!

It's nothing fancy despite the long ingredient list. We're talking hamburger meat and cooked sausage with some chopped onions, potatoes, and spices, but it really hits the spot!

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Beef: We like using an 80/20 or 85/15 lean ground beef for more flavor, but any fat content will work. You can even use other types of meat like ground bison, ground turkey, or ground chicken if you prefer. Just drain any excess grease off after cooking.
  • Onion: I usually use a yellow onion for this cowboy stew recipe, but a white onion will work just as well.
  • Garlic: Fresh minced garlic is my preference between it gives even more flavor, but you can also use ½ teaspoons of garlic powder instead.
  • Smoked sausage: I used Eckrich Skinless Smoked Sausage in this recipe, but if you want to switch up the sliced sausage, you can use other types of sausages such as chorizo, kielbasa sausage, or Italian sausage. You could even get away with sliced hot dogs and your hungry cowboys wouldn't complain. Choose any sausage variety that matches your flavor preferences.
  • Bacon: You can use regular cut or thick-sliced bacon for this recipe. 
  • Potatoes: Feel free to substitute the russet potatoes with yukon golds, baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or turnips for a different flavor profile.
  • Beans: We like beans in our stew! A combination of red kidney beans and black beans is our favorite, but you can use other types of beans such as pinto beans, navy beans, chili beans, ranch style beans, or cannellini beans if that's what you have on hand in the pantry.
  • Corn: Fresh, frozen, or canned whole kernel corn all work for this hearty stew.
  • Diced tomatoes: Instead of canned diced tomatoes you can use a can of Rotel instead which has diced green chile peppers in it.
  • Beef broth: Swap beef broth for chicken broth or vegetable broth if you prefer. For a richer flavor, you can use beef or vegetable stock.
  • Spices: Chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika (you can use sweet paprika if that's what you have), salt, and pepper combine to make the best cowboy stew flavor.
  • Cheese: This is an optional ingredient, my kids love when I add it in, but if you wish to leave it out, it will not affect the recipe.
Ingredients for making a cowboy stew recipe.

How to Make Cowboy Stew

  1. In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed large pot, cook the chopped bacon until crispy over medium-high heat. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Drain the excess bacon fat, leaving just a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan for a rich flavor base.
  2. To the same pot that was used to cook the bacon, add the ground beef, onion, and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a large wooden spoon, until browned and the onions have softened. Drain any excess fat.
  1. Add the sliced smoked sausage and cooked bacon back to the pot. Stir and cook for a few minutes, just to heat everything through and give the sliced sausage a little color.
  2. Add the diced potatoes to the pot and stir to combine.
  1. Stir in the kidney beans, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes along with their juices from the can.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients of beef broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then bring the mixture to a simmer. 
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the flavors are well combined.
  3. At this point the cowboy soup is ready to serve or you can stir in the shredded cheddar cheese to add more depth to the stew itself.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I make cowboy stew in the crock pot?

Yes, you can make this recipe using your slow cooker by doing the prep work of cooking the bacon and browning the ground beef and onion first. Then add everything else except for the cheese to a crock pot and cover with the lid. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours until the potatoes are tender before serving.

Can I make cowboy stew in the Instant Pot?

Yes, to make instant pot cowboy stew, start by cooking the bacon in the instant pot on the saute feature. Then remove it and cook the ground beef, onions, and garlic using the saute feature until browned. Add all the ingredients except for the cheese into the instant pot, then cover and secure the lid in place. Set the pressure release valve to seal, then cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Do a quick release, then check the potatoes to make sure they are tender before serving.

Tips for Success

  • Feel free to add more veggies to this easy cowboy stew recipe. Some chopped green beans, diced green chilies, frozen peas or frozen vegetables would be a great addition to the texture and flavor of the sweet corn.
  • We typically eat our cowboy stew just as it is, but you are welcome to add all the fixings like sour cream, tortilla chips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
Lifting a big scoop of cowboy stew from the pot.

What to Serve With Cowboy Stew

  • Cornbread: Classic cornbread is a perfect partner to the stew, offering a slightly sweet and crumbly contrast. Or try my ultra-moist and delicious cottage cheese cornbread for something different!
  • Crackers or Bread: A basket of crackers or rustic bread slices provides a simple accompaniment for dipping and scooping.
  • Biscuits: Fluffy biscuits are great for sopping up the flavorful broth of the stew.
  • Coleslaw: A refreshing coleslaw with a tangy dressing balances the rich flavors of the stew.
  • Green Salad: A crisp green salad with fresh vegetables and a light vinaigrette adds a refreshing element to the meal.

Storage & Freezing Instructions

To store your Cowboy Stew, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the stew within 2 hours of cooking, and it can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

If you'd like to store it for a longer period, portion it into individual servings, place them in airtight containers, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, thaw frozen stew in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.

More Hearty Soup Recipes

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Texas Cowboy Stew Recipe

5 from 7 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
This hearty and satisfying Cowboy Stew is perfectly spiced and loaded with ground beef, smoked sausage, beans, potatoes, and corn. It's a big bowl of comfort on a fall day and perfect with a thick slice of cornbread with cinnamon honey butter!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) package smoked sausage, sliced
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed large pot, cook the chopped bacon until crispy over medium-high heat. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Drain the excess bacon fat, leaving just a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan for a rich flavor base.
  • In the same pot, cook the ground beef, onion, and minced garlic over medium heat until browned. Drain any excess fat.
  • Add the sliced smoked sausage and crumbled cooked bacon to the pot. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the sausage is heated through.
  • Add the diced potatoes to the pot and stir to combine.
  • Stir in the kidney beans, black beans, corn, and diced tomatoes (with their juice).
  • Add the beef broth, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the stew simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the flavors are well combined.
  • Optional step: Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese.

Notes

  • Storage: To store your Cowboy Stew, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the stew within 2 hours of cooking, and it can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. 
  • Freezing: If you'd like to store it for a longer period, portion it into individual servings, place them in airtight containers, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, thaw frozen stew in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.
  • Instant Pot Cowboy Stew: Start by cooking the bacon in the instant pot on the saute feature. Then remove it and cook the ground beef, onions, and garlic using the saute feature until browned. Add all the ingredients except for the cheese into the instant pot, then cover and secure the lid in place. Set the pressure release valve to seal, then cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Do a quick release, then check the potatoes to make sure they are tender before serving.
  • Slow Cooker Cowboy Stew: Cook the bacon in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard most of the bacon grease. Add the ground beef, onions, and garlic to the pan and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned. Add everything else except for the cheese to a crock pot and cover with the lid. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours until the potatoes are tender before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 643mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 361IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, didn't have hamburger unthawed so used a pound of Jimmy Dean. Also didn't have potatoes so used 2 cans of diced. Three teenagers approved!!

  2. 5 stars
    This I know will be not just a huge hit here but I know it will be amazing thanks for sharing this can't wait to make this 😋