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Cowboy Baked Beans

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Cowboy Baked Beans are an absolute crowd-pleaser! They’re full of protein, easy to prepare, and taste DELICIOUS!


Main image for Cowboy Baked Beans


OH man. The smokiness of bacon and sausage. The richness of various beans. 

Or the sauce that’s the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and savory. 

It’s hard to say what the best part is!

Whether you’re at a family reunion, backyard barbecue, or just craving a comforting meal, this cowboy beans recipe are sure to hit the spot!

The smokiness of bacon and sausage pairs really well with the sweetness of brown sugar and the tangy apple cider vinegar.

Loaded with kidney beans, lima beans, and baked beans, this dish is actually filling enough to serve as a main course! 

Cowboy Beans are perfect for summer cookouts, potlucks, or as a cozy winter meal. They’re very crowd-pleasing!

It’s easy to prepare but impressive enough to serve to guests!

And leftovers actually taste even better! The flavors deepen and meld really well when stored overnight.


Cooked sausage in dutch oven


What Are Cowboy Baked Beans?

Cowboy Baked Beans are a hearty, flavorful side dish!

If you live in the south, there’s a good chance you’ll have already tried them!

They’re typically made with a variety of beans, smoked meats, and a rich, tangy barbecue sauce. 

It’s a staple at cookouts and gatherings. I mean who can resist those robust flavors and how filling it is too?


Bacon added to empty pot, ready to pan fry.


What Ingredients Are in Cowboy Baked Beans?

This hearty side dish uses very few ingredients and is such a great recipe!

  • Smoked Sausage & Bacon: For a deep, smoky flavor.
  • Onion: I usually use yellow onion but other onions could be used if desired.
  • Variety of Beans: Including baked beans, kidney beans, and lima beans. Makes a super hearty texture!
  • Ketchup, Brown Sugar, Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar: Create a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce. Yum!
  • Salt & Black Pepper: To season.

Pro Tips: 

  • Add a dash of chili powder or a spoonful of tangy barbecue sauce for an extra kick.
  • Try other types of beans to find your favorites. White beans, navy beans, or black beans would all be good ones to try.


Diced onions cooking in the sausage and bacon grease


How to Make Cowboy Baked Beans?

This is a great side dish or main dish because it comes together in a snap! Here’s how to prepare it:

  1. Brown the meats, then sauté the onion.
  2. Combine all beans and sauce ingredients in the pot.
  3. Add the meats back in and simmer to perfection.

Pro Tip: 

  • For a thicker sauce, let the beans simmer uncovered for the last few minutes.
  • Cook over medium heat to prevent burning.


baked beans, kidney beans and lima beans are added to cooked onion


How Long Do Cowboy Baked Beans Last?

Leftover cowboy beans keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

This makes them a great make-ahead dish! 

Usually if I’m preparing for a crowd, I like to serve them within 24 hours for the best flavor and texture.

But if you want to have them for meal prep or lunches, they’ll still be great for a few days after.


ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard vinegar and salt added to bean mixture


What to Serve with Cowboy Baked Beans?

This easy recipe pairs wonderfully with grilled meats and other cookout or potluck kinds of side dishes.

Here are some Main Dishes to get you started:

Additional Side Dishes You’ll Love…

And don’t forget, you can always go super simple too! Tortilla chips and some sour cream? Yep!

Seriously the perfect side dish!


sausage added back to bean mixture.


Can You Freeze Cowboy Baked Beans?

Yes, this baked bean recipe freezes really well and taste just as great as when you made them! 

Just thaw and reheat for a quick, hearty meal.

I like to reheat on the stovetop typically but you can also heat them up in the microwave.


wooden spoon scooping out a portion of cowboy baked beans


Are Cowboy Baked Beans a Side Dish or Main Dish?

This cowboy bean recipe can serve as either a side dish or a main dish!

If you serve them as a main dish, I recommend throwing some other vegetable dishes on the table. Just to balance things out. 

I don’t think you will need to add any extra meat like lean ground beef or ground turkey though. 

You’ve already got sausage, bacon, and beans. So you’re pretty good on protein!


cowboy beans in pot, ready to serve


Are Cowboy Baked Beans Healthy?

They’re a good source of protein and fiber!

But you should definitely serve with some fruits or veggies to make it a bit more of a balanced meal.

However, if my kids eat this for dinner? I’d consider it a win. It’s better than fast food chicken nuggets!


a portion of cowboy baked beans in a bowl ready to eat


Are Cowboy Baked Beans Gluten-Free?

These cowboy baked beans should be totally gluten free. 

However, it never hurts to check any of your added ingredients. 

Condiments can totally hide gluten. So can sausage for that matter! So just look things over closely.


spoon scooping a portion of sausage baked beans from bowl


The best ever Cowboy Baked Beans is a hearty recipe that’s both a popular dish at gatherings and a satisfying meal all on its own!

These beans are not only a great addition to any family meal but also a great way to feed a crowd.

Yield: 8 Servings

Cowboy Baked Beans

wooden spoon scooping out a portion of cowboy baked beans

Savor the rich, smoky flavor of Cowboy Baked Beans! They’re the perfect combination of meats and beans in a homemade tangy sauce! Ideal for any feast!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  1. In a large dutch oven or pot, cook sausage, browning both sides.  Remove from pot.
  2. Add bacon to the pot and cook well.  Once bacon is cooked well, remove bacon and set aside.
  3. Add onion and cook until translucent.
  4. Once the onion is cooked through, add baked beans, kidney beans and lima beans. Mix well.
  5. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and salt. Mix well.
  6. Add bacon and cook covered for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and add sausage.
  8. Cook with lid off for 10 minutes, allowing mixture to thicken.
  9. Serve immediately.


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