Cowboy Caviar

Healthy and delicious cowboy caviar! This dip is perfect for scooping up with tortilla shells, using as a topping on your tacos and more!

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Though the name indicates it’s similar to caviar, Cowboy Caviar really is anything but. Beans, peas, tomatoes, and corn all combine into a tasty snack that you can eat as a salsa or just with a spoon. Caviar may be a delicious, salty (very expensive!) treat, but for folks needing a more nutritious and cheaper alternative, there’s Cowboy Caviar to save the day!

For a great dish to serve this with, why not try my recipe for Shredded Chicken Tacos? Or this Light and Delicious Ground Beef Taco Salad?

Tortilla chip cups filled with cowboy caviar on a plate.

Cowboy Caviar

The joy of a dish like Cowboy Caviar is its versatility. You can serve it alongside chips like a salsa, or you can spread it on bread and eat it as a lunch.

Also known as Texas Caviar, this oddly tangy and healthy dish has been served since 1940 and as good a native Texas dish as Tex-Mex barbeque.

The key with this recipe is getting the vinaigrette just right so that it gives just the right amount of tangy acidity to the beans and tomatoes.

Without it, this recipe is just a bit bowl of beans and peas and not much else.

Cowboy Caviar Ingredients

Check the recipe card at the very bottom of the page for the full ingredient list and exact amounts.

  • Can of black beans
  • Can of black eyed peas
  • Can of corn niblets
  • Red pepper
  • Red onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro


  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Lime juice
  • Chili powder
  • cumin
  • Salt & pepper
All the ingredients of cowboy caviar, seperated into glass bowls on a wooden table.

How to Make Cowboy Caviar

  • Get all your veggies ready by opening your cans and drain the tomatoes in a colander over the sink for 10 minutes
  • Put all core ingredients in a large bowl
  • In a lidded jar, add all of the dressing ingredients, cover, and then shake to mix thoroughly
  • Pour the dressing over the veggies and beans, toss gently, and serve with tortilla chips
The main ingredients for Cowboy caviar, arranged in color order, in a large mixing bowl.

How to Season Your Cowboy Caviar?

Making the vinaigrette really tasty is all about using the right seasoning. This recipe uses a simple combination of salt, cumin, and chili powder to provide a base Mexican flavor for your Cowboy Caviar.

However, feel free to play with it and experiment to your heart’s content. Instead of a pre-mixed chili powder, you could use dried chilies, toast them, soak them and then grind them to make your own custom spice blend.

A combination of Ancho and Arbols would be especially delicious here, but just watch out for the spiciness!

If you can’t find honey for the dressing, make sure to sub in something else sweet, like table sugar. Without some source of sweetness, the sour, spicy acidity will overpower everything, and it just won’t taste right.

Spicy vinaigrette dressing being poured over a bowl of cowboy caviar.

How to Serve Cowboy Caviar  

Cowboy Caviar can be served any way you can imagine, as a side dish, a snack, or even a whole meal – the key is what you serve it with.

The best accompaniment for Cowboy Caviar is undoubtedly some tortilla chips, especially the kind that comes in little cup shapes.

Your choice of corn or wheat tortillas is up to you depending on your preference; the key is to serve them with something crunchy that breaks apart as you bite into it.

Finished bowl of cowboy caviar, topped with cilantro leaves, on a wooden table.

Looking for more delicious bite-sized, dippable, scoopable appetizers? Try these:

Hope you enjoy!



Cowboy Caviar

Healthy and delicious cowboy caviar! This dip is perfect for scooping up with tortilla shells, using as a topping on your tacos and more!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • one 15 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
  • one 15 oz can of black eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • one 15 oz can of corn niblets drained
  • one red pepper diced
  • 1/2 large red onion chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped and drained
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon melted honey or white sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh pepper to taste


  • Prepare all of your vegetables. Drain the tomatoes in a colander over the sink for 5-10 minutes, tossing once or twice to help them drain well.
  • Place all of the vegetables and drained canned beans into a large bowl.
  • In a jar with a lid, put all of the dressing ingredients. Cover and shake to mix. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, it should be tart and acidic, so don't add too much more honey!
  • Pour the dressing over the chopped vegetable and beans and toss gently.
  • Serve with tortilla chips, chicken tacos or anything you eat salsa with!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 33kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 101mg, Potassium: 65mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 226IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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  1. Melissa says

    This is the best recipe for cowboy caviar that I’ve found. The only thing I did differently was I used 1 tbsp of lemon, and one 1 tbsp of lime juice since I was running low on lime juice. Turned out great!5 stars

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