How to Make Cowboy Caviar

This cowboy caviar is full of big flavors. Serve with scoop chips so you can get the most out of every bite!

Ever find a dip or salsa that you love so much, you eat it by the spoonful? That’s me with cowboy caviar. Sometimes called Texas caviar, the chunky “salsa” is full of flavor, with plenty of beans, corn, cilantro, garlic, red onion, lime juice, and the perfect amount of sweetness to balance it all out. No wonder a version of this recipe went viral on TikTok.

If you haven’t tried it already, cowboy caviar will be your new favorite potluck recipe—whether you serve it as a salsa, as a topping for meat or salads, or simply with a spoon.

Our Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Despite its name, this recipe for cowboy “caviar” is definitely vegetarian.


cowboy caviar ingredientsTMB Studio

  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) black-eyed peas
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced


  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Step 1: Prep the salsa ingredients

Prep all of the individual ingredients so you can easily combine them later. Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas, black beans and corn. Chop up the tomatoes, red onion and cilantro, and measure the minced garlic.

Step 2: Measure the dressing ingredients

cowboy caviar dressing ingredientsTMB Studio

Measure the sugar, white vinegar, canola oil, lime juice, ground cumin, salt and pepper. This type of mise en place is a restaurant chef’s best-kept secret.

Step 3: Whisk the dressing

cowboy caviar whisk dressingTMB Studio

Combine and whisk the dressing ingredients in a glass measuring cup with a spout.

Step 4: Combine the salsa ingredients

cowboy caviar ingredientsTMB Studio

Transfer the beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, onion and garlic to a serving bowl.

Step 5: Pour on the dressing

dressing over cowboy caviar TMB Studio

Pour the homemade vinaigrette over the other cowboy caviar ingredients.

Step 6: Stir everything together

Stir the dressing into the rest of the salsa together. To let the flavors come together, store the freshly assembled cowboy caviar in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.

Step 7: Serve the cowboy caviar

cowboy caviarTMB Studio

Serve with corn chips, bowls, plates and spoons so your guests can enjoy the cowboy caviar however they like.

Tips for Making Cowboy Caviar

How else can you serve cowboy caviar?

There are lots of ways to enjoy cowboy caviar. If you want to eat it as a salsa, serve it with corn or tortilla chips. If you want to eat it as a topping, serve with grilled meat, like salmon or steak. It would make a hearty addition to tacos, burritos and salads, too. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy your cowboy caviar with a spoon!

How can you make cowboy caviar your own?

If you ask me, cowboy caviar is pretty close to perfect on its own—but you could add seeded and diced jalapenos for added flavor and heat. Diced avocado would add a little bit of creaminess, but you’d have to add it right before serving to prevent it from turning brown.

Can you make cowboy caviar ahead of time?

You could make cowboy caviar the night before to save yourself a few minutes before your gathering. Luckily, if you run out of time, the recipe only takes 15 minutes to assemble from start to finish. The longest part is waiting for the flavors to come together while it chills in the fridge. Trust us—the wait is worth it!

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Lauren Pahmeier
Lauren is an associate editor at Taste of Home, focusing on search engine optimization. When she’s not making sure readers can find TOH’s recipes on Google, she’s practicing her food photography, consistently finding new recipes to try and hunting down the most indulgent treats in the Twin Cities.