This easy cowboy stew recipe is infused with a medley of chili powder, black pepper, and green chile peppers for a little kick. This hearty and simple one-pot meal will have you coming back for seconds.

For more tasty stews using kielbasa sausage and beans try this Kielbasa Chicken stew or the popular Moroccan Chicken Stew recipe. For a lighter dish give this rustic White Bean stew a try. Another recipe using ground beef you might enjoy is my easy meatball stew.

Bowl of cpwvoy stew in white bowl with red check napkin.

Click the recipe link at the top of the page to go straight to the printable recipe card, which includes ingredient amounts, a detailed ingredient list, instructions, and recipe notes. You can also scroll through the post for helpful tips and step-by-step instructions. The recipe card is located at the bottom of the post.

Reasons To Make This Recipe

  • This easy cowboy stew recipe is a wonderful comfort food one-pot meal any night of the week.
  • The recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.

Ingredients

Ground beef, sausage, seasinings, potato, onions measured out on marble table.
  • Meat: A package of Kielbasa is easily found in the grocery store, and you can also use another type of fully-cooked sausage. For the beef, I prefer to use a 20% fat ground beef for maximum flavor.
  • Beans: Black beans are my go-to but you can also try using a combination of beans or canned pinto beans. Canned beans really make this such an easy recipe!

See the recipe card for quantities.

Recipe Instructions

Sausage browning in white dutch oven.

Step One: In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat the oil and add the sausage, brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Ground beef browning in whote dutch oven.

Step Two: Add the beef, onion, and garlic to the Dutch oven and cook the beef.

Seasoning on top of browned ground beef in white dutch oven.

Step Three: Add the flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder over the beef and stir. Stir and cook for about 1 minute until the flour and seasonings are well mixed.

white dutch oven filled with corn, potatoes, beans asausage, and tomatoes added to ground beef.

Step Four: Pour in the diced tomatoes, black beans, green chilies, sweet corn, potatoes, sausage, and water. Bring the stew to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and fully cooked. Stir occasionally. Add additional water or broth if needed.

Dutch oven with cooked cowboy stew.

What to Serve with Cowboy Stew

This classic cornbread recipe is so good. and goes great with this stew.

Substitutions

  • Chop up fresh jalapeno peppers for some added kick.
  • Use beef broth instead of water to flavor the stew with more beefy flavor.
  • You can also mix up the seasoning and add in packaged taco seasoning or add in a little smoked paprika.
  • You can substitute a cajun-style or chicken apple sausage.
  • You can use frozen vegetables.

Helpful Recipe Notes

  • To save time you can use frozen mixed vegetables.
  • If you use a ground turkey then replace the beef broth with a chicken or vegetable broth.

Check out these 6 essential tips to make the best stews.

Make Ahead Tips

The beauty of this one-pot dish is its simplicity and the use of canned ingredients. The onions and garlic can be chopped up the day before and stored in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator. I like to chop up more than I need and freeze the remaining onion for use in other stews..

Regional Variations

  1. Texas Cowboy Stew: Texans like to spice things up, so a Texas cowboy stew might contain ingredients such as jalapeño peppers and chili powder. Traditional proteins like beef are often used. Ingredients: Diced beef, pinto beans, onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, whole kernel corn, jalapeños, chili powder, cumin, paprika, beef broth, and cornbread on the side.
  2. Midwestern Cowboy Stew: This version might have a German or Scandinavian influence depending on the region. It could include bratwurst or other sausages, potatoes, and perhaps some local cheese. Ingredients: Sausages or bratwurst, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, canned diced tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, cheddar cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Southern Cowboy Stew: A Southern take on cowboy stew might incorporate pork or chicken and could include okra or other regional vegetables. Ingredients: Diced pork or chicken, black-eyed peas, onions, bell peppers, okra, diced tomatoes, corn, paprika, cayenne, thyme, and chicken broth.

How to make Cowboy Stew in the crockpot

Cowboy stew is a perfect dish for slow cooking and it’s so easy

  1. Brown the meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. This step is optional but helps add flavor.
  2. Add the browned meat and all other ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir to mix.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours, until the meat is tender and the flavors are well combined.

How to store leftover stew

Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days..  You can reheat on the stove top over low heat or in the microwave. If microwaving use a 50% power to avoid overcooking the potatoes.This is a great make-ahead stew!

FAQ

What type of beef should I use for cowboy stew?

There are so many variations of this stew you can use beef, pork, or chicken all work well.

Can I add different beans to my cowboy stew?

Yes, Pinto beans and chili beans are popular alternatives.

What is the difference between cowboy stew and chili?

Cowboy stew usually has more vegetables, such as corn and potatoes, and is less likely to focus on chili peppers as a main ingredient. Chili often has a specific set of spices that give it a distinctive flavor, including cumin, chili powder, and often, but not always, tomatoes. The spices in a cowboy stew, on the other hand, can vary greatly by specific local or regional recipe.
Chili tends to be denser with a thick gravy-like consistency, while cowboy stew often has a lighter, more broth-based texture.
Chili is believed to have originated in Mexico or Texas, while cowboy stew has origins tied to the frontier lifestyle, where cowboys would cook up a one-pot meal with whatever ingredients they had on hand.

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Dutch oven with cooked cowboy stew.

Southwestern Cowboy Stew

Infused with a medley of chili powder, black pepper, and green chiles for a little kick. This hearty and simple cowboy stew will have you coming back for seconds.
4 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 2 bowls
Calories: 621kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes
Cost: $4.46

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ package kielbasa sausage cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • ½ pound ground beef 20% fat content
  • ¼ medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 cup black beans, with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons (canned) chopped green chilies, with liquid
  • ½ cup sweet corn, with liquid
  • ½ large russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  • In a 4-quart dutch oven heat the oil and add the sausage,brown on both sides,. Remove and set aside.
  • Add the beef, onion, and garlic to the dutch oven and cook the beef.
  • Add the flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder over the beef and stir. Stir and cook for about 1 minute until the flour and seasonings are well mixed.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes, black beans, green chilies, sweet corn, potatoes, sausage, and water. Bring the stew to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and fully cooked. Stir occasionally. Add additional water or broth if needed.

Notes

  • You can use a ground turkey for a leaner option; however, you should increase the seasoning slightly.
  • To save time you can use frozen mixed vegetables.
  • If you use a ground turkey then replace the beef broth with a chicken or vegetable broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 342mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g
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