My cowboy stew recipe is one part beef stew, one part chili, five parts DELICIOUS!
Love hearty stew recipes? You’ll flip for this! With the tender meat of an Instant Pot beef stew and the veggies and beans of a Brunswick stew, cowboy stew takes the best parts of your favorite recipes and simmers them to perfection.
The only thing it doesn’t have is a nod to chicken stew…but hey, let’s throw in some shredded poultry! Why not? Cowboy stew welcomes every ingredient!
Bring your appetite and let’s get cooking!
What I Love About This Recipe
This ain’t your mama’s stew recipe! Loaded with three types of meat and tons of veggies, this stew is the lip-smacking dinner your family’s been waiting for.
- Tender, juicy meat
- One-pot wonder
- Easy cleanup!
- Crowd-pleasing flavor
How To Make Cowboy Stew Recipe
Start by crisping your bacon — make sure to do it in a pot, not on the oven, so you get all that yummy bacon grease! And in that grease, you’ll fry up your sausage.
Set aside your bacon and sausage, then cook your beef, onion, and garlic. Add in your flour, salt, pepper, and chili, and once that’s happy, dump in everything else except the parsley.
My cowboy stew recipe is an amazingly wholesome and easy to prepare a meal that you’ll feel great about feeding your family! Cooking everything in one pot helps contain the mess and build incredible layers of flavor.
You don’t need fancy ingredients to get WOW flavor! Using a few canned convenience items helps make the prep simple while still giving you a stew so good you’ll slap the table.
- Kielbasa – This recipe uses three types of meat for a fully dimensional flavor sensation! If you’re thinking about skipping one, don’t — I promise, it’s worth it. For instance, the kielbasa brings a delicious smokiness that the bacon and beef don’t have. You just can’t have cowboy stew without all these treats!
- Tomatoes – I use canned tomatoes for this recipe to save on time in the prep stage as well as the cooking stage. And using petite diced tomatoes helps them break down even faster! If you can’t find petite, using crushed is a good alternative.
- Beans – I love the flavor and sweetness that comes with using canned baked beans in this stew! My favorite is good ol’ Bush’s Original, but you can use any brand at your store.
- Corn – Playing up the sweetness, even more, I use sweet corn in this recipe too. Sweet corn is NOT just corn canned with sugar — it’s a specific type of corn. So make sure you’re reading labels and not just getting plain corn with added sugar. Yuck!
Cook bacon until brown and crispy in a large pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
Add the sausage to pot drippings and brown on both sides, adjusting heat as needed so fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pot) does not burn. Remove to the plate with bacon; set aside.
Add beef, onion, and garlic to the pot and brown until the beef is no longer pink. Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder over beef. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add all meats to a large crockpot.
- Add diced tomatoes, baked beans, green chilies, sweet corn, potatoes, and water to crockpot.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Store your cowboy stew leftovers in an airtight container, and they’ll last in your fridge for up to four days. If saving space is a priority, you can put your cooled cowboy stew in a gallon-sized Ziploc.
It does tend to thicken a little as it sits in the fridge so you may need to thin it out with a little water when you reheat it.
Can You Freeze This?
Yes and no. This cowboy stew recipe is fantastic for meal prep and it always helps to have a ready-made meal in the freezer. But the potatoes can be quite finicky in freezing temps, so you may want to leave those out — you can always add canned potatoes to this when it’s time to serve!
If you do freeze it sans potatoes, you can let it sit in your freezer for up to three months. To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight. Then add your potatoes and reheat!
Make Ahead Tips
This one-pot wonder comes together pretty quickly thanks to those canned goodies! The various meats can’t be cooked ahead because you need them to build the flavor for your stew, but you can always chop the onions, garlic, potatoes, and kielbasa ahead of time.
The onions and garlic can be stored together, and the kielbasa can go in a sealed plastic bag — all of it can sit for up to a week in the fridge.
This cowboy stew recipe goes with pretty much any favorite chili and stew sides! Cornbread, crackers, a dollop of sour cream — you name it, it’ll taste great.
If you want to take this stew recipe to the next level, you can always do a play on beefaroni by adding elbow macaroni! Or toss in some egg noodles for beef and noodles taken to the max. It’s so easy to make this delicious dish taste even better!
This cowboy stew recipe is downright good eatin’ on its own, but here are some fun tweaks!
- Up your grains by adding barley + more liquid to get beef barley soup.
- Leave out the kielbasa and add some frozen mixed vegetables to make hamburger stew.
- Go all pork with bacon, brats, and ground pork for a delicious pork stew.
- Make sure you get your veggies by adding in all your favorite green picks with vegetable beef soup.
- Let’s play up Taco Tuesday with zesty Mexican flavors in a taco soup!
More Beef Soup Recipes
There are tons of great beef soup recipes out there, but this cowboy stew has got to be one of my all-time favorites! If you’re looking for other show-stopping chili and stew recipes, try one of these:
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 (12-ounce) package kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 80/20
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 (16-ounce) cans baked beans, with liquid
- 1 (7-ounce) can chopped green chilies, with liquid
- 1 (15-ounce) can sweet corn, with liquid
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- Cook bacon until brown and crispy in a large pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
- Add the sausage to pot drippings and brown on both sides, adjusting heat as needed so fond (brown bits on the bottom of the pot) does not burn. Remove to the plate with bacon; set aside.
- Add beef, onion, and garlic to the pot and brown until the beef is no longer pink. Sprinkle flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder over beef. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Add diced tomatoes, baked beans, green chilies, sweet corn, potatoes, bacon, sausage, and water. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Add additional water if stew is too thick.
Fans Also Made:
Three types of meat and wholesome veggies will have everyone in your family begging for more of this cowboy stew recipe!
What did you serve your stew with — cornbread or crackers? Let me know in the comments!
Have you ever mixed everything earlier in the day, put it in the fridge and then heated it later that day for dinner? Wondering how it would turn out?
The various meats can’t be cooked ahead because you need them to build the flavor for your stew, but you can always chop the onions, garlic, potatoes, and kielbasa ahead of time.
But you can store the leftovers in the fridge.
I Love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times now. My husband loves it as well.
Thank you so much! I’m so happy this was a hit 🙂
Denise Hovatter says
Looks delicious!😋 Well try!
Thanks, Denise! Enjoy 🙂
I was trying to decide between this and minestrone so to this I added shell macaroni and then fresh cut green beans because my mama always said every dinner needs something green 😂. When a recipe calls for tomatoes and green chillies, I like to take the opportunity to use an older jar of my canned salsa to make room for next year’s bounty.
I was searching for something satisfying and different from our usual and this fit beautifully. I will be adding it to my list of seasonal soups. Oh, and I served it with fresh sourdough bread.
Hey Tami so happy your family enjoyed this. Your additions sound delish!!!
What a wonderful meal. Perfect just as written and leftovers just as good.
Thanks so much Debbie. I’m so happy this was a good recipe for your family, too!
Simple and tasty. We used deer sausage & of course being from the south had to put our Cajun seasonings in it.
That’s perfect! Thanks, Memi!
Made this tonight and it was a huge hit! My kids loved it. I didn’t have russet potatoes so I used sweet potatoes. I also didn’t have baked beans so I used pinto beans and beef bone broth. I also didn’t have bacon thawed so I didn’t use that but this dish turned out great and I think can easily be made with many variations and still taste great. I will be making this again for sure!
This has become a staple in my house full
of manly appetites. They love it! It’s in the heavy dinner rotation for fall and winter and I have a feeling I’ll be making this one forever. Thanks for another awesome idea!
Hi Janita! So happy this is a hit with your family! <3
Holy cow! This is like a cross between Texas chili and an adult version of franks and beans.
My husband and I devoured it! I can imagine it will be just as good the next day, if not even better.
OMG, you’re amazing! Thank you so much, Reba! I’m sooo happy this was a hit. 🙂
Sonya Heideman says
Thank you, once again, for an awesome recipe! Delicious! My husband said, “Wow! Tasty!!”
Of course, I made your incredible Beer Bread to go along with it.
When he asked about the recipe, I told my husband it was from you — and mentioned another of our favorites — your Hamburger Stew.
You’re amazing, Sonya! Thank you so much for trying our recipes and for your positive review 🙂 Cowboy stew and beer bread are really perfect together, right?
This sounds delicious! When you say baked beans, do you mean something like Bush’s baked beans?
Thank you for sharing
Hi, Kim! Yes. You’re correct 🙂
Gretchen Krueger says
Wow! What a wonderful recipe! Forget a t bone steak- I’d much rather eat this!
I’ with on that Gretchen!
I’ve made this several times & it’s always perfect for those cold days, my family likes it a lot.
I’m so happy this stew is a hit with your family. Vicki!
Connie Huey Morrow says
Made this tonight for first time!! No bacon used and I used beef broth instead of water and added a can of cream of chicken!! Teenage son Loved it!! Will definitely make again!!
Wow, that’s amazing Samantha! I’m so happy it was a hit!
Oh, my WORD!! I just made this for our staff “snack” week, tasted it, and yummy!! I used beef smoked sausage along with the kielbasa, added cayenne pepper, and did not use the green chiles. I cannot wait for everyone to taste this.
Thank you so much.
Hi, Ru! Thank you so much. I love your tweaks and am so happy it was a hit! 🙂
Discovered this last year and loved it, making some today subbing venison burger for beef, bet it will be delicious!
Omg this sounds so. Good I will be trying it soon
Yaaay! Enjoy, Lori. Let us know how it turns out 🙂
I made this recipe. Everyone loved it. Had for dinner and again for lunch next day. Now they want me to make again.
Hi, Peggy! I’m so happy it was a hit 🙂 Thank you for your positive feedback 🙂
Marissa Buchmueller says
Made it exactly to the recipe the first time! Yum! This is my favorite version now. Second time I realized I didn’t have green chilis, so I put in some fire roasted tomatoes instead of regular ones. It worked! Also, somehow I was out of bacon…..so, this is a great recipe that really is quite moldable to what you have in your pantries. No wonder cowboys made it on the trail.
Hi, Marissa! I agree, whatever ingredients you have on hand will do 🙂
I’m glad you like this stew. Thank you for your positive feedback!
Amy Hobus says
Sounds delicious! Can’t wait to make this!
I hope you enjoy, Amy!
Thank you, Debra!