This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy.
Cowboy Stew is a hearty stew recipe (also called Texas Cowboy Stew) loaded with beef, kielbasa sausage, beans, and russet potatoes for a filling meal. It’s the perfect comfort food for cold days and a one-pot meal!
For more cowboy-inspired recipes loaded with all the good stuff – be sure and try this amazing Cowboy Queso appetizer.
Old-Fashioned Cowboy Stew Recipe (Texas Cowboy Stew)
Cowboy stew is an amazing combination of part Chili combined with Classic Beef Stew. It’s the best of both worlds with the heartiness and meat heavy part of a stew combined with the thickness and spice of chili.
With two types of meat – sliced smoked sausage and beef, and beans, vegetables, potatoes inside a savory broth seasoned with southwestern spices – this Texas cowboy beef stew is always a favorite for a filling dinner.
Everything cooks and simmers in one dutch oven pot on the stove top. The simmer time allows all the flavors to blend and the stew to thicken. You won’t believe how deliciously filling and hearty this stew is with ground beef, sausage, potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes, that simmers in a savory beef broth base seasoned to perfection.
Ingredients Needed & Substitution Ideas
- Ground Beef : Feel free to use any ground meat you prefer! For a less meat heavy stew, try using only 1 pound instead of 2 pounds. Ground turkey is a great substitute and one that I do often – I use 1 pound ground turkey + 1 pound lean ground beef when I make this hearty cowboy stew. Ground chicken is another substitute that works well.
- Onion : A white or yellow onion is preferred; make sure it’s finely diced.
- Garlic : Fresh garlic cloves that have been minced or pressed, use chopped garlic from a jar, or garlic paste.
- Kielbasa Sausage : Slice this into thin coin shaped pieces.
- Beef Broth : Chicken broth is a great substitute if wanted.
- Russet Potatoes : Peel the potatoes and dice them into small 1/2-inch cubes. It’s important that they are cut small so they will soften and cook in the cook time. Other great potato choices are Yukon golds potatoes or red potatoes.
- Petite Diced Tomatoes : No need to drain the juices, just dump everything in.
- Pinto Beans : Again, no need to drain and rinse. If you prefer, you can also use black beans, ranch style beans, chili beans, or another bean like navy beans, cannellini beans or red kidney beans.
- Rotel : Canned diced tomatoes with green chilies. Do not drain.
- Whole Kernel Corn (Canned) : Use yellow corn, white corn, southwestern corn, or gold n’ white corn.
- Mixed Frozen Vegetables
- Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper : For a less smokey flavor use 1 teaspoon paprika + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika. Or use all paprika and skip the smoked paprika entirely.
How To Make Easy Cowboy Stew Recipe (Printable Recipe Card)
Add the ground beef, finely diced onion, and garlic into a large soup pot or dutch oven pot. Cook and crumble, over medium-high heat, until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pot.
Add in the remaining ingredients and stir together until well combined. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for 45-55 minutes or until potatoes are softened and the stew has thickened slightly. If you want the stew thicker, you can simmer it without the lid on – which allows for the extra moisture to evaporate out and it will thicken the stew. I like simmering with the lid on because I think the flavors blend together better and the potatoes get softer because the lid contains all the heat inside the pot.
Cowboy Stew Recipe Tips For Success
- Add Some Spice! : To spice up this stew there are several things you can do. Add a can of chopped green Chile peppers into the stew. Use cayenne red pepper instead of black pepper. Add some red pepper chili flakes. Garnish the stew with sliced jalapeños or add a can of chopped jalapeños into the stew.
- Make It In A Crock Pot : Brown and crumble the ground beef, onion and garlic in a skillet pan (according to the recipe instructions). Drain the excess grease and then transfer it to a crock pot. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Cook on LOW heat for 6-7 hours.
- What To Serve With Cowboy Stew : This stew is good served as is, but there are some topping and garnish ideas that would work well. Top with a dollop of sour cream, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, or avocado slices. I love serving either my The Best Cornbread or Honey Cornbread Muffins alongside the stew for dinner, or try some crusty bread (bought from the bakery, freezer section, or make your own).
- Halving The Recipe Tips : This recipe can easily be halved with a few adjustments. Use 1 pound ground beef and I still use the entire kielbasas sausage. The canned ingredient can all be halved, and for the corn I recommend just using the entire can of corn instead of trying to only use half of a can of corn. This stew also freezes well so a full recipe makes enough for another freezer meal.
- Dried Seasonings : Skip the dried seasonings, or reduce them, and add a packet of stew or chili seasoning into the cowboy stew. There really is nothing off limits when it comes to what flavorings and seasonings can be added into the stew.
How Large of a Pot Do I Need For This Recipe?
This recipe makes a lot of stew! You will need at least a 7 QT soup pot or dutch-oven pot when making this cowboy stew. If making it inside a crock pot then make sure it’s a larger one (about the same size as the soup pot – 7 QT to 8 QT).
How To Store Leftovers
Allow the leftover stew to cool to lukewarm room temperature before storing it inside an airtight container, or inside a heavy-duty gallon sized Ziploc bag. You can either store it in the fridge for up to 4-5 days OR store it inside the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy, warm up leftovers in the microwave or on the stove top until heated through. If frozen, let the stew thaw in the fridge overnight and then warm it up on the stove top in a saucepan. You can also put the frozen stew inside the crock pot and heat on LOW heat for 4-5 hours until warmed through. You may need to add some additional broth or water (if needed) when reheating leftovers.
More Chili, Stew, and Chowder Recipes You’ll Love
- Crockpot Creamy Chicken Stew
- Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chili
- Baked Bean Chili
- Taco Ranch Chicken Chili
- Ground Beef Stew
- Ground Beef Queso Chili
- Vegetable Chowder
- Instant Pot Potato Corn Chowder
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- 14 oz kielbasa sausage thinly sliced
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 small russet potatoes (peeled and diced small)
- 1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes
- 2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans
- 2 cans (10 oz each) Rotel original diced tomatoes w/ green chilies
- 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn
- 1 bag (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the ground beef, finely diced onion, and garlic into a large soup pot or dutch oven pot. Cook and crumble, over medium-high heat, until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the excess grease from the pot. * You need at least a 7 QT pot for this recipe2 pounds ground beef, 1 yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Add in the remaining ingredients and stir together until well combined. Bring to a boil. * No need to drain the cans. Just dump them into the pot.14 oz kielbasa sausage, 2 cups water, 2 cups beef broth, 3 small russet potatoes, 1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes, 2 cans (15 oz each) pinto beans, 2 cans (10 oz each) Rotel original diced tomatoes w/ green chilies, 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, 1 bag (10 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot with a lid. Let it simmer for 45-55 minutes or until potatoes are softened and the stew has thickened slightly.* I like simmering with the lid on because I think the flavors blend together better and the potatoes get softer because the lid contains all the heat inside the pot. You can also leave the pot uncovered while simmering if wanted.