Cowboy Caviar: The Worlds Best Appetizer!

This recipe is from the 1940s, and is a favorite at social events across the Southwest, and seems to show up in some version at most pot lucks, dinner's or gatherings, everywhere. It's one of my favorites to bring because there is usually an empty bowl by the end of the night and that always means it's a crowd favorite! It's one of my most asked for recipes. 

It's a great way to incorporate lots of fresh vegetables and beans into your diet, dressed up with a sweet spicy dressing and crunchy chips.  This will surely go in your favorites for parties and get-togethers.  It's a great appetizer and as you experiment with it, you can even start coming up with new recipe ideas using some variation of it as well. I like to wrap some leftovers in a piece of lettuce or top add it to some shredded chicken for protein-packed lunch. You aren't going to want to miss this recipe for the world's best appetizer, cowboy caviar!
summer appetizers

The World's Best Appetizer: Cowboy Caviar

potluck appetizers

I could live on fresh Mexican food for the rest of my life. I love the flavors and variations. I'm not one that follows the rules, so I love that there is flexibility in this recipe. If you don't have an item, you can generally leave it out and you won't even notice!

It's kitchen sink cooking at it's finest and it's the only way I do things because I'm just not fussy like that. I think that's why it's such a crowd-pleasing favorite. Well, that and the flavor! Plus anything you can scoop up on a tortilla chip is pretty awesome!

Yield: 8

Cowboy Caviar

prep time: 15 minscook time: total time: 15 mins
A tasty blend of fresh vegetables and spices makes this tex mex appetizer dip a crowd favorite!


  • 1 green bell pepper -chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper - chopped
  • 1 can of Black beans
  • 1 can of Black-eyed peas
  • 1/2 cup Cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 1/ 4 cup Cilantro - washed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup of frozen corn
  • 2 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 2 Limes - squeezed for the juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lime, zest
  • 1/ 2 of a Red onion - chopped
  • 3 green onions - chopped
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup of Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse ground garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of seasoned pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of Chili powder
  • Tortilla chips for dipping


  1. In a large bowl, mix chopped green pepper, chopped red pepper, black beans, black-eyed peas, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, corn, garlic, red onion, green onion, squeezed juice from the limes, and lime zest. Mix all ingredients until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix olive oil, honey and sugar, garlic salt, seasoned pepper, paprika, cumin, and chili powder, until well blended. Pour dressing over vegetables and beans, and toss to coat, making sure all ingredients are well blended. Serve with Tortilla chips, and enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Some helpful tips when making cowboy caviar

Use fresh ingredients whenever possible! I know it's easy to use the little green plastic lime, but you will absolutely tell the difference if you use freshly squeezed lime juice instead.

Feel free to make substitutions. If you don't have cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes work fine. No black-eyed peas? Leave them out! Don't stress out too much about the details.

Play around with the recipe. Add in a few teaspoons of your favorite Mexican hot sauce. Serve it on top of your tacos instead of pico de gallo, add some fresh roasted corn.

summer appetizer recipes

This recipe does best when it has time to soak in the dressing. I actually think it tastes better the next day if it lasts that long! Ideally though you will make the cowboy caviar and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before serving for the best flavor.

tex mex recipes

Sit back and enjoy one of my absolute favorite appetizer recipes. I know it will be yours too!

tex mex recipes for your next get together

Looking for more great recipes?

Try this easy homemade cajun chicken soup

instant pot recipes

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Happy eating!

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1 comment

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