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Cowboy Caviar

August 5, 2022

A perfect make-ahead dish for any potluck or party, our cowboy caviar recipe is one we know you’ll be making over and over again even as the summer winds down.


homemade cowboy caviar in a serving bowl with a spoon surrounded by tortilla chips and bowls of salt and cilantro
Photography by Gayle McLeod

The Best Cowboy Caviar Recipe We’ve Ever Had

Cowboy Caviar is a bright, hearty dish that also happens to be extremely versatile. As a dip with chips, a topping on a steak or in a salad, this recipe for cowboy caviar is something worth perfecting to add some zesty, tangy flavor to any meal.

jicama, bell pepper, black eye peas, corn, red onion, cilantro, orange juice, olive oil & jalapeños in bowls on the counter

What is Cowboy Caviar?

We love a good bean based dip, and cowboy caviar really is the best of the best. Sometimes called Texas caviar, this dish is filled with so much flavor your taste buds will thank you. The name originated in the 1940s when the dish was first made and shared at a party in Dallas, Texas. Guests made a humorous comparison between the beans in cowboy caviar to the fish eggs that are true caviar, and decades later this bean dip is being shared on tables everywhere and even trending on TikTok!

all the ingredients for cowboy caviar in a mixing bowl including black eyed peas, bell pepper, corn, jicama & jalapeño
orange juice being poured into a bowl with the other cowboy caviar ingredients including black eyed peas, corn & bell pepper

What is Cowboy Caviar Made Of?

This easy cowboy caviar recipe is the best way to get use out of your leftover summer produce. And as for the flavors? They are epic. The melding of vegetables, black eyed peas, vinegar and orange juice make this cowboy caviar dip quite unique! We also added jicama to our version for a little extra crunch.

Since the beans (aka the caviar) are arguably the most important aspect of this dish, there are a few things to note before you go shopping for your cowboy caviar ingredients.

  1. Black eyed peas are generally easy to find! And if you are lucky, you can even find them fresh in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. If not, head on over to the canned bean aisle. Whatever you do, do NOT get seasoned black eyed peas because sometimes they are seasoned with bacon and this will drastically alter the end result and flavor of the dish. Sometimes black eyed peas are labeled with canned peas instead of with beans.

  2. Dried beans work, too! Take 1 heaping cup of dried black eyed peas and soak them overnight. Drain them and give them a good rinse before setting them in a pot over medium heat and add the beans along with plenty of water, seasoned with salt. Let them simmer, covered until the beans are tender for about 45 minutes. Once they are cooked and cooled, add them to the mix.

  3. If you are unable to find black eyed peas, you can easily swap them out for black beans or another mild, buttery bean, like cannellini beans or navy beans.

homemade cowboy caviar being stirred together in a large mixing bowl made with jicama, bell pepper, corn and black eye peas
cowboy caviar in a bowl made with jicama, black eyed peas, bell pepper, corn, cilantro, jalapeño, red onion & orange juice

How Long Can You Keep Cowboy Caviar In the Fridge?

The best part about this recipe is that the flavors only get better once they have some time to meld. Thankfully, our cowboy caviar ingredients are sturdy enough that they can last for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator without losing their crunch! Plan to make it a few hours before serving to really get the best taste possible out of your cowboy caviar recipe (waiting is not necessary if you’re ready to eat it immediately—it will still taste delicious). Regardless of how long you allow the flavors to marinate, make sure you stir your cowboy caviar before serving since the dressing settles at the bottom if it’s been sitting for a while. We don’t recommend freezing this recipe as the fresh herbs and vegetables will not fare well after thawing back out.

homemade cowboy caviar in a serving bowl surrounded by tortilla chips and bowls of salt and cilantro

Tools You’ll Need

Other Side Dishes to Bring to Your Potluck (Along With Your Cowboy Caviar Dip, Of Course)

As you plan your sides for your next potluck party, birthday event or lazy summer dinner, keep in mind a few of these other tasty additions to fill your table and everyone’s bellies:

homemade cowboy caviar in a serving bowl with a spoon surrounded by tortilla chips and bowls of salt and cilantro
homemade cowboy caviar in a serving bowl with tortilla chips made with  black eyed peas, bell pepper, corn, jicama & cilantro

Where Are You Eating Your Cowboy Caviar?

By a pool or just relaxing on your couch, we are so excited to see how you share your cowboy caviar and who you decide to share it with. Snap a photo of your spread and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Cowboy Caviar

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 238


  • 12 ounces jicama, diced ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, drained and rinsed (see note 1)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 2 cobs of corn, cooked
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup minced red onion
  • ⅓ cup minced cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced, about ¼ cup
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (optional, depending on if you'd like it spicy)
  • Tortilla chips for serving


  1. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients and toss to combine. Let sit for at least 60 minutes before serving.

  2. Toss well before serving alongside tortilla chips.

Note 1: Do not buy seasoned black eyed peas. They are sometimes seasoned with bacon which doesn’t taste ideal in this recipe. You can also sub dried beans in this recipe. Take 1 heaping cup of dried black eyed peas and soak them in plenty of water overnight. Drain them and give them a good rinse. In a medium pot set over medium heat add the beans along with plenty of water and seasoned with salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, covered until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain them and let them cool completely before adding them to the cowboy caviar.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories238
  • Protein7 g
  • Carbohydrates29 g
  • Total Fat12 g
  • Dietary Fiber7 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium467 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Cowboy Caviar

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    Loving all the flavors of this and how easy it comes together! Such a great snack or party dish!

    Thanks Jenn!