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Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans

Hearty and richly flavorful, Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans will be a family favorite after the first tangy and subtly sweet bite.

A cup of Cowboy Steak and Beans with cornbread in the background.

I have an ongoing relationship with Certified Angus Beef. This recipe was not specially commissioned by them, however their products were used in this recipe.

What are Cowboy Beans?

Every cowboy tv show or movie I saw as kid always had the rugged man sitting next to his fire, eating beans directly from the can with a fork.

Somehow the lone can of beans became part of the wild west mythology.

Baked beans are a staple to many holiday gatherings and backyard barbecues. Cowboy beans are a riff on the classic baked bean recipe.

Cowboy beans are a combination of beans and ground beef. In fact, I’d go so far as to say cowboy beans are the love child of baked beans and chili con carne.

Do I Have to Soak Dried Beans Overnight?

Dried 15 Bean Soup mix added to the crock of the slow cooker.

The short answer is NO!

Now, before you all get upset me, I am not alone. Many respectable cooking outlets agree.

Here’s a very informative article from Epicurious. They cooked batches of pinto beans following all the common ways: no soak, quick soak, overnight soak, in the oven, and with or without salt. It’s worth a read.

For this Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans, I did not soak the bean overnight. I did sort through them for any possible stones or debris.

What Meat do I Use in Cowboy Beans?

Cubed London Broil (top round) added to the slow cooker.

Traditionally, cowboy bean recipes use ground beef. Many have some bacon in them as well.

Ground beef is the most common meat; steak, ham, and hammocks are the also frequently used. Ground turkey or chicken are used when trying to make the dish leaner.

Can I Freeze Cowboy Beans?

You can.

Only the cooked and completed dish. Raw or uncooked beans will not cook properly if they are frozen first.

If you’re looking to make this as a meal prep meal, the beans must be cooked first the frozen.

Canned beans work wonderfully in dishes like this. They also can be frozen, but only for a short period of time. They will break down and have significant textural changes.

Ingredients to make Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans including the crock pot.

How to Make Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans

To get started with this recipe, you will need:

  • London Broil or Top Round
  • 15 Bean Soup Mix
  • Produce: celery, onions, bell peppers, garlic, and cilantro
  • Beef broth
  • Seasonings/Spices: smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, onion powder, and black pepper
  • Pantry: Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and tomato paste

How to Make Cowboy Steak in Beans in a Dutch Oven

Slow Cookers are wonderful when you have to leave it all day, but I love using my dutch oven to make this recipe too.

To make this in your Dutch oven, you will need a tablespoon of high heat oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and up to an additional 2 cups of liquid, water or more beef broth preferably.

Start by searing the beef with bacon in the hot oil. Remove them from the dutch oven and set aside.

Add the beans and 32 oz of beef broth, plus the additional salt. Bring to a roiling boil. Keep the beans at a high simmer/boil for at least an hour, two if you got the time, watching the liquid level-adding more if needed. Stir as needed. Pre-heat the oven to 275°F.

After the beans have boiled, resume the directions; add everything together into the dutch oven. Mix the seasonings and spices into the the additional two cups of beef broth and add to the dutch oven. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 6-8 hours, checking the bean tenderness after 6 hours.

The last hour of cooking, add the tomato paste, if using, and resume cooking. Mix in the cilantro right before serving.

Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans in the crock garnished with fresh cilantro and a wooden spoon with website logo.

Tips for Making Cowboy Steak and Beans in the Slow Cooker

For this batch, I did not sear the beef, but if you’ve got the time, give it a quick sear before tossing it in the slow cooker. Simply sprinkle some salt and pepper over it and sear it in a couple of tablespoons of hot oil.

I remove about 2 cups of beef broth and whisked all the seasonings, spices, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar together before adding it to the slow cooker. Occasionally, I have had my seasonings and spices clump when they hit the liquid in the slow cooker so whisking beforehand prevents that.

At the end of cooking, there are couple of methods to thicken it. You can simply leave the lid askew for the last half hour or so, causing some liquid to evaporate. I prefer to remove a couple ladles-ful of the hot liquid and whisk in 6 oz of tomato paste. This deepens the flavor while thickening.

Cub of Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans with cornbread

What to serve with Cowboy Steak and Beans?

This recipe is a meal unto itself, but I can’t blame you for wanting to round it out completely.

A wonderfully light salad that melds the tastes of pear, arugula, fennel, and prosciutto together in perfect unison.
Start with a simple Pear and Arugula Salad in a very simple vinaigrette.
Slices of sweet cornbread.
Sweet cornbread is perfect to sop up left over liquid.
Pineapple in Jello in various flavors plated in individual serving dishes.
Jello in a pineapple can has the retro feel complementary to this recipe.
A tall glass of summer shandy with sliced lemons.
And wash it all down with a summer shandy, a refreshing combination of beer and lemonade.
Close up of Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans

Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans

Course: Dinner/Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cowboy Steak and Beans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 517 kcal
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Hearty and richly flavorful, Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans will be a family favorite after the first tangy and subtly sweet bite.

Print

Ingredients

  • 20 oz 15 bean soup mix
  • 2 celery ribs; diced
  • 3 tsp garlic; miced/grated or 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 green bell pepper; diced
  • 1 red bell pepper; diced
  • 1 1/2 cup onion; diced
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 32 oz low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 lbs London Broil; cubed
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 6 oz tomato paste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro; chopped

Instructions

  1. Sort through beans for any rocks or debris, then add to the slow cooker.

  2. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, onion, and diced tomatoes to the slow cooker.

  3. Pour aproximately 2 cups of the beef broth into a bowl; pour the remaning broth into the slow cooker.

  4. Whisk worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, seasonings/spices, vinegar, and mustard together. Once combined, pour into the slow cooker.

  5. Mix well, combining all the ingredients in the slow cooker.

  6. Add the steak and the bacon; stir to combine.

  7. Cover, cook on HIGH for 8 hours.

  8. To thicken, remove a cup or two of liquid and place in a bowl.

  9. Incorporate the tomato paste to the removed liquid util smooth.

  10. Stir in the tomato mixture into the steak and beans, continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes.

  11. Mix in the chopped cilantro; serve and enjoy.

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Cowboy Steak and Beans
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 517 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 58mg19%
Sodium 1072mg47%
Potassium 895mg26%
Carbohydrates 64g21%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 1730IU35%
Vitamin C 32mg39%
Calcium 64mg6%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Side profile cup of slow cooked steak and beans and cornbread.

Thank you for sharing!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Dorothy Reinhold
    August 30, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Look at all of those beautiful beans. This is a stick to your ribs meal and I love it!

  • Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    September 1, 2019 at 7:35 am

    5 stars
    What a great recipe! This looks incredibly delicious!

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    September 1, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    5 stars
    Now this is my kind of comfort food! Can’t wait to enjoy this all winter long; so savory and delicious!

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    September 9, 2019 at 5:10 am

    5 stars
    Perfect comfort food for this beautiful time of year ! Thank you and enjoy your week 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    September 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    This recipe sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing 🙂 I have all of the ingredients ready, and plan to make it tomorrow! I have one question about step 3: Pour approximately 2 cups of the beef broth into a bowl; pour the remaining broth into the slow cooker. I’m wondering when the reserved 2 cups of broth are used…do I whisk it with the worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, seasonings/spices, vinegar, and mustard before adding it to the slow-cooker? Thanks in advance 🙂

    • Reply
      Michelle De La Cerda
      September 14, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      Yes!!! Step 3 has you reserve it. Step 4 needs to be clearer, but your assumption was correct. That’s where you mix everything into the broth in the bowl, making sure the seasoning are really combined, avoiding clumping by just dumping them into the crock on their own.

      • Reply
        Elizabeth
        September 14, 2019 at 5:21 pm

        Thank you so much, Michelle 🙂 It’s what’s for dinner tomorrow, and I’m sure I’ll rate it at least 6 Stars!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    September 18, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    5 stars
    I highly recommend this recipe!! We loved it, and will be eating it for many nights since it’s just my husband and I…unless I freeze some 🙂 The flavors were perfect, and the beans cooked perfectly! They came out very soft after the 8 hour cooking time! I followed the recipe to a tee, and maybe next time I’ll sear the meat first, although it came out very tender and flavorful even though I didn’t! Thanks for this fabulous recipe!!

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