If you’re looking for the best homemade cowboy beans recipe then look no further! Packed with smoky, spicy chipotle and sweetened up with some fresh peaches, these cowboy beans are fit for any BBQ or party. Full of healthy pantry friendly ingredients these cowboy beans only take 20 minutes to make.
Just like the cornbread muffins from yesterday, these beans are speaking to my tex-mex soul. But, I’ll be the first to admit that these beans are my interpretation of cowboy beans also called chuckwagon beans. Because I’ve never actually had authentic southwest style beans. But a quick search gives me the facts.
Cowboy Beans Ingredients
- Pinto beans
- Brown sugar
- Chipotles in adobo
Steps to make the beans
So, I started with those ingredients, sort of. Because I hate processed food, I skipped the ketchup and BBQ sauce and created my own smoky flavor with some brown sugar, canned tomatoes and a kiss of molasses and a splash of cider vinegar. All those flavors together create a BBQ style sauce.
I also skipped using the ground beef. It’s usually listed as an ingredient, but these beans are meant to be the perfect side dish, not the star of their own show. If you need these to be front and center, then follow the recipe below and add a pound of browned ground beef at the end.
Shortcut steps to cowboy beans
Usually, these beans are made with dried white beans, but to speed the whole process up, we’re using already cooked white haricot beans that come in water. Simply make your smoky chipotle peach tomato sauce and add the drained beans at the end. If you require a looser consistency you can add a splash of water or broth (vegetable or chicken). I like mine thick so I never add any extra liquid.
What beans are used for cowboy beans & baked beans
There’s more to cowboy beans and baked beans than just white haricot beans. Other popular types that you can use in this recipe and any other baked bean recipe are:
- Boston Beans
- White Pea Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Navy Beans
- Northern Beans
Tips and tricks for perfect cowboy beans
Drain and rinse the beans- You gotta rinse them. Beans are often packed in a salt water when they’re canned. Just make sure that you get all that extra salt off so that we don’t ruin a perfectly smoky pot of beans.
Use thick cut bacon- Because the bacon gets browned and stays in with the beans during the cooking process they can get a little lost if you don’t use thick cut. It helps keep the body and texture of the beans nice and chunky.
Liquid Smoke- Sometimes I love a drop of extra smoke sometimes I’m not keen. For this batch, I didn’t use any, but I just want you to know that it’s an option for you if you want a true fire cooked flavor. I skipped it here because I really wanted to be able to taste the peaches and they would’ve been overwhelmed by extra smoke.
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Chipotle Peach Cowboy Beans
- In a medium size heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and let brown scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the peaches, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook until the peaches are soft but still holding their shape and the brown sugar has melted. This will only take about 3-5 minutes depending on the ripeness of the peaches. Stir the tomatoes into the pan and adjust the seasoning. Add the beans and mix well to coat all the beans in sauce.
- Season to taste and add extra peaches or chipotle depending on if you’d like the beans a little sweeter or spicier. Divide into bowls or skillets and top with the sliced peaches and some cilantro. Serve with the cheddar jalapeño cornbread muffins.