Cowboy soup is a hearty, Tex-Mex style recipe made with simple ingredients and minimal effort. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook up a big pot that will serve a crowd!
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Hearty soups are the best soups! Whether it’s Chicken Tortilla Soup, Cheesy Potato Soup, or Ham & Bean Soup, my family always wants soups that are filling and satisfying—and this easy cowboy soup recipe fits the bill.
Although my family often finishes the entire pot, you’re in luck if you enough cowboy soup for leftovers because this delicious Tex-Mex soup is amazing when reheated and it freezes really well, too. (A freezer stocked with homemade soup for all those days you don’t feel like cooking sounds like a dream come true, right?!)
Hearty Cowboy Soup Recipe
All you need are a few simple ingredients to make a perfect pot of flavorful cowboy soup. Rotel tomatoes with chilies are important to this recipe as they add a ton of flavor and a perfect amount of seasoning. I also use fire-roasted tomatoes to give the soup a smoky flavor and seasoned pinto beans for even more gusto.
But that isn’t all that goes into a warm bowl of cowboy soup! This recipe has green beans, potatoes, and even corn too. It really is a complete meal in a bowl and you are going to love every bite. So, head to the grocery store to buy the few ingredients you need, then tie on your apron and start cooking! You’ll have a delicious pot of cowboy soup simmering on the stovetop in a matter of minutes.
Ingredients for Cowboy Soup
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Olive oil
- Ground beef – I like to use lean ground beef when making soup. The meat is juicy enough after cooking in the broth that you really don’t need extra fat in the beef.
- Rotel tomatoes with chilies – Rotel tomatoes are a Tex-Mex style tomato. They are already seasoned with spicy chilies and a blend of Mexican-style herbs. Rotel tomatoes are a secret ingredient that adds so much extra flavor to tomato soup.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes – Fire-roasted tomatoes are charred before being canned, which helps add tons of flavor to the soup.
- Seasoned pinto beans – I like to use canned pinto beans with seasoning to add even more complex flavors to the soup. You will sometimes find seasoned beans labeled chili beans. You can use regular canned pinto beans if needed.
- Corn – Sweet canned corn is best.
- Green beans
- Red Bliss potatoes – Red Bliss potatoes have soft skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. They boil perfectly and become tender in the soup.
- Beef broth – I like to use low-sodium beef broth since salt is already added to this recipe later on.
- Chili powder – Chili powder is optional but it really adds a nice flavor to the cowboy soup.
- Ground black pepper
- Parsley – Or use cilantro.
Here are a few ingredient substitutes and recipe variations that will work well.
- Replace the beef broth with chicken broth to make cowboy soup that is a little bit lighter. You can also use ground chicken or ground turkey in place of ground beef.
- Replace the potatoes with rice. Many cowboy soup recipes use white rice instead of potatoes. You can add 2/3 cups of white rice to the soup when you add the beef broth.
- Use a can of black beans or ranch beans in place of seasoned pinto beans.
- Serve the soup with tortilla chips and a side of hot sauce. This hearty stew is nice and thick so you can actually scoop it up with some chips! It’s a perfect main course or appetizer.
How to Make Cowboy Soup
- Cook the beef: Sauté the ground beef and onions in a large pot with oil. Cook for about 10 minutes, then drain the grease from the pot.
- Add the veggies: Add the garlic, Rotel tomatoes with green chilies, fire roasted tomatoes, beans, corn, and green beans to the pot. Stir everything together, then stir in the chopped potatoes.
- Add the broth: Stir in the beef broth and seasonings. Bring the soup to a boil. Lower the stove to medium heat to simmer the soup.
- Cook: Simmer the soup for 30 minutes. When the cowboy soup is ready, the potatoes will be fork-tender.
- Enjoy: Divide the soup between bowls and top with the chopped parsley or a dollop of sour cream.
You can also make this cowboy soup in the slow cooker. Sauté the beef and onions in a skillet until the meat is browned, then add it to the bowl of your crock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker then set it to high heat. Let the hearty cowboy soup cook for 4-5 hours.
How to Store Cowboy Soup
If you have leftover cowboy soup, store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. The soup will stay fresh for 4-5 days.
You can also freeze cowboy soup for up to three months. Reheat the soup in the microwave or in a large pot over medium-high heat until it’s warmed through.
I like to serve cowboy soup with a side of Homemade Garlic Bread, Skillet Cornbread, or Sourdough Bread. You can also pair it with a simple salad to round out your dinner—Tomato Salad or Broccoli Salad would be great.
Cowboy soup, also called cowboy stew or cowboy hamburger soup, has roots in the American West. It was first created by cowboys who would open canned veggies and pour them into a large pot to heat over and open fire. The easy, affordable soup was a classic way to get a hearty meal that was easy to cook while on a cow trail. You don’t have to make this soup over an open fire or be part of cattle drives, but the ease and taste of the wonderful soup still remain the same!
You can switch up the veggies in this recipe to suit your personal preferences. Carrots, fresh tomatoes, chopped green chiles, and zucchini are a few vegetables that would be good in the soup in addition to the mixed vegetables already in the recipe. Fresh vegetables or canned veggies both work well in this cowboy soup recipe.
You can definitely double this cowboy soup recipe. You will just need a very large pot! You can also make a half batch if you only want a smaller quantity of cowboy soup.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) Rotel tomatoes with chilies
- 1 can (28 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, diced, drained
- 2 cans (15 ounces) seasoned pinto beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained
- 1 cup frozen green beans
- 4 red bliss potatoes, peeled, diced
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
- Add the oil to a large pot and heat over medium heat.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the ground beef and chopped onion to the hot oil and cook for about 10 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink. Chop the beef into small crumbles as it cooks using a wooden spoon.2 pounds ground beef, 1 cup chopped onion
- Drain the grease out of the pot and discard. Return the pot with the meat and onions to the stovetop.
- Add the garlic to the pot and stir. Cook for one minute.3 tablespoons minced garlic
- Add the Rotel tomatoes with chilies, fire roasted tomatoes, seasoned beans, drained corn, green beans and potatoes to the pot and stir.1 can (14.5 ounces) Rotel tomatoes with chilies, 1 can (28 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, diced, drained, 2 cans (15 ounces) seasoned pinto beans, 1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained, 1 cup frozen green beans, 4 red bliss potatoes, peeled, diced
- Add the beef broth and stir again. Bring the soup to a boil.6 cups beef broth
- Add the chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir then lower the heat so the mix is simmering.1 tablespoon chili powder (optional), ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. The potatoes will be fork-tender.
- Divide the soup between bowls and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy hot.½ cup freshly chopped parsley