Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

 In Breakfast, Lunch, Recipes, Sides


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A big skillet full of sweet and smoky cowboy beans flavoured with bacon and smoked paprika is the ultimate comfort food.

Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

When a recipe starts by frying onions, garlic and bacon until they are all golden brown and smelling incredible, you know it’s going to be good. Right? These cowboy beans are sweet, salty and smoky and the perfect side dish or breakfast addition.

The first time I had these beans, my husband’s cousin made them at a braai (cook-out). One taste and I was hooked. If you like sweet, smoky and salty flavours, you will love this. At first I thought I would just eat the beans on a thick slice of ciabatta toast but then I thought of a soft egg on top with it’s creamy yolk and I was sold. So I quickly fried up an egg and well, love at first sight. How can you NOT want to eat that?

Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

How to make cowboy beans?

Fry onion, garlic and bacon until they start to caramelize then add smoked paprika, drained cannelini beans, ketchup, tomato passata, beef stock, Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste and serve.

Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

Can I freeze Cowboy Beans?

Yes, you can. Allow the beans to cool completely before transferring to a freezer-proof container. Thaw the beans completely before re-heating and serving.

What to serve with cowboy beans

  1. Easy Grilled steak
  2. Greek pork chops
  3. Lemon herb chicken breasts

Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

Easy side dish recipes

  1. Sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad
  2. Easy spicy garlic baked potato wedges
  3. Creamy potato salad
  4. Easy side salad with lemon dressing
  5. Cucumber, tomato and red onion salad
Sweet and smoky cowboy beans
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Sweet and smoky cowboy beans

Course Beans, Breakfast, Lunch, Sides
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Alida Ryder


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 250 g streaky bacon finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 x 400g cans Cannelini beans drained
  • 1 cup tomato passata/puree
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • In a large pan/skillet, fry the onion and bacon until golden brown and fragrant.
  • Add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for another 30 seconds then add the drained beans.
  • Pour in the remaining ingredients.
  • Lower the heat and allow to simmer gently for 30 minutes, topping up with beef stock/water as needed to ensure the beans don't dry out and burn.
  • When the sauce is thick and deep red, season to taste then serve.

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Showing 7 comments
  • Justine

    Great recipe, so tasty!

  • Reply

    This looks heavenly! I can’t wait to try something like this out for my husband.

    • Alida Ryder

      You must! Please let me know what he thinks once you’ve tried it!

  • Anne Myers

    Liewe Alida

    Lanklaas op jou blog gewees. Jou werk word net mooier en beter. Veels geluk!

    Hierdie resep het my aan de soeke vir rooi cannelini bone. Waar kry jy dit? Ek kry net wit cannelinis – selfs die Google search help nie.

    Help asseblief!


    • Alida Ryder

      Hi Anne! Baie dankie vir jou mooi woorde. Ek gebruik ook net die wittes, nog nooit rooies gesien nie!

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