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Texas Caviar Recipe

Are you in the mood for something bright, fresh, and full of flavor? Texas caviar is just the ticket.

It’s full of corn, beans, and peppers. It’s a delicious, chunky dip that pairs perfectly with tortilla chips. You can also enjoy it by itself.

Texas Caviar Garnished With Tortilla and Sliced Lime
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It’s quick and easy to make, requiring no lengthy cooking or canning process.

Texas caviar mainly involves de-seeding, coring, chopping, draining, and mixing. You have to bring the dressing ingredients to a boil, but that’s as much cooking as it involves.

This Texas caviar recipe is perfect for any occasion, especially if you need a last-minute crowd-pleaser.

What Is Texas Caviar? 

Also known as cowboy caviar, Texas caviar is a chunky dip similar to salsa. However, this particular recipe doesn’t include any tomatoes. (Some do.) 

Some call it salsa or a dip, while others insist it’s more of a salad. Either way, there’s no denying it’s delicious.

It was first created by a Texas woman (Helen Corbitt) for New Year’s in 1940. 

It’s full of beans, peppers, and corn, and the dressing is a sweet-n-tangy delight. It has a cool, refreshing, fresh flavor (thanks, cilantro!) and tastes fantastic with warm tortilla chips. 

You can also use it as a simple side dish or topping for various meats and dishes. (I like to top my cheese and veggie quesadillas with it.) 

Homemade Texas Caviar in a  Bowl


Here’s what you need to make Texas caviar: 

  • Beans. You need two cans each of black beans and pinto beans. They make up the dish’s savory, earthy, slightly nutty base.
  • White corn. White corn adds a pop of color and a little sweetness to the overall recipe. 
  • Peppers. This recipe includes a slew of peppers for color, taste, and texture. You add green chiles, red and green bell peppers, and an optional jalapeno. (I highly recommend adding the jalapeno if you aren’t heat-sensitive. It gives the dish a kick and a great flavor.) 
  • Red onions. No good Tex-Mex dip is complete without crunchy red onions.
  • Cilantro. Cilantro adds a fresh herbiness to give the caviar its signature South-of-the-Border flavor.
  • The dressing ingredients. You need rice vinegar, olive oil, white sugar, and garlic powder for the dressing. The combination results in a sweet, savory, tangy sauce. It elevates the caviar mixture to a whole new level. 

How to Make Texas Caviar

Making Texas caviar is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! Here’s what you’ll do: 

1. Prepare. Drain, dice, de-seed, core, chop, and measure all the ingredients. Have them ready so you can dump them in when the time comes. 

2. Make the caviar. Mix all the caviar ingredients (onions, peppers, beans, corn, and cilantro) in a large bowl. 

3. Make the dressing. Mix the dressing ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. 

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Let the dressing cool for at least 10 minutes. 

4. Combine. When the dressing is cool, pour it over the caviar mixture. Toss it well to coat. Then, serve immediately or pop it in the fridge to chill. Either way, enjoy! 

Flavorful Texas Caviar in a Bowl

Tips for the Best Cowboy Caviar 

Here are a few tips to remember: 

  • Wear gloves. The bell peppers and chiles shouldn’t present a problem. However, jalapenos are another story. Wear gloves to avoid getting the hot juice and seeds all over your hands. There’s nothing worse than unknowingly rubbing your eye after cutting jalapenos. 
  • Substitute ingredients to suit your tastes. This recipe is a guideline, not something you’re required to follow. Experiment with different peppers, beans, etc. 
  • Reserve the cilantro. Cilantro can get soggy quickly. Leave it out until immediately before serving to keep it as fresh as possible.
  • Cut ingredients uniformly. If you do, the caviar will look better and have a more even taste. 
  • Drain the beans well. Also, remember to rinse them off after draining them. 
  • Chill and stir. Texas caviar tastes best when chilled, so pop it in the fridge before serving it. (Don’t add the cilantro beforehand.) Additionally, stir it up immediately before serving it. Some ingredients tend to settle. 


Try these variations for even more flavor: 

  • Make it a meal. Add shredded chicken or pasta to the recipe to make it a hearty, complete meal. 
  • Make it more authentic. When Helen Corbitt created this recipe, she did so as a way to jazz up black-eyed peas. Use peas instead of pinto beans for a more authentic recipe.
  • Add tomatoes. If you want it more salsa-like, dice up fresh Roma tomatoes to go with it. You can also add fresh avocado. 
  • Add cheese. Feta or Cotija both work beautifully. They give the dish a creamy, cheesy finish. 
Texas Caviar Dip, With Tortilla Chips in Side

Serving Suggestions 

Wondering what to serve with Texas caviar? The obvious choice is freshly baked tortilla chips! Here are a few other good options if you want to make it a meal: 

You can also serve it as an appetizer for Cowboy Soup or Cowboy Chili. Keep the Tex-Mex theme going by making one of these 13 tortilla desserts after dinner! 

Make Ahead and Storage

Because Texas caviar tastes great chilled, it’s an excellent make-ahead dish. You have two options for meal prepping with this recipe: 

  • Make it up to 3 days in advance. If you go this route, follow all the ingredients for making the caviar and the dressing. However, stop short of actually combining them. Keep the caviar and dressing ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Then, combine them immediately before serving. 
  • Make it 24 hours in advance. With this method, you can mix the caviar and dressing. Just leave the cilantro out. Mix it in immediately before serving.

As for leftovers, store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. They should last 3 to 5 days. However, the texture may get a little soggy since the caviar and dressing will be combined.

Texas Caviar



Prep time


Cooking time





This Texas caviar recipe is eye-catching and full of flavor! The beans, corn, and peppers are the most delicious combination.


  • For the ‘Caviar’
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans white corn, rinsed and drained

  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained

  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped

  • For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Gather and prepare all the ingredients as directed in the ingredients list. (Draining, chopping, seeding, etc.)
  • Combine all of the caviar ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Combine the dressing ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring them to a boil, then remove them immediately from the heat. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes minimum.
  • Pour the dressing mixture over the caviar mixture. Coat the caviar thoroughly in the dressing mixture by tossing or mixing vigorously. Enjoy alone or with chips or other dipping items.
Texas Caviar

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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