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This Easy Cowboy Caviar is a delicious appetizer or snack made with black eyed peas, black beans, sweet corn and a variety of fresh ingredients. Just add your favorite tortilla chips for a healthy chip dip!

black eyed pea salsa or cowboy caviar with tortilla chips in a white bowl

Easy Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Cowboy caviar is super easy and versatile. You can serve it as a side salad, appetizer dip or even as a topping for tacos.

This dip is perfect year round. We love it in summer, but I like to serve it on New Year’s Day for luck since it’s the only way my picky eaters will eat black eyed peas!

What makes this appetizer so easy is you can use canned goods for the base. Then, you add as much fresh produce as you want. When I make cowboy caviar in the summer, I’ll throw in fresh tomatoes, avocados and jalapeño peppers. If I’m lucky, I can get tomatoes and jalapenos straight from the garden.

Some folks call this dip black-eyed pea salsa or Texas Caviar or black-eyed pea dip. If you’re looking for healthy chip dip, you’re going to love this one!

ingredients for cowboy caviar in mixing bowl


This southern caviar recipe is made with a blend of fresh veggies, canned veggies and typical salsa ingredients. What you don’t have at home should be easy to find online or at your local grocery store. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Can black beans 
  • Can black-eyed peas 
  • Can sweet corn — or shoepeg corn — I love shoepeg corn, but it’s not always easy to find.
  • Jalapeño pepper — seeded and diced
  • Red bell pepper or green bell pepper — seeded and diced
  • Roma tomatoes 
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro — chopped. Adds flavor and freshness
  • Avocados — (optional)
  • Olive oil — or vegetable oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Vinegar
  • Seasonings — sea salt, black pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and garlic powder

How to Make Cowboy Caviar

Start out by draining and rinsing the canned black beans, black eyed peas and corn. Then add them to a large bowl.

Next, chop up your fresh produce, and add that to the bowl, as well. You’ll want to save the avocados for last.

Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. To save time, you can use a cup or so of Italian salad dressing or your favorite vinaigrette.

cowboy caviar dressing in bowl

Add the avocados last, if you are using them, and pour the dressing over everything. Mix everything together, and you’re good to go.

mix black eyed pea salsa ingredients together in bowl

Pop it in the fridge for about an hour or so before serving. The flavor gets better the longer it sits!

What do You Serve with Black Eyed Pea Salsa?

Serve it as a dip with tortilla chips or Fritos. You can also use it as a topping for carnitas or tacos, burritos or a side dish for taco pasta.

We sometimes add black eyed pea salsa to pulled pork sandwiches — especially for New Year’s Day! It’s perfect for game day, a potluck, parties and other holidays too!

black eyed pea salsa on tortilla chip in hand

How to Store

Store leftover cowboy caviar in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it’ll last for 2 to 3 days.

Personally, I think the caviar is even better the next day, since the flavors have even more time to blend together!

If you want to make Texas caviar in advance, mix all the ingredients together like you would normally, but do not add the avocados. Wait to add avocados until the day of serving, so that they don’t get mushy.

cowboy caviar on a tortilla chip in hands


There are a couple ways to customize this easy black-eyed pea salsa to your tastes.

If you want to keep things as easy as possible, use a can of diced tomatoes or Ro-tel instead of fresh tomatoes.

You can leave out the avocados, especially if you want to make caviar in advance.

This recipe is super versatile, so you can add or leave out whatever ingredients you want, really. Sometimes I like to add green onions, fresh garlic, or an extra fresh jalapeño for more kick.

Recipe Tip

You can make this dip in advance, but add avocado the day of serving so it doesn’t get mushy.

5 from 5 votes

Black Eyed Pea Salsa (cowboy caviar)

By: Dee
Black Eyed Pea Salsa Recipe or Cowboy Caviar is a delicious appetizer made with black eyed peas, black beans and sweet corn. Just add your favorite tortilla chips for a healthy chip dip!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
refrigeration time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 20


  • 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-oz can sweet corn or shoepeg corn drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes diced
  • ½ cup red onion diced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 small avocados diced (optional)


  • ¼ cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
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  • Drain and rinse the black beans, corn and black-eyed peas, and add to serving bowl
  • Add the diced jalapeno pepper, bell pepper, tomatoes and onion
  • Add the cilantro and avocados, and pour dressing over everything. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for about an hour before serving


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and vinegar. Whisk in remaining ingredients.


Cowboy caviar can be made a day in advance. Add the avocados right before serving if using.


Calories: 62kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 61mg, Potassium: 131mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 285IU, Vitamin C: 11.6mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Recipe was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2024

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Recipe Rating


  1. Kris says:

    What a great appetizer! Served this before our BBQ over the weekend. What a hit!5 stars

  2. Louis says:

    Simple to make and taste great! What a hit at the last office potluck!5 stars

  3. James says:

    Love this stuff! We have made it twice in the past few days! Easy and what flavor.5 stars

  4. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Dee,
    We will just love your Cowboy Caviar, it looks awesome! Thank you so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and have a great day!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  5. Anita Gregersen says:

    My mouth won't stop watering! This sounds amazing 🙂 Thanks for sharing on Full Plate Thursday!

  6. Ivy and Elephants says:

    I think I will have to do this Super Bowl Sunday. Awesomeness! I would love for you to share this at our What's it Wednesday Linky Party! Fantastic way to start the year with inspiration.