Crock-Pot Cowboy Casserole

[pullquote align=”right”]TIP: When hamburger is on sale at a great price, buy extra for meals later. When you get home from the store brown your ground beef, drain and rinse and then store in labeled freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months. When a recipe calls for browned ground beef just pull out a bag from the freezer and you are already one step ahead of the game![/pullquote]While doing a bit of organizing of my recipes and cookbooks this past weekend I came across this recipe from my grandmother. While I don’t remember ever eating it before it sounded yummy so I thought I would give it a try to see how it turned out.

The consensus from the crew…”Pretty tasty mom!”

And it was super easy to make as well so no complaints from me.

I have no idea why this recipe is called cowboy casserole. But considering I am in Wyoming and have seen the rancher’s wives come in to town to do their shopping (4 + carts of groceries at a time) I assume they need to feed them cowboys something hearty and filling and probably something that is not too expensive to make.

We are not cowboys…but feeding our crew of 6 requires those same sort of ideas for dinner. So this recipe is a winner!

Crock-Pot Cowboy Casserole

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Crock-Pot Cowboy Casserole


1 onion, chopped
1 lbs. ground beef, browned and rinsed
6 medium potatoes, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) can low sodium kidney bean, with the juices
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, with the juice
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Mix all of the ingredients except the cheese in a 6 quart crock-pot and stir well.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  3. Uncover crock-pot and sprinkle shredded cheese over top and recover and let cook an additional 1 hour.
  4. Eat and enjoy!

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  1. says

    I had all the stuff to make it and a pound of ground beef defrosting for dinner (plan was hamburgers) so it is bubbling in the crock pot as we speak. Can’t wait to taste it!

      • says

        This recipe was definitely a win! My husband said “wow the house smells good!” when he came home from work, and then nommed down a big bowl of the casserole. We’ve got enough for leftovers tomorrow night. I’m thinking about putting it over rice or mixing rice in with it to extend it a bit more tomorrow night.

        • says

          I am so glad you and your husband enjoyed this recipe. It is really quite versatile I think. When I was making it I was thinking you could definitely add some other things to it. I was thinking about adding some veggies (carrots or corn perhaps?) to it. But serving it over rice would be good too I bet!

  2. says

    I didn’t end up adding rice, just heated it up (I added a little chicken broth to thin it out) and served it with corn muffins. Still super yummy. Corn sounds good…

    • says

      Hi Amy,

      No such thing as a dumb question. Most recipes for the crock-pot that call for ground beef/hamburger you cook the hamburger in a skillet, drain and I like to rinse the meat off in a strainer with hot tap water. This removes the extra fat. The only recipes I can think that don’t call for pre-cooking the ground beef are meatloaf.

    • says

      Hi Rachael, I am sorry your casserole turned our liquidy. I am not sure why it would be on the runny side, it should not be. Did you follow the recipe exactly or add anything extra? The only liquid in the recipe is the cream of mushroom soup and the juice from the canned tomatoes. You might be able to thicken it up with a little flour slurry (a couple of tablespoons flour mixed with a couple tablespoons of water mixed well till there is no lumps and then pour into your dish stir well and cook a while till it thickens up.

    • says

      Aye Rachael, its funny over multiple of years, I have heard many [Lassies]? degrade crock pot cooking. Their biggest complaint is – that it always had too much liquid. Being only “just a man” I tend to look @ cooking/methods in a mechanical way!! As all meats & vegetables consist of around 80% moisture/water & the crock pot is a slow cooking method, then the moisture/liquid from ALL scources has time to appear! If trying a new dish then to be fair to all, be prepared to cook it slow/longer time [lowest setting. This will not only give the contents time to exude most of their juices [moisture] but flavours as well. Also too it will give you time to have the “odd peek” & [if required you add YOUR favourite choice to keep moist >> gravy/sauce/soup/wine or simple water. As I said in another article, it pays to keep some “real gravy/stock/soup or other in fridge or pantry so that one can add to your crock pot or any other dish. To avoid “burning”/crusting/difficult cleaning, avoid ADDING later – powder type gravies – real meaty types OK, best all rounder ‘vege’ or fruity stock/juices.
      NOTE – some people complain that they “did not like a dish”, to be fair – – EVERYONE should know their taste preference or zone. Examples would be – ‘love salt or hate salt’ – like hot dish [chili/curry] or normal dish – – USE the recipe THEN decide if a touch, or part, or ALL of your preferred taste should be added to it >> as long as it does not clash >> a wrong colour/ a runny mess/ too chewy/ to crusty/ too hot/ not to your taste – – – no ones fault but your OWN!!!?? Be mindful >> it could be your pot, it could be your cooker, it could be the meat or veg’., quality, or your timing to blame!?? Also >> THE SIZE OF THE DIFFERANT CUTS OF MEAT/VEGETABLES, OR VARIETY OF VEGETABLES or simply where you cook – outside or inside > colder/warmer therefore medium heat instead of low & so on????

  3. Kate says

    Hi I put everything in the crockpot like I was supposed to but it seems very thick should I add some chicken or vegetable broth to it? I’m nervous it might burn to the crockpot if I don’t add some kind of liquid to it. Thanks.

  4. Brit says

    I absolutely hate cream of mushroom soup… could I substitute cream of potato soup or would that be too much potato? What would you substitute it with?

  5. Elisa Dodge says

    I was not at all impressed with this recipe. It was very runny, rather tasteless, and the cheese separated after cooking for an hour. I followed the recipe exactly.

  6. janet says

    do i have to make the soup according to directions by adding the milk to it or just the contents of the can?

  7. Anneka says

    Really enjoyed this meal! My husband said it tastes like a baked potato. My kids, ages 5 and 1, both enjoyed it as well. Cooked on high for 3 hours and it was done, so I turned it down to low until we were ready to eat. Will try on low next time. Also added the cheese the last few minutes instead of for an hour. Thanks for sharing this! Perfect for a stormy Wyoming evening :)

  8. Rachelle says

    My husband and I LOVED this! We’ll definitely make it again- it was flavorful and super easy.

    I followed your directions exactly as written, cooking on low. I was worried at first with the number of potatoes used, but they came out tender and perfectly cooked through and didn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Cheryl says

    Made this for my family and they loved it! The only thing I changed was the addition of carrots and celery. Just seemed like it needed some veggies. No problems with it being dry.

  10. Katie says

    Has anyone tried this with chili diced tomatoes instead of plain? I always think of chili flavors with kidney beans, I am just unsure of how it will taste with the cream of mush soup.

  11. Jennifer says

    Hi Heidi,
    Have a question…..I am having 9 people over for a family dinner and would like to try this recipe. Can you tell me if I wanted to double the recipe would I just multiple all ingredients by 2? If so, would this change the length of cooking time? Thanks for the help and the recipes!

    • says

      Since I have not actually doubled this recipe I am not 100% sure. But I am going to give it my best guess. You should be able to double this recipe and be just fine. The recipe already serve 6-8 depending on how big of portions you are serving. So doubling the recipe may yield you a lot of Cowboy Casserole! I would adjust the cooking time by 2 hours on low and 1 hour on high if I was doubling the recipe and see where you are. The only thing you are really cooking here is the potatoes. Let us know how it goes for you Jennifer!

  12. johnna says

    Recipe states juices from kidney beans and diced tomatoes. commeby stated just from soup and diced tomatoes. which way to go.

  13. Carolyn says

    I don’t like mushroom soup or oregano, so. I used Alfredo sauce, drained the beans, and top crusted with corn chips. Lovely dish. Smells and tastes wonderful!

  14. says

    I’m allergic to tomatoes. Can I just leave them out or do I need to substitute something? I didn’t know if the juices from it helped with anything

  15. Robyn Dillon says

    I have this simmering in the crockpot now. I accidentally bought cream of celery instead of creak of mushroom and I also added cheddar cheese soupand a chopped pepper. We’ll see how it is! Smells good anyway

  16. Liz says

    I made this yesterday and we had the leftovers tonight. It was great! I made a few changes…1/2 cup onion and 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced jalapeño, and cream of potato instead of cream of mushroom. I also seasoned the meat really well as I was browning it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

  17. says

    Thank you, Liz, for taking the initiative and READING a recipe and adjusting it to your families KNOWN preferences and not blaming the recipe for being a “failure”. For my family, I added Ro*tel tomatoes, black beans (drained and rinsed) and southwestern corn (with onions and peppers). Recipes are not set in stone, have fun with them.

  18. Megan says

    I did have a little trouble with this recipe. The potatoes just didn’t want to cook. So I think next time (and yes, there will be a next time!) I will reduce the recipe by one or two potatoes and maybe blanch them before adding them to the slow cooker. That being said, it was really tasty. I never add the extra salt (as I am watching my blood pressure) and added some red chili’s. We like it spicy here! The seasoning was great and it was good with and without cheese. Yum!

  19. Crystal says

    I am testing this out today I did not have the beans or cream of mushroom so I am making a change or two… no beans, cream of broccoli rather than cream of mushroom and baby potatoes quartered rather than full potatoes cut into 1/4 inch. This looks amazing already I cannot wait for it to be done!

  20. Dan says

    I do a lot of the cooking at home. I am normally on lay off status during the winter. I enjoy cooking, and enjoy comfort foods. I like to add my own little dash to things I cook. Normally this would be a healthy splash of red wine, extra garlic, and a hand ground or two hot pepper that I grow and dry myself every year. Looking forward to dinner tonight, as I do every night. LOL

    • says

      Hi Dan, I love your enthusiasm for cooking. Your suggested additions sound great and would take this recipe from “Cowboy Simple” to “Dude Ranch Perfect” I am sure! Be sure to come on back and let us know how it turned out!

      • Dan says

        The addition of wine, garlic, and spicy pepper was a very nice mix. I would highly recommend everyone who makes this to add these. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. Karen Crockpot says

    Wow, so happy to see a slow cooking blog like yours. Like your recipes so much. Would try them out and share to my friends. Talk to you next time.

  22. Shannon says

    I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I did the following substitutions: extra lean ground turkey instead of beef, organic salt-free black beans rather than kidney beans, and 4 white sweet potatoes rather than potatoes. I omitted the cheese since I’m dairy-free. So easy to make, I’ll definitely be throwing this recipe into rotations!

  23. Donna says

    Can I substitute the potatoes for a bag of frozen tater tots? I can see this layered in a crock pot with the tater tots on bottom then the meat beans soups…etc..

    • says

      Wow, sorry to hear that Cindy. Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know that your boyfriend thought this was “garbage”. As you can tell from the comments, many other people love this recipe. But… to each their own I guess! Have a great day!

  24. Brenda says

    I live in Texas and buy Ranch Style Beans. I think they will add extra flavor. Great recipe! Taking my crock pot to a hotel this weekend for daughter’s birthday celebration. Ground meat already browned I and in the freezer. Lots of indoor swimming and good food. Thanks!

    • says

      Sounds like a great addition Brenda! I love Ranch Style Beans too. Come on back after your daughter’s weekend birthday celebration and let us know how it turned out with your recipe modifications!

  25. Boo says

    My husband and I both loved this recipe. He thinks the leftovers will be great for his work lunches. The only change I made was to boil the potatoes for 10 minutes before adding them to the recipe. I have a soup recipe that calls for potatoes and they don’t cook enough in the crock pot so I did that just to be safe. Thanks for the recipe!

  26. rebekah says

    gonna try this tonight on the stove as I didn’t find the recipe in time to slow cook it. I have several food allergies and cannot use anything in can due to the preservatives so I wont be using the soup and will be using everything fresh to make it gluten soy corn free. let you know how it is. cant wait!!!


  1. […] Crock-Pot Cowboy Casserole TIP : When hamburger is on sale at a great price, buy extra for meals later. When you get home from the store brown your ground beef, drain and rinse and then store in labeled freezer bags and freeze for up to 6 months. When a recipe calls for browned ground beef just pull out a bag from the freezer and you are already one step ahead of the game! While doing a bit of organizing of my recipes and cookbooks this past weekend I came across this reci… […]

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