The Best Cowboy Caviar

This Cowboy Caviar recipe is one of my favorite recipes to bring to a potluck or BBQ. Black beans, black eyed peas, avocado, tomatoes, and shoepeg corn tossed in a light zesty Italian dressing. Eat with chips or just a fork!

There are a lot of Cowboy Caviar recipes but this one has withstood the test of time and is really the best.

This Cowboy Caviar recipe is always the first thing to be eaten when taken to BBQs. I could eat this alone for lunch. It’s one of my favorite appetizers for feeding a crowd.
My mother-in-law Sheri gave me this recipe. All the measurements are approximate to feel free to adjust it to your tastes.


  • 1 15 ounce can black eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can shoepeg corn , drained and rinsed (see note)
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes , seeds removed and diced or 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2-3 diced avocados , ripe but still firm
  • 4 green onions , sliced thin
  • around 1/2 to 3/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped finely
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • ground pepper and salt to taste


  1. Drain and rinse the black eyed peas, black beans, and corn. Add to a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes, making sure the seeds and insides are removed. You want to do this to make sure that there isn't too much liquid in the dip. Add the diced tomatoes and cilantro to the bowl. Slice the green onions finely and add to the bowl. Dice the avocado and squeeze a little of the lime juice over the avocados so they don't brown as quickly. Squeeze the rest of the lime juice into the bowl. Add the Italian dressing and stir to coat all the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator until cold and flavors have marinated together. This is best served the same day as prepared. Serve with tortilla chips.


  • You can also use regular corn or grilled corn when in season.
  • If making this ahead of time add everything but the avocado and when you add the avocado squeeze a little lime juice over them so they don't brown as quickly.