Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole

File this Crockpot Cowboy Casserole under hearty and family-friendly crockpot dinner recipes. My husband loved the beef and potatoes in this slow cooker meal!

There are some recipes I just know my husband will love, and Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole falls solidly in that category. The name of the dish screams meat and potatoes, and the ingredients back that up nicely. When the tomatoes, spices, and kidney beans are added it turns into a love child of roasted potatoes and chili, and then you really have no choice but to top it with cheese.

I made this dish when my in-laws were visiting, and we all really liked it. Since my mother-in-law is a founding member of Crock Pot Thursday, and prides herself on never skipping a weekly recipe, she plans on making this in her own kitchen soon. We agreed that chili beans would be delicious if substituted for the red kidney beans, so if you’re looking for a little more zing to your recipe, try that modification.

I used mozzarella cheese because that’s what I had on hand, but cheddar, Monterrey jack, or Colby jack cheese would be excellent on top of this casserole.

My 3.5 Quart Crock-Pot Casserole Slow Cooker was perfect for this recipe, but any sort of slow cooker would work well.

UPDATE: Based on reader feedback (thank you to everyone who commented!) I’ve updated the directions to highlight the importance of generously salting and peppering the potatoes when they go in the slow cooker. Potatoes are bland without seasoning, and without this step, the dish will be a bummer. If you’re looking for more of a taco-type flavor, add some taco seasoning, chili powder, or cumin to the beef as it’s browning.

This Crockpot Cowboy Casserole is a hearty and family-friendly crockpot meal. My husband loved this slow cooker recipe!

Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1½ pounds ground beef, browned and drained
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1½ inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  1. While the ground beef is browning, place potatoes in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Salt and pepper generously.
  3. Add onions and minced garlic.
  4. Layer ground beef on onions and garlic, and top with kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and water.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.
  6. When there is about 15 minutes of cook time left, sprinkle cheese on top of dish and cover again until cheese is melted.


I made it with the chili beans, and it was delicious–especially with the sour cream we dolloped on! I also think some corn or carrots or peas would be delicious. Maybe that would take the place of the sour cream–for a bit more low-fat meal.

I like the idea of chili beans, and of sour cream. Like most casseroles, this one is adaptable based on tastes and ingredients on hand.

Recipe modified from Amanda’s Cookin’.

37 thoughts on “Crock Pot Cowboy Casserole

  1. Made this Monday night; leftovers tonight. Did not change a thing. Next time I will use more onions.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. This was really, really bland. If I made it again (and I doubt I would), I would have to add cayenne and cumin. Sounded good, but no one in my household would eat it.

    1. Oh no, just saw your comment right as i finished putting everything in the crock pot! LOL. Hoping mine doesn’t turn out bland… just wondering, did you season your meat at all, or sub chili beans for kidney? I think I may add some cayenne & cumin, sounds great.

    2. This looks good but I can see how it could be bland too. I bet taco seasoning might be helpful. Or salsa on it once it’s served is another option.

  3. Tried the Slow Cooker Cowboy Potato Casserole exactly as listed. It was tasteless, very bland even after we added salt, pepper and some butter. Disappointing. One more recipe for the garbage.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Lo. I’m sorry you didn’t like this dish. I’ve updated the post to address your concerns, and I hope you’ll give some of my other recipes a try!

  4. so disappointment I didn’t read the comments before wasting my time. So bland my family isnt going to like this at all! Its a big tasteless chili

  5. I made this and While it was very good I think it would have been better (for us) if I used chili beans. But overall it was a great meal/recipe!!

  6. Ok, I seasoned the meat with cumin, S&P. I seasoned the potatoes with S&P. I used chili beans. And, I used a can of Rotel instead of just tomatoes. In the crock pot now… we will see tonight how it all comes together.

  7. Did not care for and my husband did not go back for seconds. All good ingredients think would be better in oven as too much liquid in crock pot. I make new recipes all the time and live by new recipes.

  8. I think I am going to try this but I will use chili beans and a can of diced chiles. Also I think I will cook my ground beef in either onion soup mix or taco seasoning. But it sounds really good and hearty.

  9. I made this today, with a jar of salsa instead of the tomatoes+onion+garlic+sp. Also didn’t add water because I used a crockpot that seals well. I wanted it for lunch, so I did it on high for 3 hours until the potatoes cooked, and then low for a couple hours more, until it was time for lunch. Added some avocado to serve. We’re going to try to remember to make it again, as it was really good. The salsa definitely solved the problem some commenters had of it not being seasoned enough, and it was an excellent use of salsa that was a little too hot for us to like for just chips and salsa.

    1. I haven’t tried frozen potatoes, and would worry about them adding too much liquid to the finished product. If you used frozen potatoes, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

  10. I’ve done this about 4/5 times now & always add paprika cumin & little turmeric also added a knor paprica stock pot cube in1/4 cup of water really flavoursome – Thanks Amy!!

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