Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

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A lightened-up version of the famous cowboy casserole made even easier in the slow cooker! This Crockpot Cowboy Casserole is oh-so-flavorful and packed with healthy ingredients.

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

My sister and brother-in-law have been staying with us for about a week now and have been helping me test recipes. This one was the biggest hit so far! While my brother-in-law does have a reputation for being a “bottomless pit” when it comes to food, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dish finished off so fast! This Crockpot Cowboy Casserole was an instant favorite, and my sister and brother-in-law made me promise to make it again before they leave in a few days.

Hot sauce being poured into the crockpot cowboy casserole

Using a slow cooker to make Cowboy Casserole:

Although many Cowboy Casserole recipes include Tater Tots®, they will never get that crispy texture we all love when fixed in a slow cooker. So, I’ve replaced the tots with petite red potatoes to create a healthy and delicious spin on the classic recipe. I recommend using baby red potatoes as they are better than other potato varieties at maintaining their texture during the long cooking time. However, you’ll want to be sure to cut the potatoes thinly so they cook in time! If you do want to try using the tots, I’d recommend adding them at the end and broiling/cooking the crockpot insert (as long as it’s oven-safe) in the oven.

Note: Crock-Pot is a trademarked brand of slow cooker. Any slow cooker will work in this recipe, provided it is the correct size (6 quarts).

  Overhead photo of Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

How to adapt this casserole to your family’s preferences:

  • Less spice – If you like your meals more on the mild side, I would recommend replacing the sausage with regular ground beef. You could also replace the sausage with turkey sausage for a lower-calorie alternative!
  • More spice – If you enjoy really full, spicy flavors, you may want to replace the kidney beans in this recipe with a can of chili beans. If you really love things hot, you can also increase the amount of hot sauce that you put into the recipe.
  • Toppings and condiments – Your favorite baked potato toppings are likely to pair great with this simple Crockpot Cowboy Casserole! You can add extra cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or green onions, etc. You might also want to put ketchup (usually a big hit with the kids), BBQ sauce, and hot sauce on your table!


How long does it take to cook this? Slow cookers have high and low settings, but the time required for cooking often varies from cooker to cooker. For this recipe, we suggest about 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. The first time you try this recipe, keep an eye on how it’s coming, so you’ll know for next time. Don’t open the lid too often to check, though. Every time you lift the lid, heat and steam escape and it can take 30 minutes for the slow cooker to regain its heating levels.

What can you serve alongside this Crockpot Cowboy Casserole?

Here are a few ideas for side dishes to complement this Crockpot Cowboy Casserole:

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole on a plate with lots of cheese.

More Simple Slow Cooker Recipes

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Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

5 from 20 votes
A lightened-up version of the famous cowboy casserole made even easier in the slow cooker! This Crockpot Cowboy Casserole is oh-so flavorful and packed with healthy ingredients.
Print Recipe

Crockpot Cowboy Casserole

5 from 20 votes
A lightened-up version of the famous cowboy casserole made even easier in the slow cooker! This Crockpot Cowboy Casserole is oh-so flavorful and packed with healthy ingredients.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword crockpot cowboy casserole
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 530kcal
Author Chelsea


  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage (can use ground turkey for a healthier alternative)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound baby/petite red potatoes, thinly sliced (no need to peel)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted corn, drained
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce Tabasco, Sriracha or your favorite
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup low-fat Colby jack cheese, freshly grated
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, sour cream


  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the sausage and chopped yellow onion; drain off any fat. Add to a 6-quart slow cooker. Top with the thinly sliced red potatoes.
  • Add the bell pepper, corn, kidney beans, undrained diced tomatoes, minced garlic, hot sauce, beef broth, and chili powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I use 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. You can always add more at the end.) 
  • Stir everything together and cover the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 3-5 hours or low for 5-7 hours-- or until potatoes are tender. Once everything is finished cooking, taste and adjust salt and pepper to preference. 
  • Add the freshly grated cheese in an even layer over everything and allow it to melt. Serve hot with additional hot sauce as desired and fresh cilantro.


Recipe Notes

Nutrition information does not include the optional toppings.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 1038mg | Potassium: 1010mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 726IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 3mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.


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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    what a great all in one recipe, at least for me, it has petty much all of the stuff (veg, legumes, proteins) that my slow carb thing requires, thank you

  2. Oh boy would my husband love this! Not that I wouldn’t, but his meals are way heavier than mine. Can’t wait to surprised him with it. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!! So easy and yummy, my husband was raving about how tasty it was! Thank you for a delicious and easy crock pot recipe!

  4. Have you made this with an instant pot? Looks yummy but working all day would make it hard to make in a crockpot. Just wondering about the conversion time?

  5. I was able to do this in my electric pressure cooker with the same steps except I cooked it on high for 6 minutes after step 3. I did natural release just because I was in the middle of something so not sure if it’d be long enough for immediate steam release!

  6. 5 stars
    This was a really great meal! I made a few changes—added sliced frozen okra and black eyed peas. I substituted jalapeño for bell pepper. I ended up cooking the potatoes in the microwave & put them in the bottom of the bowl when serving. Lots of great edits you can make to this dinner!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this tonight in my pressure cooker (6 minutes on high with natural release). Oh my goodness!! This was so good. Will definitely make again. I had to sub plain corn because I could not find fire roasted corn at Publix.

  8. I was wondering if you can prepare everything in the crockpot and then refrigerate it overnight so that you can just put it on low before work the next morning and have it ready when you get home from work? Or is it possible to make it ahead and freeze it in a gallon ziplock? I’ve done this with some other crockpot freezer meals and then you just thaw and dump in the crockpot whenever ready to use. Thanks!

    1. 5 stars
      I did this last night and it turned out delicious! I only left out the beef broth and added it in the AM when I turn on the crockpot, the rest of it I chopped & mixed in the crockpot bowl and into the fridge overnight- so delicious! My picky fiancé wants this on normal rotation!

  9. 5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe. Seriously, I make it at least 2-3 times a month. I use turkey sausage and it is so yummy!

  10. 5 stars
    I didn’t have the 4 hours , so I baked it at 400 for 40 minutes then topped with cheese for another 15 minutes ! It was GREAT !! Will definitely make this again ! And, my husband is picky and he loved it too !! Thank you !!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this tonight for my family!
        It was a big hit, very tasty n so easy!
        Thank you, this will be a keeper!

  11. 5 stars
    My wife is the chef in the household. She blows my mind with the stuff she can make… But I wanted to cook for her for a change so I went with this. It came out way better then I had hoped and I’ll definitely be making this again. The video really helped because I need to be shown what to do. With cooking it’s different for me, I can read instructions or directions all day, but I still don’t know if I’m doing it the same. So thank you for that! Currently looking for a new recipe for this weekend! 👍🏼

  12. 5 stars
    I juat made this for supper tonight and it is absolutely delish!!! Will definitely make it again. I didn’t have the right meat you suggested but I added other seasons to make it like Italian sausage flavor.
    Love soooo many of your recipes…do you limit the number we can save????
    Vicki Riley

  13. Chelsea you posted a recipe on Facebook that I wanted to make but can’t find it now. It was Beef and broccoli ramen. Could you repost recipe. Thank you

  14. 5 stars
    This was amazing…we eat dinner after midnight due to work hours…Im always looking for something filling ,healthy, and enough to last for four weeknight dinners for the 2 of us…this is my new favorite go too…yay!!!

  15. 5 stars
    This was super delicious!! And so easy to make too!! Will definitely be putting this in our dinner rotation. 🙂

  16. 5 stars
    Really enjoyed this recipe. Flavors are good and spice/heat can be made to your liking. I didn’t have time to use my crockpot so I prepared this on top of the stove in a deep skillet with a lid. Came out great. Tonight is the third time I’m making this recipe on the stove top. Thanks for a good recipe, especially for a cools day.

  17. Can I make and freeze this for an upcoming party? I’m wondering how the sliced potatoes hold up after being frozen?
    Thank you.

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