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This delicious cowboy beef and rice skillet boasts plenty of hearty Tex-Mex flavors in every mouthful. It’s a tasty combination of ground beef, rice, tomatoes, and beans, along with flavors such as garlic, cumin, paprika, and cheese. Skillet recipes like this are really easy and you can cook the whole thing in just one pot, which means a quick and easy cleanup afterward. This is the kind of flavorful recipe the whole family should enjoy.

A skillet filled with a cooked dish of rice, beans, corn, ground meat, and melted cheese, topped with sliced avocado, sour cream, diced tomatoes, and cilantro. This hearty cowboy beef and rice skillet is completed with a red cloth beside it.

This south of the border inspired cowboy beef and rice skillet makes a hearty, tasty dinner for cowboys, as well as for everyone else. And it’s easy to make using just one pot.

Other one pot recipes you might like to try include taco mac ‘n cheese, spinach and red bean shakshuka, and gouda and cream cheese corn. And these cowboy beans and cowboy sliders are also delicious.

A plate of Tex-Mex rice casserole topped with avocado slices, sour cream, and chopped tomatoes; surrounding the plate are bowls with avocado, greens, sour cream, and a cowboy beef and rice skillet dish in the background.

Why You’ll Love It

Hearty: This skillet cowboy rice casserole is a hearty and satisfying dish to fill everyone’s belly, whether you are making it for the family or for a weekend potluck or buffet.
Tasty: The combination of meat, rice, tomatoes, beans, cheese, and south-of-the-border seasonings gives this easy skillet meal so much flavor.
Simple: One pot recipes like this skillet cowboy rice casserole are typically easy to make, since only one pan is used and the ingredients are added at different stages of the recipe.

Top view of a Mexican-inspired cowboy beef and rice skillet dish with cheese, black beans, and corn, served on plates and garnished with avocado, sour cream, and chopped tomatoes. Fresh ingredients and utensils surround.

Cowboy Beef and Rice Skillet Ingredients

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below

Ground beef: Use ground chuck, ground sirloin or any other type of ground beef you prefer.
Long grain rice: This helps make the skillet casserole more filling.
Tomatoes: Both Rotel and fire-roasted tomatoes feature in this casserole.
Corn and beans: These ingredients offer nutrients and a pleasing texture. If you aren’t a black bean fan, you can use kidney beans or another kind.
Mexican cheese: This adds a creamy flavor to the dish. Use another type of cheese if you like. Colby Jack would be good here.
Seasonings: Garlic, chili, cumin, and paprika add plenty of incredible flavor to the skillet casserole.

A variety of ingredients for cooking a Cowboy Beef and Rice Skillet are displayed, including ground meat, shredded cheese, black beans, rice, corn, tomatoes, broth, an onion, and various spices in small bowls.

How to Make Skillet Cowboy Rice Casserole

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card

Cook the beef: Sauté the beef in olive oil until no longer pink. Drain the excess grease off if needed.
Add the seasonings: Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt.
Add more ingredients: Next stir in the broth, rice, tomatoes, Rotel, beans, and corn.
Cook: Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
The finishing touches: When the rice is cooked, stir in half the cheese and top with the rest of the cheese. Let it melt and then serve.

A fork lifts a bite of a Tex-Mex rice and bean dish with melted cheese, reminiscent of a hearty cowboy beef and rice skillet. The plate also holds sliced avocado, sour cream, tomatoes, and cilantro. Additional ingredients are visible in the background.

Substitutions and Variations

Beef alternatives: Ground pork or even ground turkey would work in place of the beef.
Adjust the spice: You can omit the chili powder for a milder flavor or increase it if you want it more fiery.
Another grain: You can use a different kind of rice or another grain such as quinoa or pearl barley.

A serving of a Southwestern cowboy casserole topped with avocado slices, sour cream, and cilantro. The dish contains black beans, corn, rice, and melted cheese.

Serving Suggestions

Side dishes: Air fryer onion rings would be a good side dish or these cowboy sliders might also be a tasty addition to the meal.
Desserts: Follow up with a Mexican dessert, perhaps something like Mexican rice pudding.
Drinks: Mexican horchata is delicious or perhaps you’d prefer some candy shots!

A cowboy beef and rice skillet filled with a cooked casserole topped with melted cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, cilantro, and diced tomatoes. A spoon is partially inserted into the dish.

How to Store This Beef Skillet

Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze: This recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Thaw: Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat: This is easy to reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.

A close-up of a spoonful of cheesy cowboy beef and rice skillet mixed with black beans, corn, ground meat, and vegetables being lifted from a skillet. Sliced avocado is visible in the background.

Top Tips

Drain the fat: Unless you’re using extra-lean ground beef, you might want to drain off the excess grease before adding any more ingredients to the skillet.
Use the right pan: Choose a heavy pan with high sides and a tight-fitting lid. If the lid doesn’t fit well, too much liquid will evaporate during the rice cooking part of the recipe.
Perfect rice: For the best results, get the sauce simmering gently and then leave the lid on as it cooks.

A skillet filled with a cheesy cowboy beef and rice dish that includes black beans, corn, and tomatoes, topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and red pepper slices.

Cowboy Beef Skillet Recipe FAQs

Is this recipe suitable for kids?

This is a family-friendly Mexican-inspired Tex-Mex recipe which everyone will love but if you’re making it for kids, you might want to omit the chili powder. You can also sneak in some finely diced veggies!

Can you make a vegetarian version?

Yes! If you swap the ground beef for your favorite vegetarian ingredient, perhaps chopped vegetables, another can of beans or some kind of vegetable protein.

What are some good toppings for this dish?

Sliced avocado, sour cream, pickled jalapeno slices, and cilantro are all great topping ideas. You can add these before serving or offer them separately at the table so people can top their own.

A fork lifting a portion of a cowboy beef and rice skillet containing rice, corn, ground meat, tomatoes, and melted cheese, garnished with avocado slices, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.

Cowboy Beef and Rice Skillet Recipe

5 from 1 vote

Cowboy Beef and Rice Skillet

By: Bella Bucchiotti
This south of the border inspired cowboy beef and rice skillet makes a hearty, tasty dinner for cowboys, as well as for everyone else. And it's easy to make using just one pot.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 Cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 14 1/2 Ounces diced tomatoes, fire-roasted
  • 10 3/4 Ounces Rotel, tomatoes
  • 15 Ounces black beans, canned, rinsed, and drained
  • 14 1/2 Ounces canned corn, canned, drained
  • 2 Cups Mexican cheese, shredded

Optional Toppings:

  • Sliced avocado, cilantro, sour cream, pickled jalapenos

Instructions 

  • In a large sauté pan, cook the beef until it is no longer pink. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt.
  • Stir in the broth, rice, tomatoes, Rotel, beans and corn. Allow the broth to come to a simmer, then cover with the lid and turn the heat down to 4 or medium low. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Check the rice after 15 minutes and make sure it isn’t too dry. If necessary, add a little more broth or water. Replace the lid and continue cooking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Check the rice for doneness. Stir in half of the cheese, then top with the remaining cheese. Remove the skillet from the heat and place the lid back until the cheese melts.
  • Serve with all your favorite toppings.

Notes

Drain the fat: Unless you’re using extra-lean ground beef, you might want to drain off the excess grease before adding any more ingredients to the skillet.
Use the right pan: Choose a heavy pan with high sides and a tight-fitting lid. If the lid doesn’t fit well, too much liquid will evaporate during the rice cooking part of the recipe.
Perfect rice: For the best results, get the sauce simmering gently and then leave the lid on as it cooks.

Nutrition

Calories: 637kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 1016mg | Potassium: 882mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 659IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 339mg | Iron: 5mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Everyone is going to love this cowboy beef and rice skillet. It’s bursting with all those amazing south of the border flavors, and makes a hearty and tasty dinner. This is a one-pot meal so it’s simple to prepare and there won’t be much cleanup afterwards. It’s a fun and rewarding experience to make, as it’s so quick and easy, and you get to savor the results! Pair it with your favorite vegetables or perhaps a green salad. This is a recipe you might want to add to your regular meal rotation.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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