Submit your best potluck recipe! Get votes! Win some fresh gear from Le Creuset! →

Cowboy Spaghetti

Tasty enough to make you yell yeehaw.

Here at 12 Tomatoes, we’ve made Cowboy Salad, Cowboy Soup, Cowboy Caviar, Cowboy Chicken, and Cowboy Casserole. Clearly we’re big fans of the style, but what it really means when you’re tacking the word “cowboy” onto a recipe is that it’s a very hearty and filling dish that usually features some sort of meat, some sort of beans, and a few zesty accompaniments. Well, that lineup would work perfectly well with pasta too, so it felt like it was high-time that Cowboy Spaghetti came to be. Here it is in all its hearty, spicy, cheesy glory and we dare say it just might be our favorite “cowboy” creation yet.

True to form, Cowboy Spaghetti starts with meat… in this case two kinds. Bacon that you crisp up in a skillet, and then ground beef (and onions) that get browned in the bacon drippings. (Yum.)

Then there’s some tomatoes and kidney beans and chili powder that head in to simmer for a few.

Followed by the aforementioned bacon and plenty of chewy spaghetti.

Oh, but we’re not done yet.

Once it’s all stirred together, the whole thing gets a blanket of cheddar and sliced jalapenos…

… and then it hangs out in the oven so everything has a chance to get bubbly and ooey-gooey and gorgeous. There’s some fresh green onion and more bacon to top it off with, just for good measure.

Talk about hearty, right? It’s also just spicy enough, comfortingly cheesy without being overwhelming, and tasty enough to make you yell yeehaw.

Serves 4

5m prep time

40m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 5 reviewers
  • 12 oz thin spaghetti
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated and divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pickled jalapeno slices, as needed
  • Green onions, sliced, as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large oven-proof skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel lined plate to drain. Once cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.
  4. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon drippings in skillet, then add the ground beef and onion. Cook until beef is no longer pink.
  5. Lower heat to medium-low, and stir in Worcestershire sauce, kidney beans, tomato sauce and tomatoes, and chili powder. Let simmer 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in pasta and crumbled bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons for topping. Stir in half of the cheese until melted and adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Top with remaining cheese and jalapeno slices. Bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Serve with reserved bacon and green onion. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen.