Need an Easy Summer Dip? Try This Cowboy Caviar Recipe Going Viral on TikTok

·4 min read
Cowboy cavier in a white bowl on white surface
Cowboy cavier in a white bowl on white surface

Rus32/Getty Images

Love it or hate it, you're intrigued by the latest TikTok food fad. Even if you're diligently FYP-free, it's hard to avoid the cross-posts on all forms of social media (group texts count!) of everyone and their mom getting into the trend. This week, it's Cowboy Caviar, a super simple dip that has seemingly endless riffs and uses. Dip tortilla chips, plantain chips, or a spoon in it! Use it to top a salad or nachos, or cook leftovers in a frittata.

So how do you make Cowboy Caviar? Here's how to make the simple summer dip that's certainly a crowd pleaser. Let's go viral (but, in the delicious way, of course).

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First, Prep Your Ingredients

Proportions and ingredients are totally up to you, but consider following @brialem's recipe to start—her version of Cowboy Caviar is TikTok's most liked. In Bria's version, she dices two jalapeños (remove the seeds if you want to cut down on spice), 3/4 of a red onion, a yellow, green, and orange bell pepper, and that's it. Make sure your dices are even and small, so they're easy to scoop. Of course, you can sub in whichever peppers you prefer, though using the rainbow makes it very visually attractive. You can also cut down on the amount of onion (or soak it in water before adding to eliminate some acid), or use leeks or shallots for a sweeter flavor.

Next, Mix It All Up With Corn and Beans

Add your diced ingredients to a bowl. Bria stirs in "a bunch of corn," which is enough to cover the other prepped ingredients. Freshly shucked yellow corn is ideal, and you can use it raw, boiled, charred, or microwaved. You can also use defrosted corn kernels or canned corn, drained and rinsed. Subbing in some white hominy (maiz blanco) for corn can add nice texture. Canned beans are easiest to use here too. Go for two cans of black and one can of pinto, or riff on your own bean combo with kidney beans, garbanzos, or whatever you like.

Stir in Your Pickle-y Stuff

For a touch of tang and some saltiness, here's where the brined ingredient goes in. Bria adds sliced black olives, which work well with the mix. You can also try green olives, capers, pickled jalapeños, pickled onions, pickled beets, pickled okra, sliced and marinated artichokes, fire roasted red peppers, or any of your other favorite ingredients that sit in brine. Just make sure you remove them from their juices and chop to a similar size of the other ingredients so they meld nicely. And why stop at just one? No reason to choose among your pickled delights—add them all if you want!

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Add Cheese

Crumbly cheese adds that special element of richness to this so-called caviar that makes it extra delicious. Feta works well for this, as does cotija, farmer's cheese, or queso fresco. Plant-based cheeses can also easily swap into this to keep the dish vegan.

Get Creative With Fruit

Bria's popular recipe uses diced mango for a touch of sweetness and an ode to mango salsa. You can also try adding orange slices, avocado chunks, tomato, or cucumber to up the freshness level in the caviar. This could also be a great time to add fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint. If you like crunch, consider dicing radishes or spring turnips for another element in the caviar.

Dress It Up

Toss in your dressing right before serving, because caviar sitting in the dressing for more than a day will get soggy. Bria's dressing recipe uses the juice of 3 limes, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 3 to 4 teaspoons taco seasoning, 2 to 4 teaspoons spicy honey, 3 teaspoons sugar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Shake that all up in a mason jar or emulsify using a blender, and don't be afraid to get a little creative with your dressing too.

Different citrus can be swapped for the lime, regular honey and hot sauce can be used, taco seasoning can be replaced with dried herbs, and cayenne pepper and red vinegar can add an extra tang. The point of Cowboy Caviar is to have fun, so run with your tastes!

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Try New Flavors

TikTok creators, naturally, are standing out with their own riffs on Cowboy Caviar. @sammymontgoms developed an Italian-style Cowboy Caviar using banana peppers, green olives with pimientos, salami, cubes of provolone, and white beans. Bria has also used her leftover caviar in a chicken salad, and @platesandpoppy created a completely vegan version. Additionally, TikTokers have used Italian or ranch dressing instead of making their own, and others have used packaged corn salsa and pre-made pico de gallo, mixed with a can of beans, for a very quick no-cook hack. Your turn!