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Upgrade your spaghetti with some cowboy fixings: sliced jalapenos, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, and rotel tomatoes! It’s a hearty American version of a classic dish that everyone will love!

More ‘cowboy’ recipes you’ve got to try out next: cowboy breakfast casserole, cowboy hamburger soup, and cowboy beans! They’re all so hearty and chock full of the best mix-ins. Perfect for potlucks and get-togethers as the weather warms up!

A serving of Cowboy Spaghetti in a white bowl.

What is Cowboy Spaghetti?

Just the hearty, flavorful dinner you need this week. Cowboy spaghetti takes classic tomato pasta and makes it even better by throwing in sliced jalapenos for heat, allll the bacon, shredded cheddar cheese instead of parmesan, and smoky rotel tomatoes! One bite and you’ll be obsessed.

I know you might be thinking that a Tex-Mex twist on a classic Italian dish sounds odd, but trust me! It works. It’s so hearty and full of flavor, you won’t be able to resist getting a second helping! Let’s get into all of the tasty ingredients you’ll need to make it.

Ingredients in Cowboy Spaghetti

For easy prep, cowboy spaghetti uses a lot of simple spices and canned goods. It’s the best! The beauty is in the mix-ins, so feel free to add in any other hearty ingredients you’d like- diced green chilis, salsa, other types of cheese, you name it! And as always, exact measurement are in the recipe card below.

  • Dry Spaghetti: To soak up all the delicious sauce! You can also use other types of pasta as well, whatever you have on hand!
  • Chopped Bacon: Adds a delicious, meaty twist to the dish.
  • Lean Ground Beef: The main protein in cowboy spaghetti. You can also sub it out for ground turkey or even sausage.
  • Onion and Garlic: Get minced and added into the meat mixture to give it more flavor.
  • Seasonings and Spices: I used a mix of chili powder, salt, and pepper. You could swap out the chili powder for smoked paprika if you wanted something a little warmer and smokier with less heat.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds a complex savory and tangy flavor.
  • Rotel Tomatoes, Undrained: Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles adds a bit of spice and texture to the sauce. Use mild or hot, depending on your spice preference.
  • Tomato Sauce: This adds body and acidity to the sauce.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Perfect for sprinkling on top. It gets nice and melty!
  • Green Scallions, Diced for Garnish: These add a fresh, oniony bite and pop of color.
  • Jalapeno, Sliced for Garnish (optional, but highly recommended!): If you like things spicy, jalapeno adds a fresh kick to the dish.

How to Make It

Ready in 20 minutes, cowboy spaghetti is the best weeknight dinner! With all of its hearty mix-ins, it’s sure to satisfy everyone. Need more quick and easy dinner inspo? Here’s my full list of 30-minute meals!

  1. Cook Spaghetti Noodles: Cook the spaghetti noodles according to package instructions to al dente.
  2. Cook Bacon: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and chopped bacon pieces. Cook until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and then set aside.
  3. Cook Beef and Onion: Returning to the skillet, add the beef and diced onion. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is softened.
  4. Add Garlic: Add the garlic then stir and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  5. Mix in Extra Seasonings: Stir in the chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
  6. Combine: Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper then stir to combine.
  7. Add Pasta: Drain the cooked pasta and then add it to the skillet of meat and sauce.
  8. Garnish: Garnish with shredded cheese, green onions, and toppings then enjoy!
Spaghetti topped with shredded cheese, bacon, and jalapenos.

Customize Your Cowboy Spaghetti

  • Add More Spice: For an extra kick, use the hot version of Rotel tomatoes, add more chopped jalapenos while cooking the beef, or drizzle with your favorite hot sauce!
  • Mix in Beans: For more protein and some delicious texture, mix in a can of black or kidney beans.
  • Use Different Cheese: Try using shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese to switch up the flavor!

4-photo collage of the ground beef mixture being prepared and combined with the pasta.

Storing Leftovers

Let the cowboy spaghetti cool completely, then store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. If you’re looking to save it even longer, consider freezing the sauce/mix-ins in a separate container for up to 3 months. Thaw the sauce overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving over freshly cooked spaghetti. Enjoy!

A scoop of spaghetti on a wooden spoon.

More Easy and Delicious Cowboy Recipes

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  • Cook the spaghetti noodles according to package instructions to al dente.

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and chopped bacon pieces. Cook until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • Returning to the skillet, add the beef and diced onion. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is softened.

  • Add the garlic then stir and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.

  • Stir in the chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and tomato sauce.

  • Season the meat mixture with salt and pepper then stir to combine.

  • Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the skillet of meat and sauce.

  • Garnish with shredded cheese and toppings then enjoy!

Calories: 639kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 37gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 1048mgPotassium: 947mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1601IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 249mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.



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