If you love drinking beer with your dinner but don’t want to drink it straight out of the bottle, there’s always beer chili.
Beer has a lot going on that makes it an excellent base for any dish.
From its high alcohol content (which helps boost flavor) to its low carbonation level (which allows it to be simmered rather than fermented), beer is versatile enough to pair well with just about anything.
The following beer chili recipes will show you how using beer as a base ingredient can bring new life into your favorite dishes.
What Kind Of Beer Should I Use In My Chili?
You have two options when choosing what type of beer to add to your chili.
You can either pick an all-American pale lager like Budweiser or Coors Light, or go local by picking something from your state’s best brewery.
- Coors Light
- Dogfish Head Ale
- Stone IPA
- Blue Moon Belgian White
- Sam Adams Summer Lager
- Molson Canadian
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Stella Artois
- Corona Extra
- Lagunitas IPA
- Guinness Draught
- Michelob Ultra
These beers are some of our favorites, but there are plenty more available.
If you’re not sure where to start, check out this list of the top 100 Best American Beers for inspiration.
How Much Beer Should I Use In My Chili?
When making beer-based chili, the amount of beer used depends on how thick or thin you’d like your chili sauce.
If you’re looking for something more “chili” tasting, add less beer.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something smoother and milder, add more beer.
The amount of beer used also affects the overall consistency of your chili.
For example, adding two liters of beer may result in a thicker chili sauce than one liter would, which could lead to a more uneven texture when eating.
To get the right balance between thickness and smoothness, start by determining the volume of your chili sauce.
To do this, pour some water into a measuring cup until it reaches full capacity.
Add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the water and stir thoroughly.
Measure out 1/4 cup of the mixture.
Pour in a little bit of the chili sauce, stirring constantly to ensure even distribution.
Repeat this process until all ingredients have been added.
Now measure out the desired amount of beer and add it slowly while stirring continuously.
Once the addition of beer is complete, continue stirring until the entire batch has been combined.
When done correctly, the chili sauce will thicken up noticeably after being stirred.
At this point, you’re ready to serve!
What Are The Best Beer Chili Recipes?
There are two main ways to incorporate beer into chili recipes: by adding additional ingredients or by brewing beer itself.
You can also combine both methods if you’d like! Here we’ll look at several different variations of each method.
Brewed Beer Chili Recipe #1: Add-Ins
- Add 1/4 cup beer per serving
- Cook until heated through
- Stir in other add-ins
Brewed Beer Chili Recipe #2: Brew Your Own Beer
- Choose one type of beer
- Mash in 5 gallons water
- Cover and let sit overnight
- Transfer to primary fermenter
- Ferment until desired gravity is reached
- Siphon off yeast sediment from bottom of fermenter
- Pitch yeast back into fermenter
- Primary fermentation ends when bubbling slows down
- Secondary fermentation begins
- Check every few days during secondary fermentation to see if bubbles have slowed down
- When foam stops rising after 3-5 days, siphon off remaining beer and store in airtight containers
- Add remaining beer to large pot over medium heat
- Bring mixture to boil
- Reduce heat to maintain simmering temperature
- Simmer until sauce reaches desired thickness
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and spices
- Remove from heat and serve hot
What Are Some Good Beer Chili Recipes?
Chili doesn’t have to mean ground beef or beans in tomato sauce.
Beer chili recipes are just another way to enjoy this classic comfort food without sacrificing taste.
- Classic Beef Chili Recipe
- Slow Cooker Black Bean and Chicken Chili
- Pork Tenderloin Taco Chili
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Easy Meatball Bolognese
- Baked Mac & Cheese
- Beef Enchilada Casserole
- Spicy Sausage and Potato Soup
- Creamy Corn Chowder
- Turkey Tacos With Spicy Chipotle Slaw
- Cheeseburger Pasta Salad
- Lemon-Basil Salmon
- Shrimp Scampi
- Fried Rice
- Honey Garlic Pork Lo Mein
- Mahi Mahi Ceviche
- Seared Flank Steak
- Smoky Bacon Brussels Sprouts
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Sweet Potatoes And Kale
- Vegetable Fried Rice
- Green Beans Almondine
- Jerk Chicken Wings
- Buffalo Style Dip
- Ranch Dressing
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Strawberry Mousse Pie
- Blueberry Cobbler
- Blackened Tilapia
- Barbecue Ribs
- Grilled Fish Packets
- Salmon Croquettes
- Ginger Lime Shrimp
- Oven Roasted Broccoli
- Crispy Sweet Potatoes
- Cajun Jambalaya
- Beer Can Brats
- Homemade Barbecued Turkey Leg Skewers
- Smoked Ham
- Potato Skins
- Beer Can Gratin
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Beer Can Poutine
What Are Some Tips For Making A Great Beer Chili?
There are many different types of beers available these days.
With so much variety in the market, choosing which one to use for this recipe may seem daunting at first.
You might even wonder if you should try something other than your usual brew.
But before you go down that road, consider this: Beer chili doesn’t have to mean “light beer.” If you choose to use darker or stronger beers instead, you won’t sacrifice quality.
In fact, darker beers tend to have more complex flavors and aromas, which means they work better in most dishes.
For example, stouts, porters, and bitters are all excellent choices for chili.
They often feature chocolate notes, coffee tones, smokey overtones, and citrus undertones, among others.
You can also find lots of options when it comes to lighter beers.
These include lagers like Budweiser and Coors Light, along with wheat beers like Blue Moon and Shiner Bock.
While these beers lack complexity, they offer their own unique qualities that fit nicely alongside the rest of the ingredients used in this recipe.
How Do I Make A Beer Chili?
There are several ways to approach this question.
You could start by choosing a type of beer from which to create your beer chili.
There are plenty of options available in stores today, including light lagers like Budweiser or Miller Light, dark ales such as Guinness, lighter pilsners like Coors Original, or something more exotic such as hoppy IPAs or barrel-aged beers.
If you’re looking for a specific style, try checking online retailers where they might have different flavors available.
Once you’ve chosen your type of beer, all you need to know next is what kind of meat, vegetables, spices, seasonings, etc.
you’ll use in your chili.
Once you’ve picked those items, the last step is figuring out whether you’ll use canned soup or not.
Many people prefer homemade soups because they are less processed and often contain more nutrients and vitamins than store-bought varieties.
However, if you’d like to save time and effort when preparing your beer chili, consider buying a ready-made product instead.
Canned stews and chilis are convenient, affordable, and offer a variety of ingredients to choose from.
The final decision comes down to personal preference.
Some may find that adding fresh herbs at the end of cooking adds extra flavor, while others enjoy leaving them in until the very end so their aroma permeates throughout the whole meal.
Ultimately, deciding whether to add additional ingredients or not boils down to personal taste.
What Is The Best Way To Make A Beer Chili?
There are several ways to go about making a good beer chili recipe.
You could use meat from beef or pork in place of chicken, add vegetables like peppers or onions, or try adding some beans for extra protein.
If you’re looking for something simple, however, you should stick to these three rules when choosing which ingredients to include in your beer chili.
- Choose a light-bodied lager over dark beers because they tend to have less body and more carbonation.
- They’ll also work better with other flavors since their lower ABV means more of them can fit in one serving.
- Add plenty of spices and herbs so the full flavor of the beer comes through without overpowering it.
- Use only fresh ingredients whenever possible.
- While dried chiles and canned tomatoes may save time, they lack the rich flavor found in freshly chopped veggies.
Now let’s take a look at our top 3 beer chili recipes!
How Can I Make My Beer Chili Even Better?
The first thing to consider when making this type of soup or stew is what kind of meat you’re adding.
Beef is great because it gives you lots of protein and fat which help ensure that every bite tastes good.
Pork chops also work really well in addition to beef or chicken thighs.
If you’re looking for something more exotic, add pheasant, rabbit, duck, or goose!
Next, choose the right beer.
Your choice here should depend on whether you want a light lager like Budweiser or a dark stout like Guinness.
Light beers tend to have less hops so they won’t overpower other ingredients while dark stouts give off flavors from roasted barley and chocolate malts.
You may not notice these extra elements if you only use one brand of beer, but having them in all of your food will round out your palate and make everything taste better.
Once you’ve decided on the beer you’ll need, start by heating up a pot over medium heat.
Once the oil heats up, drop in your onions and garlic and let them soften until you hear the sound of sizzling.
Add in your spices and herbs and stir constantly.
When your onion mixture starts smelling nice and fragrant, turn down the heat so that the aromas can cook away without burning.
Now, it’s time to get cooking! Pour in your stock and then slowly pour in your beer.
Keep stirring until you see bubbles forming around your pan.
Reduce the heat slightly and continue to simmer until liquid reduces and thickens.
In order to keep the beer at the correct temperature throughout the process, place a thermometer in the center of the pot and check every few minutes.
Be sure to remove the thermometer before serving your beer chili.
To finish the dish, add in your shredded cheese and sour cream.
Serve immediately after removing the thermometer to allow the flavors to develop further.
To serve, spoon the chili into bowls and top each serving with cheese and sour cream.
What Are Some Beer Chili Variations?
Here are some ways in which people have used beer as a basis for their chili.
You’ll find both traditional methods and unique twists on old favorites.
- Creamy Beer Chili – A creamy beer chili starts with a mixture of milk, cream, and flour.
- Then comes the beer-based sauce.
- Once everything is combined, a little bit of cheese is added.
- Finally, fresh vegetables like bell peppers and onions are sautéed until tender before being served over rice or pasta.
- Classic Beer Chili – Classic beer chili involves cooking ground beef and then adding seasonings, tomatoes, onion, beans, and spices.
- After simmering all of these ingredients together, beer is added.
- If you’re not a fan of tomato products, feel free to use tomato paste instead.
- To finish off the dish, either serve it over cooked noodles or top each bowl with shredded cheddar cheese.
- Beef & Beer Chili – Beef & beer chili starts with browning ground chuck meat first.
- Seasoning your beef while it cooks ensures that it tastes great no matter what else goes into it later.
- Next, add diced green chiles and chopped red bell pepper along with canned black beans.
- Add more seasoning if necessary, and once the beef is done, pour the entire pot of chili into a slow cooker.
- Finish by stirring in a few tablespoons of corn chips.
- Spicy Beer Chili – Spicy beer chili calls for making a spicy barbecue sauce and then combining it with ground beef.
- Seasoning your meat early means that it won’t taste bland when it gets mixed up with other flavors later on.
- For this recipe, start with one pound of ground beef.
- Chop half of it and place it in a skillet.
- Sauté the rest of the meat in another skillet.
- When both pans get hot, combine them together.
- Let the mixture cook for 5 minutes before turning down the heat.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of beer, stir quickly, and let cool slightly before serving.
- Homemade Beer Chili – Homemade beer chili starts with prepping dried beans from scratch.
- While they soak overnight, prepare your chili spice mix.
- Combine 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger.
- Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- In addition to the dry beans, add 1 medium yellow onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 large carrot, 4 stalks celery, 1 small zucchini, 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, and 6 cups of water.
- Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer.
- Simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes before straining through a colander.
- Return the drained broth to the pan and add the contents of the spice container.
- Stir to combine, and then slowly add 1/2 cup of beer per quart of liquid.
- Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with sliced avocado.
- Slow Cooker Beer Chili – Slow cooker beer chili is made exactly like the above homemade version except that it’s ready after two hours of simmering time.
- All of the same items go into the slow cooker including the spice mix, dried beans, and the spice jar.
- However, because the slow cooker doesn’t have a lid, you need to cover it loosely with aluminum foil after putting everything inside.
- As soon as the chili reaches room temperature, remove the foil and transfer it to a warmer area.
- Simultaneously, fill a measuring jug halfway full of the finished chili.
- Place the filled jug back under the stove where the burner was previously located.
- Heat the chili for 15 minutes, and then turn down the heat to “low” and continue heating for another hour.
- Serve immediately.
How Do I Make A Vegetarian Beer Chili?
A few years ago, my husband and I were at a restaurant where we had one of our first dates.
We ordered a variety of appetizers, including a large bowl of beer-chili soup.
The broth was made from scratch and contained a generous amount of cumin.
If you’re not familiar with this spice, consider adding it to everything in sight.
It adds depth and complexity to dishes without overpowering them.
Plus, like all spices, cumin has antibacterial properties that help keep food fresh.
I also recommend serving the chili hot or cold.
For me, it tastes best when served slightly warm.
This may sound counterintuitive if you think of chili being spicy, but trust me, once you taste how good it really is, you’ll never look back.
There are several different ways to prepare beer chili, so feel free to experiment!
- large pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound italian sausage ground
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 6 ounce tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano dried
- 2 teaspoons paprika smoked
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon ground
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes dried
- 12 ounce beer
- 28 ounce tomatoes crushed
- 14 ounce fire roasted tomatoes
- 15 ounce black beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 15 ounce kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup maple syrup pure
- cheese freshly grated
- sour cream
- tortilla chips
- red onion
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season the beef and sausage with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beef and sausage are browned and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place it on a plate. Place aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Stir in the onions, peppers, and garlic to coat. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Stir and mash the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, and chili flakes into the peppers and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato paste darkens in color, about 5 minutes. Reintroduce the beef to the mixture. Pour in the bottle of beer to deglaze the pan, stirring any browned bits to the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Combine the crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, beans, and maple syrup in a mixing bowl. Bring the ingredients to a boil. Cook for at least one hour, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking and the flavor has developed.