My Spicy Beef & Beer Chili is a hearty one-pot chili that’s rich and spicy and perfect for chilly nights.
There’s something I find so warm and comforting about a bowl of chili and I find myself craving it weekly when it’s chilly outside. I’ve been making this chili, with a few modifications here and there, since college.
The first year or so of making this chili, I always started with a packet of chili seasoning from the grocery store. Super simple, and inexpensive for the most part. But one night, I was desperate to make this easy dinner, but I realized I had everything on hand but the seasoning packet. So, I rummaged through our spice cabinet and came up with my own spice blend – amping up my favorite flavors like cumin and oregano, and giving it a hearty dash of cayenne for lots of heat.
I seasoned as I went and kept adding here and there until it tasted just right. And, truth be told, that’s how I’ve made it for years and years, but I kept getting requests for the recipe. So, today I actually measured everything out and wrote down my recipe for spicy beef & beer chili, which I’m going to dub “Erin’s Spicy Beef & Beer Chili.”
Which Beer Is Best for Chili?
Now, you may be wondering about the beer… I say, add whatever you have on hand with one exception – Skip the IPA. I’ve tried it a couple times, with a couple different brands, and I find that the extreme hoppiness just overpowers all the chili seasonings. But I have used dark porters, mexican lagers and brown ales all with great success. If you’re anti-alcohol, you could also swap in some chicken or beef stock, or just leave it out entirely.
This chili may be a bit more thin than you’re used to. Like, say, this wouldn’t make the best topping for a hot dog because it’d be all over the place. But, I made it this way for a reason, and you’ll have to tell me if this is odd, or if this is how you eat your chili too – I like to serve it over rice.
Growing up, whenever my Nana LaMancuso made chili, she’d always serve it up with a pot of rice. We’d ladle the spicy chili over top, fix it up with our toppings and then eat it all up with a spoon. Ever since then, I’ve eaten it the same way, and I like my chili to be a bit soupy.
So, to keep it that way, I not only add in the beer, but I also throw in a can of chopped tomatoes and kidney beans, both undrained. Their cooking liquids really help to blend all the flavors together and the bean “broth” gives it a silky texture. I prefer to use petite diced tomatoes because they break down so nicely while the chili simmers.
I topped these bowls with just a bit of sour cream and some sliced jalapenos, but feel free to dress your spicy beef & beer chili up any way you like it – Cheddar cheese seems to be a crowd favorite too.
Can You Freeze Chili?
Yes, absolutely if you have leftovers, this chili freezes perfectly. I like to portion it into freezer bags in individual serving sizes and place them on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, I stack them in the freezer making for an easy individual lunch!
If you loved this Spicy Beef & Beer Chili I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
Spicy Beef & Beer Chili
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup beer dark or light
- 1-15 oz. can kidney beans undrained
- 1-14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes undrained
- Sour cream for topping (optional)
- Jalapeno pepper for topping (optional)
- Rice for serving (if desired)
- Cook ground beef and onion in a large pot on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until browned (about 4 minutes). Drain fat.
- Stir in seasonings, beer, beans and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice, topped with sour cream and sliced jalapenos, if desired.
Wine Pairings for Chili:
- Zinfandel makes a perfect match with chili with its dark fruit aromas, hints of smokiness and just the right amount of tannins.