BEST Beer Chili Recipe (Slow Cooker or Stovetop)

This is the BEST Spicy Beer Chili recipe! A hearty one-pot chili with beans that’s rich and perfect for game day. You can make it on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in the instant pot.

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Overhead close up of bowl of spicy beer chili.

Tracking PixelThere’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 chili seasoning 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.”

Two bowls of beer chili on counter.

This spicy beer 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 (which I make in the instant pot or my rice cooker).

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.

Ingredients needed

  • Ground Beef – I like to use lean ground beef. You can also swap in ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Onion – You can use a yellow, white or red onion.
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper.
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Beer – You can use dark or light beer. Or, if you’d prefer to not use alcohol, you could also swap in some chicken or beef broth, or just leave it out entirely.
  • Kidney Beans – Canned and undrained. You can also use pinto beans or black beans.
  • Petite Diced Tomatoes – Canned and undrained.
Ingredients for spicy beef and beer chili with beans

How to make it

  • Sauté the ground beef and onion in a large pot on medium-high heat, until browned. Drain the fat.
  • Stir in the chili seasonings, beer, beans and tomatoes.
  • Bring to boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Slow cooker directions

  • In a large skillet, saute the ground beef and onion until browned. Drain the fat.
  • Add the ground beef and onion to your slow cooker and stir in the seasonings, beer, beans and tomatoes.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Instant pot directions

  • Turn your instant pot to SAUTE.
  • Once hot, brown ground beef with diced onions.
  • Hit CANCEL. Add in your liquid, beans, tomatoes and chili seasonings and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This is important–if you don’t scrape off the browned bits, the Instant Pot may not come to pressure. 
  • Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the knob to vent and quick release the pressure before removing the lid.
  • Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Topping ideas

Two bowls of chili on counter ready to be eaten. topped with sour cream, radishes and jalapenos.

How to make ahead & store

To Store: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To Reheat: Gently reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also microwave the leftovers.
To Freeze:  I like to portion the leftover chili 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! You can freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe FAQs

What does beer do to chili?

Beer adds flavor to chili and helps to tenderize the meat. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, you’ll love the flavor in chili. It adds a hint of sweetness and balances out the heat from the spicy chili flavorings.

When should you add beer to chili?

Add the beer with the chili spices and use it to help deglaze the pot, by scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Can I use beer instead of water in chili?

Yes! You can add beer to any of your favorite chili recipes. It will give the chili a hint of sweetness, help to balance out the spices, and to tenderize the meat.

What kind of beer goes in chili?

You can add any kind of beer that 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.

What spices go in chili?

Add in your usual chili seasoning blend of chili powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne, and then let it all simmer for about 15 minutes.

What to serve with it

Wine pairings

  • Zinfandel makes a perfect match with chili with its dark fruit aromas, hints of smokiness and just the right amount of tannins.

More chili recipes

Did you try this chili recipe with beer?

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More → 35+ Ground Beef Recipes

The BEST Beer Chili Recipe

This is the BEST Beer Chili recipe! A hearty one-pot chili with beans that’s rich, spicy and perfect for game day.
4.89 from 18 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 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-ounce can kidney beans (undrained)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)

Toppings

Instructions

Stove Top Directions

  • 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 with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Directions

  • In a large skillet, saute the ground beef and onion until browned. Drain the fat.
  • Add the ground beef and onion to your slow cooker and stir in the seasonings, beer, beans and tomatoes.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Instant Pot Directions

  • Turn your instant pot to SAUTE.Once hot, brown ground beef with diced onions. Hit CANCEL.
  • Add in your liquid, beans, tomatoes and chili seasonings and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This is important–if you don’t scrape off the browned bits, the Instant Pot may not come to pressure. 
  • Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 20 minutes. Turn the knob to vent and quick release the pressure before removing the lid. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Notes

  • To Store: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat: Gently reheat on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also microwave the leftovers.
  • To Freeze:  I like to portion the leftover chili 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! You can freeze for up to 3 months.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 695mg | Potassium: 419mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 660IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3.5mg

This recipe was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2023 to add new information. The spicy beer chili recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

18 thoughts on “BEST Beer Chili Recipe (Slow Cooker or Stovetop)”

  1. Little known fact- I LOVE chili. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I make it often! My husband and I both really love spicy chili so this recipe might have to be tested in our kitchen! If we make it- I’ll send you a pic 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  2. Hi, did you even make this? I followed the ingredients exactly and this was awful. I should’ve known by looking at the ingredients. It was like beef with water and no flavor… No garlic..? It wasn’t even spicy. It was bland and watery. I had to add a tin of tomato paste, garlic, and some smoked paprika to attempt to salvage this. This was horrible.

    Reply
    • Hi Cameron – As I mentioned in my post:

      “… truth be told, that’s how I’ve made it for years and years, but I kept getting requests for the recipe.”

      Obviously I’ve made this many times and I think that many would disagree with your rating of this recipe. I’m sorry you didn’t like it but I guess there are many different variations on chili. This is personally MY favorite recipe.

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    This is my husbands favorite recipe for chili! He begs me to make it all the time! Thank you for the recipe I kinda do my own thing for the spices for my own touch. It’s a household hit!

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Good recipe however I added fire roasted Chili’s and bell pepper. I also added more cumin and chili pepper to taste. I used Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a local favorite. A stout like Guinness would also work well with this recipe. I doubled the batch so I could vacuum seal and freeze individual servings for future meals. A vacuum sealer should be in every cooks kitchen. Thank you for sending this out.

    Reply

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