Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (2024)

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Rachael recently attended a huge church teen event that had a Chili Cook-Off, and she informed me that not only did I need to make chili more often, but I needed to try making different kinds of chili.

Fair enough. I’d been making the same type of chili for at least five years now, so it was time to try something new.

I discovered that Jamie Deen (one of Paula Deen’s sons, of course) has a very popular award-winning chili recipe.

And his cookbook Jamie Deen’s Good Food: Cooking Up a Storm with Delicious, Family-Friendly Recipes, has some really great reviews on Amazon, including ones calling it “normal food for normal families” and “delicious and didn’t have me searching all over town for obscure and expensive ingredients!”

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (1)Jamie Deen’s Good Food: Cooking Up a Storm with Delicious, Family-Friendly RecipesJamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (2)Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (3)Y’all Come EatJamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (4)Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (5)The Deen Bros. Take It Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love: A CookbookJamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (6)

Need to Freeze Your Chili?

One of the great things about chili is that you can make extra (and this recipe makes a lot!) and freeze some or all of in portion sizes for future meals.

One of the things I like to do is wake up one morning about a month later, dump the frozen leftovers into the crockpot, and turn it on low. Pretty easy way to make dinner, huh?

The only problem is that packing up and storing those leftovers can be kind of a pain.

Big Tupperware-like containers take up too much space in the freezer (and I’ve even had some containers crack from the cold temperature).

Freezer bags work better, but getting the chili into the bag is usually a two-person job that ultimately makes a mess no matter how I do it.

That’s why I was excited to find these really cool plastic racks for filling storage bags.

No-Spills Adjustable Baggy Rack Stands

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (7)No-Spills Adjustable Baggy Rack StandsJamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (8)

It makes the job much easier — and a whole lot less messy! You fasten the freezer bag under the clips, which makes the bag “stand up” and stay open so you can easily pour your chili in.

If you give these a try, be sure to check out this advice from Amazon reviewer LV:

For those of you that reviewed about it not being strong enough to hold a sandwich baggy. I had this problem in the beginning. Then it dawned on me!! The base between the arms is to HOLD the contents.

Place your baggy and adjust the clips low enough to where the bottom generously covers the base.

Now when filling, the cups and arms hold the baggy up and the base holds the weight. Just like in the seller’s picture. Should have looked earlier!! Genius!!

One extra bonus — if you like to clean and re-use your baggies, it also doubles as a drying rack!

CLICK HERE to see a video demonstration of how these cool baggie racks work.

What Does Adding Beer to Chili Do?

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The idea of using beer in a chili recipe was intriguing to me: not only did it sound like something that would be tasty, but it also struck me as something that “cool people do.”

But other than sounding cool (“Hey, there’s beer in this chili!”), what does the beer actually do?

According to this forum, beer is used in cooking for the same reason that wine usually is.

When you’re making a pot of chili, you’re doing what’s called a “reduction” (thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture).

You already have plenty of water from the cans of tomatoes, so adding more water would be … well, kind of boring.

The beer adds a “malty” flavor, and its sugars that give the chili a deeper flavor.

So what kind of beer should you add?

Basically, whichever kind you like!

I use Sam Adams Boston Lager, because that’s what Rob drinks and we typically have it in the house.

I’ve also heard Dos Equis recommended as a good “chili beer.”

The more flavor your beer has, the more it will impact the flavor of your chili.

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (10)

What Gives Chili the Best Flavor?

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My family always jokes about how when you find a recipe online, the comments will say something like:, “This is a great recipe! Instead of butter, I used coconut oil. Also, I cut the amount of sugar by half, used cloves instead of nutmeg, doubled the amount of cinnamon, and added some ginger. We all loved it.”

If you’re the kind of person who likes to experiment with recipes, here are things you might want to try adding to your next batch of chili:

  • Cinnamon (I’ve done this and love it, but other family members do not)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Molasses
  • Soy Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Mangoes (yes please)
  • Sriracha (no thank you)
  • Honey (ooh boy, would my family hate that)
  • Olives
  • Barbecue Sauce

Also, I bet it would be interesting to substitute coffee for the beer, although I have not tried it.

If you do, let us know how it came out in the comments!

We topped our chili with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Fritos. Rebecca made mini corn muffins on the side.

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We also like to make rice to go with our chili.

For one thing, my oldest daughter Rachael loves rice and will eat an entire bowl by itself and call it a meal.

Plus I like the fact that it’s an inexpensive way to make stretch the chili out and make it last longer.

I use the Aroma 8-cup rice cooker.

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (13)Aroma Rice Cooker With Delay TimerJamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (14)

One thing that’s nice about the rice cooker is that it has a delay timer, so you can set up your rice, and then begin making the chili and forget all about the rice, knowing it will ready when you need it.

Almost everyone in my family agreed that this was better than my usual chili.

The one exception was my middle daughter, Rebecca. However, Rebecca dislikes sausage (for some crazy reason), so that could be why she didn’t care for it as much.

If you have someone in your home who isn’t a sausage fan, I’m sure you could just substitute more ground beef, or even ground turkey, if you wanted to.

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (15)

Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe

Yield: 6 tp 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • 12-ounce bottle beer
  • 42 ounces of canned diced tomatoes
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Sour cream, cheddar cheese, olives, tortilla chips, and other optional toppings


  1. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  2. Once hot, add the onions and peppers and saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute until just fragrant.
  4. Stir in the beef and sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
  5. Drain the beef mixture through a colander. Add it back to the Dutch oven and stir in the chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Stir the tomato paste into the beef mixture; this will “toast” it and give the chili more flavor.
  7. Add the beer and stir up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  8. Bring to a simmer, and then add the diced tomatoes and beans.
  9. Simmer on medium-low for 2 hours, stirring on occasion to keep the bottom from sticking.
  10. Serve over rice, if desired, with toppings of choice

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Jamie Deen's Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer (2024)


What does adding beer to chili do? ›

Adding a bottle of beer to homemade chili can add some additional flavor and depth to the dish, but whether it makes the chili taste better or not depends on personal preferences. The addition of beer to chili can add some maltiness, bitterness, and sweetness to the flavor profile.

What is the best beer for cooking chili? ›

The best type of beer for chili is typically a darker, maltier beer such as a stout, porter, or brown ale.

How does Martha Stewart make chili? ›

Add chili powder, cocoa, and tomato paste; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes, broth, and cooked beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until thickened slightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve with sour cream and chives.

Do you put beer or wine in chilli? ›

According to Wide Open Eats, pinot noir is the best red wine option due to its berry and earthy tones, dark stout beers will release more sweetness and add a depth of flavor that makes it taste like the chili has been simmering for hours, and any type of original flavored hard cider is good.

Which beer is best for cooking? ›

Wheat beers are great for chicken and seafood. If you're cooking pork, beef, and lamb, you will need ales, porters, and stouts. Hearty meat goes well with belgian ales. Stews pair well with ale.

Is chili better with beer? ›

Go on, spill the beans — we won't tell!) Here's a secret we'll share with you: beer is the perfect drink to pair with chilli. Cold and thirst quenching, it refreshes your palate between each hot, savoury bite. What style of beer to choose depends on what's in the bowl.

How much beer should I add to chili? ›

And to me, beer is an essential ingredient. What I've found over the years is that different styles of beers can add different flavors and textures. What I do is just choose the beer I want, pour in a twelve ounce bottle once all the other ingredients are there and the chili is ready to simmer.

What is the most flavorful meat for chili? ›

The best chili meat is a combination of meats, often a mix of ground chuck, ground sirloin, brisket, diced tri-tip, and/or some bacon or sausage. Do your best to mix smaller pieces with larger pieces to stack textures and make it your own! Happy cooking!

Does beer make chili bitter? ›

Adding a bottle of beer to homemade chili can add some additional flavor and depth to the dish, but whether it makes the chili taste better or not depends on personal preferences. The addition of beer to chili can add some maltiness, bitterness, and sweetness to the flavor profile.

What is the trick to a good chili? ›

Rumi Spice's top tips for making chili:
  1. Brown the Meat.
  2. Don't Forget Vegetables.
  3. Elevate with Extra Flavor.
  4. Only Add Flavorful Liquids.
  5. Opt for Dried Beans.
  6. Season Early and Often.
  7. Add Some Acidity at the End.
  8. Top It Off.

Does Ina Garten have a chili recipe? ›

It's no surprise that Ina's chili recipe is a cinch to make. You start by cooking a ton of onions in a pot until translucent, then adding garlic, bell peppers, and several spices — including chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. Next, Ina has you crush canned plum tomatoes with your hands.

How do you make chili taste richer? ›

I like to give my chili a little more complexity, so I'll often add canned chipotle chili peppers, a touch of cinnamon or Chinese 5 spice, chocolate and cilantro or coriander. A few other flavor boosting ingredients could be: smoked sausage, grilled corn kernels, coffee, beer or roasted tomatoes.

What not to put in chili? ›

Beans and non-vegetable fillers such as rice and pasta are not allowed." If that sounds a bit uptight, the ICS's Homestyle Chili competition defines chili as: "any kind of meat, or combination of meats, and/or vegetables cooked with beans, chili peppers, various spices, and other ingredients.

Why do you put peanut butter in chili? ›

It also can help add richness by complementing the chile powder with its nutty sweetness, and the healthy fats in peanut butter can even tame your chili if it's too spicy. Next time, when making your favorite tomato-based chili recipe, consider adding a hearty tablespoon or two of peanut butter.

Which beans go in chili? ›

The best beans for chili are pinto, kidney, and black beans, like in this easy and tasty recipe. This 3-bean chili freezes great for meals later in the week. If you prefer thinner chili, add an extra can of tomato sauce. The green chiles are not hot and add a wonderful flavor, so don't be afraid to use them.

Will beer make chili less spicy? ›

On the other hand, alcohol is an irritant, meaning that it will likely only make the sensation more intense. So, while beer doesn't help reduce the pain from chili peppers, it is an excellent option for those looking for a more intense spiciness.

Does beer intensify spice? ›

Moreover, beer actually can make the spice effect worse. A super sour beer or one with huge bitterness, like an India pale ale, only intensifies the heat in your mouth because it also can be an irritant. The same with high alcohol levels.

Does beer cook out of chili? ›

The science: Alcohol does partially evaporate during cooking, but not as much as you might think. Depending on the cooking method and how much alcohol is used, anywhere from 4 to 85 percent of the alcohol may remain. After 15 minutes of cooking, about 40 percent of the alcohol remains.

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

Try a little fenugreek, turmeric, garam masala, or sumac to layer in more complex flavors. Smoky paprika is my own personal favorite. Squash, pumpkin, or sweet potato: Traditionalists would scoff, but soft chunks of slightly sweet butternut squash or sweet potato are delicious in a smoky chili.

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