This easy Venison Chili recipe is hearty and delicious, perfect for the cold months of hunting season or any time you have ground venison in your freezer.

Venison chili in a white bowl.

When you’re lucky enough to have a freezer full of deer meat, or you know someone who does, making a big pot of chili is a no-brainer.

And, this recipe can be made on the stove, in an Instant Pot, or in your slow cooker.

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Venison Chili Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled venison chili ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes

  • Bell peppers: Or add or substitute carrots, celery, corn, or zucchini.
  • Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
  • Kidney beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney.
  • Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes work, too.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil in over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
Vegetables cooking in a black pot.
  1. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add venison and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the venison is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Venison chili ingredients cooking in a black pot.
  1. Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for 30 minutes longer.
Venison chili in a black pot.
  1. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese, scallions, and sour cream.
A bowl of venison chili.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings, about 2 quarts chili.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
  • Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Instant Pot: Sauté the onions, peppers, spices, garlic, and venison in an Instant Pot until the venison is browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf and mix well. Cook on manual or high pressure for 10 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done.
  • Slow cooker: At the end of step 2, transfer the cooked venison mixture to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 3, cover and cook the chili on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
  • More toppings: Cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado, cooked bacon, fresh cilantro, minced onion, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.

Homemade Chili Seasoning

The best secret ingredient for chili is Homemade Chili Seasoning, a blend of herbs and spices that take ordinary ground beef and beans to the next level. Skip the packet and the expensive little jar…

3 minutes
View Recipe

More hearty recipes

A bowl of venison chili.

Venison Chili

This easy Venison Chili recipe is hearty and delicious, perfect for the cold months of hunting season or any time you have ground venison in your freezer.
4.99 from 53 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 259

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (see note 2)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 pounds ground venison
  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans kidney beans drained and rinsed (see note 3)
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles undrained (see note 4)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • shredded cheese and scallions and sour cream, for serving

Instructions 

  • In a Dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil in over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chipotle chili powder, thyme, coriander, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add venison and cook, breaking up the clumps with a spoon, until the venison is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for 30 minutes longer. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with shredded cheese, scallions, and sour cream.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Bell peppers: Or add or substitute carrots, celery, corn, or zucchini.
  2. Chipotle chili powder: Substitute ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or omit if you don’t like spicy food.
  3. Kidney beans: 3 cups cooked beans can be substituted for the 2 cans (that’s about 1 cup dried beans before cooking). You can use any type of canned or cooked bean instead of kidney.
  4. Canned tomatoes: I love the flavor of fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles, but you can substitute regular canned tomatoes and add 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies. Ro*tel tomatoes work, too.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 8 (1-cup) servings, about 2 quarts chili.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: Cool within 2 hours, cover, and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. Reheat the full recipe on the stove over low heat to 165 degrees. Reheat small batches in the microwave.
  8. Freezer: Cool cooked chili to below 40 degrees on an instant-read thermometer within 2 hours and place into airtight containers. Frozen chili will last 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  9. Instant Pot: Sauté the onions, peppers, spices, garlic, and venison in an Instant Pot until the venison is browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and bay leaf and mix well. Cook on manual or high pressure for 10 minutes. Fast release the pressure when done.
  10. Slow cooker: At the end of step 2, transfer the cooked venison mixture to a slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 3, cover and cook the chili on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
  11. More toppings: Cheese, sour cream, and scallions are classics. You can also try diced avocado, cooked bacon, fresh cilantro, minced onion, hot sauce, lime wedges, tortilla chips, corn chips, or oyster crackers.

Nutrition

Calories: 259kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 27gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 220mgPotassium: 641mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2435IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 6mg
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Comments

  1. If I could give this 10 stars I would! I used 1lb venison and 1lb beef. Stuck to the rest to a T. WOW! Thank you for this wonderful recipe.5 stars

  2. I tried your recipe for this venison chili . It was a hit I’ve got six hungry boys to feed and they said it smelled good5 stars

  3. Followed the recipe for the most part and it was delicious! I added a teaspoon of cacao powder and will add bacon next time. Served it with sweet potato and tortilla chips, super yummy:)5 stars

  4. My son and I just made this chili with a few changes due to what we had on hand and it was excellent! We added two deseeded jalapenos to it. We added half a pack of bacon cooked and chopped up. We added two stalks of celery diced up. We left out the chipotle chili pepper because we didn’t have any. We also used crushed tomatoes because we did not have pureed ones. We used chunky rotel tomatoes with green chili’s. This was very very good! Thank you for giving us a starting point for making a delicious dish using ground deer meat. We also made it in the Instant Pot according to your directions.5 stars

    1. Hi Megan, this chili could have some spice because there is not a standard for what chili powder is- it’s usually made up of different combinations and amounts of chilies. I would recommend first tasting a little of the chili powder you are going to use, and consider omitting the cayenne or chipotle if it will be too spicy for you. I love spicy food, so I find myself adding more heat, but for some who don’t like chili spicy, this is where I would start. I hope you enjoy it and let me know how it turns out! – Meggan

  5. Hi Meggan
    I plan on making this recipe for dinner.
    Does one can of beer make the chili too runny?
    Thanks
    Amanda

    1. Hi Amanda! I think you’re fine adding a can of beer. Great idea! If the chili seems runny, just simmer it longer so the extra liquid cooks off. I am sure it will be perfect! I use beer in my Shepherd’s Pie and it’s amazing, and not too runny there either. Beer is always a good idea. :) Thanks! -Meggan

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