Jamie Deen’s Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer

Jamie Deen’s Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer
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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 Good Food: Cooking Up a Storm with Delicious, Family-Friendly RecipesJamie Deen’s Good Food: Cooking Up a Storm with Delicious, Family-Friendly RecipesJamie Deen's Good Food: Cooking Up a Storm with Delicious, Family-Friendly RecipesY'all Come EatY’all Come EatY'all Come EatThe Deen Bros. Take It Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love: A CookbookThe Deen Bros. Take It Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love: A CookbookThe Deen Bros. Take It Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love: A Cookbook


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

No-Spills Adjustable Baggy Rack StandsNo-Spills Adjustable Baggy Rack StandsNo-Spills Adjustable Baggy Rack Stands


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?

Bottle of beer

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.


Tomato paste in chili


What Gives Chili the Best Flavor?

Spices to add to give chili more flavor

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.


Jamie Deen's chili with sour cream and cheese


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.


Aroma Rice Cooker With Delay TimerAroma Rice Cooker With Delay TimerAroma Rice Cooker With Delay Timer



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

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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45 thoughts on “Jamie Deen’s Award-Winning Chili Recipe with Beer”

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Roberta! I haven’t made it a while, and I need to make it again!

  • I love the Deen family! Looking at the ingredients, what makes it an extra special recipe? We have a chili cook off at church and am looking for that extra special something. I saw a recipe using bacon.?

  • Hey Marjorie! What made it different from chili I’ve made in the past is 1) The bell peppers; 2) The sausage and ground beef combo; 3) The three types of beans; and of course 4) The beer!

  • I’m making a big pot of this for game night! Mild or Hot Itallian sausage? Have you used white or yellow onions in this recipe? Red tend to make my husband sick.

    • Hi Marlene, I always use mild sausage just because I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy foods. I don’t see why white or yellow onions wouldn’t work just as well. Enjoy!

      • Thanks! I will try yellow and mild sausage but I am planning on adding lots of unseeded jalapenos because we like it super HOT! I will let you know how the personalization works. I can’t wait!

    • Donna, I always double the recipe (in fact, I just made it last week), but then we have a ton leftover to freeze for lunches. I would recommend doubling it for ten people.

  • I’ve made a lot of chili in my life and I have to say this is in the top three of dishes that I love. I did think that three cans of beans were too much so I dropped the kidney beans and kept the pintos and the black beans. I also added a can of green chiles. In about 30 minutes, the chili will have simmered for two solid hours and I can’t wait to put a little shredded cheddar and a scoop of sour cream on a heaping bowl. I tasted it after 90 minutes and was completely pleased.

  • Looks good, smells good, makes a nice large amount. But WAY too spicy for the average person. I like spice, but this is hot, and now I have a giant pot of chilli that I have to somehow feed my husband and son! I’ll be Googling……

    • Hey Lauren! I’m surprised that you thought it was too spicy; I have a low tolerance for spice and didn’t find it to be a problem. I’ve found that adding a few dollops of sour cream helps with spicy chili. (And, of course, then serving ice cream for dessert! :))

      • Thos has happened to me because all “chili powders” are not equal. Some are unexpectedly spicy and have no indicationof such on the label. I find the cheaper brands to be the least spicy. It’s a good idea to post the brand of chili powder you use in a recipe.

    • Jo, you need a 28-ounce can PLUS a 14-ounce can. Total of 42 ounces of diced tomatoes.

      • This states that is can be frozen yet I’ve never had any luck freezing any recipe when it includes onions of any sort. How well does this actually freeze since it calls for a large amount of red onion. Does anyone else have any luck with freezing leftovers with onions in them? The onions always take on a slimy consistency and become so transparent that they need to be hand picked out. Any suggestions for replacing the onions for flavor?

        • Hey Pamela, I’ve doubled this recipe and frozen part of it many times and never noticed any problem, but perhaps I’m just less observant

          My suggestion would be to try substituting a Tablespoon of onion powder per onion.

    • Oh, that’s good to know! I never tried it without the beer to see the difference.

  • Does the bitter taste from the beer get less intense after the 2 hours of simmering? I did use a stout so that may be my fault.

    • Liz, I’ve made this many times and never thought it tasted bitter, or (more importantly) had complaints from my family that it tasted bitter.
      Anyone else wanna chime in?

    • Now THAT is interesting!
      I would love to see how tastes, but I know my husband and oldest child would probably hate it. They don’t like “sweet meat.” I have another chili recipe I really liked with cinnamon, but I stopped making it because they kept complaining!

  • My new favorite chili recipe! I took it to a chili cook off and every last bit of it was eaten. Thankfully I had saved a bowl for myself.

  • Hi there! I am attempting your chili for our Christmas Eve get-together. Is there any way to make the chili a bit less thick without losing the flavor? TIA

    • Hey Missy, sorry it took me so long to respond. I don’t have any ideas for that … anyone else?

  • I just finished making this to serve to friends on NYE. I used low sodium tomatoes and boy, that was a mistake! It lacked any depth of flavor. The flavor totally changed when I added some much needed salt!
    I only had Carona beer, I don’t know if that also contributed to the lack of flavor. I’ll let it develope flavor in the fridge for 3 days , check the salt again and hope that everyone enjoys it!

    • My Chile recipe is a lot like this one. I use beer and coffee and I also use a jar of salsa. My family loves my chili.

  • Bland. Tasteless. What a disappointment. After one taste I busted out my seasonings and got to work doctoring this recipe. It wasn’t horrible but O won’t make again.

    • Sorry you didn’t like it Dotti! I would agree that people who like their chili very spicy would need to doctor it up.

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