Boston Beer Chili

When the weather is cold (and sometimes when it’s not!) my thoughts turn to warming soups and stews. And, chili has got to be one of heartiest soups around.

Filled with spices, loaded with ground beef, and rounded out with beans, it’s the perfect dinner or lunch. This East Coast version has beer in it for even more flavor.

Forget adding water or stock to the pot- some lager makes this chili a truly unforgettable recipe.

To begin making this recipe you’ll need to brown the ground beef and then remove it with a slotted spoon. Then drain the fat and add in the peppers and onions, as well as the many spices that go into this savory dish. In addition to the standard chili powder this chili has paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, thyme, and garlic powder.

Once this is all cooked together add in the beer, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Lager works best here, but a pilsner or an IPA will work in a pinch. The only caveat here is that a stout like Guinness or a fruity Belgian ale will probably change the flavor of the chili a bit too much.

Boston Beer Chili

For a thicker chili add 12 ounces of beer and for a thinner chili (the kind that goes well with some saltines) add 24 ounces of beer.

There are some other secret ingredients in this chili besides the spices and the beer. The addition of honey and Tabasco sauce adds heat and depth to the chili. My mother used to say that no chili recipe was complete without some honey or sugar to bring all the flavors together. And she was right!

Boston Beer Chili

This recipe also calls for 1 can of kidney beans which to me are an essential ingredient in any chili. You can use black beans if you prefer or make it without any beans at all. This can be a controversial topic since in some regions chili with beans is considered an abomination. With or without the beans this recipe is simply one of the best chilis I’ve made so far.

The last cooking step is to let this chili simmer for 45 minutes. It might seem like a long time, but good things are worth waiting for! As a final touch add some sour cream, shredded cheddar, and/or some chopped chives on top for a chili that is intensely satisfying and full of flavor.

Boston Beer Chili

Serves 8

20m prep time

1h 10m cook time


Rated 4.5 out of 5

Rated by 90 reviewers

Allergens: Milk

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 (12 oz) bottles lager beer
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with chilis, undrained
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco or chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chives, finely chopped
  1. In a large stock pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until no more pink remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from pan and drain fat. Set aside meat until needed later.
  2. Add bell pepper, onion, chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, cumin, thyme, and garlic powder to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onion is softened.
  3. Stir in beer, tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add the ground beef back to the pot. Add in honey, chili sauce, and beans.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring often. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream sprinkled and/or chives.

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