This spicy vegan beer chili is made with beans, peppers, tomatoes, and (of course) beer. It's an easy cold-weather stew that's perfect for Game Day and makes a perfect campfire chili!
This beer chili was supposed to be a campfire chili.
We'd be camping in the mountains in mid-September with crisp night air, a campfire, and maybe a glass of wine.
It was a beautiful plan.
And then, I looked at the weather forecast and saw (with some dismay) that it was going to be ridiculously hot (in the upper 90s) during our entire vacation.
Since the heat and humidity made standing by a campfire (and then eating a steaming hot bowl of chili) seem less appealing, I scratched this from our camping meal plan.
As September turned into October, the nights are finally beginning to cool down. And this beer chili has reappeared in my life, along with its meatier counterpart, venison chili.
This vegan bear chili is a rich, hearty stew that's perfect for a quick dinner, a game day meal, and yes-- it's fabulous cooked on a campfire.
Is This Beer Chili Spicy?
I include two jalapeño peppers when I make this chili, and yes, it is on the spicy side.
If you want to tame the heat a little bit, swap the jalapeños for a bell or poblano pepper.
If you're extra sensitive to heat, you could also halve the amount of chipotle peppers, but you'll lose some of the smoky flavor.
What Kind of Beer Should I Use?
I like this beer chili with either a stout (like Guinness) or a pale ale (Sierra Nevada makes a great pale ale).
Can I Skip the Beer?
Well, it won't exactly be beer chili without the beer, but yes, you can.
If you forgot to buy beer, can't drink beer, or don't want to use beer but still think this sounds delicious-- swap the beer for water or broth.
The flavor won't be exactly the same without the beer, but it'll still be yummy!
How Can I Make This a Campfire Chili?
Start by gathering some equipment.
You'll need a cast-iron dutch oven and access to a campfire ring and campfire grate.
We use a portable campfire grate.
Follow the directions in the recipe card (even though they're for the stovetop), and remember that the fire is hotter and bigger than on a stovetop.
Use long-handled metal utensils (like a spoon or metal spatula) to stir the ingredients, and stand at arm's length to stir the ingredients while the chili cooks.
The dutch oven handle will be too hot to touch, so you'll need to use an oven mitt (or a thick kitchen towel) to move the dutch oven off the campfire grate.
If you're making this beer chili in your backyard for a cookout, prepare everything in your kitchen and then carry the ingredients outside.
If you're camping, remember to pack a can opener, cutting board, and knife.
How to Make Vegan Beer Chili
Start by cooking the onions, peppers, and spices until the onions are softened and the spices are fragrant.
Avoid putting your face directly above the pot while the jalapeño peppers are cooking.
Next, slowly pour the beer into the pot.
If you pour too quickly, the beer will foam up!
As you pour, use a spoon to scrape up any bits of onion or pepper that have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Add some diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a can of crushed tomatoes.
Bring the chili to a simmer.
Finally, add the beans.
I used kidney beans and black beans, but pinto beans are also delicious in this chili!
Simmer the chili a few more minutes, and it's ready to serve!
I like this beer chili by itself, but it's also delicious poured over sweet potatoes or served with corn tortilla chips!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 jalapeños, seeds + membrane removed, diced Swap for another bell pepper or a poblano pepper for a less spicy chili
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 12 ounces stout beer (1 bottle) Or use a Pale Ale
- 2 teaspoons diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce I buy pre-diced peppers in a jar
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained + rinsed
- 15 ounce can black or pinto beans, drained + rinsed
- corn chips or cornbread, to serve (optional)
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions, peppers, smoked paprika, chili powder, and salt to the pot. Cook until the veggies are tender and the spices are fragrant (~5 minutes).
- Slowly pour the beer into the pot, using a wooden spoon to help scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the chipotle peppers and crushed tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the beans, and simmer 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot with corn chips or cornbread (if desired).Leftovers / Make Ahead:Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.Make Ahead / Freeze:Store in air-tight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.