Vegan Beer Chili

I don’t know if you’ve ever cooked with beer, but if you haven’t you probably should. I am not a beer drinker myself in the slightest – an occasional hard cider at best – but I love what beer does to dishes. Somehow, it brings a new depth of rustic flavor to recipes that I absolutely adore. Though it was the last thing I expected, I am very much in love with this chili.

Of course, you can add meat to this dish if you’d like. I’ve tried it both ways and like them about the same. To do so, simply add a half pound of ground beef or turkey in place of the black (or kidney) beans for an equally delectable result.

When I make this chili I love having it for two meals in one week for the sake of convenience and cost. One night, we’ll have it as is with a side of cornbread, and another we’ll have it atop baked sweet or regular potatoes. I can’t decide which way I like it better – I’ll have to get back to you on that.

4.3 from 4 reviews
Vegan Beer Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A satisfying vegan chili with hearty flavor from dark Mexican beer and both black and kidney beans.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Chili
Serves: 8
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 12 oz. bottle dark Mexican beer (I prefer Negra Modelo)
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, slightly drained
  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans, slightly drained
  • hot sauce, crackers and cornbread for serving
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  3. Cook, stirring often, until softened - about 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the chili powder and hot sauce, stir and cook for another minute.
  5. Add the beer and cook until reduced by half - about 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes (with their juices), beans (slightly drained), and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to a simmer while breaking up the tomatoes slightly with a spoon. Cook until thickened - about 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with hot sauce, crackers and cornbread, or whatever toppings you prefer. If you're not vegan, cheese is a nice addition.
* This chili gets better with age like most soups, so if you can make it in advance that would be preferable. This way the flavors grow more intense and the whole dish melds together a bit better.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 healthy servings; per serving: Calories: 297 Fat: 2.9 g Carbohydrates: 50 g Sugar: 3 g Fiber: 12 g Protein: 17 g


danaHi, I'm Dana! I am a food stylist, photographer, and author of the Food Photography School and the 31 Meals Cookbook.

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  1. Kelly says

    Made this for friends over the weekend. Ended up doubling the recipe. So delicious! Added chopped jalepeño and cayenne pepper for an added kick. The beer adds a wonderful robust taste. Great leftovers too!

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  2. Faye says

    Made this for an improv super bowl party couple weeks back, and everybody loved it! I’m studying abroad with some of my fellow homesick students, and the taste of home (and beer) made us all feel a little better. :) I did add some extra ancho chili pepper and a strange spicy banana sauce (my host mother made it), and the chili came out with an awesome spicy kick to it.

      • says

        i’ve been working on the recipe so made it quite a few times since – it’s getting there (still needs some tweaking) but here’s some changes i made:

        -add chopped celery and carrot when adding onions. brown really well then add garlic for 1-2 minutes.
        -spices, instead of 1 Tbsp chilli powder, I use 1 Tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, a tsp or 2 of liquid smoke – it’s milder for my gf’s tastes, and smokier for mine. also add a little thyme.

        also make sure you pick a really good, strong dark beer. makes a lot of difference.

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  6. Nik says

    I prepared this dish today, so that it could develope over night, but it is already so good! I have never cooked with beer before, but omg. I didn’t use a Mexican Dark Beer since I am in Germany and can’t find that here. I used a German Dark Beer called Köstritzer that my dad recommended and it just gave so much amazing flavor, totally was not expecting that. I added some more spices to it, from a different chili recipe that has been in my family for years (just some paprika, cayenne pepper and bay leaves). Thank you for this recipe!

  7. Amber says

    I’m a vegan, no one else in my family is, so it hard for us to find a meal I can eat that the whole family likes too. Someone always complains that he is eating rabbit food! But I did try this Chili tonight! And this has to be one of the best chilis I’ve ever had! My whole family ate it too, and we had no leftovers! I will make this again and very soon, along with making a second batch so I can have leftovers. This repice also seems to be very forgiving, I used what beer I had on hand since I didn’t want to go out and buy new beer. I added extra hot sauce too, since we like spicy food.

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