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The Best Hearty Venison Chili Recipe

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This delicious venison chili is perfect for using up some of that ground venison in your freezer, especially on those cold winter nights.

Two bowls of venison chili on a table topped with cheddar cheese and green onions.

Venison is by far our favorite type of meat. We hunt deer every fall, my husband being the more avid hunter in our family, and are generally blessed with copious amounts of game meat gracing our freezer every hunting season.

While I love using ground venison in all manners of meals including shepherd’s pie, venison burgers, and reserving some for summer sausage, I think the best way to use up some ground venison is in a big pot of chili.

This hearty venison chili is a fantastic and great use of ground venison you have sitting in your freezer. We love making it during the fall and winter, but anytime I want a big bowl of comforting food using ground deer meat, this is my go-to recipe.

It’s simple and not too spicy, though you can adjust the heat to suit your taste buds. A few ingredients add a little depth of flavor that many chili recipes are lacking in. This is definitely the best chili recipe and will become your go to after the first time you make it.

Venison Chili Ingredients

Ingredients to make venison chili on a table.

Ground Venison – you can substitute any ground meat in this recipe whether it’s wild game, ground beef, or even ground pork or ground turkey. They all taste good, but venison burger is the best.

Onion– minced if you don’t want your children to find it. Onion brings the venison flavor out, but it’s also essential for tasty chili.

Garlic– is also minced to bring out the flavor in the meat and add a bit of spice.

Tomatoes and green chilis – a little tangy flavor paired with some spice, home-canned tomatoes and green chilis or Rotel is the perfect addition for any chili without making it too spicy.

Olive Oil or Venison Tallow– Since deer meat is so lean, you need some fat to brown it in. Olive oil will work, but if you have your own deer tallow, that works even better.

Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste – thick and delicious, these two are essential to making the base of your venison chili.

Beef stock or Venison Broth – If you have your own venison broth, I highly recommend using it in this recipe, but if you don’t beef stock or broth will work just fine. This helps thin everything out and add a little flavor.

Light Red Kidney Beans – these are our preferred beans for chili, you can use any canned beans you wish, though. Black beans or pinto beans are favorites of ours that I use if we don’t have any kidney beans on hand.

Chili Seasonings – a blend of chili powder, salt, black pepper, basil, rosemary, mustard powder, paprika, thyme, celery seed, parsley, cumin, cayenne pepper, and the secret ingredients of unsweetened cocoa powder, and brown sugar bring in some depth of flavor.

The Best Deer Chili Recipe

Bowls of venison chili topped with green onions.

Simple step-by-step instructions, full ingredients list and measurements is included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: Brown Meat & Ingredients

In a large dutch oven, warm deer tallow or olive oil over medium-high heat, add the ground deer meat, break it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. Once browned, add in diced onions and minced garlic, cooking just until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

Stir in spices and tomatoes with green chilis and mix well to coat the mixture with the spices.

Step 2: Add Remaining Ingredients

Reduce heat to low, add drained red kidney beans to the meat mixture, stirring them to incorporate the spices. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and stir, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Step 3: Simmer

Let the chili cook simmering, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes. Then, uncover it and allow it to simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Step 4: Serve

Serve hot, topped with cheddar cheese, crackers, green onions, and/or sour cream.

Recipe Variations

Instant Pot Venison Chili

Brown ground venison, onions, and garlic with olive oil on sauté. Add spices and tomatoes and chilis, and stir. Add beans and tomato sauce, tomato paste, and beef stock, cook in pressure cooker on high pressure for 10 minutes, and use the quick-release method when done.

Crock Pot Venison Chili

Brown ground venison, onions, and garlic with olive oil in a large skillet. Transfer to crockpot, stir in tomatoes with green chilis and spices. Add beans and tomato paste, tomato sauce, and beef stock. Cook on high for 3 hours, low for 6 hours.

Storing Venison Chili

Refrigeration: This recipe can be cooked ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Leftover chili can be reheated in a small pot on the stove or microwave. If you’re making it in advance, you can reheat the entire batch of chili on the stove.

Freezer: Cook the recipe as stated, cool it and place it in a freezer safe, airtight container. The chili will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Canning: This recipe can be doubled or even tripled and pressure canned. It will make approximately 2 quarts. You’ll make the recipe as normal and follow the canning chili.

More Delicious Ground Venison Recipes

Try this venison chili recipe and love it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to give me a five-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on the recipe card!

Bowl of venison chili topped with shredded cheese and green onions.
Yield: Serves 8

Easy Venison Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ground venison is combined with spices, peppers, and seasonings and blended into tomato juice to make this classic, delicious soup.


  • 1 Lb Ground Venison, or any ground meat
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (or deer tallow)
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Beef Stock or Venison Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 10 Oz Tomatoes and Diced Chilis
  • 2 15 Oz Cans Light Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 16 Oz Tomato Sauce

Chili Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Celery Seed
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1/8 tsp Cumin
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder


  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown ground venison in olive oil. Add in diced onions and minced garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Pour chili seasonings in and stir to combine. Add in drained kidney beans, then add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer, covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 30 to minutes more.
  4. Serve hot topping with your preferred toppings.


Venison can be substituted with any ground meat. If subbing fattier ground meat, you'll want to drain it after browning.

Chili can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

This recipe can be prepared as stated, omitting the beans, and frozen for a quick meal. Simply add the beans when cooking.

Chili can also be canned using a pressure canner, see the post for notes on how to do this.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 Cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 299Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 1515mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 27g

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Gary D. Villers

Saturday 19th of November 2022

Dear Danielle, Tried your recipe for venison chili. Love the simplicity of it. For my fat I used some left over hamburger grease from the night before and olive oil to sautee veggies and brown the venison. We were blessed this year to still be able to pick our own jalapenos up the first week of November. We like to let it cool overnight, skim any fat off and let those flavors marry up. I cook in a cast iron dutch oven thats been handed down through the family for 100yrs. We were blessed with venison given to us by friends and family. I donated another batch to our local EMTs, fire and police and to a local military base. Thank you for the recipe. Gary

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Saturday 17th of October 2020

How long do you put it in the crockpot for?

Danielle McCoy

Monday 19th of October 2020

About 6 hours on low :).

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