Hearty Venison Chili

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This Hearty Venison Chilli is a comforting, warming filling chilli. Made with venison, it’s lower in fat than traditional beef chilli. Instant Pot version and a Slow Cooker version included!

Suitable for gluten-free diets.

Overhead picture of cooked venison chilli in a white pot with spring onion, jalapenos, radishes and red cabbage as garnish

Colder months call for warming dishes like this Hearty Venison Chili.

Instead of pouting by the fireplace bundled up in three layers of blankets and socks, let’s head to the kitchen instead, put a big batch of this chili on the stove, and laugh as we prepare to show winter who’s boss.

In fact, winter might just pull up a chair at the kitchen table and ask for some Ground Chicken Chili or ‘a bowl of that very tasty chili, please.’ I’m not sure if this newfound friendship will result in fewer snowflakes and icicles, but we can hope…

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This is the best venison chili recipe and is about as easy to make as it can get.

It’s a true ‘one pot meal’ – perfect for those days when the last thing on your mind is making supper. You can have it from stove to table in just about 40 minutes.

It is as easy to make as this White Chicken Chili or this beyond easy Instant Pot Chicken Chili

Overhead picture of cooked venison chilli in a white pot

Why Make This Recipe

  • It is easy to make from pantry staples.
  • It is budget-friendly family-approved treat.
  • A thick, comforting, and full of flavor excellent recipe classic.
  • It can be easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd along with cornbread casserole.
  • Make ahead for a freezer-friendly meal.

Ingredient Notes

  • Oil – use olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil for this
  • Ground deer meat – this recipe called for ground venison.
  • Vegetables – you need some white onion and bell pepper.
  • Beans – although this recipe calls for red kidney beans, you can use black beans or pinto beans too. Make sure beans are well drained and rinsed.
  • Broth – this recipe uses beef broth, but you can also use chicken broth or the veggie version for sure.
  • Spices – this gets its flavoring from a homemade mix composed of ground cumin, dried oregano, chili powder, ground cinnamon, smoked paprika, and minced garlic. Add more or less to taste.
  • Seasoning – complete this with some salt and pepper.
  • Secret ingredient – the special ingredient is balsamic vinegar which adds a lovely depth of flavor to this dish.
  • Canned tomatoes – Add plain canned tomatoes with no extra flavors. Feel free to add a little bit of tomato paste for more sharpness.

Handy Tip: Use Good Kitchen Tools!

For the best tools to help make your recipe even easier and more successful, check out my collection of the Best Kitchen Tools on Amazon.

Here’s How to Make Venison Chili (Deer Chili)

Checkout my hearty selection of Soups and Stews if you like this.

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  • Sauté onion and pepper in a dutch oven over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic and then venison mince. Make sure to break up ground meat and brown the meat, stirring frequently.
  • Add everything else to the meat mixture – spices, tomatoes, beef broth, balsamic vinegar (my favorite secret chili ingredient), and salt. Stir well.
  • Cover, but leave the lid slightly ajar. Simmer for 30 minutes until the chili has thickened slightly and reduced, leaving you with this beautiful venison chili, or ‘happiness in a bowl’ if you prefer. Simmer uncovered for the last 5 minutes so it thickens more.
image collage showing the steps for making venison chili

See the ‘What to Serve with Hearty Venison Chilli (Venison Chili)’ section below for serving ideas. 

How to Make Instant Pot Venison Chili (Venison Chili)

Here is how to make it step by step.

  1. Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and add in the vegetable oil.
  2. Once oil is hot, add the onion and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.
  3. Stir in the garlic, followed by the venison, and brown, making sure to break it up. Please remove the excess water from the venison using a scoop. You want the venison to be dry before you add the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Add in the stock and quickly deglaze the inner pot (by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon) in case anything is stuck on.
  5.  Then add in the remaining spices, chopped tomatoes (please use really thick and good quality canned tomatoes for this), beef stock, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Stir everything well.
  6. Cover your pressure cooker, turn the valve to sealing, select manual pressure/high pressure, and set the timer to 15 minutes, and let the chili cook under high pressure until done.
  7. When done, let the pressure release naturally before opening and serving.
image collage showing some of the steps for making instant pot venison chili

How to Make Slow Cooker Venison Chili

  • To make this a slow cooker version of chili, follow the recipe until the end of step 3.
  • Then transfer everything to your crockpot and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure beans are well drained and rinsed.
  • Freeze any excess deer meat till needed in the right portions for cooking.
  • If you prefer, you can just use store-bought or homemade chili seasoning instead of individual spices.
  • Feel free to swap some of the meat for ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
  • If you want a bit of fat, add in some ground pork.

Delicious Variations

  • Vary the heat – if you prefer spicy food, then add heat with diced green chilies, cayenne pepper, chipotle, adobo peppers, etc.
  • Vary the veggies – add in extras like celery.
  • Vary the flavorings – replace with onion powder, garlic powder, fire-roasted tomatoes.
  • Use in other dishes – leftover stew can be turned into a dish like Shepard’s pie with a topping of mashed potato.

Storage

  • Prep Ahead – This ground chicken chili recipe is so easy to make. And you can prep and store the ingredients, ready to dump and start in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them. 
  • Store – Store in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Freeze – Allow to cool down completely, then transfer into Ziploc Freezer bags. Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bags. Label the bags and then lay them flat in the freezer. Store in the freezer for 3 months.
  • Reheat – Add to a saucepan and reheat on the stove for 10-12 minutes, or until warmed through. 
  • Meal Prep – Easily double or triple this recipe to feed a crowd, or as part of your weekly meal prep. 

FAQs

What is Venison

You may know (or you may not – no judgment here, peeps) that venison is deer meat, but I find there is a bit of confusion about what venison is exactly. A particular part of the deer? A particular cut of deer meat?

Venison is ANY part of the deer that can be consumed. Even deer liver would be considered venison. But for this venison chili recipe, you’ll use venison mince (ground venison).

I love cooking with this game meat because it’s leaner than beef and also has more vitamins and minerals. (Ticking off all the ‘healthy eating’ boxes right there.) It also can’t be intensively farmed, and most deer have lived a natural life until just before you get it from the butcher.

Lots of people talk about eating ‘pasture-raised’ (not factory-farmed) meat these days, and most venison is that way naturally.

Do You Need To Brown Venison

To be honest you can skip the browning and the sautéing steps too, and just add everything straight in.  

But peeps, I really must tell you that the browning really adds a richer depth of flavor to this deer meat stew, so if you have time, you should try and do it.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this easy venison chili with the usual; corn chips, diced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, diced green onion, lime wedges, sour cream, cooked bacon and more. Other great options are:

 More Ground Venison Recipes

For more tasty ground venison recipes or other deer meat recipes like Hearty Venison Chili, try this 7 Ingredient Slow Cooker Venison Stew and easy Venison Burgers.

Tools Needed

Weight Watchers Points

There are 3 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Overhead picture of cooked venison chilli in a white pot with spring onion, jalapenos, radishes and red cabbage as garnish

The Ultimate Guide to the Instant Pot

For everything you need to know about the Instant Pot, check out my post: Instant Pot Review – The Ultimate Guide to the Instant Pot.

And don’t forget to visit The Ultimate List of Easy Instant Pot Recipes {Over 75 Incredible Recipes}.

Thank you for reading my ground venison recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

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the completed venison chili reipe
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4.91 from 11 votes

Hearty Venison Chili

This Hearty Venison Chili is happiness in a bowl.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Western
Diet: Gluten Free
Servings: 6
Calories: 226kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound (450g) ground venison
  • 15 ounces (400g) kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 14 ounces (400g) canned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Non-Instant Pot version:

  • Heat oil in pan over medium heat, add the onion and pepper and sauté for 5 mins until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic followed by the ground venison and brown it making sure to break it up.
  • Then add in the spices, chopped tomatoes, beef stock and balsamic vinegar and salt, stir everything well.
  • Cover (leaving slightly ajar) and simmer for 30 minutes until slightly thicker and reduced.

Instant Pot version:

  • Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and add in the vegetable oil until hot.
  • Add the onion and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic followed by the venison and brown it making sure to break it up. Please remove the excess water from the venison using a scoop. You want the venison to be dry before you add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add in the stock and quickly deglaze the inner pot (by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon) in case anything is stuck on.
  • Then add in the remaining spices, chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and salt, stirring well.
  • Cover your Instant Pot, turn the valve to sealing, select manual pressure/high pressure, set the timer to 15 minutes.
  • When done, let the pressure release naturally before opening the lid and serving.
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Notes

  • Make sure beans are well drained and rinsed.
  • If you prefer, you can just use store-bought or homemade chili seasoning instead of individual spices.
  • Feel free to swap some of the meat for ground beef, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
  • If you want a bit of fat, add some ground pork.
  • Please use really thick and good-quality canned tomatoes for this. Avoid watery tomatoes.
  • Storage – keep leftovers in an airtight container inside the fridge for 5 days.
  • There are 3 WW Blue Plan Smart Points in one serving of this.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 352mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 33.7mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 4.4mg

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